Kate Groch’s TED Talk

by on February 5, 2014

in 2020 Vision, GWF, Life

Many of our readers will know Kate Groch as the CEO of Good Work Foundation and the daughter of Mo Groch, coordinator of the Londolozi Digital Learning Centre.

In June 2013, Kate was invited to speak on the TED stage in Edinburgh. Kate’s talk, From Chance to Choice, describes a model of education in rural Africa that is “leapfrogging” traditional education structures. A model that is using technology, cloud-based learning and innovative, online curriculums to connect learners to a digital world.

This model has been shaped, in no small part, by the adoption of Maya, Kate’s larger than life six-year-old daughter.

In this talk Kate tells that story.

In the seven months since Kate delivered this talk, 120 adult students have become digitally literate (and that is thanks to many Londolozi guests). 200 more adults have enrolled in various career-skills courses and will graduate in September 2014, and more than 1000 children use Good Work Foundation’s Digital Learning Centres every week for English, maths, and digital literacy tuition. By the end of 2014, Good Work Foundation will be reaching more than 2000 schoolchildren.

“What makes this journey so exciting” says Kate “is that we feel like pioneers. Not even in America or Europe have they got the education technology space right, and yet here, in rural South Africa, we are creating Digital Learning Centres that have tablet computers, online course material and high-speed broadband. In fact, we are the only sub-Saharan test study for Stanford University’s Stanford Mobile Inquiry-Based Learning Environment.”

Many Londolozi guests ask how they can contribute to the mission of Good Work Foundation. I posed the question to Kate, and here is what she had to say:

1.     Experience “the lab”

A lot of what we do as an organisation started right here at Londolozi. My mom likes to call it “the lab”. As part of a Village Walk, guests can visit the Londolozi Digital Learning Centre and meet my mother, “Gogo” Mo, who discusses our organisation’s roots, our vision, and some of the practical lessons we have learnt “on the ground” so to speak.

Image 1

The Londolozi Digital Learning Centre is also known as “The Lab”. In this photo, students are working on the International Computer Driving License, a qualification that equips learners with skills to effectively use the Microsoft Office suite.

2.     Get involved in Digital Learning

Hazyview Digital Learning Centre is our state-of-the-art facility that operates in a village about one and half hours from Londolozi. Guests can arrange in advance to visit Hazyview and get involved with digital lessons, helping the kids out on the tablets, OR, spending some time with the adult students. There is a drive involved, but if you have some extra time, it’s well worth the trip.

3.     Become Part of our Story

I love it when people from around the world start to take an interest and comment on our progress and our stories, often giving us really good, thoughtful ideas. If you would like to follow Good Work Foundation’s progress, become a fan of our Facebook page, where we post regular updates on our mission to change the landscape of rural African education. We include lots of interesting opinion pieces, and some terrific photos as well.

Do you think it is possible to change the face of education in rural Africa using innovative education technologies? Kate speaks about “human software” being as important as computers, applications and equipment. What do you think? If you have any direct questions or thoughts you would like to share with Kate, feel free to use the space below as a forum.


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  • Kate Neill

    Amazing! Well done Kate, such a brave and strong lady you are to do that!

  • Geri Potter

    I agree with you 100%; it should not matter where you are born. You, GWF, the Learning center and the technology you have provided have given everyone who wants an education access to it. That is a phenomenal achievement and one worth emulating around the world. I especially appreciate the phrase “they must CHOOSE to walk through the door!” That makes ALL the difference! Here in the U.S., I believe too many times, children have school shoved down their throats. They do NOT appreciate, nor do the parents, the amazing opportunities they have; they take it for granted and get pushed through the system. Choosing to learn is an individual’s choice and those who truly want it thrive and achieve. When we visited Londolozi, we had the great privilege of seeing this action. It made a profound impact on all of us, but specifically our daughters who are pursuing education degrees in college and grad school. Encouraging children to WANT to learn is now first and foremost in their plans. Thank you for all you do and for sharing it with all of us!

  • Jill Grady

    Great blog Ryan, and fantastic TED talk Kate, as well as the great work that you do at the Hazyview Digital Learning Centre. I think it is absolutely possible to change the face of education in rural Africa with the use of educational technology, the passion of educators such as yourself and the incredible spirit of the African people. Keep up the great work and I look forward to seeing the graduation photos in September 2014!

    • Ryan James

      GWF actually has a mid-year graduation coming up in March/April, Jill. I am sure Kate will keep everyone posted!

  • Judy Guffey

    I think Kate and the Good Work Foundation are changing the face of education in South Africa. Great work!

    • Ryan James

      Thanks Judy. Your ongoing support means so much to the team at GWF!

  • http://www.vanbommelsafaris.com Jos van Bommel – van Bommel Safari’s

    Inspiring! Thanks Kate for all the good work, so well done.

  • Jenifer Westphal

    So cool!! Kate you are a rock star!!! Congrats on all that you do and now getting your message out to the world! My greatest joy is helping you shout it from the mountain tops! You go girl!

    • Ryan James

      I agree Jenifer. You go Kate and the team :) Thank you for helping us shout it from the mountain tops!

  • Laura-Jane Colepeper

    Wow, how inspirational. Thank you. How can i be useful?

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