How top online schools in South Africa like Teneo use tech to enhance the learning experience

The merging of live teaching and leading edtech* is making online schools more mainstream. For those who want to study online, South Africa is already ahead of the curve – and Teneo is setting a new benchmark for the benefit of teachers, students and parents.

Today, almost all schools use tech in one form or another. The only difference is that online or e-schools teach through technology while traditional schools teach with technology. It’s an important distinction.


For traditional schools, tech is simply a plug-in or add-on tool that doesn’t fundamentally alter the learning experience – think of using a tablet rather than, say, a paper notebook to write in. 


For Teneo, the tech is the teaching, with live teacher-led lessons recorded for playback and uploaded to a learning management platform where parents and students can access them at any time. 


On top of this, the tech puts the teacher, student and parent in the driving seat, through a data-rich dashboard that enables greater collaboration and control.

How Teneo connects teachers and students

Teneo’s live lessons and lesson recordings are a huge advantage. There’s a set daily timetable with live lessons taught online by a professional teacher, just like in a traditional school. In this space, students can interact, ask questions and get direct support from their teachers.


Every live lesson is recorded so students can revisit the lesson as many times as they want, or ‘attend’ the class if they’re absent. Nothing of the lesson is lost – not those spontaneous questions students ask or those impromptu segues where teachers go into richer detail.


Students find the recordings make it so much easier to take notes, revise work and go over subjects they struggle with, at a pace they prefer. Overall, this makes for a better online learning experience because: 


  • study is self-paced – students can go slow or speed up
  • no learning is lost – students don’t need to rely on a friend’s notes to catch up on missed classroom content
  • exam study is made easier – students can refresh their memory by revisiting the recordings at any time in the year


How teachers fit into tech-based online learning

Tech can never fully replace teachers – that human touch makes a huge difference, especially in the deeply emotional and constantly evolving space of learning. 


To this end, Teneo’s teachers share the exact same responsibilities as teachers at any other school – they facilitate each child’s unique academic journey and help them complete it successfully. 


They create and curate content, evaluate student work fairly and consistently, track academic progress, provide feedback, support and opportunities to meet, and upskill themselves through ongoing professional development.


On top of this, when it comes to exam papers, teachers bring critical contextual knowledge to the table. As subject specialists, their knowledge of the curriculum, subjects and students allows them to set exams at the right level, with relatable questions that take their students’ lived realities into account, and with a range of questions that reflect what the students have learnt.


But while teachers are irreplaceable, tech can take the online learning experience to a whole new level. Teneo makes sure teachers have the tech tools they need to keep up with their curriculums, catch up students who are struggling, and keep all kids engaged.


Every single student has a front row seat – there’s no one sitting at the back of the class missing out on the magic. 

How tech empowers students and enables parental involvement

Teneo gives students a full view of their own work, with a greater degree of control. They have multiple digital tools through which to connect with teachers and peers.


Teneo also offers parents a range of tech tools to help monitor their child’s progress. The Canvas Parent Observer app gives parents a 360° view of their child’s schedule, assignments, assessments and test scores, and attendance. 


Says Teneo Academic Lead, “Our strength lies in our ability to track participation and progress via the data we capture on students’ attendance and marks. Parents can monitor their child’s participation and encourage them to take proactive steps to improve.” 

How tech can help students evolve, connect and integrate

Teneo parents see dramatic changes in their kids: they’re more independent, better able to manage their time, and generally more fulfilled, as the flexibility of the tech platform allows them to pursue other passions, like endurance sports, TV acting, or even a small side business or hobby.


Teneo high school parent comments how their son has flourished personally and academically: “The teaching methods taught him time-management skills, self-discipline and the importance of research. In addition, he’s learnt to deal with challenges beyond his control, by being accountable if his internet connection fails due to loadshedding, and communicating such issues to his teachers and the support team on time.”


And when it comes to preparing students for tertiary study and the tech-enabled world of work, online high school seems to set students ahead of their peers – they’re more resourceful, ready for a challenge, and utterly at ease in a world of tech.

*Edtech or education technology is software and hardware used to enhance teacher-led and student-paced learning to optimise outcomes for students.