As a parent of one or more tiny humans, you’ve probably made some very questionable decisions over the years; about their fashion, about their hair-cuts, about their dietary requirements (like feeding them those weird, expired tuckshop toffees or literally anything from McDonald’s) and perhaps even about their education – we all have.

But we’re all a little older and wiser now. And it’s never too late to start making amends.

With just about the whole world going entirely online, why not make sure you’re educating your child at the very best online school around?

Much has been said about online learning since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic almost two years ago – some of it good, some of it less so. Headlines of online learning creating ‘challenges’ and being a ‘nightmare’ provide contradictions to the general perception of its pivotal role in the future of learning.

Critics focus on perceived issues with the level of interaction and emotional support for students and lack of personalisation and teacher guidance. Done well, online learning can provide a complete school experience with a vast array of benefits. The flexibility of self-paced learning, coupled with a keen sense of self-motivation and discipline and, the potential to learn alongside students from across the globe are just the tip of the iceberg.

Today, we look at some of the most common criticisms of online learning and look at how, with the appropriate strategies and support, these concerns can be eradicated.

Myth 1. Online learning limits levels of individualisation support

Far from lacking individualisation, online learning combines independent study, pre-recorded lessons and tutor / admin support to allow for a truly flexible, personalised education. At Think Digital Academy we provide access to online study materials that help students scaffold to greater depth and knowledge, alongside the implementation of pre-recorded lessons that have been taught by educators who are experts in their subject fields. Central to the success of online learning is engagement with expert teachers. In addition to this, students are empowered to develop individual learning pathways at a pace that suits them.

The parents of our online students are able to be a part of our data-rich environment, analysing student progress data and using it to provide individualised support to coach and motivate their students.

Myth 2: Online learning results in a lack of student participation

When online learning is done well, students receive constant feedback on their progress through instantaneous feedback from their mastery checks and assessments. Our Weekly Activity Reports, that are emailed to parents every Monday, hold students accountable for managing their time effectively. This gives parents and tutors an explicit overview of what the student has completed and how they have performed academically. In this way, everyone is seen and heard, and no one is left behind. Removing the distractions of the physical classroom provides an environment in which a broad range of students can thrive.

Myth 3: There is insufficient social, moral and cultural development in online learning

Independent learning does not mean learning alone. At Think Digital Academy, students can chat to other students online from all around the globe, through their Online Chat Forum. They can cultivate their own passions outside of academia, develop new and healthy interests and build relationships. Online learning allows students to work alongside peers from across the globe, broadening their understanding of different cultures and building an international network of friends.

Myth 4: Lack of self-discipline impacts the success of online learning

Online learning allow students to build their own unique schedules, allowing them to balance academics with other commitments such as sporting or cultural activities. With the correct support in place, students develop invaluable skills including time-management and self-discipline, critical thinking and strategic planning ahead of university and future careers.

Collectively, our success coaches and online tutors work together to produce the careful guidance needed to develop effective, independent students.

Myth 5: Online learning limits outcomes and academic potential

Think Digital Academy is a two-time award winning online school that combines the ethos and academic excellence of traditional private schools. Just as with in-person learning, we work hard to support the university aspirations and career ambitions of every one of our students and ensure they achieve their very highest potential.

Their online curricula and an array of additional tasks and activities provide students with the experience, extension work, lateral thinking and essential problem-solving skills required for success.

Myth 6: Online learning means parents have to teach and ‘babysit’ students

Far from having to home-school or monitor children on a daily basis, online learning can provide parents, tutors and carers with unprecedented visibility into their children’s education, with real time access to their performance, grades and time spent learning.

The formation of Think Digital Academy predates the pandemic and was inspired by a desire to expand access to high quality education to students all around the globe. Our educational programmes are specifically designed to make the most of the innate benefits of online learning, equipping our parents and tutors to bring out the best in every learner.

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Why not try our online learning environment by enrolling for our free 14 day trial.

Interview with Isabel Sharman, AS Level Parent to Antonio Sharman

Why did you choose Think Digital Academy?

I was looking for an online school that was accredited, where my son would be able to obtain a report that would be recognised by other schools and universities. I started to look into Think Digital Academy, just from seeing the name of the school from some parent groups on Facebook, as one of the most recommended online schools. It partnered with our thoughts about a UK system being better for Antonio than an SA based school system, because of his aspirations to go to an international university. In addition to that, it was during the COVID-19 pandemic, so everybody was doing online anyway. We wanted a school that had researched how to do online teaching, not just put it on Zoom and continue as most schools were doing.

Those three aspects together made us consider exploring the online option. After that, we really left it up to him. He made the final decision.

What do you like most about Think Digital Academy?

I was completely surprised with the level of customer service and care from the Student Success Coaches as well as the high quality of the online lessons. The weekly activity reports sent directly to the parents on Monday mornings also made it easier for me as a mom, to keep track of what Antonio was doing during his school day. It was a nice surprise to see how Antonio had taken advantage of the time he had to successfully complete all his lessons independently.

How would you say an online school differs from a traditional school?

You save a lot of time. I don’t have to drive anywhere.

I think online is great because it’s going to prepare him better for university. He has to figure out how to schedule his own time. How to get things done, when to get them done, how to be disciplined enough to get it done as there’s not somebody every day checking it. I think it will prepare him better for his life in general; Think Digital has made a significant impact on him being a whole student, and not just an AS level student.

Although there aren’t any of the regular social interactions, you are still able to plan social activities outside of the online learning environment. We signed Antonio up for a sports team at a club. You simply find activities that your children enjoy and sign up for them yourselves.

Is online learning as good as face-to-face learning?

I will tell you a quote from Antonio – he felt like he was in class. Just without the distractions.

There were absolutely zero obstacles to learning. He enjoyed working at his own pace and really enjoyed the fact that he could re-watch lessons as many times as he needed to before feeling confident enough to move on to the next concept.

How much involvement is needed as a parent?

I have found that anytime I needed anything from Think Digital, I was always assisted very quickly. The Student Success Coaches were a huge help too – I never felt like I didn’t have an answer or that I was navigating this new online journey without any support.

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Give our online learning platform a try and enrol for our free 14 day trial today.

Distanced learning needn’t mean disconnection. In fact, Online Thinkers report that they experience quite the opposite: all are part of the Think Digital community and connect socially to share ideas, conversations and culture across the globe.

