The Table Mountain Aerial Cableway Company launched its Class in the Clouds programme in 2001, and, in the almost two decades since then, this programme has given hundreds of thousands of pupils and their teachers the chance to step out of the classrooms for a fun day of learning at the top of South Africa’s famous seaside mountain.
However, because of the ongoing Covid-19 lockdown regulations, the company has not been able to open its operations to accommodate visitors.
But this has not stopped it from seeking innovative ways for pupils to access the iconic Cape landmark – including through the development of a 360-degree virtual tour of the top of the mountain.
Cableway company MD Wahida Parker says the virtual tour has brought a new dimension to the Class in the Clouds programme, which was started to provide greater access to the mountain for all local communities.
“We aim to empower and upskill youngsters to improve their access to tertiary education and possible job opportunities, adding value to the lives of our youth,” she says of the Class in the Clouds programme.
More than 323,000 pupils have taken part in this innovative and uplifting programme.
Thanks to the power of technology, Parker says pupils and teachers are now able to explore the mountain virtually, allowing them to appreciate its beautiful scenery online.
The tour is available on the cableway company’s website and there are plans to add storytelling and voice-activated narration to the experience.
The programme includes educational packs with fun, interactive activities such as word searches, quizzes, crosswords and group challenges.
Facilitator notes equip teachers with a summary of the information contained in the packs, as well as mini assignments they can set for their pupils.
Class in the Clouds programme manager Fiona Magobiane says: “The educational materials for our programme are all available online and can be downloaded from our website to provide teachers and educational assistants with unique resources for their pupils.”
The virtual Table Mountain tour can be found at https://www.tablemountain.net/content/page/class-in-the-clouds