The University of Florida, Pathway to purpose, advanced leadership cohort, developed an E-service learning project and involved 21 Grade 7 learners from 4 primary schools in Mamelodi. The learners represent Mogale Primary School, N’Wa Vanagni Primary School, Bajabulilel Primary School and Ramahale Primary School. Under the leadership of Ms Manda Wittebort, Programme Coordinator at the David and Wanda Brown Centre for Leadership and Service at the University of Florida, the project entailed an hour-long session where information was shared about the University of Florida and the State of Florida.
The learners had the opportunity to inform the American students about their country, city and culture. The project aimed to allow the learners to develop basic computer skills have the opportunity to engage with students in another country and improve their perspective of a foreign country. The USA students used ZOOM to engage with the learners, which was a new experience for the majority of the learners.
Dr Martina Jordaan, Head Community engagement on the Mamelodi campus who facilitated the process, indicates, “The previous day we taught the learners how to use Zoom, use a keyboard and mouse. It was the first experience for all the learners to use an online synchronous communication tool. The learners were thrilled to have the opportunity to be taught by international students online.” The learners reflected that they enjoyed using Zoom and that they were excited that they were able to apply their new computer skills.
As a result of the short interaction, the facilitators realised that they could successfully implement similar E-service-learning projects and involve different community stakeholders from both countries.