Thursday, 26 June 2014

Think about attending one of these upcoming, local ICT Technology-in-the-classroom Conferences in South Africa

It is very exciting to see the current interest in using ICT in the classroom in South Africa. I thought I would make a list of the upcoming conferences that I know about which teachers could investigate. They are listed below in the order of their dates. .

1. Google in Education Summit, Johannesburg, July

This of course is the not-to-be missed summit that is being presented by the EdTEchTeam and hosted by SchoolNet SA and Dainfern College at Dainfern College in Johannesburg on 3rd and 4th July with a pre-conference with separate pricing taking place the day before on July 2nd.  Take a look at the incredible programme on offer on the Conference website – five international presenters and a Google employee as well as local presenters who are using Google in their classrooms. Google is a company on the move with free education products that are growing in number daily. Everything can be stored easily in the cloud via Google Drive.  The great thing about the conference is that currently there is a special on offer where you can still register for the Early Bird rate. All you do is go to Registration on the website and look for Promo code in red down the right hand side. Click on it and enter the word ‘friend’. This will enable you te still receive the early bird pricing.


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2.  Edtech Summit, five locations, August 2-13

Edunova, LEAP Schools and K12 Productions Global are putting together their second conference which they have called the EdTech Summit. Building on the collaborative learning experience of EdTech Summit South Africa 2013, this year in August 2014 they are expanding to 5 locations in order to bring more quality professional development opportunities to educators across South Africa. They will produce one full day of multi-track workshops in each location. EdTech Summit 2014 will be free and on a first-come, first-served registration basis until capacity is full. Please visit their website for more information http://www.edtechsummitsouthafrica.com/

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3. Inspired Teachers Conference in Cape Town, August 6
The Inspired Teachers Conference was launched by QualityLife Company in March 2012 in a drive to share leadership lessons and inspiration with SA’s teaching community. They were overwhelmed with the response they received from teachers around the country. 300 teachers attended and many more were turned away because the room was filled to capacity.After 3 years of running #InspiredTeachers in JHB (and once in Limpopo) they’re taking this conference to Cape Town on August 6 this year for the first time. You can find out more at http://inspiredteachers.co.za/

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4. TeachConference, September, Grahamstown

The TEACH! Conference 2014 will take place from 19-21 September in Grahamstown at Eden Grove, Rhodes University.  They have called their conference "Moving from Good to Great" and you can see the programme at http://goo.gl/Nxn29I. One of the things I noticed about tis conference was that one of the main speakers is Rushton Hurley from Next Vista for Learning in the USA. Rushton was a favourite presenter of many at the Google Summit at Parklands College last year in September. 


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5. e-Schools Network Conference, Cape Town, October

e-Schools’ Network will be holding its 9th national teacher conference on October 7th , 8th and 9th 2014 at Wynberg Girls High School, Aliwal Rd Wynberg, Cape Town. This conference is called ‘ Innovate 2014, ICT Conference for Teachers: Learning and Teaching in connected world.’ This conference will cover a wide range of topics over a 3 day period during the school holidays – focusing on mobile technologies and integrating ICTs in the classroom to enrich the lives of both teacher and learner. They are currently calling for presenters.  Find out more at http://www.conf2014.school.za/

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Attending a conference is a great way of finding out more about using ICT in the classroom and networking with other like-minded educators. Which conference will you choose?

Teachers – help suggest projects for the new iEARN global project book

Are you a teacher who wants to introduce your class to a global project an link with schools in other parts of the world? The challenge is where to find suitable projects to link with. Do you know about the iEARN Project Book with its amazing global projects? 

What is iEARN?
iEARN comprises a network of international educators and students working together to learn with the world! iEARN is a community of educators who share the vision that online collaborative projects can enhance both learning as well as the quality of life on the planet.


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What is an iEARN project?
There are over 200 primary and secondary level projects designed and facilitated by teachers and students.  In addition to meeting curriculum needs, projects must answer the question, "How will this project improve the quality of life on the planet?" This vision and purpose is the glue that holds iEARN together, enabling participants to become global citizens who make a difference by collaborating with peers around the world.  Visit the iEARN Teachers Forum andYouth Forum to meet, share ideas, make announcements, and find partners. 

