Tuesday, 25 April 2017

Useful Microsoft in Education posts this week #100

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. The list is embedded below but can also be found at http://bit.ly/2pDdeIl.   The link to the back-dated posts is http://bit.ly/1GVLTUZ 

Sunday, 23 April 2017

A 21st Century Innovative Teacher’s Club is formed in Queenstown and Butterworth to bridge the digital divide using Microsoft applications

This is a guest post from Nosithembele Gcobo from Queenstown in the Eastern Cape in South Africa. Nosithembele is one of our Microsoft 2016/2017 #MIEExperts. Nosithembele was very excited about a recent event that took place as a result of her posting a Microsoft post and technological updates on her Facebook page. She was contacted by some teachers from the Butterworth district, which is about 150 kilometres from Queenstown, to see if she could upskill them with what she has been learning regarding using Microsoft applications in her classroom. This gave her the idea of creating a 21st Century Innovative Teacher's Club and inviting them to join. They were prepared to drive all the way from Butterworth just to spend some time updating their skills. Nosithembele sent this report back of the weekend.

The power of social networks 
I post most of my Microsoft posts on educational tools to be used in classroom integration on my Facebook wall. As a result I receive many followers who show interest. Some of us then started a conversation with me through WhatsApp since they are many kilometres away from me. They decided to pay me a visit so that we can collaborate and share our ideas, since they are the beginners in this ICT integration journey. It was then that I decided to form a club! I called it The 21st Century Innovative Teacher’s Club. I recruited Nelisa Zini, who is also a MIEExpert from the Queenstown district, to be a member of the club so as to empower the other teachers about the integration of technology in the curriculum practice. 

My dream came true on the 12 April 2017 when the club had its first meeting. The three teachers drove 185 km from Butterworth to Queenstown just to be empowered. It is really a small world. I discovered that two of the teachers were once my high school classmates at Daliwonga High School in Cofimvaba! We matriculated in 1987 and we never met or communicated after that. What an innovative reunion we had! They are beginners as far as technology is concerned, but they have the passion and willingness to know more about ICT integration. Their learners have no devices but their schools have some ICT infrastructure like laptops for a few teachers and a screen and projector for some. They have their own routers so that poor Internet connectivity cannot be a barrier. They really inspired me with their enthusiasm and gave me the desire to adopt them technologically.

Our First Collaboration

I first introduced them to the Microsoft Educator Community so that they would be able to access all the information, courses and resources that are available. I wanted to show them, how to earn badges and everything like that. The introduction was a very big success as two of them managed to register. One gained three badges and a certificate, the other gained one badge,  and they acquired some points. The third teacher had a problem and it took a long time for her to get registered.



Sway and OneNote 
Our collaboration journey began with learning how to use Sway and OneNote. The teachers were very excited as they had never heard about Sway and OneNote before. I showed them my lesson presentations on Sway and OneNote. They were amazed to find you can make a beautiful presentation in Sway, and you can even insert video clips for the learners to watch while you are presenting. I showed them how you can download the CAPS document to your Documents folder  instead of carrying and manually paging through a ragged document when doing lesson plans. They started creating their own Sway presentations for their English and Mathematics lessons. They were able to insert pictures, graphs and everything else needed for their lessons. They mastered how to browse for relevant videos for their lessons. . 

Nondzondelelo Dyalo from Butterworth district creating her first Sway presentation. 

#MIEE Nelisa Zini also showcased her English lesson plans and movie-making lessons on book reviews as well as her Natural Sciences and Technology lesson plans which she had done using Sway and OneNote. She kindly shared most of her lessons plans with the club members as they taught the same grade and subjects.

The future of the Club was decide on
We agreed to meet quarterly in the future because of the distance, but we will continue with online communication and collaboration with each other. I asked for an evaluation from the teachers and I am glad so say that I made an impact in their education career. I am more than willing to run the race with them. They gained a lot from our first meeting. They even completed a quiz from one of Microsoft Learning Paths - Digital Literacy - and received badges.

