If you are one of the privileged few who have found gainful employment, you can prepare yourself to spend a huge part of your life at work. For many, work will become their life to a great degree. So it is important that you don’t just slog through your days, gossiping about co-workers and endlessly taking tea breaks in between checking out your social media feeds. That way lies boredom and a life less lived. Check in at IMPRESS to learn how you can positively manage your relationships, ensure you give the best possible impression of yourself and your contribution, and not only survive in the workplace, but thrive!
The period between the last exam paper and the release of Matric results are some of the most anxiety-inducing, nail-biting weeks of school-leavers' lives. What should be a period of rest and relaxation as young people make the transition between school and further studies, is often marred by questions about "what if".
"It's important to be able to use this time to reflect and look forward to future plans, but because there are so many possible scenarios that may arise from one's Matric results, this time is too often spent stressing – both on the part of learners and their parents or guardians," says Dr Gillian Mooney, Dean: Academic Development and Support at The Independent Institute of Education, SA's largest private higher education institution.
"Instead of stressing, now is the time to consider what you can control and to let go of what you cannot control. For example, the exams are over - you cannot change the outcome, or the exam results. What you can control is how you react to this outcome, and you can start to plan for a range of possible outcomes," she says.
Mooney says that there are established potential scenarios for which Matriculants can and should plan after writing their last paper.
"If you know what to do after receiving your results, regardless of what the outcome may be, you'll be able to relax and regroup so that you enter the new year refreshed and ready to take on the next phase of your life," she says.
She adds that parents and guardians in particular need to get in the right frame of mind ahead of the release of the results, so that whatever happens, they are well-positioned to either help their child make a successful transition, or deal constructively with any challenges that may arise.
"Parents who are concerned that their child may not have performed as well as hoped, need to be particularly cognisant of how their reaction to results may impact on the ability of their child to bounce back should results be disappointing," she says.
"For these parents and learners, it will be particularly helpful to discuss potential scenarios in coming weeks, and be ready with a plan of action on how to manage the situation if indeed the learner's results were below par. In addition, parents must manage their own emotions while remembering an over-the-top reaction may make an unnecessary but long-term impact."
So at this stage, it is helpful to stand back and objectively consider what options are open to both successful and not-so-successful Matriculants, Mooney says.
"Always keep in mind that there are indeed options, no matter what your results."
SCENARIO 1: OPTIONS IF YOU RECEIVE A FAIL MARK
SCENARIO 2: OPTIONS IF YOU PASS, BUT NOT WELL ENOUGH FOR DEGREE STUDY
SCENARIO 3: OPTIONS IF YOU PASS, BUT NOT WELL ENOUGH TO ACCESS YOUR FIRST CHOICE OF DEGREE OR INSTITUTION
SCENARIO 4: BETTER THAN EXPECTED RESULTS
"No matter what happens in January when results are announced, knowing now how you will handle any eventuality will make for a more peaceful, less stressful December, and will go a long way towards averting unhelpful tension within families and for young adults as the moment of truth nears," says Mooney.
DID YOU KNOW?
The Independent Institute of Education (The IIE) is a division of the JSE-listed ADvTECH Group, Africa's largest private education provider. The IIE is the largest, most accredited registered private higher education institute in South Africa, and the only one accredited by The British Accreditation Council (BAC), the independent quality assurance authority that accredits private institutions in the UK. By law, private higher education institutions in South Africa may not call themselves Private Universities, although registered private institutions are subject to the same regulations, accreditation requirements and oversight as Public Universities.
The IIE has a history in education and training since 1909, and its brands - Rosebank College, Varsity College and Vega - are widely recognised and respected for producing workplace-ready graduates, many of whom become industry-leaders in their chosen fields. The IIE offers a wide range of qualifications, from post-graduate degrees to short courses, on 20 registered higher education campuses across South Africa.
In senior high school, the Mathematics syllabus becomes more challenging than ever, and many learners may be tempted to ditch the subject in favour of something less taxing, particularly if they intend to pursue a career that ostensibly doesn't require Maths.