We recommend that students open themselves to the possibilities of remote learning at the outset:

  • Make time to participate in social experiences outside of school
  • Test their capabilities with the support of our highly-trained online tutors
  • Build lasting friendships with like-minded students all over the world
  • Hone their confidence for a highly-connected future beyond school
  • Participate in any educational opportunity (such as our live tutorials) that appeals to them

While self-led organisation is a vital skill for each Online Thinker, learning how to form close connections is also crucial. They may be geographically divided, but students in our person-centric school come together on their online Forums as well as our online tutorials. Supported by cutting-edge systems that facilitate interactivity, lifelong bonds of friendship can be quickly forged – and enabled to thrive.

Our online tutorial teachers and tutors lead personal interactions through learning portals, creating space for lively group participation. Within the virtual classroom, participation is open to every student.

The set-up is brilliant training for what’s to come at university and beyond: a carefully tailored mix of one-to-one interactions, collective debates and autonomous expression, with quiet time for them to progress through coursework at a pace appropriate to them.

Our offering also boasts some additional online courses. Whether students are curious about coding, or gearing up to conquer the world through enhancing their Mind Power for kids and teens, they have the option of completing a course that appeals to them. And, for anyone who feels the itch to establish a new online social club, there is full support from staff to take the initiative.

At this watershed moment in time, online schools have an unprecedented power to match our fast-paced world of international living, showing students how to expand their networks across the globe while also making exceptional educational progress in their studies. Modelling flexibility, cross-cultural links, dynamism and social skills, Think Digital Academy provides the step-up they need to start building the brightest of futures.

Free trial

To make your choice even easier, why not enrol for our free 14 day trial to explore our e-learning environment.

Making the transition to an online school can be overwhelming and a daunting experience for some children (and their families), if they are not physically or emotionally ready to conform to the expectations placed upon them. Yes, they may be able to count to 20, write their name and even recognise a few words, but how does this prepare them for the reality that is entering the schooling system, and all that that brings? So many physical and emotional skills and attributes are needed as a foundation to being truly ready to learn.

What is online school readiness?

School readiness refers to whether a child is ready to make an easy and successful transition into school. The term ‘preschool readiness’ might be used in the same manner in reference to starting preschool. School readiness can be actively facilitated with a little forward planning to ensure that children regularly participate in activities that develop the appropriate skills required to help optimal learning when they start online schooling. While many people think of academics (e.g. writing their name, counting to ten, knowing the colours) as the important school readiness skills, school readiness actually refers to a much broader range of skills. In addition to some academic basics, school readiness skills also include self-care (independent toileting and opening lunch boxes), attention and concentration, physical skills (e.g. having the endurance to sit upright for an entire school day), emotional regulation, language skills and play and social skills.

According to an educational journal published in Australia, published by Dr Ursula Walton, Head of an Early Years Development School; vital skills for ‘online school readiness’ include:

  • Resilience, self-esteem and self-regulation, in order that the emotional challenges and frustrations that arise can be managed in a calm and rational way, so that the child is confident that even when things go wrong, they can work it out. Children need to be aware of when they are feeling stressed and learn the techniques to manage this. Self-regulation will lay the foundations for online school readiness.
  • Self-awareness, self-care skills are required in order for them to be able to look after their physical and emotional needs; children need to be able to identify when something is not right, what they might do about it and how they can ask their parents / guardians or tutors for help.
  • Good listening and communication skills, to help them process what they are being asked to do and knowing when to ask for help.
  • A strong physical core and spatial awareness so they can sit with a good posture and hold their heads up to listen to the recorded teacher; look at the online lesson and navigate their new online platform.
  • A healthy body and good physical skills in order that they can feel comfortable throughout the day, take part in private sport and cultural activities with confidence and get themselves dressed and undressed as needed.
  • Prosocial skills such as empathy, cooperation, respect and kindness will help children to see the world beyond themselves and understand that the experience of others is often different and that’s fine; helping others doesn’t take something away from them but will make them feel good.
  • Ability to be inquisitive, recognise risks, problem solve, speak up and challenge what is not right – even in an online environment.

It goes without saying that we are not suggesting children will have mastered these skills by the time they start their first online class; these skills will need to be built upon and developed throughout their formative years. However, the pressure on schools to demonstrate progress in mathematics, literacy, communication and language through the Baseline Assessment sends the message to parents and many teachers / tutors that these areas of learning need to be the priority.

In the midst of the COVID-19 crisis and pandemic, a mental health epidemic and a climate where many people are fearful of others who appear different from them, we want to ensure this is not the experience our children have as they become young adults. This requires a focus on children’s health and wellbeing as the priority, rather than formal assessments. To achieve this, we must ensure that children have plentiful opportunities to be active, get fresh air and spend time in natural environments. We need to enable them to celebrate diversity, build their confidence through experiencing the arts and being creative, alongside other students and adults who understand and care about them. Children should be encouraged to read, write and know how to count in order to have the best opportunities as adults, but we believe that all these things and more will arise when the priority is placed on the children’s physical, emotional and neurological wellbeing as an indicator that they are ready for any type of school – online or the traditional brick and mortar.

Why are school readiness skills important?

The development of online school readiness skills allows tutors and parents to expand and further develop a child’s skills in the specific areas of social interaction, play, language, emotional development, physical skills, literacy and fine motor skills. Without these basic skills already established upon entry to online school, children can very quickly find themselves playing ‘catch up’ compared to their peers that are advancing more quickly. Students that begin school with the build block (or foundation) skills in place advance quickly as opposed to those that start school only to then begin the slow process of developing school readiness.

What are the building blocks necessary to develop school readiness?

  • Self-regulation: The ability to obtain, maintain and change emotion, behaviour, attention and activity level appropriate for a task or situation.
  • Sensory processing: Accurate processing of sensory stimulation in the environment as well as in one’s own body that influences attention and learning that effects how you sit, hold a pencil and listen to the online lesson.
  • Receptive language (understanding): Comprehension of spoken language (e.g. the online teacher’s instructions).
  • Expressive language (using language): Producing speech or language that can be understood by others (e.g. talking to friends).
  • Articulation: The ability to clearly pronounce individual sounds in words.
  • Executive functioning: Higher order reasoning and thinking skills (e.g. What do I need to successfully complete the task that has been given to me?).
  • Emotional development/regulation: The ability to perceive emotion, integrate emotion to facilitate thought, understand emotions and regulate emotions (for a child’s own responses to challenges).
  • Social skills: Determined by the ability to engage in reciprocal interaction with others online or physically (either verbally or non-verbally), to compromise with others and to be able to recognise and follow social norms.
  • Planning and sequencing: The sequential multi-step task/activity performance to achieve a well-defined result (e.g. a cut and paste task or a simple maths activity).

If left untreated what can difficulties with online school readiness lead to?

