Our volunteers have returned from their Autodesk pro bono project in South Africa!
Over the course of two weeks, educators and learners were immersed in classroom technology and our volunteers each had life-changing experiences learning about and connecting with the passionate people from the Kayamandi Township.
All in all, the team from Autodesk and our partners from Team4Tech and SMALLIFY spent more than 70 hours each working directly with 46 teachers and 110 learners from schools in the community. Through one-on-one coaching, group workshops, and lots of community outreach the volunteers energized and equipped the Stellenbosch area for the future.
Here’s a snapshot of week 2 in South Africa:
Working with the primary school learners from Vision Afrika was a big highlight for the team. Started by The Greater Stellenbosch Development Trust (GSDT), Vision Affrika is a primary school that also provides after care services for secondary school students.
Primary school learners are new and infrequent computer users, yet they took to Tinkercad quickly with huge smiles on their faces!
“There’s a certain magic that happens when learners see language and math come to life in front of them. Now that we know how to use Tinkercad and the 3D printers that were donated to us last year, we can make these a regular part of our lessons to excite the primary school children about learning,” said Nondi Vokwana, Grade 1 educator from Vision Afrika.
The Tech Day with Autodesk and Team4Tech was the first time every learner had seen a 3D printer in action. When asked what they would design if they could 3D print anything, almost everyone said shoes!
The high school learners from schools around Kayamandi got their hands-on time with 3D modeling in Tinkercad and Fusion 360 over a weekend, during the volunteer-organized Tech Day. The photography breakout group also learned about photo editing on Pixlr.
GSDT leaders say it’s not common for students from different schools to come together, so it was wonderful to watch them participate in group brainstorms on Design Thinking and to sit side by side to learn about 3D modeling!
Read about the ideas that the teams came up with within 2 hours on the
Autodesk Design Academy blog
The community in Kayamandi was never far from the volunteers’ minds. So even when conducting hands-on workshop with Fusion 360 at Stellenbosch University, they challenged the students to develop some innovative concepts for water collection and storage that could be useful to the community.
A second group of educators got hands-on coaching on how to leverage PowerPoint and online resources like Khan Academy, YouTube and much more. They also learnt how to use Google apps to share resources between departments and even create and grade online tests.
Back in Makupula High School, the volunteers continued week two of hands-on workshops with educators. Volunteers even helped students at Makupula High School start an AV and Technology club. The week ended off with a celebration and certificate ceremony full of singing and joy.
“Since the Autodesk and Team4Tech volunteers left our school, I have restructured my lesson plans such that in every lesson I use technology,” said Sibongiseni Nqindi, Accounting, Mathematics and Economics teacher.
From here, local partners from The Greater Stellenbosch Development Trust will continue to work with educators and help them continue their journey with technology.
“Last year’s volunteers from Autodesk and Team4Tech changed my attitude that I could not teach everything I need to teach my learners using technology. When they left last August, I knew it was possible. This year’s group gave me the skills to put me on the go,” said Bulisa Dyushu-Gophe, Accounting and Economics teacher.