But an expert advises learners and parents to think very carefully before doing so, as a solid grounding in the subject can make a lifelong difference not only to one's career prospects, but also to those areas of life which seemingly have nothing to do with numbers.
"At school we are told regularly that if we do not keep Mathematics as a subject we will not gain access to a Commerce or Science degree of our choice. What we often do not hear is that apart from providing access to limited enrolment degrees, sticking with Maths provides important life skills and a competitive advantage you won't find anywhere else," says Aaron Koopman, Head of Programme: Faculty of Commerce at The Independent Institute of Education, SA's largest private higher education provider.
Koopman says that even those learners opting for Maths Literacy should continue to take the mathematical steps and processes seriously, as a solid grounding in Maths truly sets one up for life.
"Maths teaches you so much – from the memory and recall skills you gained from learning your times tables, to the focus and concentration that mental arithmetic calculations strengthen, through to the most important skills of all related logic, reason and problem-solving," he says.
"Sure, you may never have to solve a quadratic equation again if you pursue a career in communication, but you will be required to understand a problem and the correct sequence of steps required to solve it, and there is no better place to get that discipline and expertise than from Maths."
Koopman says Maths also enables you to understand sequencing and planning – starting at the right point and working methodically to get the right answer. And when it does not work out the way it should, it is one's mathematical and analytical skills that help you to work through each step and figure out why things did not turn out the way they should have.
"Furthermore, Mathematics is believed to encourage creativity. Not only does it teach clear and sensible thought, but it exposes learners to challenging concepts and unresolved problems. Through this experience, learners can apply themselves in resolving these problems, often in a creative manner."
It is also now well understood that nature follows many mathematical rules - and proportion, balance and pattern are all mathematical concepts, notes Koopman.
"That balance between creative freedom and leveraging the repetitive sequence of patterns that results in things humans see as beautiful is at the heart of much art that has continued to appeal over the centuries.
"Maths also helps you develop persistence as you apply and discard solutions while trying to make sense of a problem. Maths is the bridge between the world we live in – think of the 'story sums' we started in our early grades - and the creative and brilliant solutions that have lie behind the world's best inventions."
And very importantly, companies are increasingly looking for graduates with powerful thinking and troubleshooting capacity - just the competencies that are developed and nurtured through mathematics.
"A young person who is mathematically proficient and has honed these skills will find that the world of work is a flexible and engaging space where how you learn is recognised as so much more valuable than what you learned. From understanding numbers and statistics - the 'hard skills' that Maths gives you - to applying systematic and logical reasoning or solving a human resource problem, a mind that has been exercised by Maths will reach strong conclusions quickly and have the skills to test itself," Koopman says.
"The systematic nature of Mathematics develops clear and coherent thought of students. This results in the ability to understand how and why things work in a certain way. In a business environment that is characterised by constant change, the analysis of one's environment becomes fundamentally important and through Mathematics, analytical skills and critical thinking is promoted. Mathematics equips learners with the ability to be proactive, detect problems and to develop suitable solutions earlier, which provides a competitive advantage regardless of one's field."
As we move into the fourth industrial revolution, in which technological innovation is at the forefront, graduates who did not necessarily study Maths but retained an engagement and respect for it will be well positioned to propel their organisations and respective divisions in the right direction, says Koopman.
Additionally, anyone leading a team or department regardless of industry will need to be financially literate and able to manage sometimes substantial budgets.
"Therefore we encourage learners to persevere and if necessary get additional help to master Maths, even if they feel they may not 'need' Maths in future. Regardless of what you are planning to do career-wise, a solid grounding in Maths will empower you for the rest of your life," Koopman says.
The IIE has a history in education and training since 1909, and its brands - Rosebank College, Varsity College, The Business School at Varsity College and Vega - are widely recognised and respected for producing workplace-ready graduates, many of whom become industry-leaders in their chosen fields. The IIE offers a wide range of qualifications, from post-graduate degrees to short courses, on 20 registered higher education campuses across South Africa.
