Tag Archives: Pietermaritzburg

Master your Maths with Numberwise!

NUMBERWISE: Free online tool set to transform maths in SA

MATHEMATICS has advanced some wonderful things in this world. Grand architecture, engineering, modern medicine and astronomy would not be the same today without maths. Unfortunately this isn’t something that is generally taught at a school level; and at a university level, lecturers have the habit of telling students to forget everything they learnt at school.

Maths is not everyone’s forte and many South Africans have children who are battling with the subject at school. With trials looming, it may be wise for educators and learners alike to look to the wonderful web for some help with their maths homework.

mathsNumberwise is one such service that has proved to be a very successful tool in teaching learners to master maths basics and improve their mathematical abilities. The Numberwise program was originally written by Durbanite Trevor Lagerwall for his youngest son, Ross, who was struggling with maths at school. After completing the Numberwise course, said son achieved 100% for First Year Maths at UKZN, has re-written the Numberwise program, and is currently studying Computer Science. Trevor’s eldest son, Brett, achieved 100% for second year maths with the help of Numberwise.

For the past five years, Numberwise has been used in the Department of Civil Engineering at the Durban University of Technology (DUT). The results have been so positive that the Numberwise course now forms a module of the Civil Engineering Program at DUT.

Trevor Lagerwall illustrates the recent success of Numberwise at DUT: “Despite having just passed matric maths and been accepted into civil engineering, the average mark of students coming into DUT is 30%. Yet all those who complete the Numberwise course pass with 90% or more. Even more encouraging is that there has been a 25% improvement in maths marks at first year level”, says Lagerwall.

The Numberwise website describes how maths is layered and requires mastering the basics before being able to advance in the subject. In the five weeks that Numberwise has been available online, it has registered over 1 000 students from schools in Pietermaritzburg, Pretoria, East London and Namibia, and has even reached as far as Bolivia and Australia.

Numberwise is freely available for anyone to use and encourages educators to enlist their learners and monitor their progress. Learners are then encouraged to do a maths Assessment Test, and all completed work is recorded on the Numberwise server. This allows learners to compare their maths results and times with classmates or anyone else making use of the program. Peer competition not only encourages learners to perform better but soon there will be a chance to win prizes too.

“We have used these last five years to polish Numberwise into the interactive web-based program that it is today, says Lagerwall. Knowing that Numberwise works, it’s a no-brainer that all learners at school ought to do the Numberwise course. We believe that it will make a huge difference in maths in South Africa. Plus it is a fun way to learn one’s tables & bonds (addition & subtraction).”

To use Numberwise requires registering for free as an administrator and downloading the Numberwise program, which is less than two megabytes. Teachers or parents are then encouraged to register and enlist their students or children. Once the software is installed, users are ready to start their Numberwise journey. The maths website offers user-friendly, step-by-step support on how to get Numberwise up and running on your home or work PC. Learners can also use Numberwise at home and teachers can monitor their progress remotely.

Lagerwall explains: “Even though they will be registered at school, learners can do the course either at school or at home. However, the teacher (as the administrator) can still monitor their progress, print reports and certificates and so on, all via the website.”

Numberwise is entirely free for all to use but is currently looking for sponsorship. “Once we have sufficient numbers we are hoping to attract a sponsor, in part to monetise the project but also to sponsor stunning prizes that will drive the use of Numberwise”, says Lagerwall. Numberwise.com can handle multiple sponsors at a school, provincial, national or global level.

To see Numberwise in action, maths courses are held every Friday between 10am and 4pm at the Indumiso campus of DUT in Pietermaritzburg, where students do around 200 000 calculations. The goal is not only to prove that Numberwise really works, but to spread awareness of its free availability to all schools and educators country-wide.

“My hope is that all schools register all their learners and incorporate the Numberwise Course as part of their curriculum, says Lagerwall. Since every child in the world needs to learn their tables and bonds, our vision is that they do this using Numberwise, which we hope to grow first here in South Africa.”

For any questions regarding Numberwise, or if you are interested in becoming a sponsor of this project, you can contact Trevor Lagerwall on 084 568 2461 or 031 767 3247; or email him at trevor@numberwise.com

Player Versus Player Digital Arena

NEW Gaming experience opens at Liberty Midlands Mall

AN exciting new entertainment venue opens in Pietermaritzburg’s Liberty Midlands Mall this weekend. PVP Digital Arena (short for Player Versus Player) will allow gamers to at last take advantage of some built-in features of the Xbox 360 that they have been denied up until now.

Previously Xbox owners have only been able to take advantage of around 30% of the capabilities of the Xbox, says Brendon Holder, who together with Paul Gilliver is responsible for dreaming up the idea for this ground-breaking store.

PvP Digital ArenaPVP is, apparently, the first of its kind in the country and the only electronic game specialist store in Pietermaritzburg. The store also retails a range of the best and latest games for Xbox, Playstation, PC and Nintendo consoles and Holder and Gilliver are available to give expert advice.

PVP will give gamers access to 20 networked  Xbox 360s connected to high definition LCD monitors, to play the latest games that include first person shooters such as Halo: Orbital Drop Shock Troopers and Call of Duty; third person shooters like Gears of War 2; real time strategy games such as Halo Wars; car racing and rally games that include Dirt 2, and car simulators like Forza 3; as well as a variety of “beat-em-up” games, and sports games like Fifa 10, rugby and golf.  

