Tuesday, 3 May 2016

Useful Microsoft posts for teachers this week #49

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: 

Monday, 2 May 2016

A second report back from MIE Tracy Heath on the Microsoft E2 Educator Exchange that took place in Hungary in March 2016

We featured Tracy Heath's first report-back on the amazing Microsoft E2 Teacher Exchange that took place in Hungary in April in a post entitled 'Learnings and Memories from the E2 Educator Exchange - Hack the Classroom, in Budapest, Hungary' by Tracy Heath, a MIEExpert from South Africa' However Tracy has so much to share that she has submitted a follow-up post entitled 'The Gobal E2 Exchange - a time of unending learning'.  Tracy is a teacher at Brescia House in Johannesburg. 

Tracy's second report-back
"These are further reflection on the Microsoft E2 Exchange as I look back, I'll start at the beginning. It was all smiles from the three South African delegates, in the Ballroom of the Hotel Corinthia, waiting for the opening ceremony to begin.
Tracy, Keshma, Moses
I attended various exciting Breakout sessions
The first was: Teaching with Technology? Absolutely! It was presented by: Virginia Alberti from Italy. Virginia’s message was: If you believe technology could actually make the difference you should be willing to constructively experiment with technology in your class and share all experiences while engaging your colleagues, school, and institutions to promote the change.
The main "ingredients" of her flipped lessons are integrated with OneNote, OneNoteclass, Surface, and Digital inking to actively engage and excite students.  Three parts of her lessons were:
1. lesson designusing Mooc for math teachers
2. presentation using Sway and Skype 
3. monitoring/ assessing through OneNote and Skype

The second session I attended was Jump into Minecraft and get crafting! This was presented by: Neal Manegold and Jaqueline Russell, from Microsoft and Stephen Reid as chair. This session was a hands-on workshop designed specifically for educators. After downloading Minecraft, we learnt the basics to survive our first venture into Minecraft and to survive our first night. We explored some Minecraft projects from classrooms around the world. It was both nerve wracking and thrilling to see how easy it was to get started and to see the possibilities of this learning tool.

The third was 'Going Virtual' presented by Beverley Cripps from Ireland was the most inspiring session that I attended. Beverley took us into her learning space and us educators the opportunity to view different ways that a Virtual Learning Environment can be used using tools like Office Mix, Skype, and OneNote. Some of the examples shared were how a cultural divide in Northern Ireland was broken through the ongoing use of a Virtual Learning Environment (VLE), how absent students (particularly those with health complaints) can be included through a VLE, and how a VLE can be used on an international scale. Beverley also pre-recorded the lessons she would miss while in Budapest and showed us a part of what her learners were doing while she was presenting to us!

The group challenge
My group was group 17 under the leadership of Poonam Dogra, India consisted of Oluwakemi Olurinola from Nigeria, Janja Polenšek Davidovski from Slovenia, Gordana Sokol from Slovenia, Dan Tsoi from Hong Kong and myself Tracy Heath from SA. It was enjoyable to work together on a common problem while learning about other teaching experiences.

Three of my group members discussing our hack

The Learning Market Place 
The highlight for me was walking around the Learning Market Place. It was interesting to see what other teachers are doing in their classrooms. It was also nice to see that some of our ideas are the same as what teachers are doing in other countries using similar or the same applications. 

It was fun to meet people from around the globe and share lesson ideas and opinions about teaching. These lessons are all recorded on the Microsoft Educator website and include lesson plans and practical guides as well as notes, photographs and pointers.

We each had our own stands. These are the three South African teachers' stands.

Keshma Patel
Tracy Heath
Moses Sehoole
The Gala Dinner to close the Conference and announce winners
This was a very exciting event to close off the E2 Teacher Exchange.

The South African delegates outside the National Gallery prior to the Gala Dinner.
What a huge privilege to attend such an inspiring gathering. Thank-you to Microsoft for this fantastic opportunity!

Friday, 29 April 2016

Let's look at the 'Find a lesson' option on the Microsoft Educator Community - why not join today?

This is the third post in a series on the Microsoft Educator Community. The previous two are:
*The NEW Microsoft Educator Community - all you need to know! Why not pay a visit...
*A brief overview of the 'Get Trained' option in the new Microsoft Educator Communit
Today we'll look at the section called ' Find a lesson'.

What is the Microsoft Educator Community?
You'll find the Microsoft Educator Community community at: https://www.educatornetwork.com/.
This new site is Microsoft's central education destination, a place to connect and collaborate around the world and gain easy access to lessons created by educators for educators. You'll have access to well over 1.5 million educators around the world plus more.