Do you know what your personal brand is? Personal branding focuses on your most important product, you! Developing a personal brand requires some soul searching but if you are ready to do the work, the results can be life changing.
Who are you?
Firstly, do you know who you really are? What are you good at, what are your values, passions and personality? Creating a successful personal brand requires you to be clear on the defining qualities of who you are.
Building a recognisable personal brand opens up professional opportunities. If you are looking for a job, you want your potential employer to associate your personal brand with something that they need on the team. In today's competitive working environment you can't afford to blend into the background. You need to stand out from the crowd, you need to separate yourself from the competition. You can only achieve this by creating a recognisable personal brand.
Create a vision for your life
Just as businesses create vision and mission statements, creating a personal brand begins in the same way. You need to create a personal vision. While we can't control everything that happens in our lives, we can create a vision for our life and the steps that we can take to achieve this vision. Your vision should include where you see yourself in the next 10 or even 30 years. Think about what would make you happy. Remember there is no right or wrong answer. Perhaps you dream of one day owning a home by the beach or a happy family?
While social media is an excellent marketing channel, don't only use it as such. If you come across as unauthentic you will push people away. People love to see the other side of who you are – what do you do on weekends, what your hobbies are and what other interests do you have? This will make you look more human and will attract more people to you. Also remember to be authentic in your engagement with others. Being yourself is always best.
Your accomplishments are the foundation of your career brand and your brand story. Before you look for work, think about what you want your brand to stand for – and develop a plan to gain experience in areas that are relevant or will add value. Do more than what you are expected to do. Volunteer for new and challenging assignments that build your brand. Consider freelancing or consulting. Get the experience you need by seeking out multiple opportunities that may elevate your brand.
There is no point having an amazing brand if no-one knows about it. There is definitely a fine line between bragging and promoting so remember to opt for promotion rather. A CV is one of the oldest tools of promotion for job-seekers. In it you should list all your key accomplishments, skills and education. Develop print and online career portfolios, as well as a personal website.
Always continue to learn, even after you've achieved your degree dreams. In today's competitive and ever-changing work environment, you need to keep up to date with your skills development to stand out from your peers. And it's not even necessary to go for post-graduate study (although that is also good). You can do many short or online courses that will broaden your skills base and make you more marketable in the workplace.
Rosebank College is a brand of The Independent Institute of Education (The IIE), SA's largest private higher education provider. The IIE is the most accredited registered private higher education institute in South Africa, and the only one accredited by The British Accreditation Council (BAC), the independent quality assurance authority that accredits private institutions in the UK. By law, private higher education institutions in South Africa may not call themselves Private Universities, although registered private institutions are subject to the same regulations, accreditation requirements and oversight as Public Universities.
A team of four 2nd-year students at The Independent Institute of Education's Vega has made it to the final round of the Capitec Challenge, placing second overall and beating a host of strong senior competition from other schools across the Western Cape.
Capitec wanted to launch their funeral cover in typically unconventional fashion. They bypassed their traditional agencies and took the challenge to Cape Town's leading schools of creativity.
"Capitec wanted to launch a new funeral cover product during the 2018 FIFA World Cup in a manner that would get South Africans talking," says Alexander Sudheim, Senior Copywriting lecturer at Vega.
"Despite the tough competition, the Vega team performed exceptionally well and came a close second overall. This challenge provided students with the opportunity to showcase their acumen, creativity and ingenuity on an engaging real-world brief."
The team, made up of Henko Brand, Jir-Xin Lai, Lauren Ewertse and Nikola du Toit, conceptualised a clever campaign titled #YouCantFakeDeath.
South Africans were encouraged to immediately tweet the name of the player and the soccer game using the hashtag #CapitecChallenge every time a player 'faked' an injury during a World Cup match.
All tweets would be entered into a competition and participants would stance the chance to win a trip to Russia to watch the FIFA World Cup.