Where do you find these projects?
You can  view the 2013-2014 iEARN Project Book as a PDF (download) or as a FlipBook (online).
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http://www.iearn.org/iearn-project-book

Help us create the new iEARN project book by contributing suggestions
Are you currently facilitating an iEARN project?  Do you have an idea for a new iEARN project? The 2014-2015 iEARN Project Book will be published again in early September 2014 and we would love to include all new and active iEARN projects in the collection!
If you are facilitating a currently active iEARN project, please submit an updated iEARN Project Template using this form:  https://iearn.wufoo.com/forms/20142015-iearn-project-book/

If you have an idea for a new iEARN project, please first post your project idea in the Teachers Forum: http://collaborate.iearn.org/space-10/group-171/forum or, for students, the Youth Forum: http://collaborate.iearn.org/space-10/group-172/forum. You can also share your project in the iEARN News Flash e-newsletter by sending a brief description of your idea tonewsflash@iearn.org. If you find partners who are interested in collaborating with you and your students, please fill out an iEARN Project Template at https://iearn.wufoo.com/forms/20142015-iearn-project-book/

Submission deadline
The submission deadline for the 2014-2015 iEARN Project Book is Friday, August 1st, 2014. The book will then be published by late August/early September, and the Project Space of the iEARN Collaboration Centre will be updated with current project information.
If you have any questions, or need any help with your project idea, please feel free to be in touch with the Project Assistance Committee at projectassistance@iearn.org .



Wednesday, 25 June 2014

Please sign up for the ‘Digital Storytelling and the African Storybook Project’ free online course starting 21 July 2014



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Please sign up for the ‘Digital Storytelling and the African Storybook Project’ free online course starting 21 July 2014

SchoolNet and Saide are running a short, free online digital storytelling course for teachers, educators and other potential writers as a story acquisition strategy for the amazing newly-launched African Storybook website (http://africanstorybook.org/).

About the course
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The course is open to educators and others from South Africa, Lesotho, Kenya or Uganda as those are the countries where the African Storybook Project is being piloted. This will be a five week free, online course held during the third term 2014, from  21st July  – August 3rd 2014. The course can be done using any device platform – PC, Apple Device, iPad, Android, Windows phone etc. We will give guidance on the application to use. The stories can be written in the writer’s mother tongue and not only English though we would like to ask for a separate English translation for admin purposes if another language is used. The course will be run via a blog for the course materials and a Facebook group for the interaction. Moderators on the course are Fiona Beal from Schoolnet and Lorato Trek from Saide.
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The African Storybook Project was created to address the serious literacy challenges on the African continent and the newly launched website have tremendous potential in this regard. A digital storytelling course was held in 2013 and all the stories written at the time were posted on http://africanstorybookproject.wikispaces.com/ 

The plan is that educators will write their own story for a Grade 1-3 learner step-by-step as they follow the course and then as many of them as possible will get their classes writing stories using the guidelines they were shown during the course. Thereafter the African storybook team will start their selection.
 
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The proposed course outline

Week 1: Introducing digital storytellingDuring the first week of the course, participants will learn about digital storytelling and very straightforward licensing methods for online creations. The free Creative Commons licensing a wonderful way to share stories on the web.
The webinar presentation: ‘‘Introduce digital storytelling in your classroom’’

Week 2: What makes a good story for a learner in the early grades
During the second week we will become familiar with the African Storybook website and what it offers. We'll consider what the African Storybook team is looking for in a story i.e. length, reading levels ideas etc. and talk about what children need when they are learning to read.
The webinar presentation: ‘How to use the African Storybook Project website in your classroom’


Week 3: Finding Inspiration for your story

During the third week of the course, participants will learn how to get inspiration for a story and the different methods of creating a story. They will practise writing a story offline. We'll look at story starter ideas and consider ways to structure a story
The webinar presentation ‘It's time to write our stories’

Week 4: Adding your story to a suitable presentation template and discovering ways of illustrating your story
During the fourth week of the course, participants will be introduced to using a presentation application such as PowerPoint or similar for their digital writing. We'll consider different ways of illustrating a story and will start on the illustrations for your story. We'll discover how to add these illustrations to our story presentation application.
The webinar presentation: ‘Illustrating your story and adding it to PowerPoint (or similar)’

