The benefits of online learning are extensive.

We would list them, but we have a word limit we’d likely hit before we finished.

Most things that are this good for you are either very boring, very difficult or very hard to achieve. Like consuming copious amounts of plain old water, rigorous exercise and an unbroken eight hours of sleep a night.

Online learning though, is none of those things. And here’s why.

As online schooling becomes the preferred choice for many parents across South Africa and the rest of the world, its benefits have been actively circulating the web. Following the COVID-19 pandemic, parents are interested in exploring how online learning can help their children grow academically and non-academically. They’re also curious about the flexibility online schooling has to offer to parents.

In this article, we’ll cover a common facet of online schooling: discipline. You may have heard that switching from conventional school to South Africa’s 2x award-winning online school, will help your child become more disciplined in their academics as well as all round. You may also have wondered whether there’s any truth to this statement.

A strong focus on scheduling and consistency

Online schooling offers a lot of flexibility to students. Unlike conventional school, online school helps students absorb and retain more knowledge in a shorter time span. This is largely because students are able to tailor their learning and schedules to something that fits their needs best. For example, they have the ability to move ahead when something is grasped quickly and similarly, they can select to spend more time on something with which they struggle.

Since the lessons have been designed to keep students captivated and engaged; the high-definition videos, strong visuals, narrated information and engaging quizzes, each child is engaged with the content for a longer time span. In other words, they learn more actively, attentively and retentively. As a result, students don’t have to spend hours in the classroom; focused learning helps them reap the benefits of a flexible schedule.

This flexibility comes with a lot of responsibility, which is instilled in students from the get-go. At Think Digital Academy, our lesson methodology experts and instructional designers along with our MA/PhD qualified subject specialist teachers are particularly focused on inculcating an attitude of enquiry, discipline and responsibility in students. Students are encouraged to follow a schedule they’ve set up for themselves, ensure consistency and adopt a disciplined approach to their studies and non-academic life.

Success coaching

At Think Digital Academy, our Student Success Coaches are available to all students at all times during operating hours. We provide weekly activity reports and copies of assessments completed by the students to all our parents to ensure that each student is on track. This assists parents and students to provide the support and guidance they need to feel their best, perform optimally and overcome common academic and non-academic hurdles with ease and adroitness moving forward.

Students can get distracted easily. We live in a world that involves active social media use, which can trigger a lack of discipline in students. With procrastination, complacency, and nonchalance on the rise, students often neglect their studies and adopt a laidback approach to life. We counter these effects by providing parents with a detailed weekly activity report, detailing all of the student’s activity on the dashboard. This includes times logged in and out, time spent on lessons, lessons watched, quizzes / assessments completed and results obtained. This keeps the students accountable for work completed as well as academic progress and achievement which, as a result, focuses on the importance of ensuring discipline in every stage of life: academic, personal and social.

Skill-building activities

The right activities can help shape a student’s mindset. Unfortunately, many institutions select activities that simply keep students preoccupied instead of offering valuable lessons.

Our lesson activities include skill-building activities that help students develop essential skills like discipline, responsibility, honesty, hard work, commitment and resilience among others.

Instead of simply being told about the value of discipline, students get a chance to exercise self-discipline in their daily online school routines. This helps them become more disciplined in different facets of their life.

At Think Digital Academy, we provide a quality South African CAPS, British International and American GED online education across four schools: Early Childhood (ages 5 to 6), Primary (ages 7 to 13) and High school (ages 14 to 18). Explore our online schooling programmes to get started.

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According to the British Council, a child’s maximum attention span is roughly two to three times their age. For instance, if your child is 8, their attention span will be anywhere between 16 and 24 minutes. If they’re 9, their attention span will be between 18 and 27 minutes, and so on. The older children get, the more attention they pay.

Unfortunately, young children are at a greater risk of getting distracted. This can negatively impact their schooling experience. If your child frequently zones out in class, they could miss out on a significant portion of their lesson, perhaps even most of it.

