Tag Archives: technology

Training in this Economy

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In these uncertain economic times companies tend to bemoan the cost of training courses and the time taken out to complete them (with staff out of the office often for an entire working day), but at Staff Training we believe the overall benefits of skills development far outweigh these complaints.

Of course as a training provider we’re likely to say that, but the benefits speak for themselves…

 

1. Training as a means of Performance Management

When employees are sent on training courses managers become able to hold staff accountable for their individual and team performance. What training does (besides up skill our workers) is provide a baseline for managers to set expectations for their staff, allowing employees’ performance to be managed in a more structured and measurable way.

 

2. Training for Increased Productivity

Staff who are knowledgeable in their field of expertise, are confident in what they are doing and who know how to effectively listen and communicate, tend to operate at a higher level of productivity, motivation and efficiency.

For companies this higher level of individual productivity and efficiency almost always leads to a direct increase in profits and output.

 

3. Training for Staff Retention

Companies who invest in their staff through training experience lower employee turnover.

The reason for this is that staff who are trained are shown that their company values them, thus providing them with a sense of loyalty and belonging. People who feel as though their companies have a vested interest in them as people, and would like to see them perform better at their jobs (and make provision for this through training), typically work harder and are more motivated.

In addition to staff retention, training workshops like Customer Care Training can also be linked to customer retention as employees are better equipped to deal with a myriad of situations more effectively.

 

4. SETA Refunds

Every company that contributes towards the skills development levy (SDL) – which, according to SETA, is, “All employers who are registered with the South African Revenue Service (SARS) for PAYE and have an annual payroll in excess of R500 000” – are entitled to claim back a percentage of the costs of staff training from their SETA.

 

5. Training to Stay Ahead Technologically

We’re living in the digital age and our employees and companies have to keep up with the times or face being left behind. Employees and employers who are able to adapt to the fast-paced changes of the business world have the best chance of success.

Fortunately you don’t have to spend all your time researching new trends and technologies – your training provider will take care of this by incorporating any new developments into their workshops, so all you have to do is attend!

To company profile and course – CLICK HERE

30% discount for Ashridge Executive Masters in Management

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This is a practical qualification that will provide you with deeper understanding of the management practices of leadership, strategy, marketing, finance, technology and innovation, team and change management. The qualification is offered by Ashridge Business School (UK) and is delivered 100% online via a robust learning zone, an online virtual environment packed with learning material from thought leaders, business books, articles, case studies and webinars. It is built around a series of assignments which are related to the participants’ own organisation, delivering immediate benefits to the individual and their organisation.

Target groups: management teams, managerial talent, senior managers & executives

Registrations: The 2013 registrations are already open and ongoing throughout the year. Register now and be eligible for over 30% corporate discounts on your fees. Management teams or other related group registrations also get favourable executive education packages.

For more details to assist in your decision making, kindly email us on consultants@peoplecapabilities.com and we will send you the Executive Masters in Management (eMiM) brochure and the application pack.

The Business School: Established in 1959, Ashridge is one of the world’s leading business schools, with an international reputation for top quality executive education and management development. Activities include open and customised executive education programmes, qualifcation programmes, organisation consulting, virtual learning and applied research. Its approach is practical and results-driven, underpinned by insight and internationally-renowned research based firmly in the real world.

 

To view other courses offered by People Capabilities – Click here

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15 Telling Facts About the App Gap

Kids these days tend to love technology, especially handheld mobile devices that play movies, games, and apps for learning and entertainment. It seems that so many children these days are learning from apps, sometimes even more often than they learn from books. And while some may laud this as a positive trend, there are downsides. Specifically, experts worry about kids that don’t have access to mobile devices with apps, and are concerned that their learning experiences may not be as rich as those who do regularly use mobile devices. This learning lag is what’s know as the “app gap,” the difference between the education of kids who can afford iPhones, and kids who can’t. But at the same time, apps and screen time may not be doing affluent children any favors. Sure, they teach motor skills, words, math, and even foreign languages, but the official word thus far is that they’re not actually helpful, and spending too much time engaged with a screen, whether it’s a TV, computer, or iPad, can actually be harmful to child development and learning. Read on, and we’ll take a look at facts about the app gap, screen time for children, and technology in education at large.