Along with the wealth of experience gained, students were given a cash prize of R10,000, and a R50 000 donation for the Vega Bursary Fund on behalf of Capitec.
Vega is an educational brand of The Independent Institute of Education (The IIE). The IIE is South Africa's leading and largest private higher education institution and is internationally accredited by the British Accreditation Council (BAC).
Vega's teaching philosophy is built on the mantra of wisdomwithmagic, creating an academic environment that is based on experiential learning where creatives are trained in strategy and strategists in design-thinking. As South Africa's only brand focused school, Vega aims to inspire a new breed of thinkers with the expertise to generate meaningful brand ideas that link business profit to adding value to people's lives.
The IIE Vega students graduate at a work-ready level, with 95% of 2016 graduates employed within 6 months of completing their qualification *includes part-time and freelance positions. Vega was also ranked first in the national Loerie Awards Top Educational Institutions in 2017, maintaining its reputation as a leader in the South African higher education arena.
Students can enrol for IIE undergraduate and post graduate degrees, diplomas, higher certificates and short courses in design, brand communication and brand management, at The IIE Vega campuses across South Africa.
Four students from SA's top brand school Vega, a brand of SA's largest private higher education provider, The Independent Institute of Education (The IIE), are reeling with excitement after receiving two coveted D&AD Pencil awards for their respective group submissions to the competition's New Blood category.
The D&AD New Blood Awards category recognises young creative talent with the goal of helping them take their first steps into the industry of their choosing. Pencils were awarded to Jenny Groenewald and Raphael Janan Kuppasamy for their 'Earn Your Stripes' campaign for adidas, and to Bernice Puleng Mosala and Kyle Marais for their 'Embody Your OS' campaign for Microsoft.
"This will be the 2nd consecutive year that students at Vega have brought home a D&AD Pencil award in this category, which above all else is testament to their own talent, creativity and innovative problem-solving abilities," says Christiaan Graaff, 3rd year Navigator at the Vega Johannesburg Campus.
Students formed groups and formulated their own concepts from scratch with the help of their course navigators based on a brand brief.
Earn Your Stripes
Groenewald and Kuppasamy were tasked with creating a campaign for adidas in keeping with the brand's belief that sport has the power to change lives. The pair chose to conduct research into London's youth and found that, along with being relatively low on disposable income, millennials who live in London don't volunteer much despite having a fair amount of time on their hands.
"We then created a campaign called Earn Your Stripes, which will give adidas consumers (specifically 17-25-year-olds) the opportunity to earn a reasonable discount off their next adidas purchase, by volunteering at specific sports-based and non-sports-based NGOs and NPOs in London," said Groenewald and Kuppasamy.
The pair added: "Knowing that we have an international D&AD New Blood award to our name is still surreal, because of how big of an accomplishment this is. We both feel that our work and ideas are good enough for the industry."
Embody Your OS
Mosala and Marais' Pencil-winning 'Embody Your OS' campaign came off the back of a brief that required the team to create an inspiring, forward-thinking short film featuring the Microsoft Surface.
"We chose to focus on human experiences that are relevant now, which include gay rights as well as black and female empowerment," says Mosala. "We then expressed the human truth through spoken word, which is popular at the moment because poetry is an authentic art form that is based on human experiences."
When asked how they felt about their D&AD win, the team agreed that the sleepless nights were all worth it to be acknowledged for award-winning work and prove that they are industry ready.
"This award will provide the necessary stepping-stones and exposure for my future in film," says Marais, adding, "As a creator passionate about film this D&AD award shows I've got what it takes to create enjoyable and motivational content."
"We salute this year's group of students for their commendable achievements, as being recognised on a global platform like the D&AD awards is no small feat and look forward to seeing where the rest of their careers take them in the future," says Graaff.
For more information on IIE qualifications available to study at Vega and other career-building opportunities, visit www.vegaschool.com.
