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South African University Supports High School Students Through Webcasting

A collaboration between the University of the Free State in Bloemfontein (USF) and the Free State Department of Education (FSDOE) is using webcasts in an effort to improve learning outcomes for South African students in at-risk schools.

Through its Internet and Communications Technology Innovation in School Education (ICTISE) department, USF " provides support on core subjects such as mathematics , physical science, life science, economics, accounting, and geography — to 60 at risk rural high schools in the Free State Province in preparation for their final exit exams," according to information released by the school.

Using Sonic Foundry's Mediasite, ICTISE provides the schools with three hours of webcasts, produced by highly qualified teachers from around the province, each day. To encourage interaction between the teachers and students, webcasts are live whenever possible.

"Some of the rural schools have access to very little or no technology so the teacher cannot show the students, for example, the use of a digital map in geography," said Sarietjie Musgrave, head of ICTISE, in a prepared statement. "Sometimes our expert teachers bring students to our studio on campus and use them in the broadcast."

ICTISE also uses the webcasting tool to provide teacher professional development to the schools in areas such as the use of document cameras in the classroom, and how to integrate the Internet into the classroom.

"We find Mediasite very easy to use and it's very easy to train these schools to use the technology, despite their lack of information and communications technology skills. Mediasite hits all the right buttons: easy to use; great customer support; it's clean and clutter-free and it's easy to interact with," Musgrave said, in a news release. "All these things together make Mediasite the perfect solution for us."

For more information on the University of the Free State, visit ufs.ac.za.

About the Author

Joshua Bolkan is the multimedia editor for Campus Technology and THE Journal. He can be reached at jbolkan@1105media.com.

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