Tuesday, 21 October 2014

Microsoft Innovative Educator Expert entries in South Africa are extended to 24 October

Submitted by Megan Rademeyer
The entries for the Microsoft Innovative Educator Expert were meant to close on 15 Oct - but we are still accepting entries submitted up to 24 Oct. Teachers can look at the 2014 South Africa and Lesotho Microsoft Innovative Educator Program for more information and to fill out the online entry form. http://www.pil-network.com/Discussion/488ae828-fa68-4ef5-83a0-faa249c866c4
This discussion also includes documents showing you how to upload a learning activity or how to edit a previously submitted Learning Activity.

If you would like to be considered as a Microsoft Innovative Educator Expert please complete the online application form if you have not already done so. By completing the application form you would be eligible for possible selection to attend the Microsoft in Education Global Forum taking place in Redmond, USA in March 2015.


If you submitted the Learning Activity to the Microsoft Educator Network some time ago, possibly for last year’s Microsoft Innovative Educator competition, you can use this same Learning Activity as part of your application for this year’s competition. If you want to update your Learning Activity or to enhance it in any way, you can do this by 24 October 2014. There are more details around the Microsoft Expert Educator Expert application process, and documents showing how to upload or adapt a Learning Activity in the “2014 South Africa and Lesotho Microsoft Innovative Educator Program” discussion on the Microsoft Educator Network.

You are also asked to send your name, along with a link to your profile on the Microsoft Educator Network and a link to your Learning Activity tomeaexp@microsoft.com. Please do this if you have not already done so.

Both completing the application form and sending the email require that you include links to your online profile and learning activity. If you are not sure how to do this, look for the document entitled “How to find your profile and learning activity on the Microsoft Educator Network” in the “Related content” section of the “2014 South Africa and Lesotho Microsoft Innovative Educator Program” discussion.

Please note that after you upload a Learning Activity or make changes it takes approximately 24 hours before your activity is approved and made publicly accessible. If you are anxious that you cannot find your Learning Activity the day after you uploaded it, please email me (meganrademeyer@schoolnet.org.za) to expedite the process of getting it approved.

Countdown tasks

Please ensure that you have done the following three things on or before 24 October 2014 to be eligible for possible selection as a Microsoft Innovative Educator Expert:
· Finalise your Learning Activity
· Complete the online application form
· Send an email to meaexp@microsoft.com with a link to your profile and learning activity on the Microsoft Educator Network

If you have any questions or concerns, please let me know.

Monday, 20 October 2014

An awesome Android (and iPad) app - Book Creator. A must for every mobile classroom. Try it...

Submitted by Fiona Beal 
Book Creator has to be one of my favourite iPad apps. So when it was released as an ANDROID app as well I was absolutely thrilled! This is an app that is a must in every mobile device classroom. It allows creativity and collaboration. You can use text, video, photos, camera, sound, video camera and imported video. I have been researching some of the ways Book Creator can be used in the classroom and in this post I will outline them.

With this Android app you can publish and share multi-media book creations in a variety of ways!


If we select ‘Share book’ these are the options that open up.  One Drive and ‘Lan Share’ appear further down. (In the iPad version one can also exxport as a PDF or export as a video!)


What is the Android version of Book Creator all about?

Watch the short promo video

How do I get Book Creator on Google Play?

For Android there is a free version as well as a paid version costing R25.



Ideas for the classroom

1. Your students could introduce themselves use Book Creator.

Note below how you can add text, photos, videos and audio.


2. Use Book Creator to create a newsletter

3. You could run a global project using Book Creator
Read Meg Wilson’s delightful blog post at http://www.redjumper.net/blog/2013/10/going-global-book-creator/  She says that she “sent out a tweet on Twitter asking for anyone using the Book Creator app to send us a page about their location, and I was shocked by the amount of people who wanted to participate in the global book.”


4. Use Book Creator as a research tool

                                             Students working on their iPads
“These primary school children from Moshoeshoe Primary School in South Africa  had to create their own books about a topic. In this case it was about the different cultures in South Africa. They had to create a book in English, which is not their mother tongue, and then they had to present their final product to the class. They were working in groups of two, and it was amazing to see how easy they navigated the Book Creator app, and how their terminology incorporated 'shelves', a 'first draft' and “editing”. Taken from http://www.redjumper.net/blog/2013/11/book-creator-adding-learning-experience-south-africa/

5. Record a Science observation

This group of students discovered that the classroom’s praying mantis egg sacs had hatched new baby praying mantises! They needed to set them free as they can actually eat each other if you don’t get them a food source quickly enough. The class worked in groups using Book Creator to document their investigation and release.