When children have difficulties with online school readiness, they might also have difficulty with:

  • Disliking school, learning and sometimes even the teacher who is the bearer of the school demands (in traditional brick and mortar schools).
  • Accessing the curriculum being instructed because the building block (foundation) skills are not yet developed sufficiently to allow task performance.
  • Peer rejection and social isolation where children feel overwhelmed or socially uncomfortable.
  • Following instructions from others in a position of authority at school (e.g. online success coaches/tutors).
  • Poor academic outcomes as the child may be in a negative state that is not conducive to learning.
  • Not only might the child become stressed and anxious as they realise their limitations, but as a result, so may their parents and/or tutors.

What type of therapy is recommended for online school readiness difficulties?

If your child has difficulties with online school readiness, it is recommended that an Occupational Therapist, Educational Psychologist and/or a Speech Therapist is consulted to address the functional areas of concern.

Free trial

To make your choice even easier, why not enrol for our free 14 day trial to explore our e-learning environment.

With more parents increasingly making the switch from conventional schooling to online schooling for their children, we’re observing a massive transformation in the education sector across the globe, especially in South Africa. Following the COVID-19 pandemic, distance learning is becoming increasingly popular among students of all ages. By sending their children to a reputable online school, parents can tick many boxes — for example, safety, mental health, knowledge absorption and retention, flexibility, a healthy school-life routine, etc.

If you’re considering making the switch to an online school for your child, make sure you select the right education institution. Presently, parents have the option of choosing between many online schools in South Africa. Instead of taking a day or two to decide, we recommend digging deeper, doing extensive research, and shortlisting the best online schools for your child. This process is imperative. If you fail to do your research, you may end up selecting an education institution that isn’t right for your child. As a parent, you shouldn’t compromise on your child’s education under any circumstances.

We recommend browsing through reviews, consulting current parents with children attending the institution, staff of the institution, requesting more insight from academics you may know and making your own checklist. As you take the time to gather more knowledge, you’ll be able to make an informed decision that helps your child receive a quality education, secure top grades, become a curious and critical thinker and progress exceptionally well at school.

In this blog, we’ll help you create your own checklist. We’ll walk you through the critical questions you should keep in mind as you navigate the online school selection and finalisation process. Take notes or bookmark this blog so that you can keep referring to it as you search for the right online school for your child.

1. Is the student-teacher ratio low?

As a parent, make sure you look for an online school that has a low student-teacher ratio. If this ratio is high, your child will be taught in a group of 15+ students. Unfortunately, many online schools have an astonishingly high student-teacher ratio (15:1, 20:1, 25:1, or even 30:1).

At Think Digital Academy, we have resolved this problem by having the lessons pre-recorded and accessible at any time. In this way, the student need not rely on a certain time to participate or join in on a lesson, they are able to access all their lessons at any time. This also allows students to work at their own pace, and maximise their engagement and interactivity. This approach enables us to provide the best teaching methodologies, taught by subject matter experts, at all times. Students are then able to customise their learning schedules according to their unique learning habits.

Should students need some guidance with their school work or their schedule, our Student Success Coaches work assiduously and are ready and able to provide the customised guidance and support they need. Our Weekly Activity Reports, which are emailed to parents and tutors weekly, enable parents and tutors to track and closely monitor each student’s participation and engagement on our system.

They can immediately identify students who are losing focus and encourage them back into their learning routine if need be.

This strategy goes a long way in helping students learn actively, attentively, and retentively. As a result, they perform better on their tests and secure top results.

There’s little to no risk of the student falling behind in their lessons. Whether they’re struggling to understand certain concepts or simply zoning out, our Weekly Activity Reports expertly provide the individualised data they need to get back on track.

2. How qualified are the teachers?

As a parent, ensure you look into the qualifications of the teachers at your chosen education institution.

Your children shouldn’t be trusted with just anyone. Their online teachers should be experienced, qualified, trained, empathetic, passionate about teaching, as well as adept at teaching. At Think Digital Academy, our Master’s (MA) / Doctorate (PhD) degree, Head of Department (HoD) qualified subject specialist teachers have worked with dedication and great care to provide a high quality education to all our students. They have extensive experience in teaching and have meticulously mastered the “art of teaching” over the years.

We have a rigorous faculty recruitment process in place. Each prospective teacher is interviewed by a team of education specialists, senior teachers, academics and learning experts. We also request the shortlisted teachers to demonstrate their teaching skills, so we can determine whether they’re the right fit for our online school. By hiring the most experienced and accomplished MA/PhD/HoD qualified subject specialist teachers, we ensure that all our students are in excellent hands and are being taught by the best teachers.

3. Do they have a well-rounded, certified curriculum?

Today, many online schools follow the national curriculum, which is subject to political turbulence. In essence, it doesn’t provide children with the comprehensive education they need to grow academically and secure top results.

As you look for the right online school for your child, ensure that you select an education institution that offers a well-rounded, independent curriculum. At Think Digital Academy, our curriculum comprises the best aspects of the national curriculum as well as new facets that help children achieve an academic edge. By introducing additional elements, we make up for the gaps in the national curriculum by providing additional resources.

Think Digital Academy offers three different curricula. They are the South African CAPS curriculum which prepares children for the NSC examination, the British International curriculum which prepares students for the external Cambridge International Examinations and the American GED curriculum which prepares students for the GED exams.

4. How do they keep children engaged in the lessons?

When making the switch from conventional schooling to online schooling, parents often worry that their children will struggle to remain focused and disciplined enough to see their academic year though. This is a justified fear.

At Think Digital Academy, we have a meticulous system in place to eliminate the risk of students potentially getting distracted, zoning out or simply not completing their prescribed lessons and/or tasks. Our teachers are provided with extensive training prior to recording their lessons to keep students engrossed in their lessons. We equip them with the insights, tips and improvisation techniques they need to know in order to help the students stay focused, attentive and immersed in the lessons.

We understand that students can easily get distracted and veer off track, especially younger children with shorter attention spans, which is why we’ve included videos, sound tracks, strong visuals and interactive quizzes to keep our students interested and engaged.

5. How much experience do they have?

In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, a plethora of new online schools have been set up. Unfortunately, many of these institutions have been established with the intention of “jumping on the online schooling bandwagon.” In other words, they don’t provide the quality of education parents are looking for.

If you’re considering sending your child to a reputable online school, select an institution that had been set up long before the pandemic started. This is a great way to ensure that your chosen online school isn’t “following a trend” but actually has an exceptional track record and extensive experience. And, had begun the education journey with the right intentions.