The real X-factor with PVP, however, is the fact that players can play against other players in the same room, giving the already convincingly rendered games, enhanced reality. Slow internet speeds in South Africa have meant that unlike other places in the world, live multiplayer gaming has not been a real option for gamers in SA. This has meant that possibly the most exciting aspect of electronic multiplayer games has yet to be experienced by locals.

“Playing Call of Duty is so much more real when you and your squad are in the same room, discussing strategy, while your opponents are on the other side of the room planning how to ambush you. The line between real and virtual is blurred.” – Holder

To further enhance the experience, PVP will hold competitions, elite tournaments for pro gamers, and in-store events, including the possibility of “moments of madness” where they will randomly give away PVP-branded gear and other prizes to players.

The eagerly anticipated store has already created a stir on PVP’s facebook page (PVP Digital Arena) and Liberty Midlands Mall centre manager Cassie Fourie says that there has been a lot of interest shown.

“Customers have been asking when PVP is opening and are extremely excited”, she said, “We welcome this new addition to the mall, which caters to the entertainment element.”

The best news though is that to get in on the action, it will cost players less than a ride in one of those peddle boats at the seaside, with prices starting at a mere R20 per 30 minutes.

Costs to play at PVP Digital Arena
      – R20 per 30 minutes
      – R35 per one hour
      – R60 per two hours

Events planned
After-hour “lock ins” will be organised for groups of 16 or more on request.
 Competitions for rankings, with prizes, to be held every month.
Elite tournaments for pro gamers to be held at PVP.
Various events to be held weekly, including “moments of madness”

Other goods on offer
PVP is also a retailer of the best electronic console games for Xbox, Playstation, Nintendo Wii and PC. Buyers can try games before they buy and get expert advice on game choices. There will be a game swopping facility available too.

Membership options are planned for the future, with loyalty cards that earn members points that can be redeemed for playing time, games or PVP merchandise.

Equipment
 Twenty networked Xbox 360s linked to HDMI.
23” LCD monitors, with headphones and comfortable tub chairs.
PVP will keep their equipment current and in future will even change to another console platform if a better one is released.

PVP Digital Arena is at Shop 93A at Pietermaritzburg’s Liberty Midlands Mall. Don’t miss their grand opening at 9am this Saturday, October 24. Get there early to claim your place. For inquiries call PVP at 033 342 6420 or email Brendon Holder: brendon@pvp-arena.co.za

Cars in the Park 2009

CARS: The 33rd annual Cars in the Park show revs it up this month at Alexandra Park in Pietermaritzburg.

Over 7 000 people attended the 32nd Cars in the Park show last year, where over 1 000 cars were on display ranging from mean-looking Mustangs, to vintage Volvos, to antique Cadillacs. It was the most amazing gathering of hot & sexy cars polished to perfection that I have ever witnessed. This year’s show shone just as impressively as last year. Check out the videos below to get an idea of what was on display…

Cars in the Park 2009

Cars in the Park 2008

PS: The sh-boom song will be stuck in your head for at least a week 🙂

Related post: Frankfurt Motor Show Gallery

What Women Really Want

I humbly apologise for the lack of thought-provoking content here lately. It’s a tough time to be working in the media industry – generally. It’s almost bordering slavery. There’s one woman here who is setting the record by working for 63 consecutive days with breaks every three weeks. That’s Monday to Sunday for 21 days then a weekend break, then another full three weeks before her next weekend etc. Eish.

So I thought I would simply share another video that I made last year. It’s called What Women Really Want, which is an expo that takes place in South Africa every year. It’s not quite on the same level as Sexpo but rather a smaller scale event aimed at girls who just wanna have fun. Enjoy!

What women really want

Mike Naicker does Pmb

And now for a little comic relief…

Kevin Perkins (better know as Michael Naicker) came to do a show at the Golden Horse casino in Pietermaritzburg recently. I got an interview with the comedian and asked him about his alter ego, what his future plans are, and how he is received by his different audiences.

For any of you who might still think that Mike Naicker is an Indian fellow from Chatsworth then you’re in for a little surprise. Enjoy!

Mike Naicker does Pmb

Related video posts:
Watershed videos
White Mountain videos
Magna Carta live in Pmb

Watershed videos

South African band Watershed trudged their way through KZN’s spring snow to perform in front of a Pietermaritzburg crowd on Saturday night. The temperature was low but energy levels were high, and after hearing the band’s performance I have gained new-found respect for Watershed. They really are one of SA’s top bands.

Clips from Watershed’s performance:

The band discusses the evolution of Watershed, what they’re all about, and what life as a touring band is like. (I apologise for the poor quality of this video – my camera really isn’t suited to filming at night and I’ve been out of practice for a while and am hence a little rusty!)

Interview with Watershed:

I’m off to the White Mountain Folk Festival later this week and will be bringing back video footage of that whole scene in the near future.

Until then,
Keep warm

Related: White Mountain videos

Magna Carta live

One of the longest-running acoustic rock bands in the world, Magna Carta were a massive hit in the 1970s. They have played all over the world alongside music legends such as The Beatles, Cat Stevens & Dire Straits, and have even rubbed shoulders with royalty.

Their final tour brought them to South Africa where they captivated a Maritzburg audience at the Hillside Concert. They were truly inspiring and have given me a new appreciation for 70s and 80s music!

Magna Carta live at the Hillside Concert

Interview with Magna Carta

Related videos: Witness Videos