Thursday, 28 May 2015

What's happening at the Teacher Centres around the country?

In August 2015, 131 delegates from teacher centres around South Africa attended the Teacher Centre Managers workshop in Johannesburg with an intention of "Building Functional Teacher Centres and Competent Centre Managers to Support Quality Learning and Teaching”.  Over the past three  months, SchoolNet SA staff have visited twenty seven Teacher Centres across all nine provinces to see if the centre managers were putting into action what they had learnt and to see first-hand what both their challenges and successes have been. It has been heart-warming to see what some centre managers have achieved despite having little in the way of resources. Accolades also go to the Vodacom Foundation whose generous donation of IT equipment for a number of teacher centres has had a huge impact on the training and facilities that can be offered to teachers and community members in some communities. Whilst it would have been very difficult to visit every teacher centre, those that were visited have given us a good sense of what is happening generally in teacher centres across the country; what is working well; and what still needs to be improved upon.


Wednesday, 27 May 2015

Local talent recognized amongst peers around the world – media release about Microsoft’s E2 Global Educator Exchange

Johannesburg, 4 May 2015 – Four educators from South Africa joined 300 Microsoft Innovative Educator (MIE) Experts and Student Ambassadors from around the world at Microsoft’s E2 Global Educator Exchange event. The event took place from April 29 to May 1 in Redmond, Washington (USA) at Microsoft’s headquarter. The educators were selected from amongst the most innovative in the world to attend the event, collaborate, create and share experiences with their peers on how to integrate technology and education in ways that improve learning outcomes and equip students for the world of work.
Awarded Microsoft Innovative Educator Expert status in 2014, educators Mabore Lekalakala, Linda Foulkes, Warren Sparrow and Mokhudu Machaba were selected because of their ability to employ technology effectively within the classroom in order to help students develop all-important 21st century skills. These educators demonstrated excellence in creating and leading transformational learning environments.

Mabore Lekalakala’s learning area of expertise is Computer Adventures; to discover Mathematics where she encourages learners not only to practise created content but to construct their own contextualised games, songs, flashcards, PowerPoint presentations, while learning and reinforcing concepts in mathematics and other subjects.

Warren Sparrow’s area of expertise titled ‘HIV Busters’  empowers students to gain a better understanding of the moral and community implications of HIV and AIDS, while substantially advancing their understanding of multimedia and video production. Using their own mobile technology the students created movies about various topics about HIV and Aids that is uploaded to a website that allows other schools to use this as a resource for teaching and learning.


“Our MIE Experts worldwide are transforming the learning environment in truly pioneering ways, and the E2 Global Educator Exchange event gives them the chance to share these experiences amongst their peers and work together to solve the challenges faced,” said Anthony Salcito, vice president, Worldwide Education, Microsoft Corp. “Hosting E2at our campus in Redmond means we can hear their innovative ideas and bring them back into Microsoft, ensuring that we support this transformation and work together to adapt learning to equip students for tomorrow’s workforce.”


As part of the event, MIE Experts will participate in the Global Educator challenge, where they will be divided into groups with peers from different parts of the world to design a project around the use of Microsoft technologies within the specific theme of Bravery, Courage, and Leadership. The E2 Global Educator Exchange event is part of the Microsoft in Education initiative that offers a range of professional development programs to bridge the gap between technology skills and innovative teaching.  These programs reach beyond traditional software training to provide a scaffold that supports educators and school leaders of all skill levels on their learning journey. Through these programs, Microsoft trained more than 10 million educators and reached more than 200 million students since 2003 worldwide.

Tuesday, 26 May 2015

SchoolNet free webinar on Thursday 28th May at 3:15pm ‘Use Adobe Slate to create gorgeous visual stories’ by Alan Goldberg from Digicape


We will be holding a short, free SchoolNet webinar on Thursday 28th May at 3:15 . Our speaker will be Alan Goldberg from Digicape who will share on using the acclaimed free iPad app 'Adobe Slate' for creating stunning visual documents. We invite you join us at the webinar. 

Background to this webinar
Alan Goldberg, our webinar presenter for this week, says: “Named AppStore Editors’ Choice, Slate lets you turn your next report, travel adventure, school project or newsletter into a gorgeous visual story that can will engage readers on any device. Created on an iPad, you select your style - and your fonts, colour and magazine style design are automatically incorporated. Add your text and images to tell a unique and exquisite story - then share your story anywhere on any device. If you’ve ever wanted your offerings to look like those stunning ‘Snowfall’ style web pages, where text and images glide over each other in a fluid and elegant way, you’ll love Slate.”
Webinar details
Meeting Name:  Use Adobe Slate to create gorgeous visual stories
Summary: This webinar will explore the capabilities and potentials of using Adobe Slate on an iPad to create stunning visual stories. You select your style - and your fonts, colour and magazine style design are automatically incorporated. Add your text and images to tell a unique and exquisite story - then share your story anywhere on any device.
Presenter: Alan Goldberg, the Director for Educational Implementation of Apple Technology at DigiCape
WhenThursday 28th May 2015 at 3:15 PM
Duration: 30+ minutes
Time Zone:  (GMT+02:00) Pretoria
To join the meeting:

If you have never attended an Adobe Connect meeting before or if you haven’t attended an Adobe Connect meeting for a while you might need to install a free add-in. To investigate this, test your connection:

Monday, 25 May 2015

GEG Meetup at Rondebosch High – plenty of sharing of ideas..

