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Coronavirus

Some amazing FREE resources and webinars to join this month

By | Coding, Coronavirus, Diagnostic assessment, Maths, Microsoft MTA, South Africa shutdown, Tutoring | No Comments

Some amazing FREE resources and webinars to join this month

At Brighter Futures we are planning the following to help you keep abreast of the 4iR and your maths academics:

  1. Free maths diagnostic assessments

    Free maths diagnostic assessments with support resources for Grade 8-12 learners. A Term 1, Term 2 and Term 3 assessment will be available online from 13 April onwards so every learner can see if they are on track or where their weak areas are that need extra support. After completing the diagnostic, learners will receive a detailed report that breaks down (1) their mark for each maths section (2) where they need to improve (3) some additional free resources to support their next steps.

    Hopefully this information will keep our teens from their TV screens a little longer 🙂. To request access – click here.


  2. Free Excel Masterclass Webinar – Wed 22 Apr

    We will be hosting a free Excel Masterclass via Webinar on Wednesday 22 April from 2-4pm for those wanting to use the time at home to upskill themselves for their future work and career.

    We’ll be covering some of the following:

    • Manipulating worksheet data, searching worksheet data and modifying Rows and columns.
    • Using functions to calculate data in a worksheet.
    • Filtering, sorting and analysing data using slicers.
    • Presenting data using pivot tables and charts
    • Using and creating Macros and VBA
    • and more…

    Spaces are limited to 30. To book your spot – click here.


  3. Free Intro to Coding Masterclass – Sat 2 May

    We will be hosting a free Intro to Coding Masterclass via Webinar on Saturday 2 May from 2-4pm for those wanting to use the time at home to upskill themselves to be ready for the 4th Industrial Revolution.

    We’ll be covering some of the following:

    • How programming works, the logic and framework
    • Introduce the programming steps in order to create a basic mobile app
    • The benefits of programming and what it enables you to do…
    • and more…

    Spaces are limited to 30. To book your spot – click here.

 

We hope to see you (virtually) soon!

How to stay sane in the Covid-19 Lockdown

By | Business, Coronavirus, South Africa shutdown, Tutoring | No Comments

How to stay sane in the Covid-19 Lockdown

I assume you’re feeling just as worried and uncertain about how things will roll-out as I am. As a mother of 2 younger children – balancing running a company alongside keeping my kids fed, occupied and minimising screen-time – leaves me feeling frazzled at the end of the day. 

So what should we be doing? What’s going to happen? 

I don’t have the answers, but some things I feel fairly certain about: 

    • Shops should get their stock levels right again in a week or so, even if it means limiting people’s bulk buying. Once the shock of lockdown reduces – grocery stores will better predict their stock needs. We saw this happening after the initial shut-down. Let’s not panic.  
    • Schools are unlikely to go back on 14 April as announced last week. We’re thinking the best outcome is May or June, and June holidays will be used as catch-up time. This means finding solutions that keep your kids learning remotely while not requiring too much from you, the parent, is going to be key. A number of free resources and links are included below – each of them vetted by us as appropriate and enriching.  
    • Our kids will be bored at home – and that’s ok. If they have siblings, here is the time for collaborative projects around the house and innovative problem solving – building those 4iR skills we keep on hearing about. Screen-time can be the reward, not the entitlement. 
    • Screens are also ok, just try to limit them somewhat. We’re all stressed and feeling the looming cabin-fever that’s almost here. Some good ‘ol escapist tv or games is understandable.
    • Exercise will be tough to achieve. Why not do a group exercise class using Youtube every morning with your teenage kids? Google “20 minute workout” or “30 minute yoga” and you’ll be amazed at the choice. 

 

 

 

It’s not going to be easy, but this lockdown will become the new normal eventually. Let’s look for the silver linings – like more family time, less traffic and a general slowing down of life – so that we’re not drowning in the negatives. Bill Gates has some really great insights here to hopefully inspire you….read more

Stay safe and warm. 

Joanne – MD Brighter Futures



Free resources across the curriculum: 

  • This Google Doc has a really extensive list of maths, science, technology, music/arts, virtual tours (museums, zoos etc), mind/body links. It’s US based, so check the ages to make sure it’s the right level for your teenagers.  
  • Mindset Learn – is a great bank of SA aligned videos and resources for all subjects and grades.   
  • Google Arts and Culture – really amazing neverending educational videos on topics ranging from our universe to Kenyan superheroes. Check it out.
  • Ted-Ed – very inspiring videos on all subjects 

Free Maths resources 

  • Brighter Futures maths resources – past papers for all grades, worksheets, plus Gr10-12 videos on the entire curriculum, along with a maths book with tons of extra practice questions. 
  • www.siyavula.com – CAPS and IEB aligned with 1000’s of free exam-level questions for Gr8-12s, with immediate feedback whether your answer is correct or not, with a detailed memo
  • www.khanacademy.com – fantastic videos, worksheets and quizzes for all Grades R-12. The content is not SA curriculum aligned, but mostly US Maths and SA Maths is the same.
  • Math is fun: great interactive questions, with animations. 
  • iPractice maths: great worksheets and interactive questions for all grades

Free coding resources

  • https://code.org/ – why not get your kids to learn basic coding while they’re cooped up at home. This is a skill that will help them become more employable after high school. 
  • Minecraft education – really great way to learn block-based basic coding while solving problems along the way. 