Week 5: Converting your digital story to a video (optional)
In the final week participants will be given the option of adding different elements to their stories such as narration and music.  We will look at ways of converting the story to a video and posting it online.
The webinar presentation: ‘Convert your story to a video and publish your digital creation online’

Further information

  • It is proposed that stories are written in the mother tongue and that an English version is also submitted where necessary via a word processing document. 
  • With regard to the devices selected (ie. iPad, PC, Android tablet, Apple device or Windows phone),we will forward you further information after sign-up.
  • We plan to run the interaction part of the course from a closed Facebook group so if you do not belong to Facebook we encourage you to join. If you are not keen to become a regular Facebook user, all it requires is that yoy join Facebook and keep your profie very private and unused if desired - but joining with a profile name will enable you to easily access the group page. 
  • The course materials will be posted on a course blog
  • Those who have signed up will hear from us on Thursday 23rd June as to the next step.
Sign up here

Please join us if you would like to and tell interested colleagues about this opportunity by signing up here. .
You are welcome to contact the moderators with any further queries: (fiona@schoolnet.org.za and loratot@saide.org.za). It will be great having you on board!

Teachers, get your Grade 10-12 Maths students signed up with Nokia's free service before the holidays start

Nokia Mobile Mathematics (https://momaths.nokia.com) is a free, online Grade 10-12 Mathematics support service providing 9000+ CAPS-aligned questions.

About the programme

This programme started in 2008 with 300 learners and within a couple of years had grown to 50,000 learners. Nokia then opened the service to informal learning so that students could have 24/7 access to its materials.  This programme has had major impact in interactive Maths learning. 53% of students are active users. The competence level of the users rose by 14%. 82% of the usage happens after school hours.



Features of the programme

1. FREE
No sign-up or service fee.

2. 24/7/365 ACCESS
You can use the service whenever you want (evenings, weekends, holidays…) and via any device with internet access (cell phone, PC, tablet…).

3. CAPS ALIGNED
Content follows the latest South African Math curriculum exactly. It is divided up by grade, topic and sub-topics and each sub-topic contains theory, at least 3 worked examples and over a hundred exercises for you to try.

4. 9000+ QUIZZES
Exercises are divided into levels of difficulty. When you master a set of quizzes you will move up on a level. There is 10 levels in each sub-topic.

5. STUDY WITH FRIENDS AND GET TO THE TOP OF THE RANKINGS
Set up own study groups with friends and see how they are doing or compete with each other!

This is a free offer your students cannot refuse! Encourage your High School Maths learners to take advantage of this amazing opportunity provided by Nokia Mobile Mathematics. Sponsors of this service can be seen below.


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Monday, 23 June 2014

Office 365 #5: Invite a guest expert into your classroom using Lync

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Office 365 core service: Lync

You can use a Lync video conference to invite a ‘guest expert’ into your classroom - or even a grandparent to read to your class at story time.

Simply add your guest as a contact in People, and then schedule an online meeting with them using the Schedule meetingtool under their name. Your guest will get a link to the meeting and if they don’t have Lync on their computer they will be able to download it or use the Web App.

You will have a video and audio connection, and when projected onto your screen or whiteboard, it’s almost as if your ‘guest’ is there in the classroom with you.
Your students can ask questions and interact with their guest without the need for expensive and time-consuming trips and visits.



Lync is a really fantastic way of bringing the world into your classroom… and your classroom into the world.

Friday, 20 June 2014

The African Storybook website and Grade 3 students - using the story circle idea


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If you are a teacher from South Africa, Lesotho, Kenya or Uganda  reading this we would like to tell you about a writing opportunity and a free online writing course that is coming up with SchoolNetSA and Saide as part of this amazing African Storybook project and website that has been developed for Africa. Find out how to join the course here. (The course can be done using any device platform – PC, Apple Device, iPad, Android, Windows phone etc.)
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Submitted by Fiona Beal
In this post I report back on introducing the African Storybook website to a Grade 3 class. We used a fun method which I have called ‘The Story Circle’  Students always love it when a game-like activity is used in a lesson.

