Attending the Africa EduTech conference at Emporers Palace on the 19th and 20th May 2021 was refreshing as it was the first face-to-face conference I have attended since before Covid-19.  The small group of delegates (with masks and sanitizer at hand) were excited to share their experiences and spend some time away from the zoom/teams sessions.

The conference started with a look to the future and the exciting developments with a review of the new curriculum of coding and robotics (Karen Walstra).  The curriculum is currently being piloted grades R-3 and grade 7 in 200 schools nationwide.  Following these exciting developments and practical tips on how this will be implemented in the different phases, the delegates shared their experiences faced during the Emergency Remote Teaching and Learning (ERTL) period and reflected on the 2020 experience and the changes that were implemented in their teaching for ERTL 2021.

Privacy and accessibility issues took a back seat in 2020 due to the need to pivot online in such a short period of time. When developing content or training lecturers we highlight the importance of developing content that is accessible to all, as well as encourage flexibility in the way students access content, learning activities and show their mastery of the subject giving all learners equal opportunity to succeed (UDL). Erik Visser shared the latest development of Special Needs Education (SEN). These reinforced the importance of accessibility when developing instructional materials in ERTL 2021.

Jani Prinsloo and I collaborated on our presentation entitled “Using technology to teach 21st-century skills and make them ready for the new world of work”. During our presentation, we shared the categories of these skills (as defined by Briana Stauffer), learning skills, literacy skills, and life skills. Following the discussion about the different 21st-century skills, we shared our experiences of the skill gaps and the lessons learned we have observed and identified during the 2020/2021 pandemic emergency remote teaching period.

Over the two days, I was inspired by the reflection, adaption, and innovation of the educators.  The love for teaching and their passion to see each one of their different students succeed was clearly evident, as they shared and learned from one another.