They snapped pictures, added information, worked on phonics skills, main ideas, retelling information in their own words, and more and it ended up as a great collaborative project. You can download their ePub book from their classroom blog:

6. More ideas

Look at all these examples of how Book Creator can be used in the  classroom presented on an interative Thinglink image called 'Oh, The Many Wonderful Uses of Book Creator App'

Further reading

Apply to attend Google’s CS K-12 Teacher Curriculum Testing workshop on 25th Oct in Joburg. Details…

This is a message from Google about a workshop that would interest CAT and IT teachers living in the proximity of Joburg, as well as other teachers who are interested in this topic.
Pilot - Johannesburg, South Africa
Date: October 25th, 2014


The project scoped for one of our team interns this past summer was around researching and creating Computer Science (CS) resources that would be of value in order to get middle school CS teachers to the next level in teaching these subjects to the students as well as having them develop additional curriculum resources that will work in their home countries with an ultimate aim to influence the K-12 student audience to be excited about CS and choose it as a future career option.

The result of the project, among other things, was the creation of a Logic, Algorithms and Computational thinking lesson and activity examples composed of starter activities and main activities that secondary school teachers could pick and choose from in order to complement their course or to run in parallel to their course to enhance students capabilities.

Target Audience

Students: The main target audience of these example CS lessons are the K-12 middle school students, since we hope to influence this. The teachers are the channel to get to them the CS knowledge.
Teachers: For the purpose of the testing the main target audience we want to get input from teachers. For the purpose of having meaningful content, a small sample of teachers with a variety of profiles is instrumental. Regionally, the aim is to get different teacher profiles with different CS levels: from the teacher that focuses on ICT and computer usage basics with no CS background to the teacher who focuses on programming fundamental with a CS background.
Besides, teachers from other subjects aren’t excluded from participation as long as they are “techy”, have an understanding of Google tools and how these work and are excited about taking part in this.
Project Testing Goal
Through the CS K-12 lesson example testing we would like to make sure the produced resources are relevant for EM middle school teachers and EM middle school students to have the right CS influence and that the format via which these would be delivered is also suitable for the teachers.
Additionally, we would like to leave teachers with something they could pursue in their classrooms the week after the workshop.

Workshop Materials

During the workshop 3 topics will be reviewed: logic, algorithms and computational thinking.
SSA (Johannesburg, South Africa)
    • Date: 25th October (fixed)
    • Facilitator: Google
  • Teachers: We will be hosting live workshops with a minimum of 20 teachers per location.
  • Duration: The workshop duration will be 4-6 hours and the format will be similar to that of a usability/UX testing with a facilitator.
  • Content: We aim to test one starter activity and one main activity for all 3 topics: logic, algorithms and computational thinking
Workshop Testing Follow Up
  • Teachers to come up with a lesson they could pursue in their classroom the following week
  • Brainstorming of a one-week syllabus plan
  • Empowering the teachers to share additional feedback on what worked/didn’t work in a week time from the workshop through a G+ community
  • Sharing of one-pager in CS resources

How to get involved

If you are in Gauteng or near enough to Joburg to travel to the workshop by car, and are interested please fill in this interest form. Teachers who are selected to attend this workshop will be informed via email. Please send any queries to omashani@schoolnet.org.za

Friday, 17 October 2014

Opportunity for CAT or IT teachers (and others) in Gauteng area to attend a Google Pilot study workshop to be held in JHB next week


Are you a CAT or IT teacher in Gauteng? Are you are teacher who is just interested in Information technology? Google needs you to review teaching resources for Computer Science at a workshop in Johannesburg next week on 25th October. (Unfortunately no flights can be reimbursed)

Google interns have been working on computer science resources for learners aged between 11-15 years and would like to get feedback on the resources from a varied sample of 20 teachers from across the world. Google would like to host this workshop in Johannesburg on the 25th October 2014. Interested teachers must have functional knowledge of Google Tools for education.