Let's go back to the landing page of the new community once you have signed in.  You'll notice six options on the landing page, so let's take a look at the 'Find a Lesson' option.

Let's look at the 'Find a lesson' option
This section contains resources created by teachers to be used by students around the world. You'll see it includes three subsections namely Lesson Plans, Skype Lessons and Virtual Field trips.

1. Lesson Plans

Here you will find lesson plans to download or view for your classroom. These have been written by other educators. 

You will notice a fairly simple filtering system that allows you to very quickly find the kinds of materials you are looking for. Many subject areas are catered for, and you'll find the different age groups and languages are given as options. 

You can also upload one of your lessons that you would like to share. You'll notice that there is a button on the top right of the filtering options called CREATE. If you click on the downward arrow you'll see that you can add a lesson plan, a video tutorial, a Skype lesson or a Virtual Field tour. Once you upload your lesson you'll find that it disappears temporarily so that it can be moderated by a member of the community team. This is done to ensure quality lessons. Each uppload is either approved or rejected.  

2. Skype Lessons
Let's take a look at the Skype lesson button. This is where you can connect with hundreds of global professionals and experts on a variety of topics to bring live learning lessons into your classroom.

In this section you'll find a large number of specific live Skype lessons to explore. 

Id you click on the one that says ' Skype in the classroom'  you'll be taken to a place of  instruction on how to use Skype in your classroom.

There is plenty to explore in the Skype lessons section.

3. Virtual Field Trips
The third section in 'Find a lesson' is the Virtual Field Trips section.  You'll notice under this section that you can find a virtual field trip, see a virtual field trip in action and host a virtual field trip.  Your students can go on great adventures without leaving the classroom.

If you visit the ' See a virtual Field Trip in action' you'll see the ultimate field trip - under the sea. The video is shown below. In 2014 Skype in the classroom was part of the historic Mission 31 expedition during which Fabien Cousteau and his team broke new ground in ocean exploration. Fabien and his team spoke with classrooms around the world via Skype. This video showcases 3 of those calls. Some of the pupils had never left their local area and were transported into a world deep beneath the sea. Their fascination evident, Fabien answered questions and offered glimpses into life as part of Mission 31.

Why not head over to https://www.educatornetwork.com/, Join if you haven't yet joined and take a look around.  You'll be amazed at the incredible wealth of resources for you and your students. 

Great Google posts for teachers this week #52

After looking through all the Google posts that were shared to various subscriptions recently, these are a selection that look useful for teachers. All the previous posts in this series can be accessed on this link http://bit.ly/1VEJp3r

Thursday, 28 April 2016

MIEExpert Spotlight #12: Mochudu Machaba from Limpopo talks about teaching with technology

This is the twelfth post in the series "MIEExpert Spotlight for South Africa". The tab with all the posts can be found at: http://bit.ly/1ZYy8Z7. Today we focus on Mochudu Machaba who is a Grade 5 and 6 teacher at Ngwanamago Primary School situated around 25 kilometers from Polokwane in South Africa’s Limpopo province. She is also recognised for being an Educator Community Influencer and Contributor, a Microsoft MIE Trainer and a Microsoft Master Trainer.

More about Mochudu Machaba

Mochudu Machaba is a Grade 5 and 6 teacher at Ngwanamago Primary School situated around 25 kilometers from Polokwane in South Africa’s Limpopo province. She first became interested in technology and especially the use of Microsoft applications when CozaCares Foundation trained teachers in her area in the use of technology and she was recognized as an ISPA SuperTeacher in 2013. For her entry into this competition Mochudu created a project using Microsoft’s SongSmith in which her learners created their own tunes and lyrics.

Mochudu and the Microsoft Innovative Teacher competition
Mokhudu heard about the Microsoft Innovative Teacher competition at one of the SchoolNet South Africa ICT in the Classroom Conferences and was immediately interested in entering the competition. “I decided to do a project with my learners using Microsoft’s free tools and I uploaded it to the Microsoft Educator Network as it was called at that time.” Even though her school is poorly equipped in technology Mochudu feels that the learners deserve to be exposed to interesting lessons that use technology, so she prepares at home and then uses her laptop and the school’s data projector to present her lessons with the aim of inspiring her Grade 5 and 6 learners. She says, "My learning activity centered on the Marula tree which we have in our school yard. We used the tree for research to see what we could use it for, and we ended up producing our own juice, our own jam and nuts.