Established in January 2017, Think Digital Academy has five years of experience and counting. We’re one of the pioneers of online schooling in South Africa, as we were South Africa’s first online school. Our experience has enabled us to improve the quality of education we provide. Think Digital Academy is proud to include that we have won the prestigious award of “Best Online School in South Africa” for two years in a row. It’s no secret that we’re South Africa’s favourite online school.

Over the years, we’ve built a strong faculty and perfected our curriculum, which is further updated and improved upon based on new requirements. Today, we’re trusted by thousands of parents across the globe, not just in South Africa.

6. Will my child be able to enjoy a balanced school-life schedule?

Among the many benefits online schooling has to offer, a healthy and balanced school-life schedule stands out. Unfortunately, this isn’t a given. Many online schools are strictly focused on academic growth, which ends up affecting children’s personal growth and social development. At Think Digital Academy, we have a razor-sharp focus on academics. However, we also take other aspects of your child’s learning journey into account. By allowing a self-paced but guided curriculum, it allows you as a parent to ensure that your child has sufficient time to explore their hobbies, engage in sports, play skill-building games, socialise with their friends, embark on new adventures, discover their passions and interests and partake in character-building activities. We encourage all our students to join private sporting and cultural clubs.

We structure our lessons in a way that students get the opportunity to learn at their own pace, and still follow a guideline of what to complete within one academic year, which enables them to grow and evolve academically. As a parent, you can easily create a schedule that helps your child reap the benefits of a balanced and enriching school-life schedule. Ultimately, this approach improves student mental health and prevents burnout in children.

7. Can my child receive a higher education at the same institution?

Many online schools exclusively teach younger students, not older students. Avoid selecting such an institution. The transition from conventional school to online school is undoubtedly difficult, but the transition from one online school to another online school is just as challenging. As you switch schools multiple times, your child will have to start over again and again, which can take a toll on them.

We recommend selecting an online school that provides a quality education across multiple grades. This is a great way to help your child progress from one academic stage to another without being forced to switch schools.

At Think Digital Academy, we provide a quality education across two curricula; South African and British for Grades R – 12 and Stages R – AS Levels. The CAPS curriculum is also available in Afrikaans for Afrikaans Home Language speakers.

If you enrol your child in Pre School at the age of 6, you can rest assured that they can progress to Primary, Intermediate and High School in the same institution. In other words, you can reduce the risk of upheaval by providing your child a consistent education between the ages of 8 and 18.

8. Do they offer quality online educational resources?

As you continue to dig deeper, we recommend checking whether the online schools you’ve shortlisted offer quality online educational resources. At Think Digital Academy, we provide a vast online library of resources, including educational study notes, past papers for Grades 10-12 and IGCSE / AS levels, memos and worksheets. As a parent, you can make the most of these resources by going over them with your child to help them revise towards the end of the term.

9. Do they prioritise mental health among children?

Student mental health is extremely important. It shouldn’t be disregarded or shoved under the rug. Our Student Success Coaches and Online Tutors, are understanding of various situations and provide individualised support and guidance to each student.

We offer support to ensure each child becomes a happy and successful achiever. By prioritising their mental health, we help children feel good about their learning experience.

Free trial

To make your choice even easier, why not enrol for our free 14 day trial to explore our e-learning environment.

If you’re reading this, there’s a 99.9% chance that you aren’t surfing right now.

And that’s ok. The ocean isn’t going anywhere.

Unless you look at it from a global warming point of view – in which case it is, very slowly but very surely, going somewhere.

But that’s a point for another day! We just wanted to make it clear that if your child was schooling online and wasn’t tied to a 3 or 4 term school calendar, you could, if your heart so desired – be surfing.

And it would be nice to know what your online schooling options are, should the day come that you’d like to swap your collared shirt for a wet suit.

If you’ve been considering taking the online GED, a whole lineup of questions may be running through your mind about this type of certification. What’s the difference between the GED and a school leaving certificate such as the NSC? Do employers and colleges care which one you have? Are there limits to what you can do with a GED versus an NSC or British International certificate?

The GED, short for (General Educational Development) test is a group of four subject tests that, when passed, certify that one has achieved the US high school educational standards.

The four online GED subjects are as follows:

  • Language Arts
  • Social Studies
  • Science
  • Math

Once you pass all four exams in the online GED test, you’ve earned your online GED credential. This credential serves as a diploma showing you have a 12-grade level knowledge base—even if you didn’t graduate from a traditional high school.

You can greatly increase your chances of passing your online GED the first time round by knowing what to expect in the test.

While the questions change from test to test, the format of the GED exam stays the same. Since we love being a resource that empowers people to finish their high school education, we’ve broken down the GED Test for you.

This is what it will look like:

The breakdown

The GED test consists of five chapters organized in a standardized format. All tests combined add up to 7 hours and 5 minutes. Here’s the different sections and the time allotted for each test.

1. Language Arts: Writing

The first section is special in that it’s split into 2 parts, each with their own time period.

Part 1 – 50 Questions – 75 Minutes

This first part covers sentence structure, word usage, and grammar mechanics. The test consists of groups of text that must be corrected according to proper grammar rules.

Part 2 – 45 Minutes

This is the essay portion of the test. Test takers must write an essay on a given topic. The purpose is to illustrate cohesive ideas while demonstrating an understanding of sentence structure, punctuation, spelling, etc. Topics are always opinion oriented so that it won’t require specific subject knowledge.

2. Social Studies – 50 Questions – 70 Minutes

Topics covered include American history, world history, civics, and government, economics, and geography. Test takers can expect to see graphs, excerpts from documents such as the Declaration of Independence, copies of legal documents, and more.

3. Science – 50 Questions – 80 Minutes

This portion covers basic information regarding biology, earth and space science, physics, and chemistry. Test takers must be able to apply scientific methods and knowledge to a variety of situations. You can expect to see graphs, charts, diagrams, etc.

Many would say science sections on standardized tests are more about reading and correctly interpreting than actual science and scientific knowledge. Be ready to quickly process information and respond to it and you should be fine.

4. Language Arts: Reading – 40 Questions – 65 Minutes

This section will test your ability to read, comprehend and interpret. The test will have five fiction and two non-fiction passages typically around 300-400 words long. Don’t worry about knowing literature. Just be ready to read and analyze.

5. Mathematics – 50 Questions – 90 Minutes

This test is actually split into two sections. In the first section, you are allowed to use a calculator. During the second portion, you may not. The areas of math covered are:

  • Number operations
  • Geometry
  • Statistics
  • Algebra

Your questions answered

Which option is right for you?

Most colleges and employers accept applicants with a GED diploma.

