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

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 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.

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

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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.

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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

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On Thursday afternoon 26 Feb 2015 at 3.15pm we held a SchoolNet webinar entitled ‘Professional Development for teachers’. 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:

"The following are the focus areas for the webinar:

  1. Professional Development Courses available on Microsoft Educator Network and how to access them
  2. Benefits of the Professional Development Courses Digital Literacy
  3. Learn the basics about using computers, the internet, productivity programs, and security and privacy
  4. The Teaching with Technology (TwT) curriculum designed to help educators understand how
  5. How the Self-Assessment Works
  6. Windows 8 in the Classroom
  7. Learn how Windows 8 is making learning personal, connecting students and teachers in entirely new ways, and delivering an immersive learning experience.
  8. Generate certificates

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:
http://meet78641452.adobeconnect.com/p9rc1hyi9lb/

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

Thursday, 26 February 2015

Sign up for World Read Aloud Day 2014 (on 4th March) with Nal’ibali and Gcina Mhlophe

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Read aloud with Nal'ibali and Gcina Mhlophe
Every year, World Read Aloud Day draws everyone’s attention to just how important reading aloud and sharing stories with children is. People all over the world spend time on this day celebrating the power of stories and building communities of readers.

This year World Read Aloud Day is being celebrated on 4 March 2015. Join us on this day and read a story especially written for us by South Africa’s best known storyteller, Gcina Mhlophe to children you know. Last year Nal’ibali called on South Africa to help set a read-aloud record and together we read aloud to nearly 50,000 children! This year we’d like even more of you to join us and read to children on this special day – and, of course, then continue reading aloud to them throughout the year.

How to join in:
On 4 March 2015, read our World Read Aloud Day story to:
  • your own children, grandchildren, nieces and nephews
  • children in your class or at your school
  • groups of children at your reading club, library, educare centre or community centre.
Download one of our World Read Aloud Day story kits below with the story, fun activities and a special World Read Aloud Badge for children to colour in – or read it online here.
You can read it online here on our website, OR on our mobisite here . You can also listen to Gcina Mhlophe reading the story in English, isiXhosa and isiZulu.


Sign up and stand the chance to WIN!
Help us break last year’s record when we reached more than 47 000 children through our World Read Aloud Day Drive. Whether you’re a parent reading to your child at home or a school arranging for older children to read to their young peers, sign up below – and stand the chance of winning 2 domestic flight tickets courtesy of South African Airways (see Ts and Cs below).

Ts and Cs: Employees of South African Airways, PRAESA and Times Media are not eligible to enter this competition. Entries will not be accepted after the closing date: 11 March 2015 . The two winning tickets can be utilised within 2015 on SAA domestic-operated routes only; are subject to availability and are not redeemable for cash.

Microsoft in Education - O365 and Windows Roadshows in four cities – you are invited to register

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Microsoft Showcase Classroom
For school leaders and educators to experience how Windows 8 Tablets, Office 365 and Microsoft Professional Development can help transform the classroom through immersive activities, delivered by Tablet Academy.

The right technology in the hands of educators with access to the best solutions and pedagogical training will create a force that truly transforms education across South Africa.

It is for this reason that we would like to invite forward thinking school leaders and innovative educators from government and independent schools to a showcase afternoon to acquire a full appreciation of what Microsoft in Education has to offer  schools.

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City: Johannesburg
Venue: Microsoft South Africa
Date: Thursday 5 March
Time: 12:30 - 17:00
Register here: http://bit.ly/1BVDs8F
City: Durban
Venue: Point Yacht Club
Date: Tuesday 24 March
Time: 12:30 -17:00
Register here:
http://bit.ly/1BVDKMK
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City: Pretoria
Venue: Pretoria Zoo
Date: Thursday 26 March
Time: 12:30 - 17:00
Register here
http://bit.ly/1BVErpp
City: Cape Town
Venue: Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens
Date: Tuesday 31 March
Time: 12:30 - 17:00
Register here
http://bit.ly/1BVECkG

Agenda

  • Arrival, registration, lunch and networking and exhibitions
  • Welcome and 21st Century Learning Landscape
  • Study, Play, Be...with Windows 8 and Office 365
  • OneNote for collaborative teaching and learning
  • SMART Innovative Classroom
  • EDU365 - Data Driven Decision Making, Drives School Improvement
  • Educator showcase
  • Microsoft Teacher Professional Development
  • Questions
  • Close

Wednesday, 25 February 2015

Great news! Introducing OneNote Staff Notebook for education – just released!

