Friday, 24 April 2015

10 great Google posts this week #11

After looking through all the Google posts that were shared to my various subscriptions during this week and last week, these are the ten that have caught my eye so far.  I have saved these using Listly ( which is a great way to present a list of sites

Useful Microsoft posts for teachers this week #3

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:
Useful Microsoft posts for teachers this week #3

View more lists from Fiona Beal

Thursday, 23 April 2015

Microsoft tools competition “Use IT – Share IT – Like IT” for South African Teachers announced today… why not enter?

Microsoft in Education - South Africa and Lesotho
We have exciting news for you. As of today Microsoft and SchoolNet will be launching a competition for teachers who are using one or more of the Microsoft tools mentioned below as part of their teaching.

You could win a trip to the SchoolNet SA ICT in the Classroom conference 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.

Tuesday, 21 April 2015

Webinar recording and downloadable presentation from Thurs 16th April at 3:15pm ‘How to use Windows Live Movie Maker to simplify the content of a lesson’ by #MIEExpert Phuti Ragophala

On Thursday afternoon 16 April 2015 at 3.15pm we held a very informative SchoolNet webinar entitled ‘How to use Windows Live Movie Maker to cimpolify the content of a lesson’ which was presented by Phuti Ragophala a #MIEExpert from South Africa.  Windows Live Movie Maker is a free resource from Microsoft that can be used to drive the lesson in class. This tool could be free on your PC or laptop. If not it can be downloaded free of charge from the Microsoft Educator's Network. (We encourage you to join this amazing network with all its free resources and offerings.)

The Webinar description
Phuti gave us some  ideas on using Windows Live Movie Maker in the classroom to narrate the lesson, summarize the lesson, sing the lesson,  converse about the lesson and rap the lesson. She used four videos in the session as well as her presentation. Unfortunately viewers couldn’t hear the videos so Phuti talked us through them. I have added the videos below since they are available on YouTube.

The webinar presentation
Here is the downloadable presentation from Phuti which is available online in SlideShare at this link:

The webinar recording
The webinar recording can be listened to on the following two links (unfortunately there was a break in the recording so please listen to the first one and then the second one):
1) (2 mins)
2) (25 mins)

The YouTube videos that accompanied the webinar

1. A poem to Phuti Ragophala by Grade 7 learners

This poem was created during their medicinal herb making project

2. Techno reading project from Pula Madibogo Primary School in Limpopo South Africa

This was a skype literacy project.

3. Today’s learners! Tomorrow’s great thinkers and scientists

  This video is  summary of their food production project. 


4. Planting seeds! Changing lives!  


This video is a song about planting seeds

  5. My Movie Maker on EMS presentation by Lerato Komana


This was a presentation and narration by one of Phuti’s students

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

SchoolNet free webinar on Weds 22nd April at 3:15pm ‘How to do a Technology and Pedagogy Mix’ by Victor Ngebeni from Microsoft South Africa

Technology is a tool, a platform, a tactic, a strategy, and a space, but unless you’re teaching a technology class it's never an end.” (Teachthought).  The webinar by Victor Ngobeni from Microsoft which will take place on Wednesday 22nd at 3:15pm aims to show us how pedagogy and technology can work really well together as a mix.


Webinar details

Meeting Name:  ‘How to do a technology and pedagogy mix'
Summary: Victor says: “In this webinar, I would like to focus how Technology and Pedagogy mix as one of the units of the Teaching with Technology course, but I want to do this rather differently in a way of making it more interactive. I would like to make sure that the participants share strategies/ideas amongst each other of how they are able to “marry” the methods that they are using in the classroom with the relevant technology tools.
Presenter: Victor Ngebeni from Microsoft
WhenWednesday 22 April 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, 20 April 2015

Google Educator Group Meetup at Rondebosch Boys’ High School on Friday 3-5pm – why not join us?

This is a message from Glenn Jones, a GEG leader for Cape Town Central about a GEG meetup that is taking place on Friday this week.

The event
"I’m Glenn, for Western Province Preparatory School, and I’d like to invite you to a Google Educator Group meetup at Rondebosch Boys’ High School on Friday 24th April 2015.
Google Educator Groups is an informal initiative by like-minded professionals looking to sharing best practices with integrating technology for teaching. We are going to have an introductory Google Apps session getting the basic introduction to using Google Drive, Calendar and Gmail for collaborating with peers and students.

The training session will commence at 15h00 and will run until approximately 17h00 at the latest. We’ll end with some light snacks and refreshments. Please feel free to stay afterwards to chat about technology integration in a relaxed, social environment."

The venue
Training Venue: Rondebosch High School E1942 Centenary Cricket Pavilion.

Please register here

The focus
Take a look at the great programme


See you there – should be a fun and informative event.

A great competition for Apple users in South Africa…Apple in education competition 2015

Recently we had an email sent to us from Think Ahead about their upcoming competition with the closing date in September.  This looks really exciting! The actual website gives a selection of curriculum challenge categories to choose from:


In the email the first challenge called Shape of My World had some tips and ideas attached as follows?

To inspire your students:
Here are some tips and ideas for one of the curriculum challenge categories. This challenge can be applied across grades and subjects..