Click here for more information. If you are in Johannesburg and are interested please fill in this interest form. Teachers who are selected to attend this workshop will be informed via email.
Please send any queries to omashani@schoolnet.org.za

Thursday, 16 October 2014

SA teachers using iPads in class – get your students to create sample videos for the new Adobe Premier Clip app before October 28

Calling South African teachers using iPads in class. This is a message SchoolNet received from Adobe Youth Voices yesterday to pass on to you:

”We have a fantastic opportunity to have students help create sample videos for the new Adobe Premiere Clip app. The videos will be features as examples to all who use the app. Attached are three types of templates - family dish, video letter, and share a talent. (Download these at this link - Adobe Premier Clip template types).

It would be ideal if your students could do each template. This will take 15-20 minutes to create on an iPhone or iPad. We want to turn these videos over to the team by October 28. Please let me know right away if you're able to participate. From ljobson@us.iearn.org

What is Adobe Premier Clip?

image image

Adobe Premiere Clip is a free app that allows you to create amazing videos right on your iPhone or iPad . It can be described as the all-new app for on-the-go video editing.

Download Adobe Premier Clip

Adobe Premier Clip App is free from the iPad store http://goo.gl/zk2pUM


How do I use Adobe Premier Clip?

Here are two videos giving instructions
a) The first one can be found at http://goo.gl/x2TO9u along with other tutorials. (Open this one on the link provided) .


b) The second is a tutorial found on YouTube http://goo.gl/juNFGb

We hope you will take the challenge!

Wednesday, 15 October 2014

Just a reminder - Microsoft Innovative Expert Educator applications must be in on 24 October...

The Microsoft in Education Global Forum is taking place in Redmond, Washington in March 2015. If you think you’ve got what it takes to be recognised as a Microsoft Innovative Educator, join the Microsoft Educator Network and upload a learning activity that demonstrates how you are using 21st century teaching practices in your classroom by 24 October 2014

Microsoft believes that technology alone cannot build 21st century skills for students. Technology is an accelerator, but alone it does not enable change. Microsoft believes in the power of the educator, and the impact educators can have when they are brought together and recognized for their achievements.


Microsoft offers engagement opportunities aimed at empowering educators like you effectively use technology to develop your students’ 21stcentury skills. Join over a million educators, helping over 190 million students in over 200 countries who are shaping the future of education by becoming a Microsoft Innovative Educator – Expert (MiE – Expert).

As some of the world’s most innovative educators, MIE Experts advance the conversation about improving student outcomes through innovative uses of technology in teaching and learning. Participants of the program can expect:
  • Free Microsoft tools and technology
  • Exclusive professional development opportunities
  • To develop your personal “brand” and career as a thought leader by participating in case studies, speaking engagements and content development
  • Eligibility to earn an all-expense paid trip to the Microsoft in Education Global Forum in Redmond, Washington in March 2015.

As an MiE – Expert your role in the Community will be to:
  • Build educator capacity for using technology in teaching and learning to improve student learning
  • Advise Microsoft and education institutions on how to integrate technology in pedagogically sound ways
  • Be an advocate at conferences, events and trainings for how Microsoft technology can improve learning

Get started with four easy steps

Step One: Review program commitment
Your commitment as a MIE Expert is to be an advocate for using Microsoft technology to improve student learning. In a year, MIE Experts typically:

  • Attend 8-10 webinars to learn about and give feedback on new technologies and education concepts
  • Build educator capacity in your community (school, district or at training events) by training or coaching educators and inviting them to join the Microsoft Educator Network (educators at your school and/or 200 others)
  • Develop your own capacity as a thought leader:
    • Speak at 2 or more conferences
    • Regularly contribute to social media such as Facebook and Twitter referencing #MSFTEDU
    • Author one blog every quarter referencing Free Tools or Hot Topics blogs on MSEN
    • Participate in at least 4 teach meets showcasing Microsoft technology
Step Two: Join the Microsoft Educator Network (MSEN)
Join the Microsoft Educator Network and fully complete your profile

Step Three: Submit a learning activity
Submit a learning activity. Learning activities are typically a project-based or inquiry-based activities that exemplify the use of 21st century teaching practices. The best past learning activities have included references to the 21st Century Learning Design rubrics, included examples of students’ work, and a video explaining the learning activity. All learning activities should be submitted in English to apply to become a MIE Expert. See learning activities from MIE Experts.