I designed a logo and a slogan for my club to make it legitimate. It is my dream to run this club for the rest of my life – I found it to be food for my soul, doing what I love most! The logo has four arrows pointing to the four directions, which means "Through ICT integration in curriculum practice, we are not limited. We can go in any direction". The slogan “Bridging the digital divide“  means: "Even though we are the underprivileged province because of our rurality, we can still bridge the gap between the urban and the rural context if we can be fully supported by one another. This means not only not just providing one another with digital resources, but also making sure that we are well equipped, monitored, supported and guided in the use of ICTs"

I am hoping  that this club will expand for the benefit of the teachers, as this was an excellent beginning. We signed the attendance register for the sake of record keeping. You can see the logo and the slogan on the register below. 

My appreciation goes to the librarians of WSU Resource Centre, Frontier Hospital in Queenstown for allowing us to use their board room for our collaboration. We were comfortably hosted with our privacy and we were not interrupted by the principal users (as the board room is used by the Health Department). My appreciation also goes to the SchoolNet team, for believing in me by unlocking my potential. If it were not for you my dream would have died. Your SchoolNet newsletters keep me going. They are the source of my inspiration. My appreciation also goes to Microsoft.  Thank you all ever so much once again.

Photos of the day
Here are two more photos of this memorable day.

Wednesday, 19 April 2017

Complete this 5-minute online survey and stand a chance to win a signed copy of the book 'Blended: Using Disruptive Innovation to Improve Schools''

We'd like to pass along an opportunity for educators at independent schools in South Africa to take part in an international survey. The Clayton Christensen Institute is conducting a study on technology use in education systems around the world, with South Africa as a focal point. Once you complete the five-minute survey, you will be entered for a chance to win a signed copy of Blended: Using Disruptive Innovation to Improve Schools. If you have any questions, please direct them to Jenny White jwhite@christenseninstitute.org. Thank you very much. This survey is conducted by the Clayton Christensen Institute with support by SchoolNet.


Microsoft is excited to announce the availability of Minecraft: Education Edition in South Africa!

This is the third post in a series of posts about using Minecraft: Education Edition in your classroom. (The series of posts can be accessed at: http://bit.ly/2pRigwJ). In this post we explain why Microsoft is excited to announce the availability of Minecraft: Education Edition in South Africa! We give details of why you should think about using Minecraft: Education Edition at your school, and how to go about purchasing it.

Minecraft: Education Edition is a version of the popular open world game, Minecraft, specifically designed for education. It contains features that make Minecraft more accessible and effective in a classroom setting including:
  • Easy Classroom Collaboration: Educators have told us that one of the greatest benefits of Minecraft: Education Edition is the ability for students to collaborate together to build projects and solve problems. 
  • Non-Player Characters: An educator may create an NPC (Non-Player Character) to act as a guide for students in the game, giving instruction, providing more information, and also allowing educators to insert an active web link to additional references.
  • Camera + Portfolio: An important aspect of teaching with Minecraft is being able to collect evidence of learning in the game, and being able to track student progression. The camera and portfolio features allows students to take screenshots of their work and document the development of their projects.
  • Chalkboards: Creators can use chalkboards to communicate learning goals, provide additional information and give explicit instructions within the game. 
  • Simple, Secure sign-in: Individual student and teacher logins with Office 365 Education accounts ensure data privacy & security while playing Minecraft: Education Edition.
  • Tutorial World: For educators or students new to Minecraft, a tutorial world is available that will guide players on in-game navigation, crafting, and placing or breaking blocks.
Minecraft: Education Edition immerses students in a virtual landscape that fosters collaboration, stimulates problem solving, and inspires creativity while exploring subjects from art to math, history to science.

What educators are saying about Minecraft Education Edition:
Minecraft is already transforming classroom learning!  Hear what educators are saying about using Minecraft to transform classroom learning in the video below..

Next Steps

Partner Name
Contact Person
Computers 4 Kids
Russell Pengelly
Mitchell Struwig
ITech Solutions
Daryl Duncan
Onsite IT
Clayton Campbell
Roelof de Bruyn
Brian Carl Brown
Dial a Nerd
Warren Morton

Tuesday, 18 April 2017

Minecraft: Education Edition – ideas from the Dubai Minecraft Training Partner Summit

This is the second post in a series of posts about using Minecraft: Education Edition in your classroom. (The series of posts can be accessed at: http://bit.ly/2pRigwJ). In this post Megan Rademeyer from SchoolNet reports back on her experience at the Minecraft: Education Edition Training Partner Summit in Dubai where trainers from around the world were certified in order to run Mincraft Education Edition training sessions with schools

Between 28 February and 2 March 2017 Megan Rademeyer, SchoolNet SA Programmes Manager and Microsoft Fellow had the opportunity to attend the Minecraft: Education Edition training partner summit in Dubai. Sessions included “Learning how to play Minecraft”, engaging in a “Build Battle” (where teams built structures together to try out-build other teams), and exploring “Classroom Mode in Minecraft: Education Edition”. The aim of the training session was to certify trainers from Microsoft Training Partners who will them be able to run Minecraft: Education Edition training sessions with schools. 