The IIE Vega students graduate at a work-ready level, with 95% of 2016 graduates employed within 6 months of completing their qualification. Vega was also ranked first in the national Loerie Awards Top Educational Institutions in 2017, maintaining its reputation as a leader in the South African higher education arena.
Students can enrol for IIE undergraduate and post graduate degrees, diplomas, higher certificates and short courses in design, brand communication and brand management, at The IIE Vega campuses across South Africa.
The Independent Institute of Education's Rosebank College was once again named as the coolest college in South Africa, in the 2018 Sunday Times Generation Next Youth Survey. The announcement was made at the Sandton Convention Centre in Johannesburg on 14 June 2018.
Now in its 14th year, the Sunday Times Generation Next Youth survey - in association with leading youth market specialists, HDI Youth Marketeers - polls more than twelve thousand young people from around the country, across more than seventy categories, and is considered the leading barometer of what SA's kids, teens and young adults find on-trend and aspirational.
"What makes our brand very cool is that we have a lot of very humble people who work very hard and who love working with young people," says Daphne Mphaga, National Marketing Manager at Rosebank College.
"Winning this award makes us want to work harder, and do more to give our young people the tools needed to become positive contributors to South Africa and the world at large," she says.
These awards offer great insight into how the youth perceive and attribute value to brands in a highly competitive market. It's always important for brands to understand how a very switched-on youth segment makes decisions, as they'll soon be the income-earners of tomorrow.
"As a youth brand, the IIE's Rosebank College is committed to understanding what makes our young people tick, and we are constantly looking at ways to stay relevant," adds Mphaga.
As thousands of South African learners enter their June exams, an expert says that there are a few ways to optimise limited study time without resorting to cramming.
"Revision time is over, and learners must ensure they use the time they have between exams in the most effective way. While cramming may seem the most natural thing to do at this stage, it is actually counter-productive and likely to increase anxiety and fatigue," says Nola Payne, Head of Faculty: Information and Communications Technology at The Independent Institute of Education, SA's largest private higher education institution.*
She says there are creative – and entertaining - ways in which learners can utilise their time between papers, which will also ensure they maintain a good work-life balance during this taxing time.
"The most important thing to do at this stage, is to take stock of where you are at, and then draw up a detailed roster for the next few weeks, which clearly shows how much time you have available between subjects. Then you need to decide how you are best going to use that time to ensure your preparation goes beyond reading textbooks over and over again."
Payne says there are 3 great ways to study while exams are in full swing, which go beyond repetitive and rote learning.
GET SOCIAL"By getting social, we don't mean diving into facebook or Instagram," she says.Instead, learners should form study groups for individual subjects, which will allow them to take their understanding beyond the books."Set up a WhatsApp challenge with your friends, where you can send each other questions about a subject. This facilitates valuable discussions, deepening insight and highlighting areas you may have missed. Keep it fun but focused, and see if you can 'trip up' your friends with your questions. While it might not be so much fun finding out that there is something your friends know that you don't, this method helps you identify areas need work before it is too late."
GET ACTIVEIt is very important to exercise during exams, to give your body and mind a break. If you share a study timetable with your friends, you can optimise your time by, for instance, going for a run together during which time you can talk over upcoming papers, points you don't understand, and questions you believe are likely to arise."It is important that you and your friends synchronise your timetables, so that your breaks coincide for the most part. By ensuring your downtime is scheduled at the same time as theirs, you avoid a situation where you want to have a chat when they are focused on their work and vice versa," says Payne.She adds that, by having the same breaks, learners can also act as a conscience for each other to check that everyone is working when they should be, as having to account to them may give one that extra bit of motivation to keep going."Then, when taking breaks together, you can talk over issues in a low-pressure environment such as while exercising. Your friends may have valuable insights and support to provide, just as you may be able to help them with your own unique insights. "Getting active together while not losing focus of the task at hand means you benefit from the feel-good chemicals released in your brain as a result of exercising and socialising, while at the same time increasing your depth of understanding of a subject," says Payne.