A discussion about the African Storybook website
After discussing the amazing African Storybook website and its stories and looking around the website I instructed the class to each choose a different story from the category First Paragraphs. I had written out the name of the story I wanted each person to look for and distributed these on pieces of paper.

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Reading the stories as a story circle
I set a timer and we begin reading for 3 minutes. When the timer rang, we stopped reading and moved to the next computer on the right. We then read that story. We followed this prpcedue until we had each read at least four e-books.

Reporting back on a story
In our report back session each student reported back on the last story they had read  I used this lovely idea ‘Retell Rope’ idea’ found on Pinterest. This was a fun way to reinforce the different aspects of a story. Students were able to help each other if part of the story couldn’t be recalled.

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This great idea comes from the post 'Five for Friday'
The students enjoyed the activity and asked if they could do it again sometime.
Warning: If you use this method, be prepared for moans and groans when the timer rings and students have to move on without completing the story.

Thursday, 19 June 2014

Grade 2 students love reading the stories on the African Storybook website


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If you are a teacher from South Africa, Lesotho, Kenya or Uganda  reading this we would like to tell you about a writing opportunity and a free online writing course that is coming up with SchoolNetSA and Saide as part of this amazing African Storybook project and website that has been developed for Africa. Find out how to join the course here. (The course can be done using any device platform – PC, Apple Device, iPad, Android, Windows phone etc.)
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Submitted by Fiona Beal

In a previous post I talked about Introducing the newly launched African Storybook website  to a Grade 1 ICT technology class. In this post I report back on introducing the website to a Grade 2 class.

A discussion about the African Storybook website
After discussing the amazing African Storybook website and its stories especially created for Grade 1 – 3 students I showed the class parts of the website on the big screen, and we read one of the stories together as in a Big Book lesson where the students are actively involved in reading the story. For more information on how to use a Big Book in a lesson click here.


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Choosing a story to read
For this lesson the class was instructed to choose a story from the English/First sentences section where there was a lovely selection of stories. When one clicks on Find am African Story one comes across this table. When I used the website with the Grade 1s we selected the ‘First words’ section. With the Grade 2’s we selected the ‘First sentences’ section.


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Reporting back on a favourite story

In our report back session on the favourite story read during the lesson I used this lovely idea found on Pinterest. This was a fun way to introduce the different aspects of a story.


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This great idea comes from 'A Guided reading Wrap-up'


I discovered that the favourite story was ‘A Very Tall Man’.


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Follow up to the story
As a follow-up to the story the class opened a drawing programme and drew a picture of the story they had read. Some of the students set about drawing the very tall man in the story.


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Wednesday, 18 June 2014

Introducing Grade 1 students to the African Storybook Project website

African Storybook Project Logo FINAL
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If you are a teacher from South Africa, Lesotho, Kenya or Uganda  reading this we would like to tell you about a writing opportunity and a free online writing course that is coming up with SchoolNetSA and Saide as part of this amazing African Storybook project and website that has been developed for Africa. Find out how to join the course here. (The course can be done using any device platform – PC, Apple Device, iPad, Android, Windows phone etc.)
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Submitted by Fiona Beal
I was looking forward to introducing a Grade 1 ICT technology class to the newly launched African Storybook website and it turned out to be a very exciting lesson. I thought I would share it with you.

Step 1: A discussion about the African Storybook website
First we had a discussion about the amazing African Storybook website and all its stories especially created for Grade 1 – 3 students. I showed them a little bit of the website on the big screen, and read them a couple of the stories. They got very excited at the thought that they were going to explore the website on their own.


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Step 2. How to locate the African Storybook website
We haven’t done all that much Internet work in Grade 1 as yet, but what I have taught them is how to retrieve a file out of the Grade 1 section of Student Share on our network, and how to open a URL link that is written in a Microsoft Word document.  I had written http://africanstorybook.org/ on the document and so they opened this link quite easily.