South African attendees
In addition to Megan, representing SchoolNet SA, Dominique Cave and Jethro MacDonald from Computers 4 Kids and Elsabe Hart, a Microsoft Teacher Ambassador were the other South Africans in attendance who are now certified Minecraft: Education Edition trainers.

Favourite sessions
Megan’s favourite session was Minecraft: Breakout Edu which involved going through a Minecraft world and following clues to unlock various puzzles. This activity provided teams with an opportunity to collaborate with others, and use Minecraft and thinking skills to work through an engaging challenge. This session would be a good one to run at schools as teachers and/ or learners who have some Minecraft skills could be grouped with novice Minecraft players. The challenge required a range of skills and someone who is not a Minecraft expert could still help solve puzzles whilst being exposed to Minecraft at the same time. 

Other worthwhile sessions involved learning the basics of Minecraft by working through the Minecraft: Education Edition Tutorial World. This activity would be a good place for teachers and students who are unfamiliar with Minecraft to learn the basic controls and features of Minecraft, such as gathering and crafting resources.

Benefits of using Minecraft in your classroom
Minecraft: Education Edition is similar to Minecraft that many of your learners may already know and love. What makes Education Edition great for teachers is that it utilizes Office 365 to assign Minecraft accounts to students – making it a cost effective way for schools to access the game, and in a way that provides a safe, closed environment in which to play. Features such as the camera and portfolio resources make it easy for learners to document evidence of learning or of structures they have created. Even if a teacher does not have Minecraft: Education Edition, the Minecraft: Education Edition portal provides free access to range of lesson plans, pre-built worlds and ready-made activities that make it easy for a teacher to integrate Minecraft into a lesson.

Lessons learnt at the Minecraft Summit
Before heading for Dubai, Megan was a complete Minecraft novice, but she is happy to report that spending after spending a few days playing Minecraft she is no longer accidentally destroying quite as many blocks as she did at first! More importantly, she has realised that one does not need to be a Minecraft whizz to use this tool as part of a fun and engaging lesson. 

Below are some lessons about Minecraft that Megan learnt during the training summit.

Children will generally out-pace adults
My daughter (now 11) has been playing Minecraft for about two years. My sole contribution to her interest in the game was providing my credit card details so that she could download Minecraft: Pocket Edition to her tablet. Every so often, she would me a hotel, or a dream house or a stadium that she has created and I would say something like “that’s lovely sunshine, now how about you go read a book or do some homework.” Now that I have actually tried to make my own house in Minecraft I am in complete awe of the structures she has been able to produce. Without having been on a course, with no instructor and with no manual to tell her what to do. Kids take to Minecraft naturally – maybe because they aren’t afraid of failure and are willing to just give it a try.

You just have to start – you will get faster
I can touch-type. I can produce professional looking reports using Word far more quickly than if I were to write them out by hand. Did I always type quickly? No! I type quickly because I have spent just about every day of my working career typing on a keyboard. Hours and hours of practice has made me a good typist. Years of putting together reports has helped me to figure out shortcuts for formatting them nicely – and quickly. I don’t know why I thought I would be a whizz a Minecraft on the first day. My daughter is great at playing Minecraft – but she also has a two year, 5 hour a week jump-start on me. Of course if you aren’t willing to even try Minecraft, you will never get good at it. And if you try it once, decide it is too tricky and abandon it, you will think that it is impossible to master. The trick to becoming good at Minecraft is committing yourself to spending a few hours muddling through the basics and slowly but surely getting a bit more skilful and a bit more confident.

