Creating Elastic Classrooms to Bridge the Digital Divide

As the Internet has developed, especially with social media and cloud computing, it has become possible to supercharge education with web-based platforms that create ‘elastic classrooms’. This creates the ideal environment to take specialised skills development into communities previously without access to this kind of information. The GROW Academy has partnered with GetSmarter, and has begun facilitating the Internet Super User Course for GROW Academy students.

 For the first time, university accredited online education is being taken to disadvantaged communities through the GROW Academy, with the goal of bringing digital literacy to people previously without access to this training.

“The lasting impact of this education is much greater in impoverished communities than in the formal sector. With so many matriculants in South Africa without access to tertiary level education and the skills required to become effective members of the workforce, initiatives like the GROW Academy are essential to help bridge the digital divide and create jobs. This is why GetSmarter is so passionate about our partnership with GROW Academy” says Rob Paddock, managing director at GetSmarter.

Using the GetSmarter model and web-based training platform, it is possible to track a student’s progress, right down to the time spent accessing the course’s web-based platform. Course facilitators are able to stay in touch with students and recommend which tasks to complete and can also identify when a student is experiencing a problem. This kind of hands-on facilitation creates an ‘elastic classroom’ environment, where the flexibility of online training is combined with the high-touch support and structure found in the traditional classroom environment.

The benefits of using the GetSmarter Internet Super-User Course include:

  • Accreditation with the University of Cape Town;
  • Interaction with other students to share knowledge;
  • Regular assessments to ensure continuous development;
  • Access to a course expert;
  • Reactive and proactive support provided by a course administrator.

The goal is to bring a standardised level of Internet literacy to the GROW Academy students. This will create a knowledge platform where graduates of the Internet Super User course will then be able to participate in further specialised training provided by the GROW Academy in social media, search engine optimisation, web development and web-based fundraising and campaign management. Following this, successful graduates are integrated into the working world through apprenticeships at nonprofit organisations. Once they are ready for work, the GROW Academy graduates are introduced to companies in the corporate sector where they may apply for internships.

About GROW Academy:

The GROW Academy is an initiative founded through collaboration by WooThemes, WebGrowth, RLabs, Silulo Ulutho Technologies, Get Smarter and the GivenGain Foundation, South Africa.

For more information contact:

Claire Le Grange
DUO Marketing + Communications
Tel: 021 683 8223
Cell: 076 174 1707

Judith Middleton
Tel: 021 683 8223
Cell: 082 889 5301

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Date published: 
Wednesday, 26 October, 2011
GROW Academy

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