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What is OneNote Staff Notebook?
OneNote Staff Notebook, like OneNote Class Notebook, is an app for Office 365 that lets an education staff leader quickly set up a personal workspace for every staff member or teacher, a content library for shared information and a collaboration space for everyone to collaborate—all within one powerful notebook.

OneNote Staff Notebook has just been released
Building on the resounding excitement from teachers around OneNote Class Notebook (removing “Creator” naming due to popular demand), Microsoft has released the OneNote Staff Notebook for Education. The launch blog and app went live yesterday Tuesday, Feb. 24

Some of the features
  • Collaboration Space - an area where the whole staff can share and collaborate in real-time.  Scenarios for the Collaboration Space include Staff meeting notes, Initiatives, and Cross-grade Lesson Plan Development, or a "Tide Chart," for Student Highs and Lows.
  • Content Library - a read-only area where staff leaders can share information with staff members who can view or grab a copy.  Scenarios include policies and procedures or dates and deadlines.
  • Staff Member Notebooks - a private notebook shared between the staff leader and each individual staff member. Staff leaders can access every staff member notebook while staff members can see only their own.  Scenarios include Professional development (PD), Classroom observations, Lesson Plans and feedback, Evaluation, or Parent Communication.
The biggest benefit for staff leaders and their staff members is that everything that happens in the school or district can be tracked and shared in one place: it is accessible across devices (online or offline) with privacy for individual staff members who need to share information solely with leadership. The result is organization, efficiency, and collaboration with school administration that never existed before the OneNote Staff Notebook.

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Get started with Staff Notebook by watching this video
Want to get started with using Staff Notebooks at your school or district? This interactive guide walks you through how it can be used. To watch the video below please click on the image and then visit the bottom of the page:

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Tuesday, 24 February 2015

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


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Background to the webinar
Mabore says, "The South African government has invested a capital of approximately R17 billion ZAR budget in rolling out technology-based learning for primary school education. This roll-out is done in phases and is implemented from one province to the other. This has been a call for urgent teachers’ development in the use of ICT for teaching and learning, and digital literacy. To this end, educators’ professional development has become more relevant and a priority for both SACE (professional council for educators) members and for individual educators who have adopted it as a requirement for using technology in the classroom.

With the above background that informs one of the strategic priorities of South Africa and the education system, I will be taking educators through the anytime, anywhere, free professional development courses that are available on the Microsoft Educator Network. This network, among other benefits, helps educators understand how Information and Communication Technology (ICT) can enhance the teaching and learning experience and enable students to acquire 21st century skills."

Webinar details
Meeting Name:  Professional Development for teachers on the Microsoft Educator Network
Summary: The following are the focus areas for the webinar:
  1. Professional Development Courses available on Microsoft Educator Network and how to access them
  2. Benefits of the Professional Development Courses Digital Literacy
  3. Learn the basics about using computers, the internet, productivity programs, and security and privacy
  4. The Teaching with Technology (TwT) curriculum designed to help educators understand how
  5. How the Self-Assessment Works
  6. Windows 8 in the Classroom
  7. Learn how Windows 8 is making learning personal, connecting students and teachers in entirely new ways, and delivering an immersive learning experience.
  8. Generate certificates
Presenter: Mabore Lekalakala, one of South Africa's #MIEExpert15 teachers
WhenThursday 26th February 2015 at 3:15 PM 
Duration: 15 - 30 minutes
Time Zone:  (GMT+02:00) Pretoria
To join the meeting: http://meet78641452.adobeconnect.com/microsoftpd/

Note
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: http://meet78641452.adobeconnect.com/common/help/en/support/meeting_test.htm

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

Ten takeaways from the first South African iPad Summit on 16th and 17th February 2015

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Submitted by Fiona Beal 
On Monday the 16th of February 400 excited delegates gathered at The Forum in Bryanston, Johannesburg for the South African iPad Summit. These iPad summits are held all over the world, so it was an honour to be able to attend the first one in Africa. The aim of the summit was to share ideas on the benefits of the tablet in the classroom as a tool for learning, sharing and improving creativity.

