Tuesday, 3 March 2015

SchoolNet Webinar on Thurs 5th March 3:15pm ‘Making the Most of Office plug-ins’ by #MIEExpert Linda Foulkes

Would you like to know more about Office Plugins such as creating timelines within PowerPoint?  We are pleased to announce that we will be holding a SchoolNet webinar about Office Timelines  on Thursday afternoon  5th March at 3.30pm.  Our presenter is Linda Foulkes #MIEExpert teacher from South Africa. We would love you to join us.  (Details below)


Webinar details
Meeting Name:  ‘Making the most of Microsoft Office Plugins’
Summary: Plug-Ins are often overlooked by many when using Office. This webinar will highlight a few free “not to be missed” educational plug-ins to enhance and captivate your students attention making learning and teaching a bunch of fun. We will look at how to add these useful Office plug-ins and learn how to use each tool.
Presenter: Linda Foulkes, one of South Africa's #MIEExpert15 teachers
WhenThursday 5th March 2015 at 3:15 PM
Duration: 15 - 30 minutes
Time Zone:  (GMT+02:00) Pretoria
To join the meetinghttp://meet78641452.adobeconnect.com/plugins/

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:

SchoolNet South Africa provides a short, free webinar every Thursday afternoon during the school term. Our new starting time is 3:15pm.

Intel® She Will Connect is looking for the help of current SchoolNet trainers and new trainers

Intel® She Will Connect program aims to close the Internet gender gap, connecting millions of girls and women to opportunity. Women throughout the world are alike in being marginalized in many instances and the She Will Connect program aims to address these issues through providing digital literacy skills to women and girls. Showing women and girls the potential of the web will showcase ways in which women and girls can uplift themselves. It is to this end that Intel would like to expand the She Will Connect program to South African women and girls and we seek your help.
If you are a SchoolNet trainer or teacher with superb ICT skills then we need you. Intel would like to afford you the opportunity to train women and girls to help with this global program to address the 200 million gap. Intel has developed the Intel Learn Easy Steps program which includes five modules that are focused on digital literacy. This facilitation of this program is voluntary, however Intel has agreed to offer a stipend or incentive if a facilitator trains 60 women and girls before the end of April 2015. If you are able to arrange workshops for women and girls in your immediate community, have access to a working computer centre/lab/devices then please consider this challenge. If you are interested to learn more please complete this form and we’ll be in touch.


South African Microsoft Innovative Educator Experts Shine in Dubai

The Microsoft Global Forum - Dubai took place on 22 - 23 February 2015 as part of the Microsoft Global Forum event series. The Forum bought together more than 400 education leaders, government officials Africa including South African Microsoft Innovative Educator Experts Lyneth Crighton, Kathryn Riva, Phuti Ragophala and Karen Stadler. Also in attendance was the head of Brescia House School, Benedikte Nott who shared her experiences of integrating technology at this Microsoft Showcase School; MeganRademeyer of SchoolNet who spoke about Concepts and Contexts for Deep Learning and Sarietjie Musgrave of the University of the Free State who presented on Microsoft’s TEI course.

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To find out more about the Microsoft Global Forum in Dubai read the full report here….

Monday, 2 March 2015

Commonwealth Certificate for Teacher ICT Integration (CCTI) Orientation workshops in Uganda

Senzo Ngcobo and Gerald Roos went off to Kampala again this month to conduct workshops for the second phase in support the Commonwealth Certificate for Teacher ICT Integration (CCTI). The Ministry of Education and Sports in Uganda had invited 68 participants to take part at the Uganda Technology and Management University (UTAMU) in Kampala, Uganda, from February 16-19, 2015.

The First Follow-up workshop was for the purpose of following up on the first course that participants had experienced and to clarify any difficulties teachers might have found. Senzo and Gerald focused on promoting effective collaboration between student teachers.

Joan Talibawo of Shimoni PTC was unable to attend because she was attending workshops in Japan. As a very strong participant she will nevertheless continue with Course 2. SchoolNet members may have already viewed her final assignment video on the SchoolNet YouTube channel here - http://youtu.be/Jz2EaiwrLG8 It is uploaded there because it provides an excellent summary of this first course of the CCTI.

