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Technology integration


A definition of technology can be taken from any technology curriculum, but what it means to each individual is dependent on ones understanding of technology.

The National Curriculum Statement of South Africa  defines technology as follows: “the use of knowledge, skills and resources to meet people’s needs and wants by developing practical solutions to problems while considering social and environmental factors. “. A definition that follows by Learning outcomes and assessment criteria’s with guidelines for teaching the subject in integrated manner in the foundation phase and as a subject on its own as from Grades 4-9.

Based on three years project that ORT SA conducted at schools in Johannesburg working with teachers in the integration of the subject of technology from Grade R to Grade 7 here are three lessons learnt about good technology integration:

To ensure good technology integration, the following RSA should take place:

1.       Relevancy

2.       Skills

3.       Assessment


1.   Relevancy

In Technology we provide solutions to needs, wants or problems.

Have a technology project dealing with REAL needs and REAL problems.

Example: Designing toys to a needy crèche / playschool in your area.

Case study: King David Linksfield Primary Grade 6 learners designed mechanical toys to Mai Mai crèche.  An underprivileged crèche situated in the city of Johannesburg in the midst of a sangoma  village.

Grade 6 learners were invited to the crèche to hand out their handmade toys to the infants at the crèche. It was a truly fascinating experience for both King David learners and the Mai Mai children. The Sangomas from the Mai Mai Village put on a traditional show where they displayed their individual culture. This was then followed by a guided tour of the Mai Mai village.

The King David students and the kids from the crèche bonded instantly. Tiny tots were being passed from person to person for cuddles, interactive games were played, high fives were given all round, counting lessons, and storytelling was the order of the day.


Grade 6, 12 years old learners have had such a sacred experience that went beyond the technology project and gave a whole different meaning to their school work.


2.       Skills

To ensure good integration is taking place, we have to ensure that learners gain skills and knowledge in technology.  Knowledge includes technological design (Design process) using indigenous knowledge and the environment. It covers the three core areas of: Structures, Electrical and mechanical systems and control and Processing of materials. 

To achieve the above when most teachers do not specialize in Technology, the following is adviced:

·         Technology Coordinator at the school ensure that all outcomes and assessment criteria are achieved in each grade

·         Collaborative work amongst the different subject teachers

·         Outsourcing expertise. Example – by inviting Lego experts, food technology experts or by visiting factories or technology labs


3.       Assessment

Assessment is the ultimate proof for good integration.

I believe that in order for it to take place a structured syllabus needs to be provided or designed by teachers prior to the beginning of the year.

Please comment: How do you ensure proper assessment is takingg place when integrating technology?



OBE or don’t be…

In teaching, just like in cooking, acting, dancing or any other activity in life, you got to know your ingredients, your lines or moves. You have to be prepared and organized before teaching a lesson, cooking a great meal or before performing in front of audience. And most of all be passionate about what you are doing!

Know your staff!  If you are teaching the food pyramid – go and read about it! Understand it well before you stand in front of your learners, so when you consolidate you can stimulate their brains with challenging questions.

Preparation is a key to a successful and efficient lesson. You can have a great lesson plan in hand but if you didn’t organize and plan in advanced- the lesson can be poorly executed.  Make the windmill yourself before lesson, this will enable you to see what challenges your learners may have and the resources you need to provide them with.

If its Languages, Maths, Technology or any other learning area you teach – be passionate about it! Act, sing, interact with learners and you would find that the love for the subject has caught on to them.

The re-birth of South Africa in 1994 has brought the implementation of effective educational policies. Concurrently, the Outcomes-Based Education (OBE) system has been introduced to advance the teaching and learning of the Learning areas in schools in South Africa.

Whether the OBE is the right approach to teaching and learning I would leave that for research. I would like to provide some tips on three matters from this system:

·         Learner centre

·         Activity based approach

·         Developmental

The ten tips for teaching OBE style (based on above):

1.       Talk less, Listen more

2.       Encourage learners’ curiosity –wonder -(even if you don’t have the answers)

3.       Ask, Ask, Ask – the most relevant questions  (even if you don’t have the answers)

4.       Let learners make assumptions – don’t spoon feed them with providing answers

5.       Hands on – let learners experiment and do practical work

6.       Use group work – but ensure that everyone is eventually exposed to the same things

7.       Incorporate different methods of research (ICT, books, experts)

8.       Use multidiscipline approach – interact with teachers from other subjects

9.       Plan together with the phase to ensure learners’ progression

10.     Plan and be prepared before conducting lessons