Before applying, verify that the school/college will accept your GED diploma — a few do not.

Is it a good idea to get a GED diploma instead of a high school diploma?

For different reasons, many of today’s students have dealt with interruptions in their education. A GED diploma is equivalent to a high school diploma. It offers more opportunities than not having a diploma at all. Although many colleges and employers accept the GED certificate, some may prefer a high school diploma.

Is the GED recognized in South Africa?

The South African Qualifications Authority (SAQA) evaluates each submission of a foreign qualification on a case-by-case basis. The GED is eligible for evaluation as a South African National Senior Certificate or NQF L4.

What colleges accept the GED Diploma?

Nearly 98% of U.S. colleges accept the GED certificate, according to the GED Testing Service. This includes community colleges, vocational schools, private universities, and public universities. College students can study online or in person after earning a GED certificate.

Each school and program has its own admission requirements. Applicants should do research to see what requirements and supplemental materials they need to apply. Placement tests, for example, could be a requirement.

Can I study further with a GED?

Many GED graduates have been accepted for further studies into colleges and are studying both in South Africa or abroad.

Each university/college has the final say and their own criteria for acceptance and we cannot guarantee acceptance at every institute.

Helpful tips to prepare for your online GED exam

Don’t just study hard, study smart

Understand what is in each of the four exams.

Focus on the areas that are unfamiliar to you or that you find more challenging. To accommodate all the subject areas, develop a flexible study schedule and study when you are most alert.

Don’t jump to conclusions

Some questions require careful analysis. Most of the wrong answers are those that appear right at first glance. Often test writers will place misleading answers to confuse you. Instead of falling into this trap, choose the best answer based on what the question is asking you.

Know the tricks

Be aware of trick questions.

There’s a reason for the information that is shared in the actual question. Don’t ignore anything in the question.

Absolutes are not the correct answers

Any answer with absolutes like “greatest,” “always,” or “never” are often incorrect.

Beware the “except.” Questions with “which of the following is NOT true” or “except” are often missed or read too fast. Answer these questions by covering the word “except” or “not” then choosing the answer that doesn’t belong.

Practice makes perfect

Gain more exam confidence by practicing for the test as much as you can. Make the most out of your free practice exams by:

Tackling one section of the exam at a time.

Understanding the questions you got wrong by reading the explanations provided in the corrected answer. It helps printing the assessment copy and reading through the questions and answer explanations.

Lastly, try taking the tests with shorter time constraints each time you retake them.

Scoring

To pass the GED test, you need to score 145 on each of four sections and have a total score of 580. If you receive 175 or above on any section, you will earn a College Ready + score.

If you score below 145 on any one test, you can usually retake it twice without any waiting time. However, if you need to take a test a third time, you must wait 60 days. There is typically no limit on the number of times you can retake a test in any given year. However, rules for retesting may vary slightly from country to country.

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Yes, you read right, we’re South Africa’s two time award-winning virtual school of the year, for two years in a row.

So if you’re genuinely tempted to change your kids’ school, we wouldn’t be too surprised.

As far as schools go, we’re pretty good, and although we don’t like to brag too much, facts are facts.

Here are just a few reasons as to why you’ll love us as much as our students do.

1. Pre-recorded lessons

All our lessons have been recorded and taught by subject matter experts and masters in their fields. These lessons can be accessed from anywhere at any time, provided you have a stable internet connection. Lessons can also be viewed “offline” on our Think Digital Academy App which is available on the Google Play App Store.

2. Printable study notes

All subjects across all grades have printable PDF summaries which can be used as study notes in preparation for your assessments.

3. Memos

Each lesson contains one or more activities which have to be completed either online or in your workbooks. Memos have been provided for all the lesson activities which enables you to check and mark your own work.

4. Assessments and feedback

Assessments are completed once all the content for the term has been successfully completed and covered. Students in Grades/Stages R-9 will receive instant feedback on their assessment once it has been completed and a copy of the assessment is emailed directly to the parent or tutor. This is a useful tool which enables parents/tutors to easily identify and remedy any areas of concern.

5. Weekly e-mailed reports

A weekly report is mailed to the parent or the tutor of the student every Monday morning. This report details all of the student’s activity on the system during the preceding week. The report will include useful information such as which lessons the student has viewed, which have been completed, what scores were achieved in the lesson quizzes, how long the student spent on each lesson etc.

6. Quarterly reports

Students are able to download and print their final reports at the end of each term. Once all four terms have successfully been completed, a final report displaying results for each term can be printed.

Our reports are recognised and accepted by all government and private schools, globally.

Students who receive the National Senior Certificate (NSC) certificate, can apply at their prospective universities, provided they meet the minimum entry requirements. Similarly, students who receive the British International certificates for GCSE and AS levels, can also apply at their perspective universities locally and abroad, provided they meet the minimum entry requirements. We encourage all parents and students to do their homework as to what the entry requirements are for the various university facilities, so as to select the correct combination of subjects when making their final subject choices in Grade 10 or GCSE level.

7. Online tutors and student success coaches

Students who opt for the “With Tutor Support” option upon registration, will have access to a panel of online tutors on their dashboards. These tutors can be contacted between 8:00 and 16:30, Monday to Friday and will respond within 15 minutes. Tutors can be consulted for any content related or general questions. This does not include one on one virtual tutoring, but does include assistance via images, videos, additional resources or text explanation. All students can contact a panel of success coaches for any kind of assistance relating to their content or portal.

8. Student forum

The Forum allows students to interact virtually with other students in their grade. Students are able to communicate in real-time, on their portals.

9. Live tutorials by industry experts and lecturers

We’re very excited to launch our new live tutorials in September 2021. FET students will have the opportunity to join a live tutorial for various subjects. A schedule outlining what subject and which lesson will be covered can be viewed on their online calendars.

A successful school-going student should spend at least 2-3 hours a day studying and doing homework.

And they probably would, if things like Fortnite and Facebook and TikTok and YouTube and Candy Crush didn’t keep getting in the way.

We’re not saying this will fix that problem.

But it’s a step in the right direction.

Try out our free two week trial and see for yourself.

Welcome to the future

If it sounds like we’re excited, it’s because we are. And you should be too.

Why you might ask? We’re about to spill the beans.

Cleaning sucks

It’s just one of those facts of life.

Some jobs really are better suited for robots.

Jobs like telling traffic when to stop and when to go, keeping a schedule for load shedding, deciding what nutritious meal to cook for dinner, sitting in traffic –

And cleaning the floor.

The good news is that these things are bound to get better with time, and your child could play an instrumental role in changing things for the better.

