by Protactic Strategic Communications

A textbook case of an education revolution

The Dramatic, Artistic and Literary Rights Organisation (DALRO), a multi-purpose copyright asset management agency, today launched the DALRO EduPortal, a digital platform on which learners and teachers will be able to access digital text books, study guides, teaching aids and other educational resources across all grades and subjects.

The DALRO EduPortal was developed after research identified a gap in the market for a digital platform that was flexible, relevant and affordable and which worked across multiple platforms such as tablets and laptops.  Whilst the virtual learning environment and open source movement is an emerging trend worldwide and in South Africa, the study found that current product offerings had significant limitations.

“The study found that although the virtual learning environment was developing rapidly, there was still an urgent and growing need for an educational portal that offered quality up-to-date local content from a wide range of content-providers,” said Nothando Migogo MD of DALRO.     “The DALRO EduPortal has been specifically designed to meet these needs.”

The DALRO EduPortal has been targeted initially at independent high schools for the 2013 academic year, with a second phase to be rolled-out to public schools.

The service will operate on an annual subscription basis, whereby schools will purchase digital versions of Curriculum and Assessment Policy Statements (CAPS) approved textbooks that will be accessible online or on an Android-based tablet.  Subscribers will also be able to access an extensive online library of up-to-date content including workbooks and study guides. 

Speaking at the launch, renowned commentator on Information and Communications Technology (ICT) and MD of World Wide Worx, Arthur Goldstuck said the move to electronic resources was a growing international trend.  “Technology is irrevocably and profoundly transforming the education landscape and every educator worth their salt should be embracing change and making digital technology work for them.”  Goldstuck is currently leading World Wide Worx’s groundbreaking research into how ITC change is affecting various institutions in SA.

Through DALRO’s well-established relationships with publishers, subscribers will, for the first time, have access to a comprehensive range of digital material covering all school subjects linked to the Government curriculum.   

DALRO EduPortal subscribers will also get access to updates and new material that will be uploaded as soon as it’s available from the publishers.”

She also said that the cost of the tablet was not a barrier to entry.  “The DALRO EduPortal team has partnered with Wise Tablets to supply a cost-competitive Android-based personal computing device to support the platform; Wise Tablets launched the country’s first locally designed tablet earlier this year.
“Digital textbooks aren’t just a boost for progressive education; they will provide a much-needed boost for the local economy too,” she said.

Over 30 representatives from independent high schools around the country as well as representatives from the Department of Education attended Wednesday’s launch to hear about how the digital education revolution is improving education outcomes, how students are more engaged and more motivated when using tablets at school and how teachers report that the use of technology is improving their effectiveness as teachers.

“The DALRO EduPortal is a practical, everyday resource and offers South African schools what many modern education systems around the world already have – and that is digital technology as an enabler for both learning and teaching,” Migogo added.  
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Issue 58