Step Four: Send an email to meaexp@microsoft.com with a link to your profile on the Microsoft Educator Network and a link to your Learning Activity, and complete the online form found at http://1drv.ms/1qvP8sc before 24 October, 2014.
Just do it! Nothing to lose…so much to gain.

Gone Google? Now go Advanced...

imageThis is a guest post from Tiaan Lotter (@MrLotter), a Google Certified Teacher from South Africa. Tiaan is a very innovative Afrikaans teacher from Parklands College and he frequently presents at conferences around South Africa. Visit his website at bit.ly/MrLotterIn a previous guest post Tiaan shared about his experience at the Google Teacher Academy in London. Thanks for the great sharing Tiaan and Parklands College. 

Google Advanced.png

Google Apps...

Google Apps for Education (GAFE) has been around for a while now. Many of us a using Gmail, Calendar, Drive, Sites or a mixture of them. Whether under a GAFE account or our own personal accounts, we love many things about it and I am sure many of us have a few issues… Everyone can agree, though, that the collaborative aspect of Drive and the interconnected nature of it all is astounding. If you are not either using GAFE or seriously considering using it, get out from under your rock - you are missing out!

Some of the converted Google-ites are also missing out! Although all the obvious features in Google are amazing, I have compiled a review of two features that are perhaps not as apparent but are equally useful.

Using Gmail Offline

That’s right, all arguments are invalid because you can use Gmail offline. Not entirely, though… due to the nature of e-mail you will need a connection at some point to carry on. But this trick will show you how you can still access all your mails as well as compose mails while suffering from a connectivity-cavity.

1. Download the Gmail Offline Chrome App
                             GMail Offline App DL.png

2. Activate offline mail in Gmail

Go to the Cog, select Settings, select the Offline tab, and select the option to Activate Gmail Offline.


After this, you should be able to launch Gmail Offline from this location or from your Apps Home Screen in Chrome. (See the image below)

GMail Offline App Launch.png

The interface will be more like something you are used to in the Gmail tablet and ipad apps, but the functionality of writing and reading e-mails offline is worth the sacrifice, in my opinion. Because this is a Chrome App it almost goes without saying that you can only use this within Chrome.

Google Tasks

We all have a to-do list whether we write it down or not. Google Tasks allows you to plan your tasks right from your Gmail home screen. Google Tasks is the small brother of Gmail that lives in the same house, but no one ever notices. To access this small, but useful feature, click on Mail in your Gmail home screen, and select Tasks. It will bring up the Tasks pane on the bottom right of your screen.

2014-10-14_23-37-53.png 2014-10-14_23-40-24.png

SchoolNet says: Thank you very much Tiaan for this explanation of these two useful features. We really appreciate you sharing your knowledge via the SchoolNet blog.  

Tuesday, 14 October 2014

Nokia Mobile Maths competition 3rd-9th November! Lumia phones and free data up for grabs!


This is a message for your Nokia Mobile Maths students – to remind them of the upcoming competition next month. Here are the details:

If your students log in to your Nokia Mobile Maths account at https://momaths.nokia.com and open the section called NEWS they will see mention of a great competition that starts on 3rd November 2014. Microsoft and MTN bring them this competition in the form of a Maths challenge. It is only for one week, from the 3rd – 9th November. Below you will see this first mention of the competition under NEWS.


Let’s look at this in a bit more detail

1. Newsflash!! Microsoft and MTN bring you the Maths Challenge this month!
This exciting exciting competition is open to all learners in Grade 10, 11 and 12 during 3-9 November 2014. In the competition, the service randomly generates 10 questions for each individual participant corresponding to their grade from a bank of over 9000 questions on: Algebraic Expressions and Trigonometry for Grade 10, Equations & Inequalities and Trigonometry for Grade 11, and Sequences & Series and Trigonometry for Grade 12. Prizes will be given for getting all questions right, but also for the learners in each grade who have completed most practice questions! So our learners must remember to practice plenty to improve their chances in the competition. Lumia phones and free data up for grabs! Ready, steady, GO!