Programming helps children learn to problem-solve

Understanding computers and learning the basics of programming helps children to develop an appreciation of how things work. It also teaches them how software engineers use mathematics in order to solve problems in a logical and creative way.

The most important trend in programming for the next decade will be using artificial intelligence (AI) to automate much of computer programming. AI and machine-based learning can automate coding and help programmers write faster and better code.

Coding develops logical and problem-solving skills in students as well as encourages creative thinking. The world must prepare for the Fourth Industrial Revolution, and students should therefore equip themselves with the necessary skills of the future.

Through language, children learn how to communicate. Coding is another type of language which is used in technology to communicate. Language also strengthens both verbal and written skills, which is why it is important that children are exposed to different languages at an early age. This further helps them to make sense of the world around them. Every letter in the coding alphabet has a special formula of 0’s and 1’s which give the technology around us directions on how to perform.  What better way for our children to understand why and how the technology around them operates, than by learning to code themselves.

Why should coding be taught at schools?

Through learning the basic literacy of the digital age, children are able to understand how the technology around them works.

Today’s economy is in urgent need of people with programming skills to meet the demands of the burgeoning tech industry. That’s why introducing your child to coding is a crucial investment in their future, a 21st century skill that’s quickly becoming necessary for a wide range of professions.

Computational thinking

It’s incredibly important for children to learn computational thinking at a young age so they can learn to take a problem, understand it and develop solutions for both humans and computers to solve. One of the benefits of learning computational thinking, the core concepts behind developing code and algorithms, is that it gives students both the tools and the idea that there are many ways to solve a problem, whilst at the same time encouraging curiosity, collaboration and communication.

Not only will learning to code mean solving problems using maths, but it also requires children to think outside the box using those creative skills. Trying to solve difficult problems requires creative solutions, a highly sought-after skill which is often difficult to teach in more traditional classroom subjects.

Coding skills are in high demand

The tech industry is in constant need of new workers, and it’s not just coders or computer science majors — they need graphic designers, software developers, computer engineers, linguists, mathematicians, and more. Tech jobs are not only plentiful, but they’re also lucrative.

Coding fosters creativity and improves mathematical skills

Coding helps children to be able to visualise abstract concepts, lets them apply maths to real-world situations and turns it into a fun and creative process.

Coding improves writing academic performance

Children who learn to code are able to better understand, plan and organise their thoughts.

This in turn, helps them to become confident problem solvers.

As they learn to code and give their projects direction, they also learn that there is no one way to do something, and that should their first way be unsuccessful, they are able to write a new plan, a new code, and try again.

How does coding prepare children for high school and beyond?

Like a foreign language, coding skills are best learned early. Once children are fluent in the type of thinking required to break down and solve computer programming problems, the transition to other more advanced coding languages is relatively straightforward.

One of the biggest obstacles to succeeding in university-level computer science classes is a lack of confidence in tackling difficult, unfamiliar material. Early exposure is the best solution – being introduced to coding and any kind of software development at an early age makes it easier to learn the more technical aspects of computer science in high school and varsity.  In fact, a study by Google and Gallup shows that early exposure is one of the most important ways we can shrink the gender gap in STEM, as it boosts confidence in children, especially young girls, while they’re still interested in technology.

Coding is a lifelong skill

Even if your child wants to do something outside of computer science when they grow up, their coding skills will prove useful across many different fields. Coding teaches problem solving, organisation, maths, storytelling, designing and a whole lot more.

The ability to code transforms children from passive consumers into innovators, with eyes that see every piece of the technology puzzle, not just as a toy but as a way to problem solve and an opportunity to create.

Resilience

Coding and software development can be challenging at times especially when faced with a complex problem. By grasping and understanding the problem using computational thinking, children will learn to come up with creative ways around it if at first they don’t succeed. This is key to teaching children to develop resilience when faced with a challenge and a level of perseverance that will also keep them focused and engaged.

Why is coding vital for our future?

The future generation will hold jobs we can’t even dream up yet – How will those jobs come about? Who will create them? What will happen to the old jobs? Where will those jobs be? Not to worry, these “new” jobs are just an evolution of the way we work and the things we do now.

Learning “how to code” is the buzz phrase we might say for computational thinking.  We are not trying to create a new generation of 100 percent computer programmers but understanding the basics of computer programming, computational thinking and general tech literacy is essential to becoming an active part of our communities and the future workforce.

If we still haven’t managed to convinced you that Coding and Robotics should without a doubt, be one of your child’s subjects, perhaps knowing that your child could be the next Elon Musk for only $45 may do the trick.

Enrol now and you will receive 20% off the cost of the course ($45 $36) by using the code CR20. This offer expires on 28 July 2021.

“Imagination is more important than knowledge. Knowledge is limited. Imagination encircles the world.” – Albert Einstein

If the COVID-19 pandemic has taught us anything, it’s that humans are flexible and have the ability to cope with abrupt changes. What certainly helps, is having the skills to adapt to these changes, even in the most challenging circumstances.

In recent months, online learning has grown in popularity, greatly aided by the rapid development of technology and sophisticated learner management systems for the delivery of education. Think Digital Academy can attest to this.

Businesses have, where possible, moved to remote work; schools have by necessity embraced distance learning; and many college students who had formerly been enrolled in on-campus courses, now find themselves learning online.

For those already learning online, keeping the doors of learning open, came without any challenges. Embracing the change to digital learning carries many positive benefits.

Parents and tutors with children who are learning online have found that digital learning has had a long-term positive impact on their children, who have also become more resilient to challenges in general.

Online learning is defined by students’ access to various learning materials from the learning management system (LMS), engaging in online discussions, and having virtual classes.

The advantages of online learning

Acquiring IT skills
A definite benefit is acquiring the skill to use technology effectively. Further education programmes and certainly the majority of employers, require candidates to have anything from basic to advanced IT skills. Exposing students to a range of technology within the digital classroom can give them a competitive advantage.

Flexible learning hours
Another benefit to learning online means that students have the ability and opportunity to choose their own learning hours. This is particularly useful if they have other sport or cultural commitments and have to study according to a different time schedule. If they’re early risers they could start learning at the crack of dawn or, if they are night owls, they can start learning in the afternoon and finish late. As a result, online learners can take full advantage of the situation by enabling worldwide, self-directed learning.

Flexible learning environment
With a laptop or mobile device and Wi-Fi, students can manage their own learning from just about anywhere. Another great benefit is the possibility of working from a remote location. Even if a student lives in a rural village far from educational institutions, they can still benefit from attending an online “private” school. Where students need to travel as high-performance athletes, they can do so with online learning, as they do not need to be physically present — all they require to continue learning, is a device and a reliable internet connection.