This event was hosted by Think Ahead (Michelle Lissoos) and Apple’s Core group,  and it featured the EdTechTeacher team from the USA comprising Tom Daccord, Beth Holland and Sabba Quidwai. Tom and Beth are two teachers I follow on social media regularly. I didn’t know Sabba, but she quickly joined the ranks of my firm favourites! In this post I’ll give an overview of the conference outlining my ten takeaways and in future posts I’ll outline what I learned in more depth.


 
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Apps we downloaded before the time
In the week before the summit we were invited to download and join an app called Bizzabo and start networking using this app. (We were also invited to download the Uba app for directions, and the Gautrain app.) Bizzabo was, indeed, a great app to work with.  What you had to do was download the app,  search for the event namely The South African Ipad Summit,  sign up using Linkedin or your e-mail address,  and then network and send messages to the people you recognised among the delegates. We could also see exactly what the program was for the week. Apart from that the program was clearly set out with three choices for each time slot - All, Beginners/Intermediate and Advanced.
 
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The programme showed exactly which apps to download for each session.   (see: http://edtechteacher.co.za/wp-content/uploads/2015/02/Education-iPad-Summit-App-Guide.pdf)

School visits after the conference
One could book to go on school visits for the two days after the conference.  I didn’t avail of this but it must have been a great sequel to the Conference.


 
The session options during the conference
Day 1
  1. Keynote: iPads in the classroom from conception to creation (Tom)
  2. Creating Learning Centres with iPads (Beth).
  3. Digital storytelling with iPads (Tom)
  4. The advanced iPad classroom (Sabba)
  5. Understanding the flipped classroom: concept and strategies (Tom)
  6. Differentiating with iPads to reach all learners (Beth).
  7. Course creation with iTunesU (Sabba)
Day 2
  1. Keynote: Empowering students to share their learning with iPads (Beth)
  2. Deepening technology integration (Tom)
  3. An introduction to iTunesU (Sabba)
  4. Extending the physical with the digital (Beth)
  5. Assessment for learning (Tom)
  6. Reading and writing with iPads (Beth)
  7. App smashing and app fluency (Sabba)
  8. Closing session
My ten takeaways from the Conference

1. Keynote: iPads in the classroom: From Consumption to Creation (Tom Daccord)

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In this excellent presentation Tom outlined different ways for students to use the iPad in in order to produce creations. He gave brilliant ideas for the first day in class,  the first five days of class and the first five weeks of class etc. In fact he gave many useful examples of getting students to create on the iPad in meaningful ways with the teacher providing the necessary scaffolding for the tasks. Many useful apps were referred to and recommended.  Tom stressed that one should look for ‘ Evergreen Apps’  which are apps that can be used in any subject during the learning process, suitable for any learning style. An "evergreen app" allows a child to use a variety of skills/content/knowledge in one app.  We need to empower students through creativity -  technology must be in service of learners to do this. Our task is to unleash creativity and innovation in all learners in multiple modalities and put every student in a position to create content in order to show mastery of the content!

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Educators shouldn't think of iPads as repositories of apps but rather as portable media creation devices. Never start with what can the iPad do - that limits creativity. Rather think ‘This is what I'd like to do’. It's not what you can teach with iPads but it's about what student can do with iPads.  It is not about the technology – it’s about technology in the service of education!



2. Digital storytelling on the iPad (Tom Daccord)


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image In this extrememly inspiring session Tom outlined some of his very successful digital storytelling projects including identity narratives, oral histories, social issue documentaries, language activities, maths and science demonstrations and presentations of art and music. We were introduced to popular iPad digital storytelling apps and best use strategies.  The challenge is for students to put together a compelling story with a message. I loved this session with its wealth of great ideas. 

3. Course creation with iTunes U (Sabba Quidwai )



image iTunesU is a unique way to customize content and create learning experiences that incorporate a variety of learning materials. If you create an iTunesU course for your class you can include video, audio, images, books and articles to read. Students can also participate in discussions. One can make announcements to the students who can in turn manage their assignments and tick them off when done. Sabba took us through this process step by step.

4. Creating Learning Centres with the iPad (Beth Holland)


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image Ipads are a fantastic device for creating learning centres in a classroom. By taking this approach students learn to communicate and collaborate through guided small group activities. The presentation drew extensively from Kristen Wideen’s Grade 2 /3 blog and showed how she uses Fluency Centres, Maths Centres, Writing Centres, Observation Stations etc. extensively. I loved seeing and hearing all the practical ideas from this session.