On Friday 24th April I excitedly made my way to Rondebosch Boys High to take part in a GEG (Google Educator Group) Meetup.

Wondering what GEGs are? 
Google’s world-wide GEG initiative aims to grow voluntary groups of teachers in communities who will share their use of the various Google offerings with other interested teachers in their community. Here in South Africa our Google Educator Groups are growing steadily with a membership of 679 teachers since August 2014.  To date we have 12 GEG groups around the country. The GEG South Africa Google+ community keeps a record of all the various groups and their activities. We invite you to join the community.
But back to the afternoon of Friday 24th April. This was the first Cape Town Central GEG group meetup since the group was formed in August last year. There were around 20 - 25 attendees and the programme was even better than the one advertised because it turned out to be a type of informal Demoslam (Google’s terminology for a TeachMeet where teachers voluntarily share ideas in short presentations with the rest of the group).  Chrome books were placed on the tables for us to share and explore.

Glen Jones, the Cape Town Central GEG leader who teaches at Western Province Preparatory School opened the meeting and shared about how their school is using Google Classroom. WPPs is using Chromebooks for some of their classes so Glenn showed us the workings of a Chromebook.  He also showed how they are making use of Google Classroom in a team manner with a class. One class can be shared between a number of teachers. There were a number of queries and ideas from the attending teachers about using Google Classroom as a group of teachers.

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Andrew Hughes a Maths teacher from WPPS shared on how he uses Google Forms for Maths. There was discussion on how to use Flubaroo to mark Maths tests.

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Rhine Adams who is new to WPPS is the Grade 2-7 art teacher and he shared how he uses Google products in Art. He also keeps his classes together using Google Classroom so that he can share interesting resources with the classes. The students can also share resources via Google Classroom.

The students work from Google Drive with Apps that can edit images such as Pixlr editor. He demonstrated how to do this. He also uses Google Sites with the Grade 7s and often visits the Google Cultural Institute virtually with the students.

Leighton Forbes briefly showed us a site called http:// which is great for Afrikaans teachers.
What I enjoyed about this Meetup was the way folk could ask their questions and different teachers would attempt to answer them, demonstrate or add their viewpoints. After the meeting we all networked and shared informally as we tucked into the beverages supplied and eats that were supplied.

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The two GEG leaders for the Cape Town Central Community, Glenn Jones and Leighton Forbes, are considering holding these meetups on a regular basis incorporating the Demoslam method of sharing ideas, tips and tricks being used each time.

Friday, 22 May 2015

11 great Google posts this week #15

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

This week's useful Microsoft posts for teachers #6

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:

Enter the Microsoft tools competition “Use IT – Share IT – Like IT” for South African Teachers. Closing date 29th May...

We would like to remind you about  Microsoft and SchoolNet's exciting competition for teachers who are using one or more of the Microsoft tools mentioned below as part of their teaching. The closing date is 29th May... one week to go!

You could win a trip to the SchoolNet SA ICT in the Classroom conference in Durban in July or a Teaching with Technology Kick-Off session for your school by sharing your idea for using one or more of these Microsoft tools with other teachers and creating a Facebook post about it. More details about prizes are given in the Prize section below.

(includes the
Use IT – Share IT – Like IT” Contest Terms & Conditions)

Step 1: Use a Microsoft tool as part of a lesson

Use one or more of the following new free tools from Microsoft in a lesson. If you have not used any of these tools before, use this as an opportunity to try one or more of them out.
Step 2: Share your lesson on your own Facebook page using the following instructions so that we know about it

- VERY IMPORTANT Create a post on your own Facebook page. Save it as PUBLIC and add the hashtag to your Facebook post #MSToolsInEdu15 - this will enable us to find your entry. Once you have done that if you have any queries you can inbox the Microsoft-South Africa and Lesotho page and let us know.

- In your post describe how you have used a Microsoft tool to create a great lesson. Tell us what impact the tool has had or how it has enhanced your teaching. Your post should not be longer than 2 sentences.

- Please include 1 to 3 photos in your post. These could be screen grabs of the tool in action or a photo of the lesson in progress. Remember to get permission from learner’s parents to include photos of them if you show their faces or take photos in such a way so that learner’s identities are protected.

- Alternately create and share a short video (no longer that two minutes) describing how you have used the tool. You can create a video that shows off your creation as a screencast – or it can just be a simple video shot with your cell phone in which you explain what you did.

Step 3: Encourage your colleagues and social network to Like your lesson idea on the Microsoft in Education – South Africa and Lesotho Facebook page

We would love people to see your great lesson idea. Ask your colleagues, professional network, Twitter followers and Facebook friends to like your lesson idea on the Microsoft in Education – South Africa and Lesotho Facebook page.

