Friday, 27 November 2015

Great Google posts this week #35

After looking through all the Google posts that were shared to my various subscriptions recently, these are twelve that have caught my eye so far. Teachers will love these.

African Storybook project update – folktales your students will love

The African Storybook Project is a wonderful Literacy website with a wide range of stories from Grades 1-3 learners in a multitude of African languages. Visit to see the amazing spread. The stories and folktales have beautiful illustrations, can be read online or they can be downloaded as PDFs and made into hand-held books. Best is that the African Storybook Project is OER and uses Creative Commons licensing which enables the books to be adapted if so desired.
In their latest newsflash the African Storybook Project highlights some of their most translated folktales. Folktales are one of the oldest genres of stories, and they usually have an important life lesson to teach us. Girl who got rich Why hippos have no hair Anansi and Turtle King of the birds Khayanga and her gourd How night came to Opio's village Nonkungu and the imbulu Demane and Demazane Mulongo and the hyenas Children of wax

Useful Microsoft in Education posts this week #28

The Internet is currently full of posts about using Microsoft products effectively in the classroom. Here are a number of them from this past week:

Thursday, 26 November 2015

Learning Gains through Play project - KZN Change Leadership workshop - A culture of Evaluation

Submitted by Hlengiwe Mfeka

SchoolNet South Africa has had the privilege to be funded  by the D G Murray Trust in South Africa to study the benefits of learning through the use of play and innovative technologies for learners in grades R and 1 in ten schools in two provinces in South Africa, the Western Cape and KwaZulu-Natal. The Change Leadership workshop for the final module in KZN was facilitated on 22nd and 30th of October 2015 to eight (9) School Management Teams from four KZN schools. This is a longer module compared to the other six and therefore was conducted over two afternoons.


Before the facilitation, one of the principals Ms Thembi Mbanjwa from Qhamukile Primary School was awarded with a Microsoft Surface tablet for commitment and outstanding support she gives to her project teachers. She was the the 3rd principal in the KZN province to receive an award.
The module began by differentiating between assessment and evaluation. In their assigned groups participants brainstormed reasons for evaluating. Participants came with lots of reasons which indicated that it was something they were familiar with.

One of this module’s objectives was to enable participants to establish what evidence is required to collect in order to know how the school is progressing with technology integration and what improvement should be made.

Activity One:
The first activity looked at the reasons why one should evaluate learning with technology? Below are three questions unpacked and discussed:
1. Is the teacher using technology to do old activities in old ways?
2. Is technology providing opportunities for the teacher to do old activities in new ways?
3. Is technology creating new and different learning experiences for the learners (new activities in new ways)?

Initially particlip_image006cipants had difficulties in conceptualizing the above questions until additional classroom examples were shared with them – they were then asked to provide their own examples in order to gauge their full understanding. At the end of this exercise they felt that this module was a real eye-opener and in fact it would have been really worthwhile to share this information with project teachers too as it was relevant for them to understand their current status in their use of the technologies.

According to their schools, participants discussed to what extent they would like to see teaching and learning with technology represented using the three questions outlined above. That led to a next activity where they designed target plans for technology use – they were asked to be realistic about their projections as they will use the information to reflect on their progress next year.

Activity two – School-based self-evaluation:
A brief description of what a school-based self-evaluation is and what it is not was shared with the participants. That was followed by a group activity where they completed a table which helped them to establish the following:
1. Reasons for self-evaluation (participants were encouraged to run workshops for their staff to discuss this)
2. What will be evaluated?
3. When will evaluation be done?
4. How and which tools to be used to gather data for the purpose of self-evaluation (they were encouraged to add more tools than the ones provided in their manuals)

Lastly, participants had to define what to observe (indicators) as evidence when gathering data for self-evaluation. There was confusion in differentiating targets and performance indicators which was then clarified by the use of examples.

