SchoolNet SA in the News

April 2018 was a busy media month for SchoolNet – and you may have seen us on TV or heard us talking about our Learning Gains Through Play project on the radio.

The impetus

The need to share important findings from research conducted over four years as part of the DG Murray Trust-funded study on Learning Gains through Play prompted SchoolNet South Africa to issue a press release in April 2018.

This project had shown that exposure to digital educational apps and Xbox Kinect games had significantly improved second language skill in the Foundation Phase. Learners from the 10 project schools had consistently outperformed learners at the 2 control schools in a range of literacies over the previous four years but the improvement in second language English acquisition among the isiZulu and isiXhosa-speaking learners was the most remarkable.

Where did we feature?

Within the week of the media release, several radio stations contacted SchoolNet for interviews about the findings. These included Cape Talk Radio, the 702, Turf Radio, Alex FM, SAfm and RSG. Both Omashani Naidoo and Janet Thomson fielded questions about the research from these radio stations.

Here are the links to some of the interviews and press items:

  • Janet was especially impressed by Azania Mosaka of 702, who was well informed, asked great questions that showed insight into relevant issues related to the project. Listen to the podcast here.
  • For the Afrikaans interview on RSG, Dr Jacqueline Bachelor, the Programme Manager of Initial Teacher Education and Senior Lecturer in mobile and blended learning at the University of Johannesburg, was interviewed. Listen to the podcast here.
  • Omashani was interviewed by Stephen Grootes on SAfm. The podcast can be heard here.
  • Two notable online publications featured the SchoolNet media release; Arthur Goldstuck’s Gadget piece can be viewed here and the IT online item appears here.

SchoolNet SA on Morning Live

On 30 April 2018 Omashani Naidoo was invited by SABC 3 TV to be interviewed by Pearl Shongwe on SABC 3’s Morning Live show. Interview can be seen here. Questions centred around the positive research findings that digital learning could have such a profound impact on literacy at a time when the release of the PIRLS results had shown that 78% of Grade 4 learners had not been able to read for meaning. 

Interviewer and listener questions

Interviewers from the different media channels chose different angles to hone in on. Some of them preferred to talk generally about digital learning and what SchoolNet SA does. However, the possibility that exposure to digital apps and games could be the answer to improving South Africa’s reading crisis came up in most of the interviews. A number of the interviewers demonstrated that they had engaged with the detail in the press release and had considerable background knowledge to support their questions. 

SchoolNet SA was grateful for the exposure that our organisation gained from the various interviews. They showed that South Africans are definitely interested in the power of technology to address the reading crisis in South Africa as well as to create more engaging and powerful teaching opportunities. We hope that some of the interest generated by the interviews will lead to future projects where more teachers and learners benefit from projects similar to Learning Gains through Play. 

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