Robots, coding enter SA schools with Onsite's VJ Robotics acquisition

An exciting new partnership is set to open the doors of digital technology to students and individuals from all walks and skill levels.

Jessica Govender, Verlin Govender, Clayton Campbell.
Read time 3min 50sec
Jessica Govender, Verlin Govender, Clayton Campbell.

Little needs to be said to motivate the presence of digital technology in school curriculums. Yet, while the will and interest is abundant, the means come up short. This is why Onsite has expanded its Education arm, first through the appointment of Lulu Burger as Onsite's Director of Education, and most recently, by acquiring part of VJ Robotics, a programme designed to bring robots, programming and mechanics to students across South Africa and the world. It has even taught fourth graders to code in C+!

"Onsite has split into two disciplines, Education and Corporate," said Clayton Campbell, Onsite Group Founder and Director. "Previously, we only serviced our Education customers from an IT support/infrastructure perspective, but we now have the full circle. With Lulu joining us from the start of this year, we now have a dedicated education team servicing our Education customers. Lulu brings with her 10 years of ICT integration in schools for 21st century learning. We now offer vision and strategy, teacher development and training, device integration, infrastructure, support, and, with this acquisition, we can now offer schools STEAM integration."

The acquisition of VJ Robotics is the latest stage in developing this turnkey capacity to provide schools with a full technology integration strategy and deployment at a lower total cost of ownership. VJ has a massive STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art, and math) focus: coding and robotics form the foundation of the programme, but branches into all the other elements.

"At the moment, a lot of schools know that they have to take on robotics, but the 'how to' is missing," said Lulu Burger, Onsite Director of Education. "There are so many platforms and apps out there already, but none of these are scaffolded to accommodate different skill levels and ages. Onsite and VJ Robotics offers a complete solution for students from grades 4 to 12, which can be run as an extramural robotics club or activities that can form part of the 'computer' lessons. We have tutors on standby even though a lot of the learning happens through our online platform, whereby students can work according to their own pace and ability."

The effective simplicity of the programme is already evident. For example, VJ robotics has successfully taught grade four learners to code in C+ at a relatively high level. Enrolment into the programme has increased 200% every year for the last three years. Even anecdotally it is a hit, as shown by the regular comments of praise from parents and teachers.

"VJ Robotics is a unique offering, as other educational robotics programmes are expensive and have a limited number of builds," said Verlin Govender, VJ Robotics Founder. "The main inspiration of the programme was to bring about an affordable, versatile and exciting robotics programme that goes beyond an 'instruction manual', rather opening doors to solve real problems with the use of a current and popular programing language in the industrial world."

The VJ Robotics programme offers a versatile and affordable solution for schools and individuals:

* Aimed at public and private schools, as well as individuals;
* Caters for grades 4-12;
* For all skills levels, from beginner to advanced;
* Integrates with existing classes or can be extramural;
* Extremely effective way to learn coding, digital technologies and mechanics;
* Whole-school innovation vision and strategy;
* Infrastructure to support the innovation vision and strategy;
* Training and support for IT technicians, teachers, learners and parents; and
* Monitoring and evaluation of the impact to change and innovation.

Onsite Holdings has purchased 50% shareholding in VJ Robotics; however, it has taken over full control and management. The VJ Team has been retained and will continue as a separate business unit that will operate under Onsite's Education Team.

From here, the programme aims to broaden its impact significantly, including plans to launch robotics clubs in the UK by May this year. Onsite will also be hosting small events all over the country to introduce and showcase the VJ Robotics programme curriculum to all schools.

For more details and to book sessions, contact Lulu Burger -

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