5. Keynote: Empowering students to tell the story of their learning (Beth Holland)

This was a great keynote from Beth Holland. The suggestion was that we remove the technical limitations to what is possible for students to create and by so doing we empower students to tell the story of their learning. We provide them with options and choices for delivering their creations and in so doing we enable their growth. I loved the emphasis on the importance of the process in learning and encouraging students to make their thinking visible.

6. Deepening technology integration (Tom Daccord)
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This was an amazing, interactive session dealing with Dr Ruben Puentedura’s SAMR model of Substitution-Augmentation-Modification-Redefinition. We saw how this model allows the creation of a dynamic and innovative learning environment. We analysed iPad-integrated activities and worked through the process from enhancement to transformation. The goal with this model is to create technology-rich environments that support student acquisition of higher order thinking skills.

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7. Apps smashing and app fluency (Sabba Quidwai)
The App-smashing 101 presentation on Tuesday was extremely inspiring, teaching us how to use apps in a very creative way, by way of app-smashing (combining) the apps. The important thing about apps is not to have too many of them, and to make sure the ones that you do have can push and pull to the camera roll.

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I loved this session – I learned so much! We went through a number of different, possible app combinations.

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We were given a task to create a video app smash and then we held a TeachMeet type report back which was very enjoyable (and inspiring). The most popular apps used in this instance were Tellagami and Book Creator.  

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8. The benefits of using Aurasma in the Classroom (Lulu Burger)
Lulu from Think Ahead gave a brilliant presentation on all the different ways one can use Aurasma, the Augmented Reality app,  in the classroom. She went through the whole process step-by-step. Use of this app can really help make lessons come alive.

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9. Other highlights
I loved the way we were shown, at the end of each day, some South African video stories of iPads being used in disadvantaged schools around the country.

During the course of the conference we were encouraged to tweet about our AHA moments for a prize at the end of the conference. We could also post these moments on stickies on the provided flipcharts in the foyer.

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Examples:
“Vision Vision Vision AHA moment”

“AHA! The creative product is the culmination of traditional knowledge and understanding of the content."

“AHA moment at #iPadedsummitZA - You don't need to search for all the "best" subject apps. It is about learners creating content!”

“Its about engagement. It's not about content.”

“AHA moment: use #explaineverything app to assess reading comprehension. Excellent idea.”

"It's not about throwing out what we have it's about evolving what we do really well"

10.  The EdtechTeacher team readily shared their resources
The team shared their presentations through a Dropbox link and we also had access to a number of tutorials explaining various apps.
https://storify.com/EdTechTeacher21/weekly-resources-from-president-s-day-wee. We could download two books from http://www.askmsq.com/#!ipad-summit-south-africa/c1hd2

Do Ink Screen: A quick tutorial how to use Do Ink Green Screen to create a moving Newspaper Video http://goo.gl/YjPa1d
Touchcast: http://www.thinglink.com/scene/551087208086372352

This was a very worthwhile conference to attend. At the end of the conference the announcement was well-received that this excellent conference was to become a yearly event!

Conclusion
Before attending this conference I wondered whether tablets really can be seen as creation devices in a classroom. Surely one could do so much more with a laptop! However I have changed my mind completely. I left the conference with a strong belief that we need to encourage creativity and visible thinking in a classroom so that our students engage in 21st century, higher-order thinking skills and that the tablet is probably the best device for this.   The careful use of the right apps can allow for engagement, differentiation and exciting creative expression options in a classroom.

A summary of the tweets from the conference can be found at this Storify link: http://goo.gl/r93ZUZ

Monday, 23 February 2015

The Microsoft 2015 Global Forum is in progress in Dubai on the hashatg #MSFTEDU. Follow along!

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600 attendees from 40 countries are currently attending the 2015 Microsoft Global Forum in Dubai. From Twitter I gleaned the following photos. We have a number of South African teachers representing our country. Four of them are #MIEExpert15 teachers namely Kathryn Riva, Karen Stadler, Lyneth Crighton and Phuti Ragophala. Here the four of them can be seen standing…

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Some of our SA teachers are highlighting their projects
Megan Rademeyer and Lyneth Crighton presented at the Global Summit. Karen Stadler’s Save our Rhino project has impacted the world and I discovered a few pictures about her delivering her presentation on Twitter.

