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Education nonprofit Living Through Learning introduces digital literacy at Lavender Hill school

Education nonprofit Living Through Learning introduces digital literacy at Lavender Hill school
Grade 1 pupils at Levana Primary School in Lavender Hill, Cape Town, practice literacy skills on iPads donated as part of nonprofit Living Through Learning’s digital pilot at the school. (Photo: Tamsin Metelerkamp)

A new iPad learning station at Levana Primary School in the Cape Town suburb of Lavender Hill will combine reading and writing lessons with the development of digital skills. It’s the latest addition to the school’s ‘Reading Adventure Room’.

A new digital learning station at Levana Primary School in Lavender Hill, Cape Town, is set to enhance literacy lessons for foundation phase learners. The station, launched on Wednesday, is a pilot project by education nonprofit, Living Through Learning.

This comes in the wake of an international study showing that 81% of Grade 4 learners in South Africa are unable to read for meaning in any language. 

Five sets of iPads and headphones have been set up in the school’s “Reading Adventure Room” – a space funded and resourced by Living Through Learning.

digital learning natalie roos

MD of nonprofit Living Through Learning Natalie Roos says that the digital station set up at Levana Primary School is intended to give learners the opportunity to engage with and learn from digital content. (Photo: Tamsin Metelerkamp)

The devices, loaded with literacy apps, are an opportunity for learners to develop reading and writing abilities, as well as digital skills, according to Living Through Learning MD Natalie Roos.

“The main goal here is just to start bridging the digital divide… give the learners an opportunity to engage with digital content, because obviously, this is where our world is going.

“They will now be able to work in their books and go work on the tablets and just enhance their learning,” Roos said.

The digital station was funded by a donation from IT company neaMetrics and set up at Levana Primary School as one of the 18 schools to which Living Through Learning provides resources and support.

“The programme that [Living Through Learning] offers is a writing, phonemic awareness and reading programme that they offer our … Grade 1 and Grade 2 [learners],” said Nicole Bailey, deputy principal of Levana Primary School. “We’ve benefited from many of their projects.”

digital literacy

Grade 1 pupils at Levana Primary School in Lavender Hill, Cape Town, practice literacy skills on iPads donated as part of nonprofit Living Through Learning’s digital pilot at the school. (Photo: Tamsin Metelerkamp)

Bailey explained that many learners did not have digital devices, or even books, at home. This makes the Reading Adventure Room – equipped with undersea-themed decorations, reading and writing books, and now a digital station – a source of excitement for them.

“[The iPads] are another tool they can use to enhance what they’re learning in class,” she said.

The Reading Adventure Rooms that Living Through Learning creates at its partner schools are “magical” spaces intended to make children feel that learning is an adventure, according to Roos.

“We want them to come in and feel like… it’s something out of this world, out of reality. It’s a beautiful space where they can just come in and feel calm and excited to learn,” she said.

“In the room, we have all the resources that they need for their fine and gross motor skill development, and then we have our own curriculum that we integrate with the government’s curriculum. So, we work hand-in-hand with the teachers.”

Facilitators from Living Through Learning are at partner schools a few times a week to run the Reading Adventure Rooms and assist teachers with lesson plans, according to Clarice Joubert, a facilitator with the nonprofit.

“We’ll make sure that the classroom resources are up to standard… and assist the learners – especially the struggling learners – with their phonics, their handwriting, that sort of thing,” she said.

“Each learner has their own resources, their own books, their own whiteboards… No one is left behind.” DM

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