Township schools get 3D whiteboards and glasses for science classes

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The Gauteng Department of Education’s plan to do away with books, pens and chalkboards in every ordinary classroom around the province, is well known. But apparently it’s also begun a trial in two township schools to replace chalkboards with 3D-capable interactive whiteboards.

According to the vendor who has supplied the equipment,  Khulu Business Solutions, the 3D boards – which come with glasses for pupils, just like cinemas and TVs – are planned for wider rollout during the next phase of the classroom digitisation project which began its pilot phase in Soweto in August this year. The vision is for every public school classroom to have an interactive whiteboard for teachers and learner, but some practical lessons in science and biology classes will include 3D technology. The firm says that this could replace some traditional forms of learning, such as animal dissection in grade 10.

The 84inch Khulu 3D Board has interactive LED touch screen panels that learners and teachers tap on to conduct lessons and experiments. Each board is compatible with Windows 7, 8, XP, Vista, Mac OS X and Linux laptops as well as Android 4.3 tablets. It comes with a set of 3D glasses, a manual remote, pre-installed software and touch pens.

Khulu 3D Boards are being piloted at schools including Boitumelong Secondary School, where the paperless classroom’s main launch took place in February this year, and Tlamatlama Primary School. Both are in Tembisa.

“Images help learners memorise their school work better than they would from a book,” Khulu Business Solution’s Kuda Ndebele, explained to in an interview at the Gauteng government’s ICT conference earlier this week, “With the 3D board they get to do everything as if it were real. They can dissect the heart, explore its chambers and so on”.

Khula’s 3D board in action.

Teachers access lesson plans and conduct them from a laptop that’s connected to the board. Learners can also test their knowledge using quizzes on the lessons they’ve learnt.

According to Ndebele, security measures in the 3D boards include an automatic lock feature that secures the boards onto a wall and an installed tracker (which is a separate addition that schools must pay for); each board also weighs around 200 kgs, so it takes a lot of manpower to move it around.

Khulu 3D Boards are expected to begin mass distribution across Gauteng schools in the first half of next year.