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"The trick to get staff buy-in for project-based learning is finding a cause other teachers will also believe in," says Karen Stadler about her Save the Rhino project. @ICT_Integrator


Media preview

‘Kathryn Gomes Riva @kathriva says, “This project lead to deep learning and amazing connections.”

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LynethCrighton @LynethCrighton says, “@ICT_Integrator presenting at #msftedu - so proud of all she has achieved with her travelling rhino project.

School visits while in Dubai

Phuti Ragophala @PhutiRagophala · said yesterday, “Tomorrow we have time to visit some of the schools here In Dubai and see how United Arabic Emirates runs their education system: school management, classroom teaching, discipline, approaches in teaching and learning etc!
I hope to learn much from this outing!”

Today Microsoft delegates are visiting schools to see the implementation of the Smart Learning Program. Here is a photo of one such visit.

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Interesting sites being shared on Twitter
Loads of interesting sites are being tweeted from this #MSFTEDU hashtag. It is worth opening up these sites. :

#MSFTEDU hashtag - follow along in Twitter
Log in to the #MSFTEWDU hashtag and follow along. There is a load to learn!

Friday, 20 February 2015

SchoolNet Webinar recording from Thursday 19 February 3:15pm ‘Get to know Microsoft’s ChronoZoom’ by #MIEExpert15 Linda Foulkes

webinar recording

On Thursday afternoon 19 Feb 2015 at 3.30pm we held a SchoolNet free webinar entitled ‘Get to know Microsoft’s Chronomzoom’. This was presented by a South African educator, Linda Foulkes, who is also a Microsoft Innovative Educator Expert #MIEExpert15.  Linda will soon be representing South Africa at the Microsoft Global Forum in Redmond Washington.

The webinar description
Linda said: ChronoZoom is a free, open source, cross-platform, openly-authored timeline of the history of Everything. This webinar will take you on a ChronoZoom journey. All you need is a browser, iPad, Smartphone, or your Windows App store. It is designed to enable educators and students to explore time and tell stories about change over time. Used as a reference tool for history students and teachers, it will capture student's attention and launch him or her into a series of quests for more information about a variety of topics.

The webinar presentation

Here is the presentation from Linda which is available online in Slideshare at this link: http://goo.gl/p7B5bQ This presentation can be downloaded.



The webinar recording
The webinar recording can be listened to on the following link:
http://meet78641452.adobeconnect.com/p192l5kyunc/

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

Profile: Microsoft #MIEExpert15 Phuti Ragophala, principal of Pula Madibogo Primary School in Limpopo, South Africa

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This is a profile from Phuti Ragopahala, one of South Africa’s Microsoft #MIEExperts for 2015. Phuti is a school principal who will be travelling to the Microsoft Global Forum in Dubai in a week’s time. Her blog can be seen at http://itandiksproject.blogspot.com/ . She has also written a hguest post for the SchoolNet blog on using Windows Movie maker. Her Microsoft Sway can be found at https://sway.com/q1BMnYZek9jiD3ZI. Phuti was the ISPA SuperTeacher of the Year Winner in South Africa in 2011. 

My name is Phuti Ragophala,57 years old, mother of three daughters and two grandchildren. I am nicknamed “Techno Granny” by my friends and daughters. I am on many social networks like Facebook, Twitter (@PhutiRagophala), Pinterest, Linkedin etc.

I am the principal of Pula Madibogo Primary in Mankweng Circuit Limpopo Province Polokwane. I  teach Economics and Management Sciences in Grade 7
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My philosophy at school
Teaching and managing the school is not an easy task but through passion I am able to combine the two successfully.

I always tell people that when I get to class with learners, I don’t get there to teach but to equip learners with the survival skills that will assist and inspire them to choose their future careers. So teaching to me is not duty but a way of life.

What I love about teaching is that I am able to change the lives of learners and community members through education. I am changing the financial status of needy families through education. Being a school principal, a mother, leader and a granny made me prioritize community and teaching work above my personal needs. In the classroom, that’s where leaders are groomed. I am happy that I am the one doing that.

