A Microsoft Schools Technology Innovation Centre (STIC), providing teachers with information, training, and equipment to encourage the innovative use of information and communications technology (ICT) in teaching and learning, has been opened in Johannesburg.
The Africa STIC will enable teachers to align their professional development to the latest educational innovations and help schools derive optimal value from learning technologies.
The launch today was attended by Naledi Pandor, Minister of Education, Dr Cheick Modibo Diarra, Microsoft’s Africa chairman, and Pfungwa Serima, MD of Microsoft SA. The Africa STIC is situated at the Central Johannesburg College Campus in Troyeville.
“Our objective is to empower our citizens with the ICT skills they need for life-long learning, both in the workplace and in private life. Life-long learning is essential because technology is pervasive, dynamic, and ever-changing. Our citizens must have the technical and learning skills, confidence, and flexibility they need to adapt over the course of their lifetimes,” says Diarra.
“This centre will be a showcase for technology that has the potential to positively impact teaching and learning. Most importantly, the STIC will support skills transfer and teacher training for a 21st-century education system. It will expose teachers and learners to innovative technology toward greater employability and active citizenship,” says Pandor.
Digital inclusion is not only achieved by giving people access to information – putting computers in schools or providing Internet access – but by empowering people to use technology and information to shape their own futures.
“At Microsoft, we continue to strive to bring the promise of opportunity and access to the communities where we live and work,” says Diarra.
“The Africa STIC provides access to a network of experts worldwide. It acts as both a physical site and a virtual gateway. It showcases the most innovative technology, processes, and educational pedagogy available.”
In addition to fulfilling in an educational capacity, the centre allows companies who want to contribute to become a Microsoft partner. It provides these partners with a platform to perform research, test, evaluate, and perform case studies on the educational value and interoperability of their products and solutions. This will assist them in identifying policy, procedures, and best practices relevant to the African education environment.
The centres are a result of Microsoft’s collaborative approach with technology partners, academia, and national governments in support of active citizenship, employability and competitive local economies.
It forms part of the Microsoft Partners in Learning programme, which aims to support education through ICT integrated training, tailored curriculum development, technical support, and research resources to students and teachers around the world.
Microsoft’s long-term vision for education is to contribute to efforts that empower teachers, students, and lifelong learners to achieve their full potential by facilitating greater access to the latest information and communication technologies, collaboration solutions and the training in how to use them toward a connected learning environment.
The Platinum Partners of the STIC Africa are Microsoft, the Central Johannesburg College, the National Department of Education, Cisco, and Dell Foundation.
Gold status partners are Mindset and Mecer with the Silver Partners being SMART Technologies with Edge Interactive and Vodacom.
The Bronze Partners of the STIC Africa are Agile Learning, AMD, Cambridge-Hitachi, CompuTainer, Compute, Comztek, Edit Microsystems, HNR, Intel, Internet Solutions, IST Telekom, LapSafe, Leaf Wireless, Learning Channel, Learnthings Africa, Lexmark, Matlhale Solutions, Multisource, Partners in Learning, Plato Learning, Scadsys and SchoolNet South Africa.