Step 3. A rhyme with a catchy rhythm to help them remember the process
We  explored the website together for a while and then I taught them a little rhyme with a great rhythm as we clicked on the relevant parts of the website relevant to young readers:

“Find African stories
English
First words
Read
Clap clap clap”
Step 4. Choosing a story to read
The class was instructed to look through the stories on the page that came up.  I was interested to see how they looked down the first page of stories and generally made for the one that was in colour.
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Step 5: Reading the stories
I was amazed as I walked around listening to the Grade 1s reading their stories with great enjoyment. For example, I found two of the students reading the same story together out loud. After the lesson I commended the Grade 1 teacher for enabling them to make such excellent reading progress in just four and a half months!


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Step 6: Reporting back on a favourite story
We finished off with a report back session on the favourite story read during the lesson. The class loved the website and said they were going to continue reading the stories at home. I wondered if they would manage to locate the website again!


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The favourite story for this class was 'The Adventures of a Supercow'



This is a great website! Visit it and you'll see what I mean!

An exciting, free digital storytelling course and writing opportunity for educators starting 21 July. Please sign up…

If you are a teacher from South Africa, Lesotho, Kenya or Uganda  reading this we would like to tell you about a writing opportunity and a free online writing course that is coming up with SchoolNetSA and Saide as part of this amazing African Storybook project and website that has been developed for Africa. (The course can be done using any device platform – PC, Apple Device, iPad, Android, Windows phone etc.)

If you like, you can read more details about the exciting new African Storybook project course on offer before you sign up by clicking here.

We are embedding the sign up form (which is also available under our 'Free Online Courses' page) below if you would like to fill it in and join us!


Free Nokia Mobile Maths service for Grade 10-12. Do your learners know about this?

The Nokia Mobile Mathematics programme has been around since 2008 and it grew rapidly from 300 – 50, 000 in 2012. Since the it has been opened to informal learning.  Do your Grade 10 - 12 learners know about this?

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Nokia Mobile Mathematics is a free, online Grade 10-12 Mathematics support service providing 9000+ CAPS-aligned questions.

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Nokia now offers 24/7 service to its interactive Maths learning materials.

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Take a look at this diagram of the Nokia Mobile Mathematics feature highlights.

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This is an account of the true impact that the Nokia Mobile Mathematics programme  is having. Take a look at the statistics below. 82% of the usage happens outside of school hours.

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Make this free programme known to the students at your school. Spread the word. And if you are a Grade 10-12 Maths teacher, get your students to enrol in the Nokia Mobile Mathematics  program. Here are the details:

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Google Summit Limited Special: Use the promo code & quote 'friend' when you register for early bird discount! Also: NEW Pre-Summit Workshops Announced! Act now!

Google is a company on the move with free education products that are growing in number daily. Everything can be stored easily in the cloud via Google Drive. In fact using Google in the classroom is a great way to go! 

So, it stands to reason that it is important to attend the not-to-be missed Google in Education Summit that is being hosted by SchoolNet SA and Dainfern College at Dainfern College in Johannesburg on 3rd and 4th July with a pre-conference with separate pricing taking place the day before on July 2nd.  This 2nd Annual Summit is being presented by the EdTechTeam who present these summits all over the world. Take a look at the incredible programme on offer on the Conference website – five international presenters and a Google employee as well as superb local presenters who are using Google in their classrooms.  The great thing about the conference is that currently there is a special on offer where you can still register for the Early Bird rate. All you do is go to Registration on the website and look for Promo code in red down the right hand side. Click on it and enter the word ‘friend’. This will enable you to still receive the early bird pricing.

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So don't delay and join in at the Summit in early July for a tranformational two days.  

Tuesday, 17 June 2014

Teachers please sign up for a free ‘Digital Storytelling for the African Storybook Project 2014’ online course starting on 21st July…

If you are a teacher from South Africa, Lesotho, Uganda or Kenya we would like to tell you about a writing opportunity and a short, free, online digital storytelling course that is coming up with SchoolNetSA  and Saide as part of the development of the amazing African Storybook website The course runs from July 21st – August 23rd 2014. 