Step 4: Stand a chance to win a prize by being in the draw with the best lessons shared

- This competition is open from 23 April 2015 to 29 May 2015 – so you can put up your post anytime during that time period.

- Prizes will be awarded to the most popular lessons as measured by the number of “likes” they receive as well as the lessons which the Microsoft and SchoolNet panel of judges believe to be the most creative and engaging uses of the Microsoft tools.

- Microsoft is not responsible for lost, corrupted or delayed entries. No purchase necessary. Entry constitutes full and unconditional acceptance of these Terms and Conditions. Microsoft reserves the right to disqualify anyone in breach of these Terms and Conditions.


This contest starts at 08h00 hours GMT on Friday 24 April 2015 and ends at 17h00 hours GMT on Friday 29 May 2015 (inclusive).


Personal data which you provide when you enter the draw may be used for future Microsoft marketing activity.


The winner will be notified in the form of a direct inbox on Facebook or Twitter. The winner will also be announced on our Facebook and Twitter pages. The winner may be required to participate in further publicity or advertising.


- An opportunity to attend the SchoolNet SA ICT in the Classroom conference being held in Durban to present your Learning Activity (Microsoft will cover travel and accommodation costs and conference fee)

- A Microsoft Teaching with Technology Kick-Off session for teachers at your school
The Prize is not transferable. No cash alternatives are available. Microsoft reserves the right to substitute the Prize for another prize of equal or greater value. The Prize will be issued to the winner within 2 weeks of notification.


The winner’s consent to their names being made publicly available. Winner’s names may be available on Microsoft’s Facebook page – Microsoft South Africa for a period of 3 months after the final draw date by email.


No correspondence will be entered into regarding either this Contest or these Terms and Conditions. In the unlikely event of a dispute, Microsoft’s decision shall be final. Microsoft reserves the right to amend, modify, cancel or withdraw this promotion at any time without notice.

Microsoft cannot guarantee the performance of any third party and shall not be liable for any act or default by a third party. Participants in this promotion agree that Microsoft will have no liability whatsoever for any injuries, losses, costs, damage or disappointment of any kind resulting in whole or in part, directly or indirectly from acceptance, misuse or use of a prize, or from participation in this promotion. Nothing in this clause shall limit Microsoft’s liability in respect of death or personal injury arising out of its own negligence or arising out of fraud.


This Contest is sponsored by Microsoft South Africa (Pty) Limited, 3012 William Nicol Drive, Bryanston, 3091. The Contest will be facilitated by SchoolNet SA.


This contest is open to any educator in South Africa or Lesotho that uses a Microsoft tool in a lesson and shares the idea through the delegated Facebook Page. This contest excludes Microsoft employees, their agents and their families, and anyone else professionally connected with this contest.

Thursday, 21 May 2015

‘Take education to new heights using Microsoft Sway’ by Kathryn Riva, a Microsoft MIEExpert from SA.

Kathryn Riva, one of the Microsoft MIEExpert teachers from South Africa, who recently attended the Global Forum in Dubai with Microsoft, sent information about a blended learning task she did with her Grade 5 girls that used Microsoft Sway.  Kathryn teaches at Micklefield School in Cape Town. Kathryn Rsays, "I used Microsoft Sway in my SS Geography: Africa blended learning lesson - the class loved Sway and their presentations were outstanding...success!”


During the Grade 5 Blended Learning Week at Micklefield the girls were given the task of exploring countries and cities in our African continent. This task was carried out using researching skills and presenting the findings as a Microsoft Sway presentation. In each section, different instructions had to be followed i.e. finding facts, adding relevant videos, including appropriate pictures and creating a link to an article to back up ones findings.


These are three examples of the final product by Miyo, Emma-Beth and Hannah.

Quotes from three Grade 5s about using Microsoft Sway:

Paballo: “Sway is a fun website where you can do creative presentations for school. I really enjoyed the experience of Sway.”          

Jessie: “I loved making my Sway, it’s like putting all your thoughts on a page and swaying through images of your imagination.”

Zayahn: Sway in three words: fast, efficient and fun!”


 The task
Kathryn kindly shared the task she set the girls.


The rubric for the task


Thank you so much for this lovely post Kathryn.

Google is looking for SA teachers to help them test a new Google course… Interested? (There is a reward!)

This is a message from Victor Udoewa from Google
“We are looking for teachers to help us test a new, Google online course. It only requires 30-60 minutes of your time, and we'll do it over Hangouts. We are especially looking for non-computer science and non-ICT teachers.

We are creating a Computational Thinking online course that explains to educators what Computational Thinking is and gives examples on how to implement it in the classroom

How can you help us? 
Give us some of your time and feedback on a set of the resources we are developing... You’ll find a form that looks like the image below at this link: Computational Thinking MOOC – Testers "

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Thank you!

Join the GEG South Africa community!
This post appeared in the (GEG) South Africa community. If you are interested in keeping in touch with other teachers in South Africa that want to know more about using Google Apps in Education please join the (GEG) South Africa community.