The Zoe Trust together with their partners sponsored the establishment of Misty Meadows School’s computer facilities in 2017. This included the purchase of 5 laptops, desks and chairs, as well as the installation of an Internet connection. Over the subsequent four years The Zoe Trust has continued to fund our school’s Internet connection and data.
In 2021, The Zoe Trust facilitated the donation of a further 10 computers from HP South Africa as a result of the Trust’s relationship with Isabella Phoenix. These computers arrived at Misty Meadows in June 2021 and are used extensively for a wide range of activities from working on online curricula like the GED, to researching as part of learning inquiries, to watching how-to tutorials for many practical projects on You Tube.
Our school’s education philosophy is about enabling learning in as many ways as possible for the children in our community. Our school benefits from being situated on a farm with amazing access to the natural world and practical activities like farming, gardening, and workshop (carpentry). However, the downside of being situated in rural KwaZulu-Natal is that we are physically isolated from the “big wide world” beyond our community. Many families do not have access to transport and many of the children attending our school have never travelled further than our nearest city, Pietermaritzburg, which is 45km away. The only way for our students to connect to the wider world is thus through technology. In addition, online resources massively increase our teachers’ ability to prepare quality lessons by leveraging off the global best demonstrated practice that is available online. Thirdly, our students are able to practice their research skills so much more effectively with access to the Internet and a global virtual library of resources far more amazing than any paper-based resources we have at our disposal at our school.
With The Zoe Trust’s support we have been able to incorporate inquiry-based lessons into our school curriculum, using the laptops and Internet as their tools to access information. We have witnessed huge strides forward in the children’s abilities to access and filter information, and to convert their research into quality feedback for their class. In addition, the children have begun to explore how to use technology to communicate with others beyond our ecosystem (email, Whatsapp, YouTube, social media, videography), as well as to create their own digital content. We also have, for the first time, have children who have chosen to write online exams – six of them are in the process of writing the GED.