Children who aren’t reeled back into the lesson by their teachers struggle to learn as well as their peers. Since they fail to absorb a significant amount of the lesson, they retain less. Consequently, they perform poorly in assessments. They also struggle to participate in class, stay on track during class activities, and achieve consistent academic growth.

If your child has been having trouble with concept recollection, ensure that you address the root problems to help them get back on track. In this article, we’ll offer a closer look at some common reasons why younger students have difficulty retaining concepts in school. Take notes, keep your child’s unique learning traits in mind, and implement the right changes to undo the damage.

Inability to concentrate

As stated earlier, many young students struggle to concentrate in class. This is because of no fault of their own. Young children are in an active developmental and learning stage. They’re immensely curious and eager to learn.

Often, their curiosity compels them to fixate on a number of things within a short time span. For instance, if a child is working on their Math homework, they could easily lose focus and fixate on a superhero figurine placed on their desk. Two minutes later, their attention may divert to a pet that’s chasing an insect nearby or an oddly shaped cloud that’s peeking through the window.

Children are thirsty for newness. It excites them and, most importantly, piques their interest. As they struggle to concentrate in class, children retain less.

As a parent, you can take several measures to ensure that your child gets the most out of their learning journey. We recommend taking a closer look at the mode of learning you’ve chosen for your child. Have you selected conventional in-person, online, or flexible schooling? Following the COVID-19 pandemic, the benefits of online and flexible schooling have become more evident.

As children were required to spend over a year-and-a-half attending online school during the pandemic, many parents worried that their personal growth and social development would be affected, and rightfully so. When examined from the surface, online schooling sounds questionable as there’s a lack of in-person interaction. However, once students switch to online learning and acclimatise to it, ample personal growth and social development opportunities become apparent.

At Think Digital Academy, our students are taught by a team of experienced, committed, and passionate MA/PhD qualified subject specialist teachers.

Unfortunately, with most conventional schools, the student-teacher ratio is fairly high. Oftentimes, as many as 30 (or even more) students are taught in one classroom. Needless to say, teachers struggle to provide one-on-one attention to every student. They are unable to help distracted students regain an interest in the lesson; there are simply too many students in a class, with too little time for teachers to manage this task.

The risk of students zoning out during lessons is significantly reduced when the online schooling model is used. As children are taught using a variety of multimedia such as audio, string visuals, videos and interactive quizzes, they are consistently kept on track.

Boring, tedious, and unengaging lessons

As a parent, you may think that something is wrong with your child if they’re struggling to retain concepts learnt in school. This isn’t necessarily true. In many cases, students are unable to effectively absorb and retain knowledge because they’re made to sit through boring, tedious and unengaging lessons. Many schools aren’t focused on making lessons more interactive, stimulating or fun for students.

As highlighted earlier, younger students have a short attention span. If something doesn’t appeal to them, interest them or excite them, they’ll zone out. As a teacher, understanding this is imperative.

At Think Digital Academy, we leverage advanced audio-visual technology to make our online lessons fun, engaging, exciting and appealing for younger students. From incorporating fun activities into lessons to adding interactive quizzes, we have developed our lessons to help students learn better and reduce the chances of students getting bored.

You can take similar measures to help your child perceive their education as something that’s fun, not complex and boring. Once your child completes their lessons for the day, plan fun activities that reinforce the concepts they learned online, in an engaging and stimulating manner. For instance, if they learned about magnets in Science, plan a fun project that excites them. See some inspiration!

Once we’ve covered the theoretical aspect of a certain topic or sub-topic in our online lessons, we follow it up with an activity to ensure that students understand the concept and are able to effectively apply it. This approach increases knowledge retention among students.

Hectic scheduling

Young children are active, enthusiastic, and always ready for a new adventure. However, this doesn’t mean that their schedule should be so hectic that they feel drained, exhausted and overwhelmed by the end of the day. Many conventional schools have this effect on young students. As they shuffle in and out of classes for hours, they’re worn out by the time they return home.