GET WRITINGOne of the best ways to cement your preparation with limited time on hand, is to write past exam papers, Payne says."Get your friends together and hold a mock exam, imitating the exam conditions with set times and no peeking in textbooks. Afterwards, switch papers with each person marking another's paper. This approach has the dual benefit of making you more comfortable with exam conditions, while also solidifying your knowledge in a low-pressure environment."
"It is very important to spread your time between all your subjects, and to not go down the rabbit hole of getting lost in only one subject, for instance Mathematics," says Payne.
"At this stage of the game, balance is key, and goes a long way towards countering the negative impact of stress and anxiety."If you are serious about achieving the best marks to enable you access to the post-school opportunities you desire, introducing creative study methods such as the above will go a long way toward not only improving your performance, but also to cultivate a love of learning for its own sake, which is vitally important in a rapidly changing world of work," says Payne.
* DID YOU KNOW?
Grade 12s should already be well into researching their study options for 2019 and should aim to beat the rush and submit their applications sooner rather than later, whether it be for a public university or private higher education institution, an expert says.
"But before you settle on a degree or institution, it is important to make sure that you considered all your options thoroughly, including those closer to home, which will allow you to avoid the hidden costs unrelated to the actual cost of the course," says Nola Payne, Head of Faculty: Information and Communications Technology at The Independent Institute of Education, SA's largest private higher education institution.
"Of course it is exciting to think about moving to the other side of the country and starting a whole new chapter of your life outside of your familiar environment, but there are some solid reasons for opting to choose an institution close to home," she says.
Payne says apart from the usual advice of how to apply for admission, what you should consider, and which courses you would like to do, the financial impact of studies beyond fees, and the role this should play in your decision, are rarely discussed.
She says prospective students should remember to also consider the following when determining how to structure their budget:
Prescribed textbooks and supplementary material. This could include art material, laptops, and field-specific equipment, to mention but a few. Students will need to budget for two semesters, each of which will contain different modules with their own resource requirements. Depending on the nature of your course, there are also costs associated with printing and copying.
Accommodation. Will you be applying at an institution that would require you to live in student residence, on off-campus accommodation or will you be staying at home? If you're not going to be at home there are costs such as rent, meals, airtime and laundry that need to be budgeted for as well.
Travelling costs. This would not only include the daily commute to the campus from nearby student residences or off-campus accommodation, but your budget should include extra costs involved in the longer journeys to return home during the recess periods. Travelling to and from the campus would also incur expenses and this can add up quite quickly. Tickets for taxis, buses and trains or the cost of petrol for your own private vehicle should also be considered.
"There are sound financial reasons for considering studying at an institution close to your home. On top of that, the value of your support structure should not be underestimated. South African first year dropout rates are high, and lack of support is one of the reasons," says Payne.
"There is a huge gap between the demands placed on you at school, and what you'll need to deal with in your first year studying. The workload is much greater, and there are also additional emotional pressures associated with this new stage of life. We therefore urge the Class of 2018 to carefully investigate all their options, and all the factors that will impact on their emotional and financial wellbeing during their first year at varsity."
Payne says prospective students should remember that there are many options for higher education besides public universities, and that registered private institutions are subjected to exactly the same regulations, accreditation requirements and oversight."Considering a local higher education institution will almost always be more economical than one situated far away, because you then have the option of staying at home and saving costs on those extras that come with rental accommodation, plus you will have your support system around you when times get tough. Given the challenges that first year students face it makes sense to consider delaying living independently until that hurdle is overcome. Also remember that some institutions have more than one campus, so you could perhaps consider transferring at a later stage when you have found your feet."
Technology has taken the world by storm and its use now pervades arguably all fields. The education sector is also embracing the potential that technology offers, with good schools and universities incorporating tech to strengthen educational outcomes. But with devices and applications now ubiquitous across generations of learning – from infants to doctoral candidates – an expert has warned that teachers and lecturers must be strategic and judicious about technology, so that it supports learning rather than sabotages it.
