The 2023 academic year is opening across Mzansi, with inland schools return date of 11 January, while coastal schools open on the 18th. “Your education is, of course, of absolute critical importance – especially for today’s young people who are adapting to a new digital and hybrid world, where social and student lives are intrinsically dependant on connectivity in so many ways,” says Vuma’s Lianne Williams.
Williams offers students just a few simple tactics you can incorporate into your home to set yourself for the best chance of success this academic year:
Location, location, location
- Create a homework or hybrid-learning space that provides the optimal environment for your comfort and focus. Clear a desk space that is dedicated to studying, preferably in an area with ample natural light. Make it look as ‘nca’ as possible, with fun accessories like the POP mouse, motivational posters and décor that reflect your unique style. It’s always better to face a window, so when you look up every now and then, it’s to see a less tempting view than the couch or bed, possibly even a soothing garden view.
Make the connection
- The shift towards digital learning is here to stay, so access to reliable fibre, both at home and in schools, has become a necessity – for research and accessing online educational resources. The most reliable form of connectivity is fibre, making sure you never miss those assignment upload deadlines. Fibre internet is not affected by loadshedding, and with fibre providers such as Vuma having over 60 ISP partners to choose from, it has become a breeze to select a fibre package that not only suits your studying needs, but your household budget. A simple low-cost UPS is all you need to keep your fibre box and router running during the rolling black outs and unexpected power outages, and you are A for away.
Watch your back
- Make sure you have a comfortable chair that gives you proper lumbar support to prevent slouching. Sitting for long periods of time can be harmful to your lower back, and without adequate lumbar support, the soft tissues in the spine may become stressed.
Catch a break
- Get up for refreshments occasionally, do breathing exercises and remember to stretch. Breathwork is calming and allows your body to reduce stress and anxiety. Stretching minimises tension on soft tissue and joint pain. Getting in at least 15 to 30 minutes of exercise a day is also important for your mind, body and general well-being. With so many workout programs available online to follow, gone are the days when we relied on high-cost gym membership and trainer fees.
Get that good sleep
- Getting enough sleep is undeniably critical to your brain function. Make sure to get between 6 to 8 hours of sleep each night. Avoid binging Netflix into the wee hours – rather save your favourite shows for the weekend and keep your eye on the academic prize during the week.
The sound of silence
- There’s nothing worse than, say, a neighbour’s lawnmower, low-flying aeroplane, or the incessant barking of a nearby dog to interrupt your thoughts when studying. To eliminate sounds that you have no control over, put on some library or work ambient sounds available on YouTube, or with a white noise machine. This will create beneficial background noise so you can focus.
The power of recall
- Did you know that sensory prompters such as sounds, smells and colours can promote recall in the brain? Many scientific studies have proved this to be true, and you can use this to your advantage by assigning each subject its own colour and essence. For example, always use a green marker when studying mathematics and place a drop of mint essence on a tissue close by; or else use a pink pen when studying history and always couple your time on this subject with the smell of berries. Come exam, test, or assignment time, bring out the associated colour and smell and see the power of the mind to associate these colours and scents with what you spent time learning, and promote better recall of the information you need to crush the task.
“We are passionate about education, and how undeniably dependant it is to have strong and reliable connectivity,” continues Williams. “Not only are we hoping to assist as many students as possible with their learning at home, but we are also incredibly proud to connect every registered primary and high school along our fibre network with free, unlimited and superfast 1Gbps fibre connectivity – benefitting not only students, but educators and staff too.”
To date, Vuma has connected over 640 schools with this boundless internet access, and will continue its Fibre to the School programme, with a goal to connect as many schools as possible.
“We believe that by narrowing the digital divide, so too can we reduce the educational disparities across SA’s communities,” Williams concludes.