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Charting the digital Edu-learning path and becoming the first female in South Africa to introduce Cloud-based Virtual Learning Labs to schools from under-served communities

Charting the digital Edu-learning path and becoming the first female in South Africa to introduce Cloud-based Virtual Learning Labs to schools from under-served communities

In this post, I interview Palesa Mahlangu from techsavvykids.co.za

It is rare for one to share their purpose belief openly and yours is beautifully stated as “I am on this earth, to contribute in bringing solutions to the problems and challenges facing this Country”. That is a courageous belief! Can you take us through moments that helped shaped this belief and the person that you are?

I have learned a lot along the journey of being a social entrepreneur, it’s about putting people before profits, it’s about meeting everyone’s need, it’s about a collaborative effort. I believe Africa needs to realise that we really need to unite to change the trajectory and rewrite our own History- we have a beautiful story to tell!

What is Innovolution Techsavvykids?

We are STEM Education Providers. We offer an engaging, inspiring and relevant experience that fosters a lifelong curiosity and positive attitude towards STEM Educational Programmes. We have directly engaged students and teachers in the Gauteng and North West parts of South Africa including many more people that are connecting with us through our  media platforms. As a result, a trusted and reputable brand has been established in this high regard. However, in today’s rapidly changing environment, we cannot rest on our past achievements. The complex demands of the future workforce are changing and we need to prepare the future generation and also be relevant. We need to be agile and able to adapt to become a commercially sustainable and more innovative organisation, driven by the pursuit of excellence to deliver our full constitutional responsibility.

We have been presented with the “Finalist Certificate of Excellence” named the most Innovative TechEd Social Enterprise by The Africa Tech Week initiative 2019. With a preeminence in STEM engagement, we continue to provide quality experiences for schools through Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) through an Innovative Project based model. Developing STEM interest, awareness, participation and capability benefits to mostly disadvantaged communities, through this initiative, a diversity of economies has been identified as we work tirelessly to develop a well-structured organisational strategy for a future workforce. We acknowledge the strong ongoing support of our stakeholders as we continue to grow, we value beneficial relationships with a variety of strategic stakeholders and  other key players within the industry.

Do you think we have scratched the surface as Africans in harnessing the power of coding? What are some of the low hanging fruits especially for women and girls looking to get into coding?

Africa is rising, we are changing every facet  of our continent, women are taking up the highest positions and are leading better, we prioritise to bridge the gender gap,  bridge economic divides, pushing  leading roles of every women reshaping and dominating every industry. We need to continue to teach and empower girls to lead from a young age. Teaching a young person to code could be the single most life changing skill you can give them, it’s not just a career-enhancer, it is a basic need and needs to be fulfilled!

Your portfolio of work spanning over the past 15 years is vast across operational management, leadership background in launching new ventures, business turnarounds and Innovation Projects. What have been some of your best ideas and concepts which you have turned into tangible businesses?

With a continuous development of the 21st century educational programmes, services and wide range of products we are currently designing and distributing to schools, we have a partnership with IBM, being the first female in the country to introduce Cloud-based Virtual Learning Labs to schools from under-served communities, and providing a number of educational products that can be purchased by consumers, I believe it’s a huge contribution to technology in a meaningful manner.

Today, children around the world have access to laptops, desktops, and smartphones. Schools now have access the internet, smart boards to enhance their teaching and learning environment and connecting to the world. Knowing that the future is becoming synonymous with information and technology, however, 85% of these young people have no access to relevant learning tools and the world of technology is offering, it is important that these young minds become active enlightened, empowered with the use of technology. These technological tools can transform the entire education system, the education supplier industry, the educators, the learners, and the parents into innovators, inventors, change-makes, and successful global citizens.

Innovolution Edu Programmes involves the integration of a diverse STEM products and services transcending disciplinary processes, offering an experiential programme delivery that is activity-based, outcome-based, problem-solving and enquiry-based model approach. Our wide range of products distribution is a highly interactive through self-teaching tool that takes learners and teachers through a step-by-step guide- from a beginner to master of each program that is tailor-made. We provide scientific and technological experiences that is personalized and meet our customers’ needs.

We aim to solve a complex problem that the public education sector is currently battling to win, we provide technology infrastructure by offering Virtual Learning and Teaching Labs through a Cloud based Computational and state of the art studio facilities that schools can connect to.

We provide to the under-resourced and poorly-serviced schools so that they can be able to access the labs digitally and perform scientific experimentations, conduct researches though a technical enablement remotely or on-site, connectivity enablement to visualize their projects, and build cognitive prototypes incorporating Artificial Intelligence, Data Science and Machine Learning.

How would you have explained what coding is to your younger self and what advise would you give other young women?

Coding is about problem solving, it’s about creativity, and more importantly, it’s about empowerment. Empowerment on building and creating things with computers- devices that can change your world! We can interact better with our communities, run our utilities and improve our daily lives.

If this story inspired you, comment below or nominate a woman who inspires you.

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Mpho Sekwele

Mpho Sekwele, a Dartmouth College (USA) Mandela Washington Fellow for Young African Leaders Initiative, has over ten years of corporate work experience in the retail industry for Blue Chip retail companies in Africa. Mpho is an alumnus of the University of Cape Town, University of Witwatersrand and holds an Executive MBA from IEDC Bled School of Management (Slovenia). Mpho is passionate about youth and women empowerment; through sintuonline.com an eCommerce platform where contemporary African Heritage Clothing and Accessories made by young women in Africa, are sold globally; as well as BantuHikers a wellness, networking and mentorship platform for first generation students.
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