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R100 000 Old Mutual Sisonke Award – Grand Prize Winner

 JumpStart’s Team Lead for the Robotics & Coding programme, Daniella Lekgau, has done us proud by winning the Old Mutual Sisonke Award! Before hearing about this competition, Daniella wasn’t aware that videography was in her skill set! Nor did she anticipate that her efforts would land us the R100 000 prize…  Local heroes Driving home listening to Radio 702 Azania Mosaka came on air with Thobile Tshabalala (Head of Brand at Old Mutual). The #Sisonke  Award was inviting entries from people and projects making a difference under the hardship of the pandemic. Ms Tshabalala explained that the Sisonke Award sought stories told by local heroes in African societies. They wished to highlight people who overcame their adversities and and projects that made life easier and more bearable for those in their communities. The campaign ran in Malawi, Kenya, Zimbabwe and South Africa. Themes of hope, perseverance, innovation, and the will to overcome life challenges […]

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International Day of Mathematics with robotics and coding

Whether you call it Pi Day or International Day of Mathematics, maths fundis around the world let their hair down in celebration. In the third month, on the fourteenth day, and at the fifteenth hour the numbers align as 3.1415! Some folk celebrate quite literally, by eating “pies”. Pi (as represented by the lower-case Greek letter π) is one of the most well-known mathematical constants. It is the ratio of a circle’s circumference to its diameter – hence the choice of a nice round pie. Those with a tooth for maths can dig right in! Here in South Africa, the JumpStart Robotics & Coding team examines instead the circular wheel of a robot used to teach a love of mathematics. From Pi Day to International Day of Mathematics Back in 1988 the American physicist, Larry Shaw, organised a celebratory event at the San Francisco Exploratorium on this day, which also happens to be Albert Einstein’s […]

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“Kasi kids” building robots feature in Mail & Guardian

JumpStart’s robotics and coding programme was featured in the Mail & Guardian as 2020 came to a close. Journalist, Khaya Koko, took an interest in the programme and interviewed Daniella Lekgau, who is the Robotics & Coding Project Manager who successfully took the project online during lockdown. He wrote a comprehensive article about the Grade 5, 6 and 7 learners attending primary schools in Katlehong who have been learning these exciting skills: Township children are being primed to participate in the artificial intelligence industries of the future through an extramural robotics and coding programme that rivals those at private schools. More than 60 children in grades five to seven at nine primary schools in Katlehong, Gauteng, have, since 2016, been part of a programme facilitated by the JumpStart Foundation, which aims to “transform underperforming classrooms into centres of maths and science excellence”, according to its website. According to a report by India-based research firm Markets and […]

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Daniella Lekgau

JumpStart Robotics and Coding goes virtual with Daniella Lekgau

Imagine lifting the lid on the future of Grade 6 and 7 learners. Imagine intermediate phase learners grasping that they have a unique opportunity to do learn the skills that could give them meaningful and exciting work as adults. Daniella Lekgau, Project Manager of JumpStart Robotics Labs, has a big vision. She has seen how children who learn to build and programme robots have to think through a series of complex and difficult processes. When they struggle to grasp concepts they must endure their own frustration and they develop the skills to work through it and arrive at new solutions. Life skills and learning to code A small group of intermediate phase learners in the Ekurhuleni South Education district have enjoyed learning to code while developing creative thinking skills too. These youngsters have been motivated to study harder through the robotics and coding education, which is also highly enjoyable. Until March this year, this talented […]

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Molefe Skosana

Molefe Skosana’s journey from mentee to mentor

Not many alumni travel through JumpStart and JumpCo Software Labs, but Molefe Skosana is now a software developer for a luxury car manufacturer in Midrand, where he continues developing the skills and building on the knowledge that he gained during his internship. We caught up with him to find out what has changed for him in the interim. Back in 2014 when JumpStart started in Sasolburg, Molefe was a BSc (Computer Science) student at UNISA. He joined the NumberSense team as a tutor and thoroughly enjoyed working at Credo Primary. Steve Mahony recognised his potential and invited him to join the JumpCo software labs. With a StudyAssist bursary from SASOL he continued his degree and his career took off from that point. Molefe Skosana, then and now I live in Kagiso now, but I’m in the process of moving house. At 29, it’s time to become a family man. Looking back to my time in JumpStart, […]

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