Participants discussed the following issues relating to the successes and challenges if the first course experience:


  • Collaboration and communication took place within the school and globally
  • Relevance and interest of new skills and content
  • Support from their school and MoES
  • Professional Learning Networks established – improved opportunities to network globalliy
  • Prompt and encouraging feedback from tutor
  • Integrating into classroom – active teaching and learning


  • Support from their school and MoES (both a challenge and a success)
  • Internet access and cost
  • Access to reliable technology, video recording
  • Time : course volume
  • Time management vs workload
  • Multi-level student
  • Limited familiarity with technical skills: Google Drive, YouTube
  • Lack of commitment in collaboration contexts

The Ugandan Ministry had organised a school visit before Senzo and Gerald moved on with the first group who then proceeded to explore the next module there were to study over the next few months. The workshop was largely successful with the exception of extremely slow access rates to the online course materials at cctionline.org. Accessing cctionline.org was not an issue when just a few participants were accessing the site, but when 22 participants and a facilitator were trying to access pages they were taking up to 2-5 minutes to load.

The workshop focus was to look at ways to improve the group cohesion during the lesson activities, especially the group discussions and other collaborative activities. The milestone start dates for each Course 2 lesson were established – from mid – February until April. It was valuable to agree on milestones and participants also gained a better understanding of the course processes during this workshop which will ensure that everyone is able to successfully embark on the second course.


Participants who attended the next course, jointly facilitated by Senzo Ngcobo and Gerald Roos, were embarking on Course 1 of the CCTI (Professional Development with Technology) for the first time and thereafter will proceed to Course 3: Technology-rich Teaching after this course and complete eight courses within two years.

Despite the continuing challenge of very slow access to the cctionline.org site and a number of power supply interruptions this workshop progressed successfully and it was possible to give the participants a good start to the programme. The facilitators stressed the nature of good communication and collaboration and the ways in which participants in the same school groups could support each other; also the way in which the group depended on the input from all other members of the group.

Finally the facilitators would like to express thanks for the technical support services of Abubakir (UTAMU) was highly efficient and valued. The computer room operated on thin client and the servers were not always stable given the regular interruptions in power. Without him the workshop would not have been a success.

Sunday, 1 March 2015

ICT4RED Teacher Professional Development: Gallery Walk and Field Trip (Module 8&9)

image image
Submitted by Hlengiwe Mfeka
The ICT4RED project is a ground-breaking project which contributes to the improvement of rural education through technology-led innovation.  Teachers in this project need to ‘earn’ their tablets by attending all trainings (10 Modules) and to submit set homework in the Teacher Professional Development (TPD). Gallery Walk teaching strategy involved creating a Gallery Walk session in a classroom, using social media platforms to participate in online discussions as an example.  Another activity that was important in this module is how a professional learning community works and how it can be a teaching strategy applicable in a classroom.  Teachers highlighted that some of the exhibits like phishing and digital identities were things not to be overlooked as a lot of people have been victims of such things.

The eighth and ninth module were conducted in Queenstown at Get Ahead College on 21 February 2015. The training was also attended by visitors from Rhodes University (lectures and students) CSIR Ethnographic Researcher, student from London researching about the project, Cofimvaba district officials and not forgetting a news reporter for Queenstown local newspaper Daily Rep.
Some of the teachers were there long before the start of the training, which was an indication of their level of eagerness and enthusiasm for their training. They are getting more and more at ease using their devices. Initially, they used to ask a lot when they were asked to use certain applications that has decreased a lot meaning that they are now familiar with using their devices. Due to the weather which was threatening to rain, it was decided that facilitators start with the Field trip which was originally planned to be done in the afternoon.

Teachers enjoyed themselves a lot, they said they felt young at heart as they ran around, climbed trees and even rode young children's plastic scooters, rushing from one point to the other guided by the activity sheets they got from facilitators which had a stipulated time. In the process they realised that they were learning something as they gave feedback during debriefing with their facilitators. They also mentioned that they learned a lot about the school surroundings. They were mostly fascinated by the QR codes which was something really new to them. They also learnt that the strategy encouraged a good team work as they had to work together to accomplish the tasks given to them. Arguments were another interesting factor when coming to group competitions, they do that in a very controversial but constructive way which promotes their critical thinking skills.