Participants worked in their school groups to write performance indicators for the given outcomes in a table. By this time participants were exhausted but excited by the new information gained. They expressed how the module had opened their eyes in dealing with evaluation which is commonly a critical issue faced in most schools.

One of the participants suggested that even though it was their last module, they would appreciate SchoolNet organising face to face sharing meetings as they feel invigorated and inspired to implement new change leadership methodologies.


Expectations and instructions with regard to badge submission was discussed in detail. It was also emphasized that Certificates of Completion will only be awarded to those who have attended all or almost all modules and submitted all badges. Dates for showcasing will be communicated with the principals before the end of the year but will take place next year in January 2016.

Congratulations to the new Microsoft Innovative Educator Experts 2016 from South Africa - details below

SchoolNet SA would like to congratulate the South African and Lesotho Microsoft Innovative Educator Experts who have been selected to be part of this programme for 2015-2016. This year we have a total of 61 MIEs – 46 new MIEs as well as 15 MIEs who were selected in 2014 who have opted to remain in the programme.

During the course of the year, all Microsoft Innovative Educator Experts will have an opportunity to:
· test new Microsoft products whilst they are in beta form;
· participate in exclusive professional development opportunities
· and participate in focus groups to give feedback to development teams at Microsoft.

Most exciting of all is that SOME of the South African and Lesotho MIEs will be selected to be amongst 300 MIEs from around the world who will attend the Microsoft in Educator Exchange Event (E²), in Budapest, Hungary in March 2016.

To read more about the Microsoft Innovative Educators, please visit this link

Details of the 2016 MIE Expert Educators
Listed below are the new MIEs for 2015-2016. Congratulations to the following teachers:

First Name Last Name School
Adam Mojapelo Zoetfontein Secondary
Andrea Mitas Brescia House School
Andries Bogatsu George Madoda Primary School
Ashley Roberts Brescia House School
Bruce Eyles St David's Marist Inanda
Burgert Maree Bishops (Diocesan College)
Catherine Mullen Brescia House School
Charli Wiggill Eden College, Durban
Charmaine Caine Brescia House School
Cheryl Douglas Bishops, Diocesan College
Chipa Maimela University of Witwatersrand
Christopher Filander International School of SA
Dimakatso Sefora Lefaragatlhe Primary School
Gerard Noel Bishops (Diocesan) College
Graham West Brescia House School
Jeneanne Hultzer Brescia House School
Jonas Letsoalo Kgetsa
Karen Hobson St Andrews Preparatory
Kathleen Raeburn Brescia House School
Keshma Patel Micklefield
Hawa Patel Roshnee Islamic SChool
Kessaiah Mathe-mohlala Ekwaluseni Catholic Intermediate
Kevin Smart Brescia House School
Kim Duncan Brescia House School
Kirsten Cartlidge Brescia House School
Kumaris Pillay Crawford College
Lauren Julius Education in the Move
Lewis Nyanhi Umtata High School
Lilian Ofori Asaare Phethahatso EM Community
Mandisi Vili Zwelibangile JSS
Moses Sehoole Mankuroane High
Mpho Phakisi Phethahatso EM Community
Neliswa Ester Zini Shiloh Junior & Senior Primary
Nokuzola Fini Zwelibangile JSS
Nomawabo Lobete New Hope combined
Nosithembele Gcobo Sentile J S S
Noxolo Buyeye Solomon Qatyana Primary
Peter de Lisle Hilton College
Peter Lekolwane Diopong Primary School
Prinavin Govender Durban Univeristy of Technology
Shannon Stride Brescia House School
Shelley Hill Brescia House School
Susan Chalom Brescia House School
Talent Mabiya Letare Secondary School
Thejane Malakane Toloane Primary School
Wessel Theron Bishops Diocesan College

We also welcome back the following MIEs who have elected to remain in the programme for another year:

