With the impact of emerging technologies – the fourth industrial revolution (4IR) – on all human development, it is more critical than ever that schools prepare future generations with the skills to innovate, think critically, process scientific information and solve complex problems.
The future of teaching and learning has arrived – and the MANCOSA School of Education has stepped up to the plate with the launch of the iTeach Lab, a first of its kind in South Africa to combine elements of STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics) in seven unique hubs designed to prepare and empower student-teachers for the 21st century.
This is also the country’s first education institution to have a virtual tour assistant robot, nicknamed Manny, that has been built on Augmented Reality (AR) principles.
MANCOSA is one of the largest and leading private higher education institutions in Southern Africa.
The MANCOSA School of Education is a game-changing teacher training institution geared to produce educators who are agile and responsive to providing a compelling learning experience in any environment.
In aligning to the broader societal and technological shifts triggered by 4IR, the School of Education is revolutionising traditional classroom teaching in a complex school education landscape through bespoke teacher training programmes.
Professor Zaheer Hamid, Academic Director at MANCOSA, said the confluence of new technologies in the Fourth Industrial Revolution encourages institutions of higher learning to upskill, invigorate and enhance teacher education to be more relevant in the 21st century.
“The quality of teaching is inextricably linked to the country’s ability to succeed in advancing our economy at the dawn of the 4IR.
“Equipping teachers with educational management and leadership skills ensures that they thrive as educational managers and enjoy a more progressive and fulfilling teaching career.”
He said the quality of educators in classrooms is key to raising the quality of teaching.
The School of Education endorses the proactive use of technology to enable teacher readiness and to promote impactful learner outcomes to address the employability agenda, with special emphasis on scarce specialised teaching skills in maths and science.
Innovative, compelling, and interactive methods of teaching in the form of simulated and “live in” classrooms – the iTeach Lab – will expose teachers to various environments, situations, and contexts. The iTeach Lab impresses on producing a hyperfunctioning teacher with the mental fortitude to succeed in diverse teaching environments.
The first of the seven hubs in the iTeach Lab is a collaborative workspace that allows students to explore their creative side, whilst developing both critical thinking and entrepreneurial skills. Here, students will also have access to state-of-the-art technology such as 3D printers and laser cutters, which they can use to build products that will either help simplify learning, or which they can commercialise, thus fostering entrepreneurship.
Visit the YouTube link to watch the virtual tour of the state-of-the-art iTeach Labs https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aIC0eaYH3q0
The colourful strip of imagery on the walls connects students to the virtual world using an Augmented Reality App. In addition to technology, soft skills are also at the heart of the lab with flexible workspaces strategically placed around the lab to foster collaboration & teamwork.
The coding and robotics hub is designed using international robotics standards and allows the student to interact with IoT, Automation, Robotics, and various forms of code. In here, you could meet a real virtual robot or build your own.
Enter the maths hub, with its ceiling colours inspired by the Fibonacci sequence, furniture designed using geometry, a floor to ceiling writable wall for visual-aided problem solving and bookshelves resembling mathematic symbols. The maths lab is the ultimate brain gym, designed to restore the fun, magic and creativity in mathematics.
The executive boardroom boasts a corporate professional style for Education Leadership and Management training and development. This is where the next generation of educational policy makers could be developed and equipped to become iconic leaders in the schooling sector.
The Amphitheatre combines Roman architecture with a modern take to literature and is designed to improve the reading, writing and presentation skills of students, in a colourful theatrical setting. Here, students can create their own poetry, write, and publish their very own books or short stories, and get inspired by the history of literature by learning about the evolution of reading and writing, in a virtual format.
The culture hub is infused with rich African identities built on diversity and heritage. This is where a student will learn how to incorporate elements of our various cultures to enrich teaching and learning.
The science laboratory is a high-tech environment designed to allow students to experiment with chemistry, physics, biology, and science concepts using a hands-on approach. The laboratory will offer various science kits and tools, to aid with experimentation and understanding of concepts and content.