There is no undo button – but this teaches resilience
At the Minecraft: Education Edition training session we worked our way through Tutorial World – which teachers use the basic ways of moving yourself through the game. Because I had kept confusing my left and right mouse buttons I kept accidentally destroying blocks when I should have been creating blocks – and as a result had to go back to the beginning of the world three times. Whilst this was frustrating – on each successive attempt I got faster. I got better and better each time I did something. When I destroyed half our team’s structure in the build battle I apologised to the team and they quickly put back what I destroyed. I felt bad, but at other times other team members made silly mistakes. We had a laugh and moved on. Sure, we wanted to build a nice structure and win the challenge – but really Minecraft is just a game.

Start small – take baby steps
Just like you weren’t doing conditional formatting and what if formulas the first time you used Excel, chances are you won’t be lighting up your Minecraft structure using Redstone (Minecraft’s “electricity”) in your first world. This doesn’t really matter. The Minecraft: Education Edition contains a wealth of prebuilt worlds, so a teacher who is a complete novice can just download someone else’s creation and use that as a starting point. Or a teacher can just say to the learners “I really don’t know how to do this – but I thought of a fun activity that we could try together”. Since when does a teacher have to be the expert at everything? Telling kids that you don’t know how to do something, or giving them an opportunity to teach you is not a sign of weakness – it is a sign that you are a life-long learner with a pioneering spirit. (Your kids may think you have NO Minecraft skills – but they will think you are cool for having given it a try!)

It is worth checking out Minecraft: Education Edition

Check out the official Minecraft: Education Edition website for resources that cover curriculum and give learners an opportunity to play a game that they love at the same time. If you are interested in purchasing Minecraft: Education Edition for your school – please see here for more information. If your school already has Minecraft: Education Edition contact Megan Rademeyer (megan@schoolnet.org.za) for more info about professional development workshops for staff.

MIEExpert Spotlight #26: Neliswa Zini from Queenstown in South Africa talks about her ICT in the classroom journey

This is the 25th post in the series "MIEExpert Spotlight" for South Africa. The tab with all the posts can be found at: http://bit.ly/1ZYy8Z7. Today we focus on Neliswa Zini. Neliswa has sent us this post about herself and how she started using ICT in the classroom.

"My name is Neliswa Zini. I live in Queenstown in Eastern Cape Province in South Africa. I currently teach at Shiloh Junior and Senior Primary School, where I offer NS/TECH in Grade 4, Mathematics grade 5 and English (FAL), Social Sciences and EMS in grade 7.

Introduction to ICT technology
I started using technology in 2009. My husband introduced me to the PC. He taught me some of the basics. Then I used his desktop to compile my IQMS file. I only used Microsoft Word at that time. I realised that using a computer saves so much time as you don’t have to rewrite the whole document when you want to create a new one. You just edit it here and there.

In 2012 I decided to do a Computer Clerk Course at Boston City Campus College.

After that I bought my own laptop and did all my planning such as lesson plans, assessment plans, recording sheets etc. using Ms Word and Ms Excel. As an IQMS co-ordinator I conducted staff development through training workshops at my school. I used Ms PowerPoint for my presentations.

In 2014 Telkom Foundation Project donated 21 laptops to my school. That gace us a total of 33 technology devices because we already had a computer lab with 22 desktops. However, at that time our computer lab was not really functional. In fact it was only used by our computer teacher and the Admin Clerk!

Teaching with ICT  technology
Then in 2015 Nosithembele Colleen Gcobo came with her team to train teachers in ICT integration at my school. She soon realised that I already knew what they were training. I ended up assisting them with the training. After that I was fortunately chosen to attend the SchoolNet ICT Integration conference in Durban.

I learned a lot about teaching with technology at that conference. I was introduced to new Microsoft tools like Office Mix, OneNote, Sway, Movie Maker etc. I fell in love with technology and I realised that I was using my laptop as an expensive pen, as I was only using it for my planning.

On my arrival back at school I started using technology in the classroom the way it was supposed to be (i.e. integrating technology into teaching and learning). I started by training my learners in computer basics.

I planned an English (FAL) grade 4 lesson, reading and viewing using Movie Maker. I used an overhead projector and white board to display my lesson. 

Here is the movie i created:


My learners were so excited. Everyone wanted to give me the answer when I asked questions.

After I finished teaching my lesson I gave them an assessment task and asked them to type their responses.
This exercise helped my learners who usually have spelling problems. From then on I continued using technology in my classroom. I planned and taught Maths lessons – Long Division and Shapes - using PowerPoint. I also used Excel for teaching Data Collection – Charts. 

