Saide Current Awareness
22 April 2024


Distance Education

  • Attitudes Towards Distance Education Services Amid COVID-19 Pandemic: A Research on University Students in the Field of Health Source: Conference: 5th International New York Conference on Evolving Trends in Interdisciplinary Research & PracticesAs a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the distance education services that higher education institutions provide and their teaching methods are currently among the widely discussed topics. In this study, university students' attitudes towards distance education services are evaluated quantitatively with a population of 979 students studying in the health field. The findings show that older students have a higher positive attitude towards distance education services in graduate education. However, it is lower for the students who define their success level as a medium compared to other students.
  • Delivering Your Course in a DL/DH Environment Source: ASC Office of Distance Education Various resources and tools to enhance online distance learning design. 


 Education: South Africa

  • New laws for schools in South Africa get the green light – despite objections  Source: BusTech Parliament’s Legal Service says that the Basic Education Laws Amendment (BELA) Bill is fine and likely to pass constitutional muster – challenging declarations of “overwhelming rejection” of the bill.
  •  South Africa - undefined - World Inequality Database on Education Source: UNESCO
  • Teacher vacancies soar to over 31,000 in South Africa Source: BizCommunity The Minister of Basic Education of South Africa Angie Motshekga has recently revealed in a written parliamentary reply that there are currently 31,462 teacher vacancies in the country. The response was to a question posed by Democratic Alliance's (DA) Baxolile Nodada.
  • Basic Education says teacher posts being filled Source: eNCA Youtube Basic Education spokesperson Elijah Mhlanga denies an employment crisis in the department. It comes after Minister, Angie Motshekga recently told parliament that 31,000 teaching posts remain unfilled across South Africa.
  • Leading with Ubuntu, education reform, integrity and accountability in govt. Source: BizNewsYoutube During a Q&A session at BNC#6 in Hermanus, BizNews founder Alec Hogg and ANC veteran Mavuso Msimang engaged in a candid discussion covering historical parallels between Brazil and South Africa, education reform, affirmative action, political leadership, and Ubuntu philosophy. Msimang emphasised the need for improved education, accountability in governance, and ethical leadership. Their conversation explored strategies for societal progress amidst challenges, with a call for more effective engagement and reform within political structures.
  • Like nutritious meals, water should be seen as an essential nutrient for learners Source: BizCommunity Clean water is essential for healthy growth and development in children. It aids in maintaining a healthy weight, reduces the risk of developing certain chronic diseases, and can help prevent dental cavities when fluoridated.


Language, Literacies and Research Writing

  • A systematic narrative synthesis review of the effectiveness of genre theory and systemic functional linguistics for improving reading and writing outcomes within K-10 education Source:  The Australian Journal of Language and Literacy This paper reports a systematic narrative synthesis review conducted on the educational effectiveness of genre theory/systemic functional linguistics pedagogies for improving reading and writing outcomes in K-10 education within mainstream classrooms in Australia, the UK, the USA, New Zealand, and Canada. This framework has significant influence on reading and writing curriculum, teacher training, and literacy practices.
  • ReadM: the Science of Reading for Effective Literacy Development Source: LinkedIn A blog post on the ReadM app which "s designed to support the principles and practices of the Science of Reading curriculum. The Science of Reading is a robust, evidence-based approach to teaching reading that has been validated by decades of research. It emphasizes building foundational skills like phonemic awareness, phonics, fluency, vocabulary, and comprehension - the core building blocks of literacy. "
  • The Balancing Act: An Evidence-Based Approach to Teaching Phonics, Reading and Writing Source: Routlegde Dominic Wyse and Charlotte Hacking present a ground-breaking account of teaching phonics, reading, and writing. Created from a landmark study, new research, new theory, and cutting-edge teacher professional development, this balanced approach to teaching seeks to improve all children’s learning, and therefore life chances. The book dismantles polarised debates about the teaching of phonics and analyses the latest scientific evidence of what really works. It shows, in vivid detail, how phonics, reading, and writing should be taught through the creativity of some of the best authors of books for children. By describing lessons inspired by ‘real books’, it showcases why the new approach is more effective than narrow phonics approaches.


Open Access, Open Education and Open Educational Resources

  • Exploring Open Educational Resources (OER) on Educational Portals Source; LinkediN  A blog post that describes how to explore the world of Open educational Resources (OER) and discover how they are curated, accessed, and utilized on educational portals like Educational Portal. Learn about the benefits of OER, how they are integrated into education, and their role in promoting accessibility and collaboration in learning. 
  • Open Education Source: NC State University Libraries Open pedagogy is a high-impact practice that empowers students by providing them an opportunity to engage in information creation through the use of renewable assignments. The Open Pedagogy Incubator is a semester-long program designed to incentivize faculty to go beyond the first step in open education - adopting open course materials - to implement multiple open-enabled practices in their courses. Modeled on our successful Alt-Textbook program and the 2019 pilot of our OPEN Incubator, the Open Pedagogy Incubator brings together a cohort of faculty instructors to develop competencies in open pedagogy through a series of hands-on workshops, curated readings, and cohort discussions. NC State University Libraries offers training and support for faculty looking to learn more about open education and open pedagogy.