Mochudu uploaded six learning activities to the previous Microsoft Educator Network and has joined the new Microsoft Educator Community, where by the start of 2016 she has been awarded six badges for being an Educator Community Influencer and Contributor, an MIE Trainer and Master Trainer,

The inspiring 2015 Microsoft E2 Educator Exchange
In 2015, Mochudu was recognized as a Microsoft Innovative Educator Expert (MIE) for her Marula project and was selected to attend the Microsoft E2 Global Teacher Exchange in Seattle along with three other South African teachers. She says, “This was a mind-blowing experience for me. It was a great achievement for my school. They were very proud of me." 

Mochudu says she feels honored to have been selected for the E2 Global Teacher Exchange in Seattle. “The Global E2 conference was amazing. We were given a group task to develop a learning activity that could be used and accessed all around the world. Our group won second place.” Mokhudu’s group tackled a project on everyday heroes and despite the language barriers they pushed through and developed a great project that others can use. “It was a great experience for me, meeting new people from different backgrounds. It taught me a lot of things mainly to start doing things differently. Now when I look at education in my country I look to see what changes I can make that will benefit my learners. We had incredible speakers at the E2 Conference. They changed my thinking completely. We have to work through all the obstacles of life and make a way for things that have to happen in education. I can still hear Angela Maeiers asking “How big is your brave?

Microsoft's Teaching with Technology course
Mochudu is very familiar with Microsoft’s Teaching with Technology course. In addition to having completed the course herself, and having encouraged colleagues to do so, she has also run a series of professional development sessions on it for teachers in Mogodumo Circuit.

Mokhudu feels that this course is exactly what teachers need to get familiar with using technology for teaching and learning in the classroom. For trainers, the Teaching with Technology courseware already exists, so trainers do not have to produce their own materials. Once teachers have been introduced to the course, they can then work through the various modules and quizzes at their own pace as it suits them. Teachers who successfully complete the online course are able to get a certificate which is endorsed by the South African Council of Educators which counts for fifteen professional development points through SchoolNet SA. This means that teachers are formally recognized for their learning. “The Teaching with Technology course is what I use most of the time to teach my colleagues whether at my school or in the district. It helps the teacher to get on board using ICT. It takes a lot of commitment for the teachers to do this online course but if you finish the course you get a badge. I really thank Microsoft for its impact in my life.”

Find out more about the teaching with Technology course:  SACE accredited (15 points)
This course is free and it can be found on the Microsoft Educator Community at http://bit.ly/1S1YYQl. It is SACE accreddited for South African educators and is worth 15 points.  The Teaching with Technology (TwT) curriculum is designed to help educators understand how Information and Communication Technology (ICT) can enhance the teaching and learning experience and enable students to acquire 21st century skills. Among many benefits, Teaching with Technology is free, aligned with the UNESCO ICT Competency Framework for Teachers. Successful completion of Teaching with Technology will prepare you to pass the Microsoft Certified Educator (MCE) exam.

Find out more about the Microsoft Innovative Teacher competition
We invite you to join the amazing Microsoft Educator Community (all free) and get involved in the Microsoft MIEE program in 2016/2017. 
If you are a teacher who likes to be innovative in the classroom, think about entering Microsoft's Innovative Teacher MIEExpert program in 2016/2017 when applications reopen later this year. You can learn more about the program at this link: http://bit.ly/1H4gKcB on the Microsoft Educator Community. 

Tuesday, 26 April 2016

Global Leadership week takes place this week online - why not join in?

What is Global Leadership week?

Global Leadership Week (GLW) is a week-long celebration of leadership through global action in K-20 education, taking place April 25 - 29, 2016, and organized by the Global Education Conference (GEC) Network. GLW is an opportunity for global education leaders (and those who want to be!) to learn from one another and share effective principles in leadership, particularly within the context of an interconnected, global age.

What happens during Global Leadership Week?

During Global Leadership Week, leaders in schools, universities, non-profit organizations, and corporations have designed and will be hosting over 25 virtual events to showcase thought leadership. The global education community at large can choose to participate in these online activities by browsing event listings on the 
GLW calendarAll events are free of charge to attend.
Major events during Global Leadership Week

First is the Global Leadership Summit on Monday, April 25than invitational, face-to-face convening at Edmodo’s headquarters in San Mateo, California on Monday, April 25th, from 4 PM - 7 PM PDT (UTC-7). You can watch this event virtually - join the GEC Network to be sent the links to watch.

Second is the Global Leadership Day virtual mini-conference on Tuesday, April 26th which will feature thought leaders at all levels. The conference is only online, and sessions will be streamed and recorded for the public; subsequent recordings will be used as living artifacts to continually inspire leaders. These series of presentations, interviews, and panels will highlight leadership practices from a range of experts, and will take place between 12:00 - 4:00 pm US-Pacific Daylight Time. Topics include: State/National/International Leadership, District Leadership, Teacher Leadership, Classroom Leadership, Teacher Education, Corporate and Nonprofit Leadership. Again, join the GEC Network to be sent the links to watch.

