Empowering communities through education
Now in its 10th year of existence, nonprofit organisation (NPO) Mindset Network continues to support the formal education and health sectors by creating and distributing multimedia (print, broadcast video and computer-based) educational content. The organisation embraces new media and social platforms to maximise the reach and accessibility of its content.
The organisation develops sources and produces quality educational content which is distributed across Southern Africa using a blend of new media and traditional platforms such as DVD, print, broadcast, web-based formats. From 2003, through the organisation’s health programme, installed over 600 satellite broadcast channel receiving equipment to public health clinics and hospitals for visitors to watch health-related broadcast programmes while waiting for treatment at those facilities. The television channel broadcast on daily basis, with programmes covering critical topics such as HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis. Mindset Health outreach function empowers lay councillors and support groups at public health facilities with training and information that assist them to deal with health and social challenges at community level.
Mindset Network’ schooling programme has developed hours of broadcast content, supported by print study guides for grade 10-12 learners and teachers. The content is aligned to the national curriculum of public schools subjects and covers Mathematics, Maths Literacy, Physical Sciences, Life Sciences, English First Additional Language, Information Technology, Computer Applications Technology and Accounting. The content is then delivered to learners and teachers (end-users) via our DStv Channel 319 and stand alone solution called Push-Video on Demand (VoD), with additional support in the form of print booklets and DVD sets, covering the entire curriculum.
Digital audio and video educational content is broadcast via satellite to a storage-capable decoder in the schools and teachers have the content available at will to use it according to the day’s teaching plan. The content is displayed on a TV unit/projector that is connected to a set-top-box. The set-top-box and digital material are accompanied by support print material that will allow the teacher to make effective use of the video content provided. The multimedia content is then shown to the learners during a lesson, to help and support the teacher, making the learning more interactive while engaging with the learners by creating more interest. So far about 300 schools have been equipped with receiving equipment (satellite dish, VoD decoder and TV) in order to access the schooling channel.
Learners are encouraged to get support notes freely available on Mindset Network website or through purchasing print booklets. The organisation also created a Facebook page, twitter handle and a PEPtext presence for learners to interact with presenters and among themselves to exchange study tips, comments on lessons and also to ask questions. The Facebook platform has become so popular that now have over 30 000 followers.
Mindset Network has partnered with a number of foundations, corporate companies and provincial government departments to roll out the equipment to schools and public health facilities for end-users to access the content and interact with the broadcast.
The organisation has faced challenges on the ground where teachers and health care providers have to be trained on regular basis to utilise the equipment. But usage training alone is not enough, teachers need to integrate the technology into their classroom teaching, learners must attend afternoon and weekend classes and be part of the live lessons broadcast on the educational channel. That requires a dedicated champion from the community to safeguard the equipment, keep them running and encourages learners’ participation. Mindset Network experiences have shown that no amount of support and money can change the lives of rural and township learners without their active participation in the project. Community members need to drive development projects activities and take ownership at the end.
It is for this reason that Mindset Network wants to create revision centres, where some of the schools installed with their equipment will be turned into revision hubs. Learners from surrounding schools will be encouraged to formally register and be part of a year-long revision classes receiving afternoon, weekend and school holiday classes. Each centre will have a champion, who will manage the operation, administer attendance and sell subjects study guides and DVDs to neighbouring schools to generate income for the centre. Participating learners will also receive careers information, application forms for bursaries and tertiary institutions as added benefits.
To view Mindset Network in the Prodder NGO Directory, click here.