When the brain is deprived of sleep and the body is utilised beyond its capacity, it becomes harder for children to concentrate and remember things, and as a result, it impacts their learning negatively. Children who feel physically and mentally drained by the end of the day are at a greater risk of developing behavioural problems, suffering from poor academic growth and experiencing anxiety. Their alertness levels are also reduced, which results in poor knowledge absorption and retention of information.

If your child performs a task that requires logical reasoning, they’ll struggle to complete it. When their brain development is affected, their neurons will be overworked to the point that optimal or even regular performance cannot be achieved. Children begin to lack in one aspect or another: mentally, emotionally, physically, academically, athletically, personally or socially, etc.

As a parent, take this seriously. If your child feels extremely tired by the end of the day, they’re being overworked. Switching from conventional to online schooling is a great way to undo the damage. Since online schooling is more focused, students aren’t required to sit through protracted lessons. They retain a lot of energy that is otherwise wasted in a conventional schooling environment. This energy can instead be utilised for skill-building games and activities, sports, arts and crafts, excursions, explorations, socialisation and personal enrichment after school. Students can explore new hobbies, interests and activities.

Ensure that your child’s school doesn’t solely focus on academic growth. Holistic learning is imperative for all students, especially young children. Unfortunately, many schools place unhealthy pressure on children, which affects their mental health. A wholesome, balanced, and well-paced online learning environment will help your child understand and recall their lessons better. They’ll also perform exceptionally well in other non-academic facets of their life.

Lack of empathetic guidance and coaching

While students need strong academic support from their teachers, they also need empathetic guidance and coaching from their parents. This is imperative for young students who are still actively developing, learning, and growing. Owing to their age, they’re more vulnerable to everyday stressors and triggers. Children can easily get upset and feel frustrated. If they aren’t provided the support they need, they may act out in class, zone out, or feel neglected.

It’s possible that your child performs exceptionally well in class but still struggles to retain their lessons. In this case, there may be an underlying issue that needs to be addressed.

Children have memory issues when they feel stressed, don’t get enough sleep, or feel hungry. Think Digital Academy makes use of audio-visual cues, comprehensive study notes, teach concept-related rhymes and songs, break information into smaller bites and build important connections. These are just a handful of strategies that are utilised to boost children’s memory.

By allowing students to re-take lesson quizzes as many times as they need to, we help them perform better and feel more content about their educational journey. Happy learners are successful learners. By helping children feel happy and excited about their lessons, we are able to increase their interest in academics. This, in turn, helps them stay on track and perform exceptionally well.

If you’re considering making the switch to online schooling for your child, take a closer look at our various curricula offered (Grade / Stage R – 12 / AS Levels).

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

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.

It’s unlikely that anyone will ever look back at an exam period with fond memories.

Chances are, most people remember exams as a blur of long nights spent cramming, minimal sleep and extreme stress.

But alas, it doesn’t need to be this way!

No, we’re sorry, you can’t skip exams:

but you can give yourself the best chance for success by rewriting, memorising and reciting our five top tips for exam preparation.

Follow these five rules and you’ll be totally prepped for exam time!

Bring the right mindset on game day. Build confidence early.

In the words of Michael Jordan:

“I can accept failure, everyone fails at something. But I can’t accept not trying.”

Whether you feel you’re going to pass with flying colours or whether you think you’re in for an uphill battle, you must put in 100% at all times.

The mindset with which you approach your exam preparation and your exam can have a dramatic influence on your results.

Mentally preparing for an exam is just as important as the study and academic preparation you put in beforehand.

Pre-exam, try not to be over confident or overly pessimistic, always remain grounded and realistic and try to avoid coffee and energy drinks; calm focus is best.

Tip: When you enter your exam, try to answer a few questions that you’re confident in early. This will help to build your assurance, eradicate any pre-exam nerves and set you up for a stellar performance.

Keep your eye on the prize – in this case, it’s the time

Sitting an exam is like running a marathon, it’s long, it’s exhausting, it can be absolutely overwhelming and in order to beat your personal best, you have to be aware of the time.