Gallery Walk teaching strategy involved creating a Gallery Walk session in a classroom, using social media platforms to participate in online discussions as an example. Another activity that was important in this module is how a professional learning community works and how it can be a teaching strategy applicable in a classroom. Teachers highlighted that some of the exhibits like phishing and digital identities were things not to be overlooked as a lot of people have been victims of such things.

As the visitors were moving around, they were so impressed about the efforts made by facilitators in trying to deliver the content and transferring skills to trainees, they outdone themselves during the training, they all pitched to a high note.
All facilitators commended the pre-training sessions they always have before each module facilitation, they go to the training sessions well-prepared knowing exactly what to do.
Teachers’ progress with the badges indicates that they are so determined to try their outmost best to make the project a success and to acquire all the challenge badges in record time.

Google Educator Groups are growing steadily with a current membership of 568 teachers. Get involved!


Submitted by Omashani Naidoo
Google Educator Groups are growing steadily with a fantastic membership of 568 teachers since August 2014. This report provides a summary of all Google Educator Group activities for January 2015 and the rest of the quarter.

So what’s the fuss?
Google Educator Groups aims to grow voluntary groups of teachers who are ICT Champions who want to be leaders that work in their immediate communities to spread the awareness of the various Google offerings and keep ICT oriented or interested teachers involved in regular discussions around ICT Integration for teaching and learning.

What’s the GEG curriculum all about?

  • The curriculum is in the format of in-class delivery, rather than online modules.
  • The curriculum covers the following Google products: Drive, Gmail, Presentations, Forms, Maps, Sites, Google+ Communities, Hangouts.
  • Curriculum includes 10 take-away activities which are specific lessons designed for the teachers to take back and use with their classe
  • Online safety is integrated throughout the lessons when relevant
  • Each lesson has skills-based activities and a skills based output to asses. Each lesson also has a knowledge based assessment (multiple choice exam).
  • There are Classroom Connections at the end of each lesson focused on how else the highlighted product can be used in the classroom.
  • There is a cumulative exam associated with the curriculum. If teachers pass it they will be granted a Google for Education Basics Level Certificate  Google for Education Basics Exam These basic exams are free and will award a certificate to each user. The more advanced certificates require payment; however it may be possible to get a subsidy for this J

The GEG South Africa Google+ Community is alive and populated almost daily with events and training thus far completed.

GEG Dainfern kicked off 2015 with a bang and hosted our first event for the year. Anthony Egbers and Pam Macmillan lead the pack with fun filled learning activities.


The GEG Cape Town-West Coast leaders, Lindsay Durell, Anthony Peters, and Arthur Preston host an event at Inkwenkwezi High School. Read more on the West Coast community page.

GEG Mahikeng (North West) kicked off to a wobbly start with internet in the area limited to EDGE and available for parts of the day. Suffice to say all teachers who attended gained much about email and hangouts from the able GEG Trainer, Mxolisi Tyobeka-Doni. Two leaders were nominated to lead the group for future events.


What GEG events are happening in your area?
Limpopo: GEG Polokwane was launched on the weekend at Hoerskool Noordeland.
Eastern Cape: Abrie Pepler and Claire Dean with GEG East London are about to host their first event at Selborne Primary. The date will soon be announced on the GEG SA community.
Eastern Cape: GEG Port Elizabeth, is launching with Brenda Hallowes with a fun-filled Friday Picnic at Cotswold Primary 20 March 2015.
Gauteng: GEG Northcliff, and Tracy Tschohl will be launching at the School Library, North West Christian School on the 6th March 2015.
Western Cape: Jane Mackenzie-Hoskyn and GEG Eden on the Garden Route is launching soon.