Aaron Koopman, Head of Programme: Faculty of Commerce at The Independent Institute of Education, SA's largest private higher education provider, says being cautious is particularly important at school level, where habits for lifelong learning are either adopted or abandoned.
"One of the most important areas of risk, is where technology hinders the development of social and collaborative skills," he notes.
"Collaboration and teamwork are global competencies and rely on the ability of learners to engage with others to reach shared outcomes. While there are ways in which technology can be used, such as online engagement with people on another continent, a document sharing process or a blog, it is also critical to promote collaboration, which means teachers must ensure that the face-to-face engagement skills of young learners in particular are developed," he says.
Another area of concern, is where the convenience (for educators) and addictiveness (for learners) of technology lead to a situation where it effectively replaces teachers, similar to home environments where screens become de facto babysitters.
"The most effective way to use technology is to support, extend, reinforce and enhance teaching. It becomes a risk however when one assumes that children can learn independently via technology, particularly when it is not at all interactive or responsive."
It is also problematic when technology is passive, for instance when learners and students use e-books that cannot be annotated.
"This renders them less supportive of learning than hard copy books that can underlined," says Koopman.
A significant danger arises where technology is not managed, he adds.
"Over and above the obvious risks when young people access inappropriate material online, classroom management of devices is critical. If a distracted young person can virtually wander off and play a game or spend time on social media during class time because of a lack of environmental management, valuable teaching time is lost.
"It is therefore necessary for good schools and institutions to put in place measures whereby they can lock down what can be accessed during class time, or through other management approaches. Having a management strategy is, however, non-negotiable."
Finally, tech fails can make for major teaching headaches.
"While it makes sense to allow learners and students to bring their own devices, that can cause problems when time is wasted on incompatible operating systems or devices that are not properly charged. Good schools and institutions must specify standards for devices and have sufficient plugs and charging stations to assist with this. Good connectivity on campus is also crucial.
"Having said that, technology should not take over to such degree that learning stops when devices drop us. Good teachers should be able to keep the class learning even if half or all their devices fail. They should be able to transition into a collaborative lesson or even abandon devices completely and still be able achieve the same outcomes without tech."
Koopman says that technology's advantages cannot be overstressed. But that equally, the importance of good real-life teachers should never be under-estimated.
"Excellent teachers stimulate interest, they create excitement in the classroom, they engage with learners and they broaden the thinking of learners. They are able to relate concepts and principles to learners and customise the learning experience to the needs of the individual learners who all have different styles," he says.
"Quality teaching is in fact technology independent – if schools genuinely believe in the centrality of teaching as the magic of a learning process they will make technology decisions that support learning and teaching, not undermine it."
Senior high school learners from Grade 9 to 12 should not only spend energy on mastering their academic work, but also on mastering those study habits that will set them up for a lifetime of effective learning - from when they hit varsity to when they enter the workplace, an expert says.
"Mastering the mechanics of learning is just as important as the learning itself, and is a crucial component of handling the demands of higher education once learners become students," says Dr Gillian Mooney, Dean: Academic Development and Support at The Independent Institute of Education, SA's largest private higher education provider.
"When learners enter their final years of school, it is no longer just about the amount of time they spend in front of their books, but also about the quality of that time. These years are the optimal ones for developing the skills that will help them manage the increasing workloads of they will face in future," she says.
Mooney says there are a few basics that senior learners can start putting in place as part of their regular routines, which will clear the administrative clutter on their desks and in their minds, allowing them to learn faster and focus purely on the subject at hand:
"When we look at those students who successfully navigate their first year in higher education, it is clear that they are the ones who bring with them the habits that enable effective learning, combined with a resilient mindset," says Mooney.
"Many students don't enter higher education with these skills, which is why good institutions have the support structures in place to assist and guide them. But those who heed the warning to start cultivating these skills in senior high school and arrive at the doors of higher learning with those behaviours already entrenched, are undoubtedly at an advantage."