Learners go high-tech

Two primary school girls have confirmed that digital intelligence and creativity are synonomous with the post-millenium generation.

Gilla Mackinnon and Emily-Rose Steyn – learners at St James Preparatory School in Kensington, east Johannesburg – beat their peers in the annual Apple iLife competition, which drew 63 entries from KwaZulu-Natal, Gauteng and the Western Cape.

The competition offers learners a platform through which they can explore Apple applications and tools, while transforming class projects into movies, photo books or podcasts. These presentations can be used as “resources for their peers”.

Mackinnon and Steyn entered a presentation titled “Elements and Principles of Art”.

Tapping into Apple’s range of applications, they used elements such as colour, texture, tone and combinations of shapes and picture manipulation to produce a show explaining art concepts, such as vertical and horizontal lines, space and harmony, and how they are combined in art works.


Apart from enhancing their creative skills through the use of various Apple tools, learners also gained an understanding of the digital world.

The duo were ecstatic about their achievement. “It took us a while to put all this together. But it was an exciting activity that enriched our knowledge and creativity,” said Mackinnon.

Added Steyn: “Sometimes we would come earlier in the morning or leave late after school to try to put in some extra work. I am glad it paid off in the end.”

They were full of praise for their teacher, Ruby Bogaard. In fact, they attributed their victory to her support, commitment and constant guidance.

“She is a friend, teacher and a mother to us. She is always there to lend a hand,” said Mackinnon.

The pair each won an iPod nano and the school won an iMac. Bogaard won a trip to the United Kingdom to take part in a teaching course. Bogaard said she liked the way the iLife suite can be used successfully in any learning area. She said it is versatile – any teacher can adapt it easily for lessons.

“As an art teacher I find it handy, because I am able to access and use elements and themes that are appropriate for my lessons,” she said.

With learners becoming active participants during lessons, iLife features help to stimulate and maintain learner participation throughout the duration of the learning period.

Peter Steyn, principal of St James Preparatory School, was excited about his learners’ achievement. He said Bogaard does a wonderful job of teaching the use of digital tools.

He said his school places emphasis on information and communication technology (ICT). “We do not just see it (ICT) as a stand-alone subject, but as one that can be integrated in all learning areas,” he said.

Rutger-Jan van Spaandonk of Apple said: “Today’s learners live in an ever-changing digital environment and must be engaged in different ways to previous generations. They require a different set of learning tools.”

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