Join the GEG South Africa Google+ Community to stay informed about events coming to your area. For more information about GEG, contact omashani@schoolnet.org.za

Saturday, 28 February 2015

Microsoft Math - can your Grade 10-12 Maths students afford to be without this great free service?

In November 2014 the Nokia MoMaths name changed to Microsoft Math due to the acquisition of Nokia Devices & Services business by Microsoft. You can access Microsoft Math at https://math.microsoft.com

Can your Grade 10 - 12 Maths students afford to be without this service? This is a great, FREE site for students to use after hours either in groups or individually to revise their Maths content and get help with any queries.   Microsoft Math provided extra motivation not too long ago in the form of a competition with great prizes.

What are the advantages of the Microsoft Math programme?
One of the great advantages of this program is that learners can set up their own study groups with friends and see how they are doing or compete with each other! The program is accessible from smartphones, tablets as well as a PC. 

Get access to quality learning content 24/7, on any device!

If you are a Grade 10-12 Maths teacher and your students haven't yet signed up - encourage them to do so without delay.

Friday, 27 February 2015

Profile: Microsoft #MIEExpert15 Linda Foulkes, teacher from Elkanah House who now works for Netlearn South Africa

 This is a profile of Linda Foulkes one of South Africa’s Microsoft MiE Experts for 2015 (#MIEExpert15). Linda has contributed a number of blog posts on this blog in Microsoft Innovative Educator expert and is a regular webinar presenter for SchooNnet. Linda will soon be representing South Africa at the Global Forum in Redmond, Washington.  Linda’s blog can be found at: https://folklind.wordpress.com

My past school experience at Elkanah House High School in Cape Town
My role over the past eight years evolved many times whilst working for Elkanah House High School. I was responsible for the Microsoft Office Specialist Certification for our High School students, a tutor teacher for 10 beautiful girls, the ICT Coordinator and Staff Trainer for High School staff, particularly for the BYOD [Bring Your Own Device] program, and Induction training for new staff members.


In addition, I hosted TeachMeets and started iPadMeets for teachers inviting all from the Western Cape. This year I want to start MicrosoftMeets!


Being equally involved with IT and Academic departments [my role was split between the two] I certainly grew in terms of the challenges I faced being part of both departments.

During 2013 and 2014 I entered and trained students to compete at the Microsoft Office Special World Championships. My students were selected top in SA and were invited to compete at the World Championships in Disneyland and Washington, DC respectively. One of my Design students achieved first place in the Semi-Finals and was invited to participate at the Adobe Certified Associate Worldwide Championships last year.


At the start of 2015, I was offered the stunning opportunity to join NetLEARN Update cc – the company who sponsored the MOS Competition  and ACA Competition SA winners for the past two years.

What I love about teaching
I love the fact that whilst being a teacher one must not forget that we are also “learners” – I learn something new about technology or education every single day. Especially those days, like today where I gained three very important skills whilst watching a video on the Microsoft Educator Network.

Every presentation, lecturer, conference and educational video, whether presented on a tool or just learning from others, is what empowers and ignites me to improve and grow each day, so that I can transfer that knowledge to teachers, students and corporates when collaborating. In my current role, I get to collaborate with so many teachers, which is inspiring. The use of social media is also a huge enabling tool, and very much part of my growth and professional development – I am very grateful for these learning interactions which enrich my knowledge every day.

When teaching Microsoft applications to children, even though one repeats material to different classes in a grade each week, for me every lesson is different, challenging, and rewarding.

My new position at Netlearn working with the Microsoft MOS Certification
I am really blessed in my new position as Area Manager | Trainer | Assessor: Western Cape for NetLEARN Update cc. This has allowed me more freedom to be proactive, productive and be directly involved with training students, teachers, and corporates with amazing Microsoft technologies. In addition, the ability to create customized relevant courseware for Certification programs, allowing my passion to move me forward.

Details about my learning activity on the Microsoft Educator Network
My learning activity is about the transfer of knowledge of researched tools to teachers, students, and the wider community. Teachers need a lot of support and encouragement and time is always a huge factor in moving a device or technology project forward.