In May 2016 I attended a summit at Gauteng where I learned a lot more about technology. Since then my planning takes place using OneNote.

Using Sway in the classroom
Although I have the challenge of poor Internet access, I told myself that I was not going to stay discouraged by the Internet challenge for ever. I used my own router to connect to the Internet. Then I made a grade 4 NS/TECH lesson –Water cycle using Sway. I’ve shared my sway on Twitter and Facebook.

As a teacher who is always willing to share my knowledge, I invited my colleagues to the computer lab and trained them in ICT integration. I shared everything I’ve experienced with them. That motivated them to start to integrate ICT in their classrooms. Here is my principal with the grade 7 learners.

I inspired my colleagues. I also showed them that technology can help learners who experience barriers to learning, particularly those with learning difficulties.

Now Nosithembele Colleen Gcobo and I are planning to make a joint lesson whereby our grade 7 learners will work collaboratively on an English FAL project through Skype. We will use our own routers as we both experience an Internet access challenge at school. By doing this I am slowly becoming a part of a global professional learning network called #Make What’s Next starting with my neighbourhood. I also engage my learners in learning through gamification. While they play with cards in the classroom they learn counting in Maths without realising it. They also have fun at the same time.

Professional Development using the Minecraft Educator Community
I consistently do extra personal Professional Development on the Microsoft Educator Community (https://education.microsoft.com/) earning badges and points.  I have been tweeting about this:
I conclude by saying that teaching with technology is the best strategy to slowly turn around the vicious cycle of failure experienced by learners with learning difficulties. When I talk about learners with learning difficulties I’m talking about those learners who are of average to above average of intelligence, but their achievement is below the expected outcome. They experience a difficulty in the acquisition of reading, writing and mathematical problems. Technology is the best mechanism to deliver deliver/implement the curriculum in ways that are relevant and meaningful to the diverse needs of all learners.

Monday, 17 April 2017

On demand learning through the Microsoft Virtual Academy - with Megan Rademeyer

Megan Rademeyer has been hosting a series of webinars on the Microsoft Virtual Academy on various Microsoft tools and how these can be used for educational purposes. Most of these sessions feature a Microsoft expert who is able to give tips for using the tools effectively – and a number of Microsoft Innovative Educator Experts have featured to talk about how they are using the tools in their classrooms.

Click on the links below if you’d like to watch a pre-recorded session and follow @MicrosoftEduSA on Twitter for the links to the live sessions and to be part of the discussion about the tools.

Useful Microsoft in Education posts this week #99

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. The list is embedded below but can also be found at http://bit.ly/2ptFWbt   The link to the back-dated posts is http://bit.ly/1GVLTUZ 

Sunday, 16 April 2017

'Report back on the E2 Education Exchange – Toronto' by Megan Rademeyer from SchoolNet

The Microsoft Education Exchange (E2) is Microsoft in Education’s annual event recognizing and celebrating the achievements of educators who combine content, pedagogy, and technology in exemplary ways to prepare students for success. This year, E2 took place in Toronto, Canada between 21 and 23 March 2017 and included almost 300 teachers and education thought leaders from countries around the world. SchoolNet’s Megan Rademeyer, who is a Microsoft Fellow, attended E2 and presented a session entitled “It’s not about the tool” in the University and Workplace Readiness track. She also coached a group of teachers from five different countries who tried to think of a new add-in that Microsoft should create to enhance one of their existing products to make it even better for teachers.

Five Microsoft Innovative Educator Experts were selected to represent South Africa at E2 - Justin Harper (Saheti), Matthew Hains (Crawford College - Sandton) and Amandla Vinjwa (Sivile Primary School) Peter de Lisle (Hilton College) and Freddy Chireka (Vastratech). Angela Schaerer, Teacher Engagement Manager from Microsoft South Africa accompanied the group.

All five teachers reported that E2 was a life-changing professional development experience and that they learnt so much from other teachers both through seeing their projects in the Learning Marketplace and by working alongside other teachers in the group challenges. For most of the group the Minecraft: Education Edition activities were highlights as we had an opportunity to build a solution to the challenge of homelessness within a Minecraft world modelled on Toronto. The MakerSpaces activity that involved programming a Microbit to flash a message in small lights was a fun activity that bought out the coders in us and provided a practical opportunity to #MakeWhatsNext. Sessions on maximising some of Microsoft’s tools for the educational environment – such as Maximising OneNote also built our skills for making better use of Microsoft tools within classrooms and provided an opportunity to see international best practices.

