Britehouse brings top teaching skills to underprivileged schools
Knowledge-sharing platform, Hello Tutor, housed in the Britehouse GOT-GAME digital hub helps to level playing fields in South African education
The Britehouse Group will break new ground in extending high quality teaching skills to underprivileged schools by sponsoring access to Hello Tutor. This expansion will take place in secondary schools in Diepsloot and Lanseria in Gauteng, and this year sees Britehouse broadening its support of Hello Tutor to include schools outside Gauteng, including two schools in Umlazi, KwaZulu-Natal, and one in the Western Cape.
Hello Tutor is a knowledge-sharing platform to which teachers and other professionals with vetted teaching abilities can upload short video tutorials. This content is based on South African high school maths, science, and accounting curricula.
Schools, teachers, and individual students can download any tutorial from the Hello Tutor website, for just R2 per download, and view it as often as they like during a 48-hour window. The impact has already been felt, with approximately 200 learners from Kwena Malapo High School, Lanseria and Sunrise Secondary School, Diepsloot school consuming over a 1000 maths and science video tutorials in English and Zulu.
The reality is that these 200 learners have benefited from the equivalent of over 160 hours of quality teaching from leading South African teachers in the space of just two months.
Says Britehouse Corporate Social Investment manager, Emmeline Bester, “With easy, affordable access to teaching aids of a quality that underprivileged schools and students cannot otherwise afford a vast number of matriculants have had unlimited access to the platform in preparation for their final exams, which is reason enough for us to have sponsored two schools to date.”
“In addition to the far-reaching impact on education in our country, we were also specifically attracted to this initiative because of the use of universally available technologies, like the Internet and smartphones, to create access to the best teaching talent in the country. By removing the disadvantage in this particular way, Hello Tutor puts even the most remote, rural students on an equal footing with those in the country’s top private schools.”
The delivery mechanism for the video downloads is the Britehouse GOT-GAME digital hub which was placed at the school in early 2015. Housed in a container and equipped with smart technology and Internet and Wifi infrastructure, the hub provides a safe facility in which teachers, enterprises, and community development projects supported by technology can be hosted. This is managed by the school, which earns revenue from projects hosted in the hub. This is the case for the Diepsloot school, whose access to Hello Tutor has been renewed this year.
The GOT-GAME digital hub is the cornerstone of the 67 Day Digital Activation Movement which Britehouse launched in August 2015 and is open to all corporate sponsors. Based on the United Nations’ 67 seconds of activism initiative which celebrates Nelson Mandela’s birthday, the Movement focuses on completing community-based, technology driven projects within a repeatable cycle of 67 days.
This quickens tangible results for both communities and corporate sponsors.
As part of Britehouse’s continuous 67 Day Digital Activation Movement focus, Hello Tutor expanded its impact by placing a server in the hub to accommodate up to 20 students at a time. In addition, access to the server will be streamed into the school’s classrooms, without the need for the Internet in order to access the video tutorial library.
“There are other aspects of the Hello Tutor initiative that have a particular appeal to the Britehouse ethos of integration combined with innovation,” Bester says. “The tutors who upload videos are paid R1 every time one of their videos is downloaded. This gives teachers a source of residual income.”
“We have expanded this idea to teachers at the underprivileged schools which we support. Those who wish to convert existing Hello Tutor content into any of the official languages other than English, will also be paid R1 per download. This gives them a vested interest in using Hello Tutor’s high quality content, ensures improved education for their students, and gives the students an opportunity to learn in their home language.”
“Should the school participate in the process of uploading videos made by their teachers, then the school will get a portion of the R1 per download. This gives the schools a means of earning much needed extra income.”
Simply, the Hello Tutor platform is one of multiple possibilities, all enhancing one another. It benefits all stakeholders, from the schools and the teachers, to the parents of learners and, most importantly, the learners themselves.
In addition to the above benefits, because the Hello Tutor platform is digital, corporate sponsors, like Britehouse, are given an online dashboard which provides them with live insight into who is accessing the content and which languages, subjects, categories, and topics are most used. This enables a direct link to be drawn between the uptake of Hello Tutor content and exam results.
Says Hello Tutor, James West, “We started Hello Tutor two years ago because there was a substantial population of South Africans with the right teaching skills that simply weren’t reaching the South African student population at large.”
It became clear that the Internet was an obvious way to provide learners from all walks of life with access to the countries leading teachers and also do so in a language with which they are comfortable.
“Corporate sponsors like Britehouse and facilities like the Britehouse GOT-GAME hub take the concept that extra step further, by enabling communities where Internet penetration is low and technology is expensive to tap into the best teaching aids available,” says West.