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Reception class in action with technology lessons
My learning activities in the Microsoft Educator Network
Hence my learning activities that depict and display how project-based learning approach can play a role in conveying the lessons to learners minds and inspire them choose careers that will secure their brighter future . Based from the lessons I had with learners in class that was about ‘Inequality and Poverty in South Africa’,  I encouraged them to come up with projects that will assist in bridging the gap between the ‘Haves’ and the ‘Have-nots’ at our poverty-stricken community school. Through skills from Food and Trees for Africa, the University of Limpopo and other stakeholders, my learners came up with a project about making medicines using raw herbs. They made ointments that benefit needy community members and learners who cannot access professional doctors. The lesson was driven outside the classroom to benefit community members and learners were able to solve authentic challenges in the community . Collaboration of knowledge was done with other medical institutions through this project.

View my project in the following links:

Today's learners!Tomorrow's great thinkers and scientists

A blog post on my blog

Several Microsoft free resources like Windows Movie Maker, Sticky Sorter, Auto Collage and Songsmith were used to enhance my learning activity.

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The image above shows Phuti workshopping with the Reception Class educators on how to download free resources from Microsoft and engage learners.

Teaching and Learning has changed
This is the time to revolutionize education through Technology.”Teaching and learning has changed” said Anthony Salcito. These are the words echoed during the Barcelona Global Conference in March 2014.I was so inspired and motivated.

The Microsoft Innovative Educator Expert competition
The fact that I am selected twice in two consecutive years made me so proud about my innovative work. To be recognized globally and attend global conferences is not for every one, but only for the chosen few. I am so thrilled indeed!

My hopes for education
There is one thing that I would love to see happening in education: To allow learners to take a lead in learning and use IT gadgets to drive their lessons in class . Today’s generation learn by creating knowledge not by absorbing it as we did it during our times. The tide has turned!

Microsoft workshops
My signature (shown at the beginning of this post) allows me to run Microsoft workshops in schools.

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Phuti in action with IT workshops!


Phuti has been recognised as a South African hero in Education by the Coza Cares Foundation who made the following video about her.

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Thursday, 19 February 2015

The ISPA Super Teacher Competition for South African teachers - don't miss this one!

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The ISPA Super Teacher Competition sponsored by the Internet service providers association is now open for registration, Please join us in promoting this competition at schools and amongst colleagues.

What is the ISPA SuperTeacher Competition?
The ISPA SuperTeacher Competition is an annual competition sponsored by the Internet Service Providers’ Association (www.ispa.org.za) and managed by CoZa Cares Foundation (www.cozacares.co.za).

Background to the competition
ISPA launched the ISPA SuperTeacher Competition in 2001 in association with their Train the Teacher ICT Project. The aim of the competition is to give teachers an opportunity to showcase their skills in using Information Communication Technologies (ICT) to better the educational environment.

Click here to watch an e-TV video about a previous ISPA SuperTeacher Competition winner.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Dzx9JzB-EQc

Who can enter?

The prestigious ISPA SuperTeacher of the Year Competition is an excellent opportunity for all educators in all schools, as there are now THREE categories to win from namely: ISPA SuperTeacher award, ISPA TechTeacher award and ISPA ChampTeacher award.

How is the ISPA SuperTeacher, TechTeacher and ChampTeacher of the Year selected?

The winning teacher is selected on the basis of a Portfolio of Evidence that showcases their ICT in Education Project in ONE of the following categories:
  • Curriculum integration and classroom management – creative and efficient use of ICT to enhance teaching and learning in the 21st century
  • Effective school leadership and management – innovative use of ICT skills to streamline administrative tasks and activities
  • The school in the community – appropriate use of ICT to strengthen the relationship between your school and the community it serves
Closing dates

  • Registration will close on Friday 6 March 2015.
  •  The competition will close finally on 31 July 2015 when all completed projects will be evaluated.
  • Finalists will be invited to attend iWeek and the ISPA SuperTeacher awards  when the winners will be announced.

Once your registration has been approved, you will receive confirmation from the organizers and you will be ready to join us on an exciting journey.  Your progress will be monitored throughout the competition, and various deadlines will need to be met along the way.

Prizes
  • Ten finalists are selected each year.
  • They each receive an all-expenses paid, 3-day, 2-night trip to the venue location for the awards ceremony.
  • This year, the Winners of the 2015 ISPA SuperTeacher of the Year Competition will be announced at a glittering Gala Dinner Awards Evening taking place in Cape Town.
  • The exact date of the awards ceremony will be advised at the end of March.
Read more about the prizes here