Intelligent education for a post pandemic world

Donna Mostert, Huawei Line of Business Manager, Mustek and Marcus Tay, Chief Technical Director, Huawei Cloud Southern Africa

SPONSORED: As a result of the COVID-19 outbreak, academic institutes around the globe have shifted to online learning as a replacement for on-campus delivery. In the past, e-learning was underutilized. However, the current crisis forced the entire world to rely on it for education.

Although the 2021 academic year may end on a high note—with rising vaccination rates—as a whole, it has been one of the most challenging for educators and students in global history.

Covid-19 has resulted in schools shut across the world at various points in time. As a result, education has changed dramatically, with the rise of e-learning, where teaching has been undertaken remotely and on digital platforms.

For those who have access to the right technology, there is evidence that learning online can be more effective in a number of ways.

To get the full benefit of online learning, there needs to be a concerted effort to provide a structure that goes beyond replicating a physical classroom by use of video and a range of collaboration tools and engagement methods that promote `inclusion, personalisation and intelligence’, according to Donna Mostert, Huawei Line of Business Manager at Mustek. The success of online learning lies in having access to the right technology.

A reputable and well-designed Learner Management System (LMS) is the single biggest must-have and operating system for any educational institution; it’s the life blood through which all content, access, and management of resources ensures that the school retains teachers and students. Students and parents are now expecting schools to adapt and provide a digital option that is easy to use, and has a deep understanding of the current and future needs of the school and all its stakeholders.

Digital access

The analogue schools that do not adapt to an LMS that is world-class may face the same fate as the encyclopaedias of the recent past, and become irrelevant due to digital access and superior content that is always on and always available. One such LMS is ClassroomAPP developed by the Smart Ideas Group, which have partnered with Huawei Technologies and Mustek Limited. It is designed with the educator and student in mind, and is an all-in-one LMS that includes its own video call software and AI to manage remote student activity, putting the teacher in charge of the class with the tools to do it.

Steven Tetluk, MD, The Smart Idea Group and Andre Engelbrecht, Enterprise Channel Manager Steven Tetluk, MD, The Smart Idea Group and Andre Engelbrecht, Enterprise Channel Manager
The Smart Idea Group has branches nationally, is well placed to install, train and support schools. It has worked closely with developers and trainers to ensure that ClassroomAPP is relevant to South African schools and education requirements. It has language options as well as the ability to brand the LMS in order that it further enhance the schools digital offering to students and parents, says Steven Tetluk, MD of TSIG.

“We have pioneered what we call the `No Internet Classroom’ for schools with erratic or slow internet,” says Tetluk, “which is essentially a local server (which we call a `cube’) that provides the school with the option to work onsite without the internet; the cube then synchronises and does a backup with the cloud overnight when bandwidth is less constrained. All your IP is protected and backed up!”

True synergy

Over and above this, the requirement is for new productivity tools that have been adapted to help educators as well as learners adapt to this new normal to achieve true synergy and collaboration between their devices and the cloud. This intelligent collaboration has become a critical enabler of digital transformation. What springs to mind when one thinks of learning online is the necessity of a digital whiteboard, like the Huawei IdeaHub, which affords educators the ability to collate all ideas and information coming from multiple individuals into a single space. IdeaHub makes education much easier with its expansive interactive screens supporting flexible online learning; the whiteboard brings lessons to life and makes instructions clearer. IdeaHub redefines education.

Mustek has partnered with Huawei to make it easy for South African educators to access Huawei Cloud services.

Mustek is the preferred Huawei Cloud distributor of many South African businesses that enjoy the major benefits of the Huawei-Mustek partnership.

Mustek’s partnership with Huawei also means it is the only organisation that delivers local Huawei Cloud training through its Mecer Inter-Ed academy – which boasts highly skilled and certified lecturers and powerful educational tools.

Cloud journey

Marcus Tay, Chief Technical Director at Huawei Cloud Southern Africa, says Mustek is a strategic partner in South Africa.

“Mustek as a distribution partner has a significant range of highlyskilled engineers, pre-sales experts, and sales executives who can assist you with the correct technical know-how to scope out the SOW (Statement of Work),” adds Andre Engelbrecht, Enterprise Channel Manager.

“Although Huawei Cloud has been around for some time, the adaptation and overall cloud journey in the Western Cape region is relatively young. Huawei’s public cloud solution is based on our deep understanding of our enterprise customers and the adoption of all things ‘cloud-based’. In order to grow the market, we need to stay true to our values of understanding what works for our customers and how our technologies can help drive longevity and sustainable growth for our customers.

“We are not ‘just another cloud provider’; we take the time to understand our customers’ needs and understand the complexities of their cloud journey as there isn’t a one-size-fits-all cloud adaptation.

“There are many issues affecting education worldwide. In South Africa, we are faced with the poor quality of teaching and learning, the lack of resources, the relationship between social problems and learners and many other known factors that no one talks about – being able to bring quality educators to every learner in South Africa gives us a glimpse of hope for the future of our youth.”
Steven Tetluk, MD, The Smart Idea Group and Andre Engelbrecht, Enterprise Channel Manager