CoZa Cares has recently been involved in many discussions around open source content, free textbooks, and how we can collaborate with other great educational initiatives to bypass the ineffective and corrupt textbook distribution process. On this topic, we want to share the work that Breadbin Interactive is doing to provide free content direct to teachers and learners – without all the storage, transport, or distribution cost issues.
Breadbin was launched with the conceptualisation of the Toaster, a touch screen kiosk, developed as a project of the Shuttleworth Foundation to distribute free and open source software. A high powered computer, the Toaster can be customised to distribute any form of digital content, and was recently bought by the Western Cape Education Department (WCED).
Accessible educational resources
The WCED invested in eight devices for each of their district offices across the province. These E-Learning Toasters contain a comprehensive store of educational resources provided by the WCED, Breadbin, and their content partners – including examination papers, core curriculum in digital PDF format, science simulations, video lessons, educational android apps for smart phones and tablets, teacher support videos, supplementary videos and PDFs for teachers and students, educational related freeware, and more.
These resources are accessible to Curriculum Advisors (CAs), Principals, Heads of Departments (HODs), and teachers who visit the district offices. They’re able to search, preview, and download any of this content onto CDs, DVDs, or USB flash drives. They can also wirelessly access the content directly from their smart phones, tablets, or laptops via Wi-Fi. And finally, if they don’t have access to digital devices, they can print directly from the Toaster.
E-learning device an asset to educators
All Toasters are connected to the Breadbin cloud, who remotely manage the device, and load new content onto each machine via this connection when new material is available.
The are so many scenarios in which the Toaster is an invaluable educational asset, but Breadbin has provided a few examples which illustrate the usefulness of these devices…
Lucky Chabalala is a HOD of Science at a Western Cape school. He’s at the district office to get some science simulations, extra lesson plans on the periodic table, and the updated Siyavula text book from the curriculum advisor. The CA shows Lucky the new E-learning Toaster device, giving a brief demonstration of how it works. Lucky navigates and previews some documents and simulations, adding items to his basket as he finds the material he’s seeking. He inserts a flash drive and copies all his material from the device onto his memory stick, then leaves the district office with videos from Mindset, simulations, video lectures, and Siyavula’s latest CAPS textbooks.
Delivering digital educational resources
Wesley Brand is a senior curriculum advisor in Mitchells Plein and is due to see two schools. He knows there are new Mindset videos for teaching science on the E-learning Toaster, as well as new WCED’s telematics content, which he knows will be needed and appreciated by the two schools. He has a low cost tablet which he uses to show schools the new digital educational resources as well as deliver this material to them. He navigates the Wi-Fi content hotspot from his desk in the district office, finds the correct material, and downloads it wirelessly to his tablet before leaving to support and deliver this material to the school teachers.
Lindiwe Bongeka is teacher from a rural school on the outskirts of Western Cape and has come to the District office to get textbook chapters for her students because there has been a delay in the delivery of hard copy text books. Lindiwe’s used the E-learning Toaster before so she easily navigates to the four chapters of Science for grade 11 she will need for the term. When finding the document she selects to print the documents and returns to her school with the material needed to teach her students.
Vision for the future
WCED has indicated that a secondary phase for this e-learning solution would be placement into libraries and community centres, with the ultimate goal of placement in schools in order for teachers and students to be able to access this content.
CoZa Cares will be trialling the Breadbin initiative in some of our schools in the North West and Limpopo provinces, as well as in the CoZa Cares computer centre in the Edunova Learning Centre in Philippi in Cape Town.
For more information, or to get involved, contact Brett Simpson at firstname.lastname@example.org.