“If we want all the children of South Africa to have access to quality education, it implies that they should have access to technology to enable this engagement.”

Interview with Andre Christian, Education Business Development Manager at Intel, African EduWeek diamond sponsor.

a.  What Intel products and services are you most excited about at the moment?
On the product side of things we are definitely excited about the Intel reference design 10″ tablet, because it comes with added features such as a clip-on magnification lens and plug-in thermal probe that enables students to do scientific experiments. This device is also the most rugged tablet available in the market today, when you are looking at tablets that have been purpose built as an educational tool.

Another equally exciting development that may turn out to be our most exciting product this year is the 2-in-1 Windows-based device, which is a fully featured tablet for when you need to consume multimedia and turns into a laptop for when you need to create content. This device also comes with lots of value added software.

b.  What do you believe is the secret to Intel’s success?
Being able to work across brands and enable a supportive ecosystem to bring capable education solutions to the market, where all involved experience value, in other words win-win solutions. The unique design and features of our devices that have been specifically built for Education. Intel’s Education transformation focuses on delivering a quality education that increases student success. This goal speaks to everyone from government leaders and NGOs through to local communities, educators, students, and parents.

c.  Any specific success story/projects that you would like to highlight?
We have many projects we are very proud, projects that are making a real impact to students and teachers across the country. The one thing we would like to mention is the newly launched Intel Explore and Learn app. Intel South Africa launched Intel Explore and Learn Marketplace in November of last year, this new education solution provides access to a vast repository of free and low-cost digital text books and interactive learning resources to all South African teachers and students – from GR0 to adult- students completing their MBAs.

For more information visit: http://www.intel.co.za/content/www/za/en/education/exploreandlearn.html

d.  What specific opportunities do you see in South Africa?  And Africa?
Africans, without a doubt, understand the value of a good education. This acceptance of education, allows for a market with a willing attitude to embrace technology in education.

There is still a need across the continent for affordable, high- quality education technology solutions in schools. There is a need to ensure teachers are able, skilled and confident to teach using this technology.

e.  What is your vision for technology in education?
Integrating technology into teaching and learning has the potential to enable equal access to quality education resources. If we want all the children of South Africa to have access to quality education, it implies that they should have access to technology to enable this engagement.

f.  What surprises you about this sector?
How the advancement of technology leads to the progression of the educational system. Put in context, it is just interesting how technology integration into schools evolved over the past 10 years or so. The first desktop PCs were delivered at the schools to replace the secretary’s typewriter. At that stage no one thought that this would ever be a device that could enable education, as it was all about the specs (CPU, RAM etc.) of the device at the time, and not about the content PCs enable users to access and create…the landscape and adoption is constantly changing.

g.  Why did you decide to partner with EduWeek?
EduWeek is the biggest event in Africa with regards to Education. It incorporates all the segments dealing with Education into one conference.

h.  What will be your message at EduWeek in July?
Our message will be that education transformation is inevitable and that there is no right timing to integrate technology into the classroom, as waiting for the right moment might lead to you falling behind.

With regard to government, our message will be that Intel Education shares practical materials and resources to help government and leaders within the education sphere refine their vision of success, develop practical strategies for achieving it, and plan a realistic budget. This will help to maximise the value of investments made in education transformation. We help clients think about where they would like their country, province, or school to go and how education fits into that picture. We can provide resources or lead workshops to help customers develop a roadmap for achieving their objectives over the short and long term.

i.  Anything you would like to add?
Twenty-first century learning works best with full-featured platforms based on Intel architecture. The latest Intel-based products are designed to deliver performance, security, manageability, and connectivity. Intel Education Solutions seamlessly integrate into the classroom, so teachers have more time to focus on student achievement.

More than 10 million students are using Intel-based platforms and Intel Education Solutions to improve teaching and learning around the world. Intel Education Solutions are designed around ethnographic and other research. By using many of the same technologies that power the business and government operations around the globe, Intel Education Solutions empower students with practical skills and experience that helps them transition to the job market, advance innovation, and lead their society in the global economy. Intel architecture products make it easy for educators to integrate infrastructure, software, and peripherals into the classroom. They are full-featured solutions that support the development of 21st century skills anywhere, anytime and also provide manageability as well as security to keep students safe.

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