First Name Last Name School
Lyneth Crighton Brescia House School
Simone Crous Elkanah House Senior Primary
Linda Foulkes Elkanah House High School
Tracy Heath Brescia House School
Mabore Lekalakala Toronto Primary School
Jacky Louw Elkanah House Senior Primary
Tlali Mabusane Matikoe High School
Mokhudu Machaba Ngwanamago Primary
Tinny Molepo Pula Madibogo Primary
Yolande Peter Byletts Secondary School
Kathryn Riva Micklefield School
Warren Sparrow Rondebosch Boys' Prep
Karen Stadler Elkanah House Senior Primary
Anne Pininski Brescia House School
Phuti Ragophala Pula Madibogo Primary School

Wednesday, 25 November 2015

Learning Gains through Play project – Module 8 Scavenger Hunt fun in KZN

Submitted by Hlengiwe Mfeka
Despite the afternoon heat, teachers came in prepared with their hats on and comfortable shoes to attend the scavenger hunt (Module 8 in our training). Out of 21 teachers, 15 attended – from four schools excluding Cedara. The workshop was conducted at Thembelihle Primary in Howick.


Module 8 is the scavenger hunt teaching strategy that allows learners to go out of class to have real experience that is related to any subject content area. The template provided for the teachers helps as a basis to design other possible field trip ideas that can be adapted for classroom work. This is a highly effective method of enhancing learning in a good number of subjects.

At the beginning, teachers were to find their group members using a QR code reader. This was a novelty for the teachers. This activity helped them to get acquainted with the use of the Quick Mark App as they scanned each other’s QR codes given to individuals at the start of the session. It was interesting to observe the collaboration in trying to find out where each individual belonged. There were four groups consisting of three to four members. The tempo picked up when it was time to move out and search for different QR codes and activities. All the group members dashed out and could be seen doing all it takes to earn their points – they had lots of fun.

After the full 60 minutes had elapsed, three groups were found seated inside the classroom and in one minute one group which consisted of a little older ladies came in running. They didn’t want to take a chance to have their points deducted due to lateness.


The score sheet was exchanged by the groups. Discussion time kicked in with all group members ready to defend their completed tasks. The incorporation of peer assessment in the scavenger hunt was a huge strength – it enhanced communication tremendously.

Educational issues that were integral to this teaching strategy were raised and a discussion ensued around ideas and how this strategy can be applied in class, especially with young learners. Teachers were asked to provide practical lesson examples of how they could adapt the strategy within their subjects. At the end scores were announced with position one and two receiving prizes as seen in the picture below.

Overall the session was a great success and very much appreciated by teachers, it actually captured their interest throughout. Educators admitted that if well planned, the scavenger hunt teaching strategy can be implemented and yield far improved results on the learning outcomes.

They had gained first-hand experience about how their teaching strategy could broaden their learners’ awareness of their surroundings or environment, while deepening their knowledge in a particular learning area. SchoolNet will be monitoring to see how this strategy is applied in schools when we all know it will receive even higher popularity from learners.


Tuesday, 24 November 2015

Think about entering the 2016 Microsoft Office Specialist World Championship for students between the ages of 13 and 22

Image result for MOSWCIn its 14th year currently, the 2015 Microsoft Office Specialist World Championship (MOSWC) attracted 600,000 unique candidates who competed to demonstrate their mastery of Microsoft Office products. 145 student finalists from 47 countries participated in the final round of competition.
“More than 1.2 billion people use Office worldwide, and these students have taken the time to set themselves apart as the best of the best,” said Alison Cunard, general manager of Learning Experiences at Microsoft. “Earning a Microsoft Office Specialist certification has already provided proof that they have the necessary skills to succeed in academics and the workforce. Winning the World Championship puts them in a class of their own, and we look forward to seeing how they put their Microsoft Office skills to use in the future”

So, why not think about entering the 2016 competition next year and visit Disneyland for the world championships.  You can read about last year’s winners here:


To participate, a student must submit a passing score on any of the following certification exams:
Microsoft Office Specialist – Word 2010
Microsoft Office Specialist – Excel 2010
Microsoft Office Specialist – PowerPoint 2010
Microsoft Office Specialist – Word 2013
Microsoft Office Specialist – Excel 2013
Microsoft Office Specialist – PowerPoint 2013

To compete in the final round of the Championship, students must be between the ages of 13 and 22 (as of  15 June, 2016).