2. Competition rules
The competition is open for one week: 3-9 November 2014, but only one entry per registered learner is accepted. The competition is grade-specific i.e. grade 10 learners answer grade 10 questions (generated from Algebraic Expressions and Trigonometry), grade 11 learners answer grade 11 questions (generated from Equations & Inequalities and Trigonometry) and grade 12 learners answer grade 12 questions (generated from Sequences & Series and Trigonometry). The prize winners will be announced through the service on 14 November 2014. Winners can only claim their prize when an official notice from their school confirming their grade, along with the winners photo and full name is provided. We also reward the learners who have demonstrated most practice.

3. How to prepare for the competition
The Maths Challenge is on: Remind your learners to practice every day? There are 20 days to go, and counting, before the competition opens on 3 November. They should practice their skills in the following topics:
  • Algebraic expressions and Trigonometry for Grade 10; 
  • Equations & inequalities and Trigonometry for Grade 11; 
  • Sequence & series and Trigonometry for Grade 12.

In a nutshell – for the learners:

”On your marks to get on board the Maths Challenge.
Get set, with plenty of practice.
Go: Enter the Maths competition 3-9 November!
Practice makes perfect... and possibly a prize-winner!”

Monday, 13 October 2014

SA teachers – Invitation from Google to the Google for Education Innovation Tour at the Eastern Cape & Western Cape


This looks AMAZING especially if you are interested in finding out more about how to use Google in your classroom.

“Dear Administrators, IT Leaders, Academic Heads of Schools, Universities, FET and TVET Colleges

You are invited to attend one of our Innovation Tours in either East London or Cape Town in October 2014!  It is a one-day event where we will share ideas about Google for Education from both the technical and academic points of view. Our GEG Team would also be available to discuss professional development.

Event Overview:
  • Learn how Google for EDU is bringing South African educational institutions online, transforming the way students, learners and staff use technology.
  • Google Apps technical implementation, integration and deployment topics.
  • Google for Education Academic & Teaching ideas and hands-on activities.
  • You are welcome to bring your own device.
  • Chromebooks will be available for you to try out.
We would like to invite 2 IT/Management and 2 Academic staff from each organization. There is no cost to attend. We will be hosting more of these events in other provinces as well, later this year and early next year.

Eastern Cape

Where: Selborne Primary School, Crewe Rd, East London, Eastern Cape
When: Monday, 20 October 2014
8:45 - 4:30 (followed by a cocktail reception)

Western Cape

Where: Double Tree, 31 Brickfield Rd, Woodstock, Cape Town, Western Cape
When: Friday, 24 October 2014, 8:45 - 4:30 (followed by a cocktail reception)
RSVP: By completing this form or copy and paste this link in a web-address bar to complete the form:

We look forward to meeting with you!

Programme Overview

Morning Session
  • Pre-Registration (online via forms)
  • Google for Education Overview
  • Guide to Going Google
    • Getting Education Online
    • Infrastructure/Access Guide Overview
    • Change Management - Change Management  - Staff, Learners, Parents / Community, Policy, Access, and so on.
  • Communities - GDG, GBG, GEG
  • Panel discussion & knowledge sharing - from R-12 to Higher Ed.
Afternoon Session
Select one of the streams you would like to attend
  • Stream 1 - GfE Technical Toolkit focus
  • Stream 2 - GfE Academic & Teaching ideas

Tentative Agenda

Stream 1 - Technical Toolkit focus

Audience: Developer & ICT leads
60mins: Admin Panel Demo
  • Organizational Units
  • Activating Applications
  • Security & Domain Control
  • Device Management
60mins: Infrastructure for the Connected Classroom
  • Elements of Infrastructure
  • Internet Connectivity Requirements
  • Working Offline
45mins: Google for EDU API  & Integration
  • The Admin SDK
  • Google Apps Script
  • APIs & Sample Use Cases
Stream 2 - Academic & Teaching Focus

Audience:  Teachers / Academic  Staff
90mins: Hands-on workshop: Google for EDU apps
  • Document Management - Drive, Docs, Sheets
  • Managing Teams - G+, Groups, Forms
  • Managing Classes : Classroom
30mins: Professional Development
  • Google Educator Groups
  • Certifications
60mins: Connected Classrooms
  • Overview
  • Google Hangouts on Air
  • The ‘Youtube’ factor
Kind Regards

Google for EDU Team”