This learning activity is applicable to students and teachers in all learning environments. The Potential of One-Note for Education is unlimited. This activity is an ongoing activity and a resource which is continuously updated and shared to teachers and students across the globe, at conferences or in collaboration and training sessions.

OneNote has so many benefits and most schools do not even know about this hidden gem and its power! It is so beneficial in connected classrooms [whether BYOD, in class, as tutorials for subjects, academic subject multimedia note taker, research, homework, tutorials in and out of the classroom, as an individual tool, a collaboration tool or as a subject resource to share live with teachers and students. The objective is to empower, equip, engage and inspire teachers with skills to active ICT as a tool in the classroom and with a focus on "you can do that in Office" - to use tools they already have access to. To continuously professionally and personally develop themselves in order to create meaningful lesson plans and to deliver same by focusing on the educational / subject outcome and not the technology!

Enable teachers by providing tools, training and support “in the classroom” so that they can professionally develop themselves enough to change the way they deliver lessons.
Be active using Social Media as well as face to face to promote and make knowledgeable the use of ICT in the workplace, in education and the importance of professional development and certification.

How I feel about being selected as a 2015 Microsoft Innovative Educator Expert
I still feel like I’m in the “pinch me, did this happen?” stage but at the same time extremely thrilled to be selected to represent South Africa at Redmond in April.

My passion over almost 25 years has been Microsoft Technologies and I always strive to equip myself, keeping up to date and certifying myself where possible. Many colleagues know that my passion is Microsoft products, tools and software and I love to enable others by making them aware of these tools, providing training and one on one support. I am looking forward to the privilege of collaborating and sharing experiences with others around the effective use of technology in education.

What I would like to see happening in education
Schools who embrace, value and adopt professional development of teachers and students is key. Tiny bursts of consistent learning, attending conferences and TeachMeets can move mountains when implementing device and / or one to one programs.

More than often, management [IT and Academic] do not involve themselves committedly to staff or PD training for technology projects they start at school – this is detrimental to the success of the organization or school and thereby stunts project growth and subsequent decline in staff adoption, student use of groupware technologies, and so on.

I would like to see the decision makers; Principals, Deputy Principals, IT Coordinators, IT Managers and IT Staff realize the importance of researching and examining the benefits which Microsoft Office Applications [Desktop, Cloud, Tablets] have to offer students, teachers and the seamless management of using the technologies in and out of the classroom, as well as for all spheres of school life.
Most decisions are made without proper research = limited knowledge = non-adoption of staff or students on implementation = wasted resources = huge financial implications = role players questioning why the program isn’t going forward…

My social networking details
Name: Linda Foulkes
Twitter: @folklind
Blog: http://folklind.wordpress.com
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/foulkesatwork
LinkedIn: za.linkedin.com/in/folklind
Skype: foulkesatwork

Webinar recording from Thurs 26th February 3:15pm ‘Professional Development for teachers’ by #MIEExpert Mabore Lekalakala


On Thursday afternoon 16 Feb 2015 at 3.15pm we held a SchoolNet webinar entitled ‘Creative use of Microsoft’s digital free tools for teaching and learning’. This was presented by a South African teacher, Mabore Lekalakala, who is also a Microsoft Innovative Educator Expert #MIEExpert15.  Mabore will soon be attending the Global Forum in Redmond Washington.

The webinar description
Mabore added a description of the webinar: “With the advent of using ICT to enhance learning initiatives in South Africa, innovative minds are already wondering how and where to start? With the resources available at your school whether limited or unlimited, as an innovative teacher you could start with the implementation of ICT to enhance teaching and learning. In this webinar I will be taking you through:
1. Microsoft free tools available on Microsoft Educator Network to bring life to teaching and learning.
2. How to access the tool and creatively use them to support teaching and learning
3. What is “Dock to Desktop”? How to enable and disable it. What it lets a teacher or student do. What are the benefits?”

The webinar presentation
Here is the downloadable presentation from mabore which is available online in Slideshare at this link: http://slidesha.re/1yvnPxp

The webinar recording
The webinar recording can be listened to on the following link:

SchoolNet South Africa provides a short, free webinar on most Thursday afternoons during the school term.