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Friday, 06 November 2015 11:52

Seartec's Tal Moore at Wisehub 2015

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Hi everybody! So I wrote notes down. So I’ll gaze through that part in a second. What I wanted to tell you first is the stats. We have a shortage of teachers.

So South Africa needs between 20-30,000 new teachers every year to address the teachers leaving and those who are retiring.

And what’s happening is that the 17,000 teachers are qualifying every year and 25% of those are not even getting into the classroom. So you’ve got 12,000 teachers who are getting 12 students every year.

And this sort of explains why, in one sense, you have 60 kids in a class because there aren’t enough teachers to teach. We’ve got 8% of schools in Mpamulanga who are actually offering pure maths. 8%. That’s nothing.

There are still 92% of those who are doing math literacy and that’s it and that completely kills your science. You’re not getting students who are getting into university to do BSCs. And I’m sure you know the shocking stats of the grade 9 honors with only 10.8% of students getting more than 40%. Yea, the other stat is 12% of matric learners actually get more than 50% for their maths exam. So if you’re thinking why is there a shortage of engineers, of doctors, of accountants, it’s because of that, there is a lack of maths in South Africa.

So we have come up with a solution.

So let me explain who Seartec is, Seartec is basically a conglomerate of tech companies, so Seartec used to be called Sharp and I’m sure you all know the Sharp photocopiers, and the Sharp calculators back in the day, and we also do microwaves and toasters apparently which are now brought into South Africa, which are awesome.

And we also have a security company called low-tech, and we have a stationary company called officebox that can save you up to 40% on your stationary, so there’s a lot that we’re doing in the education field.

So my job is basically to show students and teachers how to use the Sharp scientific calculators. And this is critical because when I got into school I’m finding teachers who have not seen what we can do on a calculator. They didn’t know that they could do more than add and subtract, and if you have those critical skills that you’re helping us humans learn maths in a fun and exciting way which is what we’re challenged to do, they’ll find that they’ll enjoy maths so much more. If it’s making sense and they can see it visually on a calculator, then you can teach a lot more around that.

So I also come from a background of teaching maths and dealing with students that have learned difficulties as well, so I sort of know where they’re going when they get stuck and where we can sort of pick them up from the very basics of things. Okay, we have an amazing drill function and yesterday my students didn’t even want to eat because they were playing with the drill function the whole afternoon.

So let me explain what drill is, when I’m going into your maths class and I ask your kids “What’s 8*7?” how many of them, without reaching for a calculator, could tell you the answer? Very few, very very few, and the reason for that is that they’re just not learning it anymore. And parents can spend time with them or not spend time with them, and it just doesn’t... it’s a skill that’s being lost. So on our function, on our drill function, the calculator actually lets the students to practice maths, so it’s going to ask you questions, and you need to tell it the answer and it’s going to give you immediate feedback. So it’s tick or a cross whether you get it right or wrong and if you get it wrong it’s going to repeat the question again until you get it right.

And then of course we have very easy to use statistics function and an unlimited table mode, so all of this makes teaching maths a lot more fun.

And in addition to the calculators we’ve created a website called mathsatsharp.com, now mathsatsharp.com is a free resource based website for grades 8, 12, and maths literacy and teachers then can download worksheets, exams, and memorandums, and on the students side there is a study guide section so the students can download the consecutive section in mathematics with the study guide and instruction on the calculator at the same time. So they’ve got everything there for them sorted. There’s also an “ask me” function so if they get stuck doing something and they have no idea what to do, they can send in a question to mathsatsharp.com and it will answer it. I did specify however, that you can’t send in homework.

For the primary school guys, we also sponsor something, well we sponsor partially, something called e-classroom, so that’s www.e-classroom.co.za and they do grade R-7 worksheets and are now going past that to grade 8 and 9 as well, so if you are looking for free resources those are fantastic both because they are south african based and because they’re free. So that’s very nice for teachers.

So that’s a very very brief summary of what’s going on. We’re involved with a lot of other projects as well, but this is a brief scratch on the surface.

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