Thanks to the awareNet mobile server and the free service of the VSA, four schools in Grahamstown are able to provide education in Internet usage to their learners, even though they have no or only limited access to the Internet: Khuhliso Daniels SS, Nombulelo SS, Ntaba Maria PS and Ntsika SS all have computer labs, but Internet access is expensive and often susceptible to faults, the school staff often lacks the ability and time to deal with such problems.
One solution to this problem is the employment of one of our mobile servers that host awareNet, a tool to learn how the Internet works and how to work in the Internet – without a permanent connection to the Internet. (For technical details read this blog.) Our community coordinator, Terri Penney, who teaches computer and Internet usage at eight schools in Grahamstown, simply travels to the mentioned four schools with her laptop, which also functions as the awareNet server.
Plugged into the intranet at the school, the learners and teachers can collaboratively work on projects, take part in forum discussions or comment on each others’ blogs in a safe, but real Internet environment. Often they encounter the Internet for the first time and are both, grateful and enthusiastic about this possibility, which is rated as crucial for their further development as a responsible and employed part of the South African community. We hope that the Department of Education will soon not only officially acknowledge but also support this technology and service by the VSA and its partner eKhaya ICT.