 

 

 

1. Affluent families are far more likely to download specialty apps for kids

Although apps on mobile devices can be educational for children, not all kids have access to them, and typically, low income children are left out. In families with incomes over $75,000, almost half of them download apps for their young children, but in lower-earning families with incomes of $30,000 or less, only one in eight downloaded apps. That means low income children may be missing out on educational resources that might help them in the future. Some schools are adopting iPads and other mobile devices for learning, but they are not yet prevalent, leaving students without the means for mobile learning in the dark.

2. The American Academy of Pediatrics does not recommend apps for young children

Experts and parents worry about the possibility of low income students being left behind while rich kids learn from their iPads, but this disparity may actually be doing them a favor. Although parents are often quick to hand over their iDevices on demand, the AAP recommends that children under the age of two do not experience any “screen time.” This includes iPhones, iPads, and other devices, even if they do offer educational apps. According to the AAP, children over the age of two should not have more than one to two hours of screen time each day, and it should be broken up into half hour intervals.

3. Many low-income parents don’t even know what an app is

For many moderate to high income parents and kids, apps are a fact of daily life, whether they are for email, entertainment, or learning. But in lower income brackets, apps are a mystery that both parents and kids are clueless about. In a recent study, more than a third of low-income parents did not know what an “app” was. For kids, this means that they can’t benefit from something their parents aren’t even aware of.

4. There’s a gap between screen time and reading in young children

Screen time, whether it’s from mobile devices, computers, or TV all adds up throughout the day. And although some of this time may be touted and accepted by many as educational, in practice it’s often taking the place of a more valuable learning tool: reading. Screen media use in children often dwarfs that of reading time. Even in infants and toddlers, kids typically spend over twice as much time watching DVDs and TV as they do being read to or reading independently.

5. The iPad has been called “Children’s Toy of the Year”

The iPad is so popular for kids in entertainment, learning, and let’s face it: distraction, PC World once referred to it as the “Children’s Toy of the Year.” The magazine highlighted how naturally kids seem to gravitate to the iPhone and iPad user interface, and somehow immediately know what to do with it. That means it has the potential to be a great tool for educational learning, giving kids an attractive toy to play with and learn from. And as PC World has pointed out, it’s a substitute for DVD entertainment in cars, as kids can change apps and watch movies independently, a use that’s perhaps more developmentally beneficial than watching TV.

6.  App use is not as prevalent as you might think

News articles and YouTube videos might have you believe that practically every kid in the developed world is walking around with their own mobile device in their pockets. And although parents (and kids) are increasingly adopting iPhones and iPads, statistics indicate that their use may not be as widespread as it seems. Or at least, kids aren’t using them day in and day out. Each day, just 11% of 0-eight-year-olds use a smartphone, iPod or similar device for apps, games, videos, and entertainment. And even when they’re doing so, they don’t actually spend that much time doing it, with the average amount of usage time coming in at 43 minutes a day.

7. Some parents may not be paying attention to what their kids are doing on their iPhones

Aside from the obvious cost to own an iPhone and maintain a data plan, there may be another reason low income parents don’t typically download apps for their kids: the hidden cost. Parents may not be paying a lot of attention to the apps they’re downloading for kids, and without careful supervision (or disconnection from a data plan or WiFi), kids can rack up hundreds, even thousands of charges from the app store and even in-app purchases. One article from MSNBC highlights the stories of boys who “$52 buying virtual coins to play with dolphins in an iPhone game,” and a young girl who ran up a whopping $1,400 bill on iTunes for “Smurfberries.” The parents of these children had no idea the purchases were made until they noticed them on their credit card statements.

8. More kids have mobile devices than ever before

Although the American Academy of Pediatrics does not recommend regular screen time for children, young kids are spending more time than ever in front of screens. And although TV makes up a lot of that time, mobile devices do to. In fact, according to studies, half of children under eight have access to a mobile device, including iPods, iPads, and iPhones.

9. Doctors aren’t talking about screen time with parents

Mobile device use and apps are prevalent, and although they’re certainly coming up as a topic of discussion in mom groups, it doesn’t seem like it’s coming up in doctor’s offices. In fact, reports indicate that just 14% of doctors have ever discussed media use with parents of children two and younger.

10. Children now are more likely to own a mobile phone than a book

Although some apps include books gone interactive, it seems like mobile devices and their apps may be replacing books as handheld entertainment for children. In a study by the National Literacy Trust, it was shown that nearly nine in ten students have a mobile phone, but less than 75% of kids have their won books at home. While apps may be educational, they can’t take the place of books, and parents would do well to either provide books or visit the library to get books for kids to read in place of using apps.