Tracked progress
Some learner management systems such as the Think Digital Academy platform facilitates online learning and allows parents and tutors to save information easily and access it whenever they log in. This kind of automatic organisation allows the parent or tutor to focus their time on aspects that require more attention. This also allows the parent or tutor to track their student’s progress and easily identify problem areas.

Flipped classroom
Perhaps the biggest benefit to online learning is this — teachers still play the most important role in the learning experience. Technology cannot replace the role of the teacher, but it does lend itself as a very useful tool for enhancing the experience of the student through the use of interactive lessons with videos, animation and quizzes. Think Digital Academy has incorporated the benefits of private teachers who are subject experts, while developing the skill of critical thinking.

When evaluating the different e-learning options for your child, it is essential that:

  • the content is engaging and interactive;
  • students are guided through their subjects by online teachers;
  • students can engage with their subjects through assignments and projects;
  • students receive electronic feedback on their learning;
  • students have platforms on which to interact and collaborate with each other such as online chat rooms and discussion forums;
  • there is a way in which parents can monitor their child’s progress.

Based on these criteria, select an option that will ignite a drive for life-long learning in your child. Ultimately, we are at the cusp of an exciting transformation in our education sector, one that will revolutionise the learning and teaching environment, and change your child’s education for the better.

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We think you should and here’s why:

The world renowned British International curriculum, which we offer at Think Digital Academy, is an internationally recognised qualification, currently offered in over 160 countries across the world, and in over 10 000 schools or colleges. Our world today has become, more and more, a global village, and arming your child with an internationally acclaimed and respected education is the way to go.

In the hundreds of nations where the British International curriculum is taught across the world, there are variations and adaptations inculcated to suit local contexts.

Where does British Assessment International Education take you?

Success in British International qualifications often gives students admission to the best universities all over the world including, the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, Germany and many other countries worldwide.

British International qualifications are accepted and valued by universities around the world, including MIT, Harvard and Cambridge.

They are recognised as qualifications that prepare and equip students with the skills they need to succeed both at university and beyond. According to the British Assessment International Education, feedback from universities is that they value the independent research and critical thinking skills, as well as the deep subject knowledge that a British International qualification brings.

The British International curriculum has a clear path for a student which runs from the age of 5 to 19. British International primary is from age 5 to age 11, and it consists of 10 subjects including English, Mathematics and Science.

British International lower secondary also consists of 10 subjects. The age group in this category is from 11 to 14 years old. From 14 to 16 years old, it is referred to as British International upper secondary. This stage identifies British International IGCSE [which has over 70 subjects], British International AS/A level and the British International AICE certificate.

But why British International curriculum?

Skills acquired through the British International pathway equip learners with the ability to thrive at university and beyond. The four stages named above (British International primary to British International advanced level) all build on each other systematically. This is vital as it builds on previous learning in a systematic and creative manner.

Through a combination of the programmes students are encouraged to develop higher-order thinking skills, problem solving skills, critical thinking skills, independent research abilities and information interpretation. These lifetime skills prepare learners well for their academic journey.

British International schools can tailor the British International international curriculum to their culture, and ethos and to suit students’ needs. Many schools around the world use British International programmes and qualifications as the English-medium strand of a bilingual education programme.

Professionals from American universities do concur that British International is a good foundation for students. The academic skills that British International students display are second to none and they are well prepared for college. Students who have experienced the British International curriculum are able to survive and adapt to the rigorous environment in tertiary institutions.

The students are more willing to take part in academic communities and other societies, which enables them to be part of the university holistically.

Another positive attribute noted by the admissions personal of the University of Virginia is that British International students have great writing skills as well as comprehension skills. Arizona State University enrolment services alluded that British International learners match the Arizona preparatory units and perform very well.

Students at Brown University who have a background of British International are said to perform in the 90s and they graduate on time.

British International exams are taken in June or November. The time table is carefully crafted in a manner that no student can have more than six hours of examination per day. Exams for the same subjects are taken at the same time for security and credibility; this is the British International key time rule.

Think Digital Academy offers you an opportunity to be part of this globally acknowledged academic programme. We offer the British International curriculum in a conducive, fun and creative manner. Our hands-on approach creates a holistic learning environment. We produce students who are well groomed independent thinkers, flexible and well prepared to take on the world.

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When a business takes the leap to expand to another country, like in our case, to the United States of America, rebranding is inevitable. And we are excited by both the expansion as well as the rebrand of our award winning South African online school, now known as Think Digital Academy.

Our CEO, Ms Janessa Leita, explains, “As Think Digital College continues to grow in South Africa, and online education gains further popularity under the circumstances of the COVID-19 pandemic, we saw it prudent to spread our wings to the USA – a goal we have been working on for some time now.”

She elaborates further with, “The expansion to the United States of America has become a reality as we have now registered our first institution in the state of Florida.”

What happens when you open doors in a new country?

With the first phase of global expansion of any business, online schools are no exception, there must be evolution. In this case, cultural evolvement was necessary. Janessa explains, “Our international expansion has however, meant that we have had to change our name in the process, as the word ‘college’ refers to a tertiary institution in the USA. As a result, our exciting new name Think Digital Academy was birthed.”

When certain things change (like our name) others remain the same

Think Digital Academy is undoubtedly built on the vitally fundamental pillars of Think Digital College, that of quality, advancement, and integrity. This online school that was born and launched in South Africa, which recently scooped the international 2020/21 Corporate Livewire Prestige Award, has carried over its finest traits to the American market. While this growth has been taking place, and remaining true to our mission, we have not skipped a beat in serving the online students of South Africa in the process. The Prestige award was a great honour, one that drove home the message that all online students and stakeholders should be assured of exceptional service in a safe, online school environment. Now we aim to bring the same standard of online schooling to the United States of America.

Energised, excited and exhilarated

There is no better time to use some alliteration to express the sheer joy and passion we are moving forward with as a team and organisation. Think Digital Academy is an online schooling brand that we will grow from strength to strength, but never losing sight of our online students, ensuring they always have the best available education and service delivered to them.

“Our online students are our why, they are our purpose. And everything Think Digital Academy keeps striving to do, will have these fine, young people top of mind” emphasises Janessa.

You can find more information on our online school curricula or feel free to reach out to us with any questions you may have.

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It has been estimated that globally 50% of jobs currently in existence will not exist by 2030 and our children are not protected from this reality. The global transformation currently underway, called the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR), entails the convergence of all digital, physical and biological technologies. It is predicted, that by 2020, 4IR will have brought us advances in robotics, artificial intelligence and machine learning, genetic engineering and virtual reality.