Design an animated interactive tour in your area that will highlight all tourists attractions. Your tour should include cultural activities, sight seeing, local tips etc.

Who are you? What defines you? Your culture? Your religion? Your choice in music? What are your challenges as a teenager? Share this in the most creative way possible. A jigsaw puzzle of your life?

Exploring different languages in South Africa and your community.Which words are uniquely South African? Explore languages, slang associated with specific cultural groups. How has social media changed the way we communicate?

What shapes make up your world? (Triangles , circles , squares) Look around your class, home, playground and garden. What shapes can you see? Express this in the form of a story book; a film; poster or creative drawing.

What newsworthy item has shaped today’s world? Explore current affairs, the news headings - how has it affected me?
Suggested apps for this particular challenge:


Visit the website today ( and find out more!

Friday, 17 April 2015

Online places to find royalty free books or Creative Commons licensed books for children to read

Nowadays there are so many wonderful places to find free reading material on the Internet. Here are just a few...

Public domain sources
Every year new publications enter public domain. That means their intellectual property rights have expired or are not applicable any longer.

1) Complete Library of Children’s Books online: Rosetta project 
The Rosetta Project is a global collaboration of language specialists and native speakers working to build a publicly accessible digital library of human languages.


2) Project Gutenberg 
Project Gutenberg offers over 46,000 free ebooks: choose among free epub books, free kindle books, download them or read them online. 

3) The International Children's Digital Library
"The mission of the International Children's Digital Library Foundation (ICDL Foundation) is to support the world's children in becoming effective members of the global community - who exhibit tolerance and respect for diverse cultures, languages and ideas -- by making the best in children's literature available online free of charge. The Foundation pursues its vision by building a digital library of outstanding children's books from around the world and supporting communities of children and adults in exploring and using this literature through innovative technology designed in close partnership with children for children. The ICDL Foundation is a non-profit corporation." -The ICDL Foundation

4) 7 Places to Find Children’s Books in the Public Domain
This post outlines seven places to find free books for students to read.

7 Places to Find Children's Books in the Public Domain

  1. Baldwin Online Children’s Literature Project
  2. 19th Century Schoolbooks
  3. An Old-Fashioned Education
  4. Baldwin Library of Historical Children’s Literature
  5. Timeless Truths Free Online Library
  6. Classic Reader Young Readers Collection
  7. Complete Library of Children’s Books Online
5) 25 sources of free public domain books
e-book has collected links for 25 sites that offer free public domain ebooks.


Creative Commons sources
Many books are placed online under a Creative Commons License.  That means the original creators allow the books to be read and used but require acknowledgement of the original author or publisher as well.

1) The African Storybook Project
The African Storybook Project (ASP) is a wonderful project that is currently creating and encouraging the use of a multilingual, digital library of stories for the first few years of reading (Grades 1-3)

2) Pratham Books
Take a look at their free resources

Thursday, 16 April 2015

SchoolNet Conference in Durban in July – three great international speakers lined up…

We would like to invite you to register for our upcoming 2015 ICT in the Classroom Conference taking place in Durban in July 2015.

Three first-class International Speakers
We have three first-class international speakers - Holly Clark, Stuart Ball and Shelley Stott as well as a host of great local presenters!

Holly Clarke

Holly is a technology and innovation specialist from San Diego, California. She has been helping teachers redefine instruction in their classrooms by overseeing 1:1 tablet pilots and helping schools implement digital literacy programmes. She is a Google Certified Teacher and holds an MA in Technology in Education from Columbia University. Presently she consults with schools internationally on improving their iPad integration and use of Google Apps for Education to empower learning.

Stuart Ball
Stuart Ball manages the UK Microsoft Partners in Learning Programme. He is a former Primary School Deputy Headteacher and ICT Adviser. He has written a number of books for teachers and currently authors the Microsoft UK Teachers blog. In 2005 he won a Microsoft Innovative Teacher Award and attended the first ever Innovative Education Forum in Seattle. He has developed an expertise in the use of technology to support learning, and challenges how we think about everyday devices, software and apps. He is responsible for Kodu winning a BETT award in 2014. 

Shelley Shott
Shelley is well known to South Africa because she was the first Intel facilitator to visit us back in 2003 and has been a frequent visitor since. As Intel’s Global Education Specialist, Shelley now drives the development and strategy for K12 education around the world. A former middle school teacher, and current university lecturer, Shelley understands the impact quality teacher professional development can have. She is passionate about working with teachers and education leaders world-wide in order to create change in classrooms from teacher-centric to learner-centric models, and about preparing students globally to be successful in the 21st century.

Visit our Conference website
You can now access all the details, register and submit a presentation application via our Conference website. The early bird discount ends on 30 April and the closing dates for exhibitor and presenter applications is 15 May 2015.

Watch this space for an offer for SchoolNet members
The most important news is that we would like you to watch out on the conference website for the upcoming discount that is going to be available for SchoolNet members - a free membership that will keep you in touch with all our wonderful offerings for educators. Join immediately if you haven't already done so!

To register as a SchoolNet member: 

See you at the conference!