What questions will be addressed in Global Education week?

  • What is global competence, why is it important, and how does this concept fit into existing
    education priorities?
  • How does equity fit into the global education puzzle? 
  • What does it mean to be a global-ready school?
  • How do we prepare students and teachers to be global-ready?
  • How does a school or district foster empathy and other soft skills within its community?
  • How can we heighten awareness about the importance of the global education movement?

What is the goal of Global Education Week?

The goals are to elevate the global education dialogue and to focus attention on the urgent need for developing global awareness and competency in students and teachers. We plan to provide resources and inspiration for student leaders, teacher leaders, school leaders, district leaders and state/national/international leaders to further develop global goals within systems.

How to participate during Global Education Week?

You can participate actively in these events by posting comments and ideas to Twitter using the hashtag #globaled16. Global Leadership Week discussions are also being hosted in a new Edmodo feature called Topics. You’ll need a free Edmodo account to participate and we encourage you to respond to the prompts on this page:https://www.edmodo.com/topics/609/2016-Global-Leadership-Week. Also, feel free to add yourself to the participant map.

What happens if I miss some parts of Global Education Week?

Recordings will become available as sessions finish. Within a few days we will also upload YouTube recordings to the Global Education Conference YouTube channel. Visit this page to listen to the recordings: http://www.globaledleadership.com/conference-recordings.html 

Monday, 25 April 2016

Useful Microsoft posts for teachers this week #48

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:

Friday, 22 April 2016

Teachers interested in technology integration in the classroom - please join the SA Edtech group...

Here in South Africa, Sean Hampton-Cole (a teacher from Johannesburg) has started a Google group for teachers interested in Ed Tech to share ideas with one another. He has called this group the 'SA Edtech group', a shortened form of South African Educational Technology Integration Group'. Here is a message from Sean:

Please join the 'SA Edtech' group
"Please could I ask you to assist in getting teachers to sign up to this group? I belong to a similar group for Geography which has over 800 members and it is an incredibly powerful means of sharing great ideas. I would like this group to have a similar influence on technology integration. Please could I ask those of you who are at your workplace to share the sign-up link with teachers who are excited about edtech?" 

Here is the link to join: https://groups.google.com/forum/?hl=en#!forum/saedtech  You will need to wait for one of the SA Edtech group admins to confirm your application once you apply. 

How does the 'SA Edtech' group work? 
This SA Edtech group is what is known as a Googlegroup. 'Google Groups' is a free email service from Google that provides discussion groups for people sharing common interests. All you need in order to join a Google group after it has been set up, is an email address. This can be a non-Gmail email address.

Depending on the group settings, you can send a message to all members using a single email address, create a question and answer forum or post a message to the group via a web interface. After this you and the others in your group can post messages to one another, upload files for review and collaborate on a a document etc. All your discussions can be seen by everyone in the group.

How do you send a message once you have joined?
Just write your email in the ordinary way. Google groups will automatically add the tag [SA Edtech Ideas] at the beginning of your subject line.

Q and A about the SA Edtech group
Sean answered some of my queries as follows:

Q. What is the SA Edtech group?
. This group is a forum for exchanging links and ideas around integrating technology meaningfully into education.

Q. Why don't I see my post when I have posted something?
. In general, even though everyone else sees your post, you don't. This was something that puzzled me when I first started! You can, however, see all the topics if you go to the Group home page (but you must be logged on with your Google Account to see the posts).

Q. Does the tag [SA Edtech Ideas] automatically precede what your write in the subject line?
I've set up the [SA Edtech Ideas] to appear automatically in the subject line. I just thought it might be nice for people to set tags and rules by. It is also a way of indicating that the email is from a group member

Q. What happens after you submit a request to join?
A. All requests to join must be approved by an Admin person. This sometimes takes a few hours depending on how busy we are.

Q. Which option does one choose for email delivery?  Would it be the bottom option below 'Notify me for every new message' if you wanted to get a posted email as it is sent?

A. The email preferences are basically to get either an email as someone mails something or to get a summary once a week. The 1 per day thing is based on our current average (not very much just yet, I'm afraid, but as more people join and post this will change). I can change this setting for anyone who isn't sure how to do it themselves.

Here's a short video that may help: http://youtu.be/xJkrdaoq3-w

Three examples of recent sharing

Why not add your input to the SA EdTech group? We would love it!

Thursday, 21 April 2016

Great Google posts for teachers this week #51

After looking through all the Google posts that were shared to various subscriptions recently, these are a selection that look useful for teachers.