Before you begin the exam, know how many questions you need to complete and how much time there is provided for each.

Try to spend only the time you’ve provided yourself to answer each question, even if you feel you could address the question for much longer.

Making sure you complete each question will provide you with more marks than if you answer only half the questions thoroughly.

Always keep an eye on the clock.

If you’re stumped on a question, move on.

If you get stumped on a tough question early, don’t let it ruin your time management strategy or your confidence.

Move on to the next question and come back to it later.

The longer you spend stumped on one tough question may lead you to miss out on two to three easy marks later in the exam.

Sticking with our marathon analogy, you might hit a wall, but you must keep moving forward!

Read each question slowly and then re-read it again (even slower) before answering

Read. Each. Question. Slowly.

This is so important and easily the single most underrated strategy in sitting an exam.

It’s common practice for exams to deliberately word questions that could catch you out if you’re not paying attention to the detail of the language or the diagram.

If you’re not careful, easy marks can slip through your fingers.

Always, ALWAYS, read slowly and make sure you understand exactly what you’re being asking before you answer.

Don’t be complacent.

Overlooking a multiple choice question and marking the wrong box, misreading the time of your exam and rocking up an hour late, or forgetting your textbook for an open book exam are all common and easily avoidable mistakes.

At any stage of the exam, pre, during and post:

try not to become complacent, give the exam your full respect.

While you may find that some questions are actually easy, if you become too relaxed answering the “easy” questions, it could ruin your exam technique moving forward.

Stay alert, come prepared and take each question on its merit. Don’t be the next exam horror story!

Good Luck!

How to use smartphones and tablets to boost your child’s education

Maybe your child’s a genius…

…and they’ve already taught themselves Mandarin AND learnt all the words to Shakespeare’s Othello. Backwards. At only 5 years old.

Maybe they’re hiding it from you because they don’t want to “freak you out.”

And yes, sure, maybe they’d also like to stall the inevitability of going to a traditional school, and chores, and adult this-n-thats for as long as possible.

Selfish little rascal.

There’s only ONE way to know for sure though – give them a tablet with educational content on it. Or better yet, sign them up to Think Digital Academy and let their online learning begin.

Before the 1990s, we had Education 1.0. The edge of millenniums passed under the sign of Education 2.0. Nowadays, we are entering the era of Education 3.0, marked by the revolutionary combination of the internet and the mobile. Our children are being affected by these changes above everyone else.

They start to operate mobile gadgets, use educational apps and visit learning websites even before being able to walk. Only yesterday they were prohibited from using their hi-tech gadgets in classrooms; today schools hand out smartphones and tablet, and use online learning programs for a broad range of subjects.

Ultimately, the most prominent features of Education 3.0 are:

  1. online learning lets you study anything, anywhere or on the go;
  2. wide adoption of technology;
  3. low costs – there are hundreds of cheap handheld devices and free learning resources;
  4. eliminated boundaries between disciplines, institutions, and nations;
  5. students are partly teachers as the teaching is done teacher to student, student to student, student to teacher.

As a result, education nowadays becomes something that modern children literally walk around with in their pocket. Parents must not stand aside from this fundamental shift. They should learn how to use technology to their kids’ benefit, including boosting their education.

Technology can help your child be a better learner. Embrace the fact that iPads and tablets are part of our lives and that we should harness it to assist in our children’s education now, while inevitably waiting for the next amazing technology to improve upon these devices.

Download and print the infographic.

And don’t forget to try out our free two week trial.

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

Learning from home Mondays are quite different to regular Mondays.

They’re a bit like getting into a swimming pool using the steps. The acclimatisation period is longer. The stark contrast between Sunday night and Monday morning is softened.

And if you’re wondering how, we’re here to tell you exactly how you go about studying online, from anywhere, at any time.

First things first, set up a schedule.

Learning schedules and online learning go together like Batman and Robin.

