Technology has intertwined itself in many aspects of our life. Take for instance the motoring industry. Vehicles are designed by CAD to offer the least amount of drag, thereby improving fuel consumption. Robots assemble the cars, allowing manufacturers to push cars off the assembly line by the thousands instead of by the hundreds. In this article, we take a look at why Education Technology is so important.
Another aspect is technology in our homes. It runs our security systems, it runs our communications and is slowly beginning to automate every aspect of our home - from automatically adjusting heat settings to turning lights on and off.
This sounds great on paper, but for many, there are some arguments against technology controlling our lives. Computer viruses and hacking are big ones. Should a hacker virtually get into our home, there is no limit as to what havoc they can wreak. In terms of the manufacturing sector, many are arguing that AI and technology are stealing jobs from hard-working humans, throwing them on the street with the chance of finding another job bleak in the current economic crisis.
However, technology is playing a big and vital role in terms of education. In many third-world countries scholars do not have access to schools with running water and electricity - never mind internet access. Add to that the fact that many don’t have access to the required course materials, and teachers don’t have access to training guides and the like. Here one would be hard-pressed to find an argument against the use of technology to bridge that divide and allow scholars in rural communities to be on a par with those in first-world countries.
But, there are many obstacles that need to be overcome.
“Besides the lack of infrastructure, learners and tutors need the means to access course materials,” says George Moss, Dell CSG Business Unit Manager at Tarsus Distribution. Furthermore, they need a way to progress after they have completed their school studies. Tertiary education is mandatory, especially for those looking to find work in specialised areas. Here too we see technology playing a role.
Companies both large and small have been doing their part in sponsoring schools with tablets, Internet access and reliable electricity to keep them going - but that is just the starting point, says Moss.
To boost youths into the work market, Dell has initiated partnerships with other enterprises on some rather ambitious projects. The programs are designed to familiarise one with the school material. They are then guided through their tertiary education and finally provided with the hands-on experience needed to secure a good job.
“Made from refurbished shipping containers and powered by the sun, the Solar Learning Labs are a bridge connecting young learners to the digital world outside their communities. Together with our nonprofit partner Computer Aid International and like-minded contributors, Dell Technologies will open 100 of these labs worldwide by 2030, opening new opportunities to tens of thousands of children in the years to come,” Moss elaborates.
More information about the Solar Learning Labs can be found here.
The Dell SA Development Fund (DDF) was created to improve social conditions by giving South African communities access to education technology in an effort to drive social upliftment. “We believe that by transforming social conditions we can ultimately transform business—creating a brighter and more innovative future for all,” he comments.
Under the Dell SA Development Fund, the company has created sustainable partnerships with charities, NGOs and government departments with proven track records of being committed to the same goals.
Under the program is the Code for Change initiative, where the numbers speak for themselves:
More about the Dell South Africa Development Fund can be found here.
Getting a basic education is imperative to getting a job. However, it is a vicious circle out there as most companies won’t employ a candidate without any hands-on experience in the real world.
This is where the Dell Student Tech Crew initiative comes into play.
The program promotes future career skills and learning via hands-on experience as students help their peers and school staff members with technology issues. It also provides opportunities for increased career-readiness skills such as communication, collaboration, creativity and problem-solving. Through the program students will get work-based learning as certified Dell technicians, working on Dell hardware for their peers and educators.
“This allows them to enter the marketplace with some work experience under their belt,” comments Moss.
More information about the Dell Student Tech Crew can be found here.
Finally, Dell has partnered with Girls Who Code, a nonprofit organisation dedicated to closing the gender gap in technology. The goal is to strengthen and expand after-school programs in computer science education for about 15 000 girls in grades 6-12 across.
Girls Who Code’s after school club program provides a safe and supportive environment of peers and role models for girls to learn and to see themselves as computer scientists. Beyond the club, girls can access a network of tens of thousands of girls who are using computer science to solve problems. Club girls learn the concepts of loops, variables, conditions and functions that form the basis for all programming languages – whether they want to build a website, an app, or a robot. Returning club girls can expand their programming knowledge through extended activity sets.
More about Girls Who Code can be found here.
Nelson Mandela said education is the most powerful weapon that you can use to change the world. “This rings true now more than ever as we live in a world never seen before. Thousands have been left jobless making it more difficult than ever for youngsters to start their lives. We at Dell Technologies are doing everything within our power to make sure they get the best possible start,” concludes Moss.