What is the African Storybook Project?
The African Storybook Project (ASP) is a project that is currently creating and encouraging the use of a multilingual, digital library of stories for the first few years of reading. The website was launched recently at a multilingual symposium in Pretoria and can be located at http://africanstorybook.org/ 

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The project, created with funding from Comic Relief in Britain, aims to address the serious literacy challenges on the African continent. In preparation for the launch of the ASP website earlier this month, the African Storybook team was hard at work quality assuring over 120 unique, illustrated stories, with over 650 versions in 15 different languages. The stories are provided in digital formats, openly licensed, with a process and tools for translating and versioning these stories for local African languages and contexts. The website enables users to upload and share versions of the stories in their local languages, providing numbers of stories in a range of languages way beyond the scope of conventional publishing. Tessa Welch of Saide is the project leader in this exciting venture.

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In this way the project aims to provide African children with sufficient familiar language stories for enjoyable reading practice to create a firm basis for literacy development.  The initial pilot has been taking place in South Africa, Kenya, Lesotho and Uganda. You can read more about this exciting venture on the African Storybook website.

Story Acquisition via a free online digital storytelling course
The project is looking for a continuing supply of stories in a range of African languages.  If you are a teacher or educator interested in trying your hand at writing a story for the younger grades please consider participating in the free online five week course Digital Writing for the African Storybook project which starts in July 2014 at the start of Term 3 for public schools in South Africa. . Please click on the SchoolNet blog's Free online courses page to sign up for this course. Our hope is that if you are a teacher that signs up we could encourage you, after the course,  to then get your class writing stories for this project using the ideas picked up during the course. All stories that educators would like to submit for possible selection will be due at the end of the third term.

For further details please feel free to contact fiona (at) schoolnet.org.za or loratot (at) saide.org.za

Thursday, 12 June 2014

Why not take part in the Matuto™ Literacy for Life project if you have a Windows phone?


imageThe teachers and final year Lesotho College of Education teaching students who received Windows 8 mobile phones as part of the Matuto™ Literacy for Life partnership last year are hard at work creating short stories to share with emerging readers. Feedback from this group led to the creation of the Chekhov Phone App which makes it easy to create and publish a story from a Windows 8 mobile phone. Whilst SchoolNet SA is specifically encouraging Lesotho teachers to share their stories, we would like to remind you that this global project is open to anyone who would like to create a story. This could be a fun class project, providing learners with an opportunity to create and share something they have written with a genuine global audience. If you would like to participate download the Chekhov app if you have a Windows 8 phone.

Then create a short book on the www.lit4life.net website.


Chekhov



To find out more about this project and to see instructions for using the Chekhov Phone App join the “Literacy for Life” group on Facebook

Download the instructions for using this Chekhov app from Slideshare (see link below) or from Box.net here


The 2nd annual EdTechTeam South Africa Summit featuring Google in Education July3/4 - still time to register...

SchoolNet SA is very pleased to be joining with Dainfern College in hosting the second annual EdTechTeam South Africa Summit featuring Google in Education at Dainfern College in Johannesburg on July 3 & 4, 2014. This Summit will not be the same as last time since Google is ever on the move! Visit the Summit website http://za.gafesummit.com/ to see what is on offer.

A new exciting offer from the EdTech team to still get the early bird rate
If you haven’t yet registered and you still want to attend, take a look at this image and follow the instructions! This is a LIMITED special so you need to act soon!

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There are now five international speakers
There are now five international speakers, three of them new to South Africa. They each bring their own flavour of working with Google. The latest addition to the International presenter team  is not up on the website yet but his name is Jay Atwood from Singapore. If you attended the first Google Summit in Cape Town last year you’ll agree that our featured speakers are some of the world’s best!


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Pre-Conference workshops
You’ll notice on the website that a new workshop has been added – The Google Educator Workshop. The pre-conference workshops have their own pricing.