11. Older kids typically prefer digital distractions over books

The iPhone has only been around since 2007, not long enough to have an incredible impact on the development of older kids from birth. But still, even in older childhood, digital distractions are increasingly popular for kids. And although phones with apps and even computers can be educational, they’re not always used that way, much to the detriment of students’ education. In a New York Times article, one student was only able to finish 43 pages of a summer reading assignment, one that he should have finished in less than two months, but instead preferring to “get a whole story in six minutes” from YouTube.

12. Low income kids do often have access to computers, however

Although some worry about the app gap leaving low income students behind as higher income students are able to learn and play on the go, the fact is that digital learning resources are typically available to most students who want them. Schools may not be full of iPads for every student, but most children do have access to a computer at home, often at home: 72% of children eight and under have a computer they can use at home, including 48% of low income families. Educational computer games, apps, and learning websites can be utilized on computers as well as mobile devices, so the app gap may not be as worrisome as it seems.

13. Kids frequently use computers

Even as mobile device use grows, computers remain a popular device for children. For the average child, computer use begins around age three, earlier than even public school. And although kids that age may not be using a computer every day, that number grows with age. At ages two to four, about 12% of kids used a computer each day, and 24% used a computer at least once a week. By age five to eight, 22% of kids typically use a computer each day.

14. Most iPhone moms will let their kids use them

It’s not surprising that lots of parents with iPhones allow their children to play with them. Most kids recognize the phone as a fun toy and will often demand or simply take it to play with, even if parents are a little wary about handing over an expensive piece of hardware to a tiny master of destruction. In fact, more than 59% of US moms with iPhones will let their children use the device, and of these, 61% with download apps, games, and other entertainment just for their kids to use.

15. There are far more important gaps to worry about

The app gap, and its possible result of disparity of education between kids who have apps, and those who don’t, is a seemingly small inequality that may or may not have any merit at all. Educational DVDs, computer programs, and apps may be helpful, or they may not, and they all add up to screen time, which the American Academy of Pediatrics does not recommend for children under the age of two, and recommends limited use for older kids. Still, poor children have much more to worry about, including gaps in nutrition, health care, and even availability the simplest of electronic learning devices, all of which can affect achievement much more than the latest iPhone game for kids.

 

Source: onlinecolleges.net

 

SA to boost science centres

Science and Technology Minister Naledi Pandor has committed to increase the number of science centres in the country in an attempt to assist the youth “reach their full potential in the learning environment.”

Pandor opened and addressed the 6th Science Centre World Congress in Cape Town.

“We believe that science centres are among the most efficient methods accessible to assist our youth attain their full potential in an informal learning environment. There is no doubt that a network of science centres would most likely unleash the potential of millions of young African people, and promote science awareness on a continent that is swiftly adopting the digital age.

 

Science and Technology Minister, Naledi Pandor

 

“We also value the purpose that science centres perform in teacher empowerment and in training mathematics, science and technology teachers relating to the ideal way to bring their subjects to life in the classroom. Science centres can in addition play a significant role in encouraging the youth to follow careers in science and technology, and to know which career path would be most suitable,” the minister said.

She stated the centres would be perfect for the development of “effective” outreach programmes, targeted at peri-urban and rural areas where they could offer “valuable services.”

At present, the country had 26 science centres in eight provinces and the plan was to increase the this figure.

 

 

She said that there were five key areas of public investment in sciences in South Africa which includes investment opportunities in space science and technology, biotechnology, building indigenous knowledge and technology connected with global warming.

The Science and Technology Department had created the South African Agency for Science and Technology Advancement (SAASTA) to put into practice the policies of the department, and to undertake science awareness programmes of their own.

She pointed out that SA was willing to share with other African governments and non-profit organisations “the experience that we have gained in putting together and implementing policies that promote science-centre development in our region.”

 

 

The well-attended conference is being held under the theme “Science Across Cultures” and is scheduled to run for the next four days at the Cape Town International Convention Centre, the summit will have many exhibitions and is bound to be propelled by robust debate and discussions.

Source: BuaNews

Google nurtures South African talent

South Africa’s IT gurus will ultimately get the opportunity to become a component of the worldwide technological community subsequent to Google unveiling the establishment of its cutting edge technology start-up incubator in Cape Town.