Post Schooling

  • New national commission needed to probe state of HE – Expert Source: University World News As South Africa prepares to celebrate 30 years of democracy, Professor Jairam Reddy, one of the architects behind the founding vision of tertiary education in the post-apartheid era, has called for a review of the state of higher education.
  • Project focuses on enhancing impactful societal research Source: University World News The Southern African Regional Universities Association (SARUA) is undertaking a project to identify the incentives for and barriers to conducting meaningful, solutions-driven research in countries in the Southern African Development Community (SADC)
  • University of Pretoria intros Immersive Technology Lab Source: ITWeb The University of Pretoria (UP) has unveiled its Immersive Technology Lab at the Department of Information Science.
    The facility is part of the university’s Faculty of Engineering, Built Environment and Information Technology. In a statement, the institution of higher learning says the facility marks a milestone in its journey towards integrating advanced immersive technologies into its curriculum and research initiatives.


Skills and Employment

  • South Africa scales up number of AI hubs Source: ITWeb A plan to open another institute dedicated to artificial intelligence (AI) is in the works, this time in Saldanha Bay in the Western Cape. This was revealed by Anish Kurien, professor in the Department of Electrical Engineering at the Tshwane University of Technology (TUT) and acting director of the TUT AI hub. So far, the multi-stakeholder venture with the Department of Communications and Digital Technologies has seen the launch of an AI hub at the University of Johannesburg (UJ) in 2022, at TUT in 2023, and the third in February at the Central University of Technology. 
  • Department of Employment and Labour to create over 100 000 jobs in KZN Source: IOL Over 100 000 KwaZulu-Natal residents will benefit from the creation of thousands of employment opportunities, according to the Department of Employment and Labour. The Department said the Labour Activation Programme projects will be carried out through its entity the Unemployment Insurance Fund (UIF) with the support of the KZN provincial government.
  • Unemployment warning for South Africa Source: Businesstech South Africa’s unemployment rate took a knock in February when it recorded an increase for the last quarter of 2023, and according to the International Monetary Fund (IMF), it’s only going to get worse. According to Stats SA, employment dropped by 22,000 in the last quarter of 2023, raising the official unemployment rate by 0.2 percentage points to 32.1%.


Teaching and Learning: Local and Global

  • How do we transform the good political words and will into political actions? Source: Unesco Interview with David Edwards, General Secretary of Education International and member of the SDG4 High-Level Steering Committee
  • Spotlight on basic education completion and foundational learning: Uganda Source: Unesco This Uganda country report is part of the second Spotlight cycle on universal basic education completion and foundational learning, which focuses on policy alignment in early grade mathematics using a systematic approach combining mapping key documents in five focus countries’ education systems with insights into all levels of curriculum implementation, from intentions to enactment in the classroom. 
  • Advocating for Student Preparedness with the Implementation of a Pre-Course  Source; Facuty Focus Ensuring a successful educational experience for our students is akin to the art of culinary development, where thoughtful preparation is fundamental. Just as a chef with pre-developed culinary skills meticulously selects ingredients and carefully plans before creating a masterpiece, educators must equip students with the foundational knowledge and skills necessary for their academic success. This parallels the concept of pre-courses, which serve as innovative ingredients and preparatory tools in the educational kitchen. Much like a chef assembles ingredients before cooking, pre-courses lay the groundwork for students, offering them a solid foundation to build upon.  


Technology-Enhanced Learning

    This Open Educational Resource (OER) was produced for educators who wish to find positive and productive ways to incorporate generative artificial intelligence (AI) tools into their work. This includes:Source: OpenEd Manitoba 
    •    using AI tools to develop courses, lesson plans, activities, assessments, and rubrics;
    •    leveraging AI tools to enhance existing in-class activities and assignments;
    •    teaching students how to engage with AI effectively, ethically, and responsibly;
    •    utilizing AI tools to efficiently complete administrative tasks.   This resource is focused on how AI tools can be used in polytechnic education. However, much of the content will also be relevant to educators in other educational contexts, like university or high school. The term ‘instructional staff’ is used widely in this resource and is meant to include instructors, professors, lecturers, teachers, educational assistants, and tutors.
  • Artificial Study Buddy Source: LinkedIN  A book review of  the publication "ChatGPT Assignments to Use in Your Classroom Today". The author writes "Generative artificial intelligence can be used in many constructive ways to support students' learning development, but for the most part, they need to learn how to use it. And that's exactly what the book ChatGPT Assignments to Use in Your Classroom Today attempts to do by formulating a wide range of concrete assignments to be solved using generative artificial intelligence. The book uses ChatGPT 3.5 as an example, but the assignments can be solved with any major language model such as Copilot and Gemini."
  • How to Generate Captions and Transcripts for Video and Audio-only Files Source: ASC Offfice of Distance Education 
  • Actionable strategies to evaluate students’ AI writing use Source: TurnItIn A free guide from Turnitin. Understanding how students are engaging with AI writing tools is a priority for institutions. This guide explores what department heads and education leaders ought to consider in minimizing risk and maximizing success with AI writing.

Decolonising Digital Education: Lessons from Learners - joint event: LIDC/CODE/BLE Webinar Event: 17 April 2024