An unbeatable programme is on offer
If you go to http://za.gafesummit.com/ you’ll see the exciting programme. There is SO much to choose from

Jim Sill - Featured Speaker
Reckless Creativity
Maps Engine Lite for the Classroom
Google Views - Taking It To The Streets
Playlists - Curating Youtube


Molly Schroeder - Featured Speaker
Anytime, Anywhere Learning with YouTube and Forms
Google Scripts and Add Ons - FormEmailer, Autocrat, Doctopus and Goobric
Personalize Chrome and Google Drive to Maximize Learning
Best Practices in a Paperless Classroom

Wendy Gorton- Featured Speaker
Your Safe Space: 60 Minutes w/ Beginner Google Drive
Level Up! Google Certified Teacher and Education Trainer Best Practices Panel
Stamp Your Google Passport: Maps, Tours, Cultural Institute, and More!
Read, Write, Doc! Enhancing the Reader's and Writer's Workshop with Google Docs, Presentations, Forms, and Spreadsheets

Jay Atwood - Featured Speaker
Automagical Differentiation and Adaptive Instruction
Google Classroom Playground
Get Geeky with Formative Assessment & Personalized Feedback
Closing keynote


Tim Lee - Featured Speaker
What is on your GAFE Admin Toolbelt?
Google Apps Admin Console Best Practices for Schools
Chromebooks under the Hood
Game of Chromes

Karen Walstra - Googler
Google in the classroom
Using Games to inspire learning
YouTube for school
Using Google’s Moonshot thinking to inspire your teaching and learning!

Julius Olubodun
The Guide to Going Google- Deploying Google Apps at your School
• Gearing Up with Google Spreadsheets Tips and Tricks

Gaye Pieterse
Google forms & Flubaroo


Maggie Verster
Chicken-egg app strategies

Michele Botha
Sizzling Statistics
Gear up with Google
Forms Frills and Flubaroo


Sean Hampton-Cole
Using Google to Make Kids Smarter

Glenn Jones 
Going Paperless - Multiple Choice quizzes with Flubaroo ScriptGoing Paperless - Using Mobile Devices and Google Apps Scripts - Part 1

Tal Slome

Google Apps for Education on the iPad

Siobhan Thatcher

Chromebooks: liberating or limiting?

Arthur Preston
Personal, Professional, Powerful
Time-Saving Tips and Tricks
Appy Days - Using Chrome Apps In Your Classroom


Tiaan Lotter

Augmented Reality and other apps to make your lessons interactive

Fiona Beal

Digital storytelling in the classroom - the Google way

Tracy Tschohl

Getting Going with Google Search: Research in Grades 1-7

Helen Robertson

The Gamified Classroom

So hurry, hurry and register for the EdTechTeam’s Summit featuring Google in Education.

10 takeaways from the Multilingual Resources for Early Literacy Development Symposium on 3rd and 4th June

Submitted by Fiona Beal
Recently, on 3rd and 4th June, I was privileged to attend a Multilingual Symposium on Literacy Development funded by the European Union at the Leriba Hotel in Centurion, Pretoria. Delegates hailed from the UK, USA, Canada, Uganda, Kenya, India, Mozambique and local including representatives from the Department of Basic Education. This was a very interesting event and I thought I would write about ten of my takeways.  

1. The launch of the African Storybook Project website
The most exciting part of the event, in my opinion, was the launch of the long-waited African Storybook Project website. I am sure this must be Africa's first multilingual website for young readers http://africanstorybook.org/. It was created with funding from Comic Relief in Britain to address the serious literacy challenges on the African continent. In preparation for the launch of the ASP website, the African Storybook team was hard at work quality assuring over 120 unique, illustrated stories, with over 650 versions in 15 different languages.  The team put together by Saide in Johannesburg have done a wonderful job.


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SchoolNet played a part in this project by initially being part of the website creation brainstorming team, and thereafter creating and running a four-week online digital storytelling course for teachers around South Africa in 2013. Some of the stories created during the course feature on the website. The course will be held again from the beginning of the third term and will be advertised on the SchoolNet blog and website. On the last day of the Symposium everyone had an opportunity to attend a wonderful, practical workshop  and demonstration on creating and using multilingual digital stories with young readers.We were able to experiment with the story creation and versioning tools on the African Storybook Project website.Please follow the African storybook project on the following social media platforms to keep up to date with this project:
Twitter - @africanstorybook
Facebook – africanstorybookorg 


The really exciting feature of this website is that the stories can be downloaded, translated on the website, reversioned etc all because of the OER Creative Commons license that is used,  You are able to create a new version of a story and adapt it for your own purposes.


