Previously known as FutureLearn, the Optimi Group provides offerings for the home, workplace, classroom and college, and serve over 200,000 learners each year. Optimi Classroom focuses on accessible classroom solutions for schools and tertiary institutions. Offerings include teacher and learner solutions provider ITSI, classroom practice software Cami, and Arrow Academy, an innovative model school in Centurion where Optimi classroom offerings are used and refined..
We speak to Edwell Gumbo, Managing Director of Optimi Classroom, to find out more about ITSI and the impact this company is making on the South African education landscape …
Tell us about your company’s history?
ITSI, an offering of Optimi Classroom, is an EdTech solution that is passionate about connecting technology with the learning brain. It was established in 2006 and is a subsidiary of Optimi Learning Group, owned by PSG.
ITSI’s patented solutions solve some of the biggest 21st-century challenges in education and training. We provide training, professional development and support to educators and students – ensuring they are prepared for any technological advancement. ITSI is a research-informed company and all our educational tools are based on established research in the field of learning sciences.
Tell us about your product range?
ITSI offering focuses on bridging the gap between traditional learning and technology. Our e-learning platform works within any learning environment and each element of our solution is based on sound research principles with learning and teaching in mind. Learners have access to thousands of CAPS-approved and CAPS-aligned e-books from leading publishers on our e-reader app, miEbooks.
Educators benefit from time-saving tools such as lesson planning, templates for creating assessments with instant results, and tools to share content seamlessly and directly with learners. Another tool called Learning Paths is the latest exciting feature designed to assist teachers in taking learners on a journey through the curriculum. User analytics provide valuable insights into the way students engage with the content. This comprehensive learning solution allows educators to truly personalise their teaching.
- Practice Software: CAMI
Cami has been a major player in South Africa’s digital learning landscape since 1984. Cami boasts a suite of highly effective computer programs that can be used in the classroom or at home. The programs are available both online (Cami Web) and offline (Cami EduSuite).
Cami Mathematics is a fun and interactive educational software system that helps learners understand core mathematical concepts. Features include adaptive learning, automatic marking of exercises, and monitoring of learners progress. EduSuite is available for Grade R to 12 learners and Cami Web is available for Grade R to 7 learners.
Cami Perceptual Skills Builder is the only software program of its kind that addresses perceptual topics such as colour, shape, spatial orientation, numeracy and more. The program focuses on the holistic development of the entire brain and establishes a firm foundation for future learning. EduSuite is available for Grade RR to 4 learners and Cami Web is available for Grade R to 3 learners.
Cami Literacy is a complete language system that helps learners develop a love of reading. The program gives struggling learners the practise they need to become skilled, fluent readers. EduSuite is available for Grade R to 5 learners. (Cami Web is not available yet.)
Cami Reader helps learners improve language fluency in both English and Afrikaans. The interactive exercises cover the alphabet, sight-reading words, spelling, grammar, and much more. EduSuite is available for Grade R to 12. (Cami Web will be available from January 2021)
- Training: Professional Development
ITSI provides a variety of SACE-endorsed training courses for teachers. The courses aim to help educators combine traditional teaching methods with technological innovation.
In these professional development courses, educators will receive practical tools and valuable insights to take back to the classroom. Whether they take one of our e-learning platform courses or one about implementing technology in their lessons, teachers can expect research-based content that will help them enrich their teaching methods. The courses are written for the South African classroom and are based on the needs of educators.
View all the different courses we have available.
- Tutoring and After-class Solutions: Academy
Our Academy aims to improve learners understanding of problem subjects and ultimately improve their marks. The Academy builds on fundamental concepts and encourages learners to spend a few extra hours a week to practise a variety of subjects. This follows a diagnosis that is conducted for major subjects like Mathematics. By spending more time on each subject, students are not only improving their learning ability but also cultivating a strong work ethic from a young age.
Tell us about some of your top customers?
ITSI is well-known in the South African school market and is proud of its client base of more than 900 schools which make use of our educational tools. Some of our schools share their success stories below:
“We have been working with ITSI for five years already. I think with ITSI’s help, we prepared our teachers and learners to use technology reasonably well. A person is never totally ready for such a change, but with the help, support and training that ITSI gave us in the past few years, we can continue with schooling during the pandemic.
It helps that the teachers are already trained. Especially the young teachers who use the ITSI platform regularly, they easily found ways to keep the school system running despite the situation. The e-books also work well.”
– Upington High School, Principal Riaan Kotze
“I have no doubt that ITSI will be at the forefront of educational development. It adds skills to learners that can be used even after school. ITSI offers what it claims to – it’s truly a complete solution.”
– Midstream College, Leonard Swart
“The ITSI technology encourages innovation, problem-solving, and independent work. With a little training and a boost of confidence, even our most sceptical and technologically-challenged teachers have come on board.”
– St Dominic’s Priory School
Is your product range relevant to the SA market?
Yes, our products and content are CAPS-aligned as we understand the importance of aligning our content with CAPS. All of our training courses are SACE-endorsed and educators are able to obtain CPTD points.
Do you have any resources available during lockdown?
To support learners and educators during the national lockdown, we have made several of our products available for free.
1. PAST EXAM PAPERS FREE ACCESS
Learners can prepare for their exams with free access to over 700 examination papers from the DBE here.
2. CAPS-ALIGNED E-BOOKS
In partnership with some of South Africa’s top educational publishers, ITSI has made hundreds of CAPS-aligned e-books available for free. Learners can read the e-books on the free e-reader, miEbooks.
View all the offers here.
3. DIGITAL LESSONS AND WEBINARS
ITSI is making its Digital Lessons available for FREE until the end of June to help make sure learners don’t fall behind. These lessons provide a variety of quality videos, images, and animations. View them here.
4. CAMI WEB FOR SCHOOLS FREE LICENSING DURING LOCKDOWN
Cami is offering schools exclusive access to Cami Web until 31 May 2020. Programs include Cami Maths (Grade R – 7) and Cami Perceptual Skills Builder (Grade R – 3).
Contact our team to request access for your learners here.
What is at the top of your company’s wish-list?
At Optimi Classroom, our brand promise is to provide accessible learning solutions that support every step of a learning journey. We fulfil this promise with our proprietary GuidED learning model, which forms the foundation of all our offerings. Optimi’s GuidED learning provides learners and educators with individualised guidance during their learning journey to successfully achieve their learning goals.
Where do you see your company in 5 years?
As a top learning company and influencer of how learning happens, based on the latest research in learning sciences.
Visit Optimi to learn more.