Break the content down into chunks using the Termly Planner given to you under your “Termly Planners and Notices” icon – if you’re the type to get overwhelmed, assign yourself a “chunk” a day.

Discover why you procrastinate — (if you do) — and if you don’t, give yourself a pat for being one step closer to bagging yourself the “student of the year” reward.

A good reward for sticking to your schedule could be to exercise or relax for 15 minutes while you give yourself a well-deserved brain break.

Create a study routine – make it work for you and the task will flow effortlessly. Eventually, even your rewards will seem less exciting as an even better reward will be ticking things off your list.

Be clear as to why you want to do well – make yourself a list and put it up somewhere where you can see it often. This will form part of your motivation. Some examples could be:

  1. I want to learn more and improve myself.
  2. I want to develop the habit of pursuing excellence.
  3. I want to become a more focused and disciplined student.
  4. I want to have a meaningful career.
  5. I want to provide well for myself and my future family.
  6. I want to know that I gave it my best shot.
  7. I want to live with no regrets.

This will come in handy on those days when you’re not feeling motivated.

If you’re a mind map type of person, this is the time to use one in order to gather your information.

Fact: Mind maps mimic how the brain works.

Second fact: Creating mind maps and study notes make you look 40% more intellectual.

Third fact: Gaining a clear understanding of what is on the mind map, can make you 90% more intellectual.

Making a “boring” subject interesting while learning online

When you find it difficult to study because the subject is “boring”, ask yourself:

“Is this subject really boring or does it seem that way because I have closed my mind off to it?”

Ask yourself some interesting questions to kick start your brain:

When was this technique or theory developed?

Who developed it?

What problem did it solve?

How would the world be different today if it wasn’t for this technique?

If you remain curious, nothing gets boring because an open mind leads to endless possibilities and learning. This curiosity should automatically lead to the brain understanding the information and not just memorising it.

This approach is more effective and will keep you motivated.

Look for gaps in your understanding

Meaning?

If you’re unable to explain it, chances are, you don’t understand it. Make it work for you – break it down to suit your understanding.

Study in short bursts

Aka, “spaced learning”.

The theory behind this is that learning involves the creation of memories.

Memories are formed through links between neurons. In order for these memories to become embedded, the neurons have to be left undisturbed for a period of time.

That’s why we learn better in short bursts of online studying. This approach gives the neurons time to store and embed these new memories.

Don’t expect to feel motivated all the time

Strangely enough, one of the best ways to deal with a lack of motivation is to stop expecting to feel motivated all the time.

The fact is that no one feels motivated all the time.

So don’t rely on feeling motivated in order to get the work done.

Sometimes the motivation just won’t be there.

That’s why you need a study routine and study habits, because systems always beat motivation.

Exercise your brain

To get motivated to study, you need to train your brain. Think of your brain as a muscle.

Continuously exercise your brain, even when you’re not studying.

You can do this by reading, thinking through challenging world issues, doing puzzles, or journaling, walking outside, stretching, kicking a ball. The greater the variety of ways in which you train your brain, the stronger and more flexible your brain will become.

Get enough sleep and create a healthy eating plan!

Organise your time

For each subject, make a list of the lessons and tasks that you need to complete in order to be ready for the assessments.

Download a study schedule template if you need one and block out the times you have available each day to study.

As far as possible, choose blocks of time that are the same each day (e.g. 3:30pm to 5:30pm) so that your online school schedule is easy to remember.

Create a daily plan which lists the most important lessons and tasks to be completed for the day.

Review your study schedule at the end of each week.

Assess whether you’re on track to reach your study goals by assessment time. If you’re not, adjust your schedule by finding additional blocks of time for studying. Remember that up until Grade 9, the assessments are self-paced and can be completed online whenever you feel ready to take them.

If working in a group works for you, find a motivated “online study buddy” on the “Forum” to help you and your studies.

Make online learning active, not passive

Passive learning is where you try to absorb information and knowledge. It’s based on the idea that you’re an empty vessel waiting to be filled.