The five MIE Experts who attended E2 report back on their personal highlights below:

Justin Harper

“I would encourage all teachers of all grades to actively participate in the Microsoft Educator Community and to apply for the chance to get to meet like-minded teachers from around the world at the next E2 Global conference. It was truly a once in a life time opportunity and maybe one day I can attend as a Mie Fellow.

My highlights of the event were taking part in various group activities and focus areas. The main ones being Minecraft for Education and Microbit technology. Seeing how one can easily get lost in the gamification and innovation in technology has inspired me to bring this type of technology to SAHETI School.”

 Peter de Lisle

“E2 was a great experience for me. The opportunity to be with fellow-teachers from around the world is quite unique. Despite all the differences in approach, language, culture, etc, we could experience being together as professionals to share our passion for education and the ways we can work together to make it better. The group project was a highlight for me – working with my team-mates from across the globe was tough, but we had lots of fun. A big shout-out to Microsoft and SchoolNet SA for making it possible for us to attend.”

Freddy Chireka
“It is with great pleasure to summarise my highlights of the E2 Microsoft Summit in Toronto.

- The Group Challenge on #MakeWhat’sNext was great chance to collaborate on innovative ideas with delegates in random groups made of teachers from different parts of the world. We had to find ways of having a common understanding , divide tasks evenly, overcome language and cultural barriers to come up with ideas for presentation.

Matthew Hains

- Microsoft Minecraft for Problem based Learning was an exceptional eye opener and its potential to impact critical thinking skills through game based learning.

- Learning Market Place was a great opportunity to see how fellow MIE Experts are combining content, pedagogy and Microsoft Technology to deliver exciting and engaging lessons for their learners.

- Break-away session on #Improving academic achievements through Technology integration with content gave me a practical overview of how Teachers can harness the power of technology to improve learner outcomes.”

“ The Microsoft E2 Educator Exchange is a once-in-a-lifetime experience worth every minute. Being exposed to new technologies, new ways of thinking and ideas from teachers of all subjects from all around the world, is an experience that ignites one with a renewed vigour for teaching with technology. I was inspired by new ways of using various applications such as OneNote and Sway. I took consolation in the fact that I was not alone as a teacher, that, many other teachers in schools across the globe face the similar issues and challenges as us here in South Africa and require innovative teachers and students to address these issues and overcome these challenges.”

Amandla Vinjwa

“E2 was a life changing experience. We had an opportunity to interact with educators around the world, sharing views and ideas about teaching strategies , methods, teaching resources and material. The lead teachers shared their best teaching practices and we experienced Microsoft tools that could be customised to fit your desired classroom environment and which would addresses different learners needs. I was especially excited by the tools that promotes inclusivity and diversify the learning to create dynamic and vibrant learning. These can enable us as teachers to be champions in our teaching.”

Get involved in the 2017/2018 Microsoft MIEE program 
If you are a teacher who likes to be innovative in the classroom, think about entering Microsoft's Innovative Teacher MIEExpert 2017/2018 program when applications reopen later this year. You can learn more about the program at this link: http://bit.ly/1H4gKcB on the Microsoft Educator Community.

Saturday, 15 April 2017

Why not register for the free, online Global Conference Network's Library 2017 Mini-Conference: DIGITAL LITERACY & FAKE NEWS

Did you know that the second of three Library 2.017 mini-conferences: "Digital Literacy + FakeNews," will be held online (and for free) on Thursday June 1st from 12:00 - 3:00 pm US-Pacific Daylight Time (click for your own time zone). This event is being organized in partnership with futurist Bryan Alexander, who will serve as moderator for the opening panel and as the closing keynote speaker. Invited panelists and presenters will look deeply at the foundational relationship of libraries and librarians to media, information, and digital literacy.

The Global Classroom invites all library professionals, employers, LIS students, and educators to provide input and participate this event.

This is a free event, being held online. 
REGISTER HEREto attend live or to receive the recording links afterwards.
Please also join the Library 2.0 network to be kept updated on this and future events.

What does “digital literacy” mean in an era shaped by the Internet, social media, and staggering quantities of information? How is it that the fulfillment of human hopes for a open knowledge society seem to have resulted in both increased skepticism of, and casualness with, information? What tools and understanding can library professionals bring to a world that seems to be dominated by fake news?