2. A keynote from Suzanne Singh of Pratham Books, India
I really enjoyed the inspiring keynote from Suzanne Singh from Pratham Books in India on the role of alternative publishing models in facilitating multilingual literacy development. She emphasised that books inspire us to dream and they give us the tools to dream. Pratham Books targets children who don’t normally have access to books.

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Suzanne Singh from Pratham Books delivering her keynote
Pratham Books see themselves as a community publisher and they have their books available on most platforms - using technology enables stories to travel far and wide. They have discovered that the free books catalyse the sales of the sold books. They also find that open stories multiply. Their social publishing model opens publishing through creativecommons licensing and enables the remixing and porting of stories.

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3. A practical workshop run by the Nal'ibali team
The Nal'ibali team’s practical workshop on using stories to develop a culture of reading was most enjoyable. We experienced a reading club! We were shown how a story comes to life with reading, acting, singing and movement and so much more. Nal'ibali has 180 reading clubs in 6 provinces in South Africa reaching around 5000 weekly participants.  Nal'ibali produces a regular supplement in the Times every week with stories and ideas that can be folded, cut and used in the classroom. All their supplements can be downloaded from their website. You can find out more about Nal'ibali by visiting their website http://nalibali.org/. Nal'ibali has developed a Children’s Literacy Charter. Carol Bloch can be seen below showing the Charter to the workshop participants.

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The workshop starts
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Carol Bloch with the Children's Literacy Charter

4. Language ability in the contemporary context
Professor Lilli Pretorius from Unisa spoke on language ability in contemporary context. I found this presentation extremely interesting. She quoted the findings from many interesting studies. Storybooks are not only about the magic of reading but they have huge cognitive implications. The slide below indicates the relative richness of input in the acquisition of vocabulary.
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5. Story presentations provided for our entertainment
The entertainment at the conference was in the form of story performances from  Marlene Winberg and Kapilolo Mario Mahongo (San Memory House and Manyeka Arts Trust). Marlene would give the English version of the story and Kapilolo gave the African version.

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Marlene Winberg and Kapilolo Mahongo assisted by a sign language interpreter
6. Atteridgeville learners respond to ASP stories
Learners from the African Storybook Project pilot primary schools in Atteridgeville joined us with their teachers to read and respond to stories on the African Storybook website. This was a delightful part of the proceedings.

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Young learners from Atteridgeville Primary respond to stories


7. The Department of Basic Education's new ILAL multilingual policy
Representatives from The Department of Basic Education spoke on challenges in the piloting of the Incremental Introduction of African Languages (IIAL)  strategy and the need for resources. The policy is Home Language plus 2 Additional Languages. The interesting part of this presentation was the critique and the comments from the crowd! 

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8. Kenya's ICT rollout plan for 2015
Esther Gacicio (Kenyan Institute for Curriculum Development) spoke very clearly  on how the Kenya Ministry of Education plans on rolling out the ICT Strategy in schools in the light of the renewed policy on the use of mother tongue in early literacy. In Kenya 1500 district masters and 20,000 teachers have been trained on ICT integrated lesson plans. This policy starts with a roll out to Grade 1.

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Esther Gacicio explaining the Kenyan ICT Strategy
9. Mary Metcalf's report back on the PILO project in KZN
Mary Metcalfe talked about improving reading outcomes through teaching reading in school through shared reading sites. She is currently involved in the PILO project aimed at improving early literacy in KZN.  Reading outcomes depend on the accountability of the state in providing suitable support conditions in schools. 

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10. The importance of inclusive education in early childhood development
David Crabtree (Consultant to the British Council on Special Educational Needs) spoke about the importance of inclusive education for early childhood development. He emphasised that teachers need two skill sets - their subject knowledge and knowing how learning occurs in diverse students.

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Those are just a few of the many highlights from a really interesting two-day Symposium. All the participants were also given a flash drive with useful materials on it to take home.

Tweet archive from the multilingual Symposium
A summary of the tweets from the Symposium have been archived using www.storify.com and can be viewed at https://storify.com/fibeal/the-eu-symposium-and-launch-of-the-african-storybo

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