A student may enter in one, two or all three applications from a MOS track [only applicable if the student has not entered before].

NOTE: if a student participated in a prior World Championship competing on Microsoft Excel 2010, he/she can compete in a Microsoft Word or PowerPoint track, but can NOT compete in the Microsoft Excel 2010 or 2013 track in the World Championship.
CONTACT LINDA : for more information or any questions regarding participating, certification or training

Monday, 23 November 2015

Microsoft Snip – you need to try this! Snip, annotate, add voice and share!

Have you heard of Microsoft Snip? Snip is a standalone app that lets you add your voice and doodles to screen grabs.

More about Snip

Microsoft Snip, available in beta now, allows Windows users to capture screenshots and then annotate on them and record audio over the top. It can turn an ordinary screenshot into a screen tutorial, or you can just share your thoughts about a document or image over the web. Snip has a built-in recording feature that allows you to add voice recordings as you annotate. Recordings are converted into video files that you can share via email, link or get in an embeddable format hosted by Microsoft.

How do I get Snip?

Snip downloads to Windows 7, 8 and 10. Go to and click on download. A window opens and the download begins. Once downloaded install Snip to your computer.


How does Snip work?

1. Once installed it sits in the middle of your screen waiting for an instruction. It is a floating toolbar so you can move it around.

2. Click and drag around a section to capture any window or area of your screen. Let go of the mouse and you’ve got your screengrab.
3. The screen editor opens and gives a large selection of tasks.


4. You can annotate on it or narrate your comments and draw on your snip with digital ink.

5. Paste your snip, send it as a URL, or save it as an MP4 video.


Examples of Snip


How to use Snip

Calling all Grade 6/7 teachers at public schools in SA – an opportunity to collaborate with Vietnam and Canada in Digital Storytelling. Interested?

SchoolNetSA has received an email from a teacher in Canada who is offering a wonderful opportunity to a Grade 6 or 7 teacher and class in SA in digital storytelling as from September 2016 and probably continuing till the same time the following year.  Would you be interested? You would need constant access to computers. The teacher would need to be open to using photography and making digital stories with his/her students. Experience with those media forms is not necessary as Hoa Truong-White will travel to the school from Canada to conduct workshops.

The email says:

I am a PhD student at the University of Ottawa in Ontario, Canada. Previously I taught primary school in Canada. I have received the Canada Scholarship to Honour Nelson Mandela to carry out a project that connects three middle school classrooms in an online collaborative project that involves blogging, photography and digital storytelling. Currently, I have a middle school class in Vietnam and one in Canada that will participate. I am looking for a third class to take part. I'm wondering if you could help to connect me with a grade 6 or 7 class in South Africa?

The project will begin in September 2016. It centres around students' identities as global citizens, children's rights to citizenship and the ways they participate as citizens in their communities or globally. I will provide the class with digital cameras for the project and travel to the school to give photography and digital storytelling workshops. I will also set up a secure online classroom platform (similar to the one used by iEarn) where students from the three countries will engage in regular blogging, discussions and sharing of photos and videos).

I would like to work with a class that has access to computers and the Internet and students who are learning English. I would also like to interview students about their experiences learning with students from around the world through the Internet. I would come to South Africa for the interviews and to deliver digital storytelling workshops to the class.

If you are interested, I will send further details, or perhaps we could Skype. Looking forward to hearing from you.

Hoa Truong-White”

If you are interested please could you respond to before the end of this term.