Innovative school creates drive-thru data centre for learners – The South AfricanCMS
Necessity, it is said, is the mother of invention. At Krugersdorp High School on the West Rand, school authorities realised that one of their learners’ critical needs was to have sufficient data to access the online lessons being prepared for them.
Not everyone has easy access to affordable data, particularly at a time when many parents have suffered a loss of income.
The solution? Create a drive-thru data centre at the school where parents and learners can arrive at an appointed time and, using free data supplied by the school, download whatever study materials they need for the period ahead.
The drive-thru facility is located on the school sports field and has been operating with success since 11 May.
Concept aims to ensure no children are left behind
“Our parents are very appreciative of it. Just having this opportunity to make sure their child is not left behind is a big thing,” school marketing manager Lauren Jooste-Cootsee told news website IOL. “The kids have been continuing their work and it has been quite positive.”
In a separate statement published in the Krugersdorp News, the school said: “Our educators have tried to continue to provide work according to the curriculum for our learners to complete, by teaching and learning remotely. Of huge concern has been that going online when data availability is limited in many households has increased unforeseen expenditure in households that are already very fragile due to financial constraints.”
The statement continued: “During the allocated time, parents can bring their children to school, and while sitting safely in their cars they will be able to download their work.”
Up to 40 people can download at any one time
Lessons from the school’s teaching staff are communicated via WhatsApp, Moodle, YouTube, Instagram and Teams. As soon as the learner has finished retrieving the work for the week, which takes 10-15 minutes, they are requested to leave the premises due to social-distancing requirements.
In order to reduce the time spent on site by each person or car, and prevent the downloading of unauthorised material from the Internet, only the Moodle and Teams (Microsoft 365) websites can be accessed. A maximum of 40 people can be accommodated at any one time.
Cheap and easy data access for learners is a global problem
Schools around the world have been scrambling to find a solution to the problem of affordable data access as they turn to innovative online methods to continue giving lessons during lockdown.
In the US, for example, many school districts are now converting their unused school buses to Wi-Fi hotspots. These are then parked in public places and parents can set up nearby and download the lessons.
In Topeka, Kansas, the public schools authority has set up three such buses where students can sit near the bus and use the code written on the windshield. Each bus is set up in a parking lot of one of the district’s schools, local news outlet KSNT reported.
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Tags: South Africa