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E-Tech Africa comes to town

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The first E-Tech Africa conference is taking place on 1 and 2 July at the Gallagher Convention Centre, Johannesburg.
This event brings the latest in futurist technology and education together, to take delegates on a journey into the future of education, says event director Tanya Jackman.

“We are particularly excited about Graham Brown-Martin who will be introducing delegates to an incredible educational humanoid robot,” says Jackman.

Brown-Martin will present Aldebaran Robotic’s latest masterpiece: NAO. NAO is the most widely used robot for academic purposes worldwide, with more than 5 000 units in use in over 50 countries.

NAO’s high-tech technology means the robot has face and object recognition, automatic speech recognition and text-to-speech in 19 languages, as well as whole body motion. This means that NAO will talk to you, recognize you and keep your learners on the edge of their seats. Delegates will have the opportunity to engage with this tool, the latest in interactive educational tools with customised learning programmes from early childhood development until tertiary education.

Brown-Martin founded Learning Without Frontiers to bring together renowned educators, technologist and creative with a vision to create a new global dialogue on the future of learning. He is responsible for some of the most provocative and challenging debates about education.

He says: “I am excited to be a part of E-Tech Africa because I believe that the availability and access to affordable high quality education is a human right rather than a privilege. South Africa, and indeed the African continent, has the opportunity to leap frog western education systems by using digital platforms to reimagine how learning and teaching takes place for all of its citizens.”

Another key speaker at the event will be Lynette Hundermark: with 15 years experience in tech, digital marketing and mobile solutions she is an expert in tech commentator and an opinion leader in South Africa.

“As a technologist I am always interested in finding ways of using technology to enhance lives and increase the productivity of our day to day activities,” says Hundermark. “It is quite inspiring to see that this theme is now carried through to the education sector and I am very excited to be part of the E-Tech Africa conference where we will see the innovative ways technology can be used in our African contextual setting to improve learning and teaching methods.”

Other speakers include CEO of ORT SA, Ariellah Rosenberg and Niel Bekker and Robyn Farah, co-founders of Curiosity Campus. Rosenberg will discuss the 21st century skills required for the 21st century child. While Bekker and Farah will tackle interesting, accessible technologies that can be used to teach adults and children about technology for the first time and how they can move on once they have mastered the basics. Their session will focus on Arduino, an open-source electronics platform based on easy-to-use hardware and software.

Intel has also contributed speakers, including regional business director Frederico Carvalho, who will discuss technology and its role in leapfrogging challenges in education; and field applications engineer Mohammed O Fareed, will unpack how technology innovations can revolutionize the way we see education.

Delegates will have an opportunity to hear Microsoft South Africa’s Windows Business Group Lead, Anthony Doherty, talk about looking at the future developments in augmented reality.

“E-Tech Africa is the most anticipated, quality education and technology conference in Africa,” says Jackman. “To top it all delegates will have an out of this world experience in the closing session when CEO of the Foundation for Space Development South Africa, Jonathan Weltman, contacts the International Space Station to speak to an astronaut.”