Free STEM resources

  • Learn Genetics – if you’re interested in genetics and biology, this site lets you explore and learn via video and interactive lessons. 
  • STEM simulations: really great simulations in STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths). 

 

Bill Gates response to Covid-19

By | Business, Computer Science, Coronavirus, Food for thought, South Africa shutdown | 3 Comments

What is the Corona/ Covid-19 Virus Really Teaching us?

BILL GATES:
I’m a strong believer that there is a spiritual purpose behind everything that happens, whether that is what we perceive as being good or being bad.

As I meditate upon this, I want to share with you what I feel the Corona/ Covid-19 virus is really doing to us:

1) It is reminding us that we are all equal, regardless of our culture, religion, occupation, financial situation or how famous we are. This disease treats us all equally, perhaps we should to. If you don’t believe me,
just ask Tom Hanks.

2) It is reminding us that we are all connected and something that affects one person has an effect on another. It is reminding us that the false borders that we have put up have little value as this virus does not need a passport. It is reminding us, by oppressing us for a short time, of those in this world whose whole life is spent in oppression.

3) It is reminding us of how precious our health is and how we have moved to neglect it through eating nutrient poor manufactured food and drinking water that is contaminated with chemicals upon chemicals. If we don’t look after our health, we will, of course, get sick.

4) It is reminding us of the shortness of life and of what is most important for us to do, which is to help each other, especially those who are old or sick. Our purpose is not to buy toilet roll.

5) It is reminding us of how materialistic our society has become and how, when in times of difficulty, we remember that it’s the essentials that we need (food, water, medicine)
as opposed to the luxuries that we sometimes unnecessarily give value to.

6) It is reminding us of how important our family and home life is and how much we have neglected this. It is forcing us back into our houses so we can rebuild them into our home and
to strengthen our family unit.

7) It is reminding us that our true work is not our job, that is what we do, not what we were created to do.
Our true work is to look after each other, to protect each other and to be of benefit to one another.

8) It is reminding us to keep our egos in check. It is reminding us that no matter how great we think we are or how great others think we are,
a virus can bring our world to a standstill.

9) It is reminding us that the power of freewill is in our hands. We can choose to cooperate and help each other, to share, to give, to help and to support each other or we can choose to be selfish, to hoard, to look after
only our self. Indeed, it is difficulties that bring out our true colors.

10) It is reminding us that we can be patient, or we can panic. We can either understand that this type of situation has happened many times before in history and will pass, or we can panic and see it as the end of the world and, consequently, cause ourselves more harm than good.

11) It is reminding us that this can either be an end or a new beginning. This can be a time of reflection and understanding, where we learn from our mistakes, or it can be the start of a cycle which will continue until we finally learn the lesson we are meant to.

12) It is reminding us that this Earth is sick. It is reminding us that we need to look at the rate of deforestation just as urgently as we look at the speed at which toilet rolls are disappearing off of shelves. We are sick because our home is sick.

13) It is reminding us that after every difficulty, there is always ease. Life is cyclical, and this is just a phase in this great cycle. We do not need to panic; this too shall pass.

14) Whereas many see the Corona/ Covid-19 virus as a great disaster, I prefer to see it as a great corrector

It is sent to remind us of the important lessons that we seem to have forgotten and it is up to us if we will learn them or not.

Covid-19 response

By | Business, Coronavirus, South Africa shutdown, Tutoring | No Comments

How to stay sane in Covid-19 times?

Parents are feeling scared and uncertain about what to do in this pandemic. In terms of Maslows Hierarchy of needs – we first want to ensure we can feed our families – hence the panic buying and stock-outs of non-perishables. That’s also our way of feeling a little more in control. One proactive thing we can do.

But the questions around our jobs and our kids schooling – those are much harder to manage with retail therapy.

Working from home with little or big kids self isolating is a challenge to say the least. Firstly, maintaining productivity and motivation without the connection and bouncing of ideas we get from colleagues. Virtual meeting rooms don’t quite give the same experience. A mix of group meetings via video platforms like Microsoft’s Teams, Google Meet or Cisco’s Webex combined with individual phone calls to get the deeper connections we need as humans seems to be working  for us at Brighter Futures. Combined with cloud-based working – so that all team members can work together on one document and see each other’s changes in real-time – feels more collaborative.

Secondly balancing home and kid demands along with work demands is a tight-rope walk for sure. Parents with teenagers are luckier – but you’re still likely asking yourself whether your kids are getting outside enough, connecting with friends enough, doing something productive enough besides just binge-watching TV or game-consols.

Schooling questions are tough. On the one hand it’s supposed to be holidays for most of us now anyway. But we’re not able to go away or go out – which means kids are home spending way too much time in front of screens, especially since many of us are balancing working from home along with parenting. For those who have moved onto virtual classrooms with your schools – the experience is obviously not as satisfying as the physical experience – leaving you feeling concerned about how kids will keep up.

Let’s give ourselves a break. It’s ok for your kids to escape a bit into the world of digital entertainment more than they should – quite frankly we’d all love to as well. If this shutdown continues – we’ll find our groove, our schedule, our mix of entertainment vs productivity. It’s more fluid. Not a definite start and end time to work or school like we’re used to. But we have time to figure it out, what works for our individual family.

As Bill Gates said in his lovely article – “this too shall pass”.

At Brighter Futures – we’ll be sending out a weekly digest with relevant resources (for your kids) and articles (for you) that our team have pulled together. Watch this space and hang in there. You’re doing all that you can.

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