We actually construct knowledge by integrating the new material with what we already know and have already experienced.

So, if you want to learn a new topic quickly and effectively, use as much active learning as you can.

Examples of online active learning are:

  • Finding applications of the new topic in your own life
  • Doing case studies where the new ideas or theories are put into a specific context
  • Reviewing and commenting on the work you have already completed
  • Thinking of ways to apply concepts to problems you come across.

Schedule time for relaxation

This may seem obvious, but when your focus is studying for an upcoming assessment, it’s easy to forget that you need time to relax – therefore, you need to schedule relaxation to recharge and learn better.

Focus on the process, not the result but let the result drive you.

Try to create healthy habits – put your phone in another room, keep a bottle of water with you, have fresh air ventilating your room and get yourself some healthy snacks. Try to avoid having big meals as they tend to make you feel tired and heavy.

Set a timer – this includes a start time and end time but, have the alarm in another room so that you don’t keep checking to see how much time you have left.

Congratulations! You now have a head full of useful, new information and you’re ready to add even more to it.

Mindset is everything, and maybe a nap with some good snacks help too. Give yourself two weeks and your schedule should flow with effortless ease. For optimal results, we highly recommend sitting upright, maintaining a good posture and avoiding your bed or couch – unless of course, it’s below 5 degrees – in which case we highly recommend not leaving your bed or couch at all.

One common grievance home-schooling parents face:

Quick maths and science calculations without having the right scientific calculator on hand or knowledge in mind — best you set aside half the day to teach yourself first and be willing to look through every textbook in your house, and/or search multiple YouTube videos in search of an explanation.

Oh, and good luck keeping your cool throughout the entire ordeal. As the minutes turn into hours, you’ll only become more and more aware that you’re doing all this for only one question that your child needs help with.

It is an unparalleled inconvenience.

And it’s one you can avoid forever by joining an online school and registering your child as an online student instead.

Some people think home-schooling and online schooling is the same thing.

However, online learning means more learning and fun for students and less stress for parents.

To highlight the differences between being a home-schooler and an online student, we’ve made this easy to read story for you below.

Traditional school

Home school

Online school

Building

Teachers

Many students

Official curriculum

Hardcopy or e-books

Guided schedule

Strict time frames

Few teachers

One approach

Home

Parent

One – five siblings

Multiple curriculum

Hardcopy textbooks

Flexible schedule

Flexible time frames

One teacher

One approach

Anywhere

Teachers

Many students

Official curriculum

Virtual textbook

Flexible schedule

Work ahead / move slower

Variety of teachers

Multiple approaches

Free trial

Enrol for our free trial to explore our e-learning environment.

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.

Free trial

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March 2020 marked a year since South Africa adopted an emergency lockdown strategy in a bid to “flatten the curve” and curb the spread COVID-19.

This saw life as we knew it, come to a standstill during alert level 5.

Evidently the school calendar was affected by these precautions and till now the effects are still felt.

A word of thanks from Think Digital Academy

Think Digital Academy would like to take this opportunity to salute all educators and students during this trying period. Our thoughts are extended to those that lost their loved ones in the education sector.

New methods of teaching had to be employed to secure the future of students. Online schooling became the preferred method. For most, it came as a challenge, but it has since proved to be effective and efficient.

Institutions like Think Digital Academy already had a system in place to cater not only for the educational aspects of a student but also their psychological and emotional well-being.

The status of online schooling today

Due to COVID-19 the school calendar remains under threat. From time-to-time adjustments will have to be made when new regulations are put in place. This is the reality we now live in.

We have more reasons now, as a country, to permanently migrate to virtual, online teaching and learning.

The academic year really suffered last year, in 2020. Currently, there is already talk of a higher lockdown level in South Africa, going beyond Easter. Education must continue amidst all this uncertainty, even if it has to be online.

Education is a right

Education is a fundamental right that we should always uphold.

If we do not adapt to online virtual learning now as a long-term solution, like other countries in Africa and the world, we run the risk of raising an uneducated generation.

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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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