By Amanda Mkhize

Digital acceleration has created an interesting challenge for over 4 million South African children who are being raised by their grandmothers, according to research conducted by goGOGOgo. To ensure that no one gets left behind, Vuma has teamed up with the NGO goGOGOgo to deliver ICT training through the Gogos with Vuma project which is part of Vuma’s continued efforts to narrow the digital – and the intrinsically linked educational – divide in South Africa, by connecting as many South Africans as possible to the opportunities that the internet provides.

“Ama-2000’s can be a handful: if they aren’t preoccupied with videos, you can find them experimenting with creating their own content, sometimes even pulling silly pranks on their Gogos. Love it or hate it, this generation is brave and fearless. However, there are many things they could be learning from being online, apart from spending hours watching TikToks,” says Gogo Dudu Machete, a 70-year grandmother from Alexandra and a beneficiary of the goGOGOgo programme.

Through access to the internet, and with smartphones and tablets being more readily available, access to educational resources and tools is a game-changer for learners allowing learners to connect with their teachers and to simplify complex subjects into easy-to-understand terms.

“Despite being light years ahead of their grandmothers in the adoption and use of technology, when it comes to homework and exam preparation, this is a terrain that caregivers – including grandmothers, still need to navigate and provide guidance on,” Gogo Dudu adds. Therefore, despite all of their capabilities as highly respected advisers to the younger generation, trying to cope with the new concepts that children learn in school can become overwhelming.

“Keeping up with educational trends can be challenging for most parents, more so for South African Gogos. However, countless easy-to-use online tools can empower these phenomenal women to help their grandchildren overcome any learning challenges they may face inside and outside the classroom, and we’re proud to be able to bridge that gap through ICT training,” says Jane Simmonds, goGOGOgo Founder.

No matter what grade they’re in, consider using these online tools to help your grandchildren learn more effectively at home:

Use YouTube to access online lessons

The internet has countless valuable and exciting tools connecting your grandchild to online lessons on various subjects. One such tool is YouTube, a free video-streaming webpage that will allow you to find educational videos that will help you simplify complex concepts for your grandchild.

You only need a smartphone or tablet to help your grandchild access daily live-streamed lessons and online tutorials, no matter their grade.

Keep in touch with teachers and loved ones over WhatsApp

WhatsApp allows you to do much more than keep up with what’s happening with the Khumalos next door and forward those popular good morning picture messages and videos.

You can also use the platform to communicate with your grandchild’s teachers easily. This will let you find out what homework your little ones have when they return from school or even get timely reminders or notifications about upcoming exams and project due dates. In addition, because WhatsApp supports free voice and video calls, you can also help your grandchild get extra lessons from their teacher or get help on any subject they might be stuck on.

Use Google to find information on any subject

With Google being the gateway to a range of tools to help simplify the learning process for your grandchild, Gogos can draw information from online research and past exam papers with ease, no matter how difficult the subject is. Among Google’s many resources available to anyone include up-to-date maps, access to spreadsheets and documents, and even allows users to take a virtual flight to any location across the globe through Google Earth.

“Thanks to the internet, teaching my grandchildren has never been easier. I’ve been able to help them with their school projects and school work by using Google to find whatever they need to know. Just like Vuma is doing, we are challenging other corporates to sponsor more Gogos to participate in the programme,” says Gogo Dudu.

“Technology has the power to change lives, allowing both young and old to access a world of digital opportunities,” says Taylor Kwong, CSI Manager at Vuma. “That’s why we continue to uplift communities through fibre infrastructure – and more importantly the opportunities that this technology enables – empowering ordinary people to be extraordinary through the boundless capabilities that are unlocked with abundant connectivity..”

With the help of technology and a strong, reliable connection, you can connect your grandchild to better and simpler learning methods at home and put valuable information and knowledge at their fingertips.

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