The world’s number one online company has asked tech innovators residing in South Africa to participate in their six-month Umbono programme, a new pilot programme for Google that will, if successful, be carried out in other countries.

The programme is going to act as a springboard when it comes to tech entrepreneurs, transforming their computer- or mobile-based creative ideas directly into business enterprises.

Umbono (isiZulu, meaning “vision” or “idea”) will give successful applicants with approximately R173 000 (US$25 000) and R346 000 ($50 000) in equity start up funds, in addition to free work space at Hub Cape Town, business training, free bandwidth, mentorship as well as the means to access expertise, networking and marketing events to assist the participant grow and develop.

As reported by a Google press release, the programme’s main focus is to encourage and support growth throughout the South African developer community. Google is at the same time attempting to make the internet available to a lot more people in Africa as a result of this programme.

The selected groups definitely will reap the benefits of a mentor base consisting of local and international industry professionals. Team members will have to be in a position to legally live and work in South Africa to be able to be eligible.

Umbono’s programme manager Johanna Kollar explained the mentor base is an essential component of the initiative. Industry professionals will offer assistance and guidance on subject areas including product design, commercialisation, legal incorporation and valuation.

Kollar added the fact that experts, whom she refers to as Googlers, are going to take part on a volunteer basis.

“Our Googlers coming from all over the world, who will be volunteering their time, are generally enthusiastic about technology in Africa and will also be in a position to give support to teams with the issues they encounter, whether it be relating to product, business or technical front,” she explained.

Cape Town is Africa’s technology capital

The Mother City ended up being selected as the incubator’s base of operations for the reason that it is quickly becoming Africa’s very own Silicon Valley. The city has, in the past few years, positioned itself as being a centre of innovation and technology as a consequence of projects most notably the Silicon Cape Foundation, an IT networking body which happens to be working together with Google in running Umbono.

Foundation board member Justin Spratt suggested the programme will provide technology enthusiasts the chance they require to learn and grow. “There quite a bit of natural talent and enthusiasm for technology in Cape Town, and several concepts only require that window of opportunity,” said Spratt.

Bandwidth Barn, a Cape Town-based business incubator, have also been brought on board. Together with the Silicon Cape Foundation, Bandwidth Barn is there to offer help and support to the chosen groups as well as to guarantee they make the most out of their six months.

Luke Mckend, Country Manager, Google South Africa

The city in addition boasts highly regarded tertiary institutes, particularly the University of Cape Town and Stellenbosch University, which happen to have formidable IT courses adn programs.

For Kollar, Cape Town provides the ingredients that enable it to be the perfect environment to operate a tech-based company. She added that at this moment in time there are no plans to expand the incubator to other areas.

Making reference to local start-ups such as Yola, MXit and Twangoo, Google South Africa’s country manager Luke Mckend stated that this energetic tech scene applied not only to Cape Town, but also the entire country.

“Google’s latest investment with Umbono is an excellent expansion of our overall strategy in the region to bolster the web ecosystem,” stated McKend.

There is still have time to apply for up and coming tech gurus

The selection committee is going to consist of angel investors – those individuals that ordinarily invest their own personal money into start-ups – and Google employees, who will subsequently select the individuals based upon a variety of specifications and requirements including the feasiblility of the business idea, applicability and suitability to regional and global needs, as well as the ability to bring the idea from concept to execution.

The first round of application will be ending on the 15th of April. Having said that, the website is going to continu to accept applications past the deadline. Kollar stated that the application process will continue to remain open year-round for the reason that individuals always have good ideas.

She described the prospective successful applicants as enthusiastic and passionate when it comes to technology and dedicated to their business idea, explaining the fact that they needs to be prepared to see their idea through to the prototype and, thereafter, utilize their particular technical skills to drive the product to the next level.

“Beyond that, groups will need to have the vision to scale their prototype or product to a regional or global business,” she explained.

She revealed that Google intends to select a minimum of five teams for this year’s programme, however added that this number would be determined by the quality of the teams coupled with interest coming from the angel investors, who will acquire a 10% share in the business in return for their financial contribution.

According to the Google website, the programme prefers teams to apply despite the fact that individuals are allowed. Having said that, individuals are discouraged from making an application if they do not possess a computer programming prior experience, which happens to be one of many requirements.

Candidates are permitted to submit several ideas but are encouraged to submit one formidable idea instead simply because it will probably stand a better possibility of being successful.

Source: mediaclubsouthafrica.com