However, South Africa is already struggling to employ its youth. The country registered an unemployment rate of 29.1% in the fourth quarter of 2019 which is staggeringly high. The question is, can South Africa adapt quickly enough to adequately equip its young people with the skills required by 4IR?

The labour market of the future will require new skills including digital fluency, creative thinking, problem solving, collaboration, empathy and adaptability. Traditional thinking was that the more specialised a person became, the more economically valuable they would be. However, 4IR requires a person to be interdisciplinary – to have sufficient knowledge in other fields outside of their area of specialisation.

Considering that information and communications technologies is the fastest growing industry in South Africa, and that science, technology, engineering, and mathematics sectors are also achieving similar growth, skills in robotics and coding will future-proof our learners and equip them for the ‘jobs of the future’.

According to the World Economic Forum, the top ten emerging jobs are:

  1. Data analysts and scientists;
  2. Artificial Intelligence and machine learning specialists;
  3. General and operations managers;
  4. Software developers and analysts;
  5. Sales and marketing specialists;
  6. Big data specialists;
  7. Digital transformation specialists;
  8. New technology specialists;
  9. Organisational development specialists;
  10. Information technology services

The 4IR is no longer coming, it is upon us. The best we can do as parents, and educators, is to ensure that our students have the necessary skills for future job and labour markets, and have the ability to navigate the uncertain environment of a technology-driven economy. Our education system simply has to adapt, otherwise our children will be left behind.

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It is unarguable that education has, for the most part, largely been stuck in a rut. Until now. There are signs suggesting that COVID-19’s disruption of the education sector could have a lasting impact on the way we teach and learn. Our current education model is very much top-down in its approach, where a teacher instructs and provides information, usually only utilising one teaching modality. Yet educational psychologists have always contended that children learn best when they construct their own knowledge, and learn tasks that are culturally relevant.

The spread of COVID-19, and the closure of schools, has become a catalyst for change, forcing us to look for innovative ways for our children to continue their schooling. Educationalists, government and the business sector have come together to utilise digital platforms for teaching and learning. These platforms are opening the doors to more flexible and interactive ways of learning, where the student takes ownership of their educational experience, working at their own pace and engaging with the learning material.

Our education sector, which has long been ripe for change, now needs to adapt to our rapidly changing circumstances, but instead of looking for stop-gap solutions, let’s consider how education can benefit from these changes in the long-run. Can we change how we curate content in a way that benefits both visual and auditory students? How do we make lessons more engaging so that students with concentration challenges remain engrossed and involved in their learning? And most importantly, how do we close the digital divide. The use of digital platforms to replace the classroom means that the quality of learning is dependent on the level and quality of digital access. Unless data costs decrease and access increases, a vast number of our students will not be able to benefit from this educational paradigm shift.

This crisis has also reminded us of the skills our students need in this unpredictable world such as resilience, creative problem solving, and above all, adaptability. The question now is, does our current schooling system facilitate the development of these skills?

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The spread of the COVID-19 pandemic and the resultant closure of schools, has led to a new educational crisis.

While school closures are important to contain the coronavirus in South Africa, a comprehensive catch-up plan for learners has yet to be devised by the Minister of Basic Education, Angie Motshekga. The Minister on the other hand, is leaving it up to each province, district, circuit and school to develop their own comprehensive catch-up plan. Currently only ten schooling days will be lost, which will be caught up by shortening the mid-year break, but the length, and extent, of the disruption to schooling is hard to predict at this stage with some experts forecasting that schools will only reopen at the end of April, or even May. The reality is, that very few schools in our country are able to administer e-learning, and critically, to ensure that learning material is adapted to alternative platforms such as tablets.

Many parents are unable to direct their child’s schooling during this period, either because they themselves are working remotely or have younger siblings to take care of. This leads to a significant amount of stress and tension in the home, with further undue pressure being placed on parents, particularly those with children in matric.

In order to assist learners during the shut-down, Think Digital Academy, a registered online school for Grade R to 12, is offering their full curriculum to South African learners for R500 or up to an 80% discount for Term 2. Rather than returning to school, and trying frantically to catch up with the year’s academic programme, Think Digital Academy will enable students to keep up to date with their school year. Parents can rest assured that their children are deriving the full benefit of a normal school day, remotely, through Think Digital Academy’s structured learning programme.

Students will be able to watch lessons, complete activities, projects and even take assessments to measure their progress while parents are able to pull weekly reports on their child’s activity. The CAPS curriculum is available in both English and Afrikaans, and all lessons are taught by qualified teachers, are interactive and perfectly aligned to the CAPS and British International syllabi. In addition, learners will receive free access to Think Digital Academy’s new Coding and Robotics course.

In these uncertain times, Think Digital Academy takes away the ‘what ifs’, and ensures that your child’s education, and future, is not compromised.

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The school placement chaos at the beginning of this year highlighted a very scary reality – we simply do not have enough good schools in Gauteng, South Africa.

A number of schools faced a very high enrolment demand as parents clamoured to ensure their children have a place in a school of excellence, while many schools, particularly in townships, were virtually empty. The result is that oversubscribed schools are forced to make use of mobile classrooms which are barely conducive to quality teaching and learning. These schools’ resources become constrained, with the average number of learners reaching 60 per class. This puts additional pressure on our teachers, and makes it a near impossibility that our students will be provided with the strong foothold they so desperately need if they are to succeed in high school and beyond.

It has been predicted that by 2020, Gauteng will still be short of 1373 classrooms at existing schools. This means that even at the accepted ration of 40 pupils per class‚ almost 55 000 pupils will be in over-crowded classrooms in three years.

At the same time, it’s calculated that 10% of the country’s teachers are absent from school each day, while a Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS) found that 79% of South African Grade 6 maths teachers were classified as having content knowledge levels below the level at which they were teaching. This problem is compounded by a lack of support for teachers and insufficient professional development. In addition, the Centre for Development and Enterprise predicted that South Africa would need to have 456 000 teachers by 2025 to offer our children a quality education, this is 46 000 more than we currently have, and between 18 000 and 22 000 teachers leave the profession every year.

So as parents, how do we deal with high student ratios; a lack of resources; a shortage of qualified teachers in subjects like mathematics and physical sciences; a lack of discipline in our classrooms that disrupts teaching and learning, and absenteeism of teachers who are burnt out trying to cope with big classes and poor learner behaviour?

We simply have to think beyond traditional teaching and learning methods. It is time to consider virtual schools as a viable option for ensuring our children receive the best education possible, and are equipped with the skills needed for the future of work in this country.

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