In this Library 2.107 mini-conference, we start with the foundational relationship of libraries and librarians to media, information, and now digital literacy, and then we ask some pointed questions. How should library and information professionals address the issues of fake news, propaganda, and biased research? What technical skills are required for critical thinking in the digital age? As learners increasingly move from just consuming information to also socially producing it, what are the new requisite skills of critical thinking and decision-making? What are appropriate uses for social media when conducting research? What is digital citizenship in a global, globally-diverse, and often globally-fragmented world? What work on digital literacy is available, what frameworks already support these efforts, what are the perspectives of the leading thinkers?

Participants are encouraged to use #library2017 on their social media posts leading up to and during the event.


The School of Information at San José State University is the founding conference sponsor, and additional support has been provided by Follett. Please register as a member of the Library 2.0 network to be kept informed of future events. Recordings from previous years are available under the Archives tab at Library 2.0 and at the Library 2.0 YouTube channel.


The conference will have a limited number of slots for presenter sessions. The call for proposals is now open HERE. All who are interested in presenting are encouraged to submit.


The sessions will be held in Blackboard Collaborate, and can be accessed live from any personal computer and most mobile devices. (To see if your system is already configured for Blackboard Collaborate, you can try entering the practice room at http://www.thepracticeroom.me. If you aren't able to enter that room, see Behind the Blackboard Support.)

Registration will give you access to the live event and to the event recordings. An event reminder and additional connecting information will be sent just prior to the event.

                            KEYNOTE SPEAKERS (MORE TO COME)

Bryan Alexander

Bryan Alexander is an internationally known futurist, researcher, writer, speaker, consultant, and teacher, working in the field of how technology transforms education. He completed his English language and literature PhD at the University of Michigan in 1997, with a dissertation on doppelgangers in Romantic-era fiction and poetry. Then Bryan taught literature, writing, multimedia, and information technology studies at Centenary College of Louisiana. There he also pioneered multi-campus interdisciplinary classes, while organizing an information literacy initiative. From 2002 to 2014 Bryan worked with the National Institute for Technology in Liberal Education (NITLE), a non-profit working to help small colleges and universities best integrate digital technologies. With NITLE he held several roles, including co-director of a regional education and technology center, director of emerging technologies, and senior fellow. Over those years Bryan helped develop and support the nonprofit, grew peer networks, consulted, and conducted a sustained research agenda. In 2013 Bryan launched a business, Bryan Alexander Consulting, LLC. Through BAC he consults throughout higher education in the United States and abroad. Bryan also speaks widely and publishes frequently, with articles appearing in venues including The Atlantic Monthly, Inside Higher Ed. He has been interviewed by and featured in MSNBC, US News and World Report, the Chronicle of Higher Education, the National Association of College and University Business Officers, Pew Research, Campus Technology, and the Connected Learning Alliance. His two most recent books are Gearing Up For Learning Beyond K-12 and The New Digital Storytelling.

Find out more here: https://goo.gl/5JA64B 

Friday, 14 April 2017

Useful Google in Education posts this week #98

After looking through all the Google posts that were shared to various subscriptions recently, these are a selection that look useful for teachers https://goo.gl/8vRtyp   (The link to previous posts can be found here https://goo.gl/CNO3M2

Thursday, 13 April 2017

Introducing Minecraft: Education Edition – what it is and why you should think about using it in your classroom

This is the first in a series of posts about using Minecraft: Education Edition in your classroom.  (The series of posts can be accessed at: http://bit.ly/2pRigwJ) In this post we introduce you to this global sensation that has been personalised for use in schools, specifically for education, and is being used effectively by educators in more than 50 countries of the 
Minecraft is hitting the world by storm! You just have to mention the word ‘Minecraft’ in class and hands go up with learners making comments such as ‘I play Minecraft at home, ‘I love playing Minecraft’, or ‘Çan we play Minecraft today?’ In the past the average teacher would dismiss the notion of playing a game like Minecraft in class…that is, until Minecraft: Education Edition arrived on the scene!

What is Minecraft: Education Edition?

Have you noticed that Minecraft: Education Edition is becoming a buzzword at the moment? Here are some of the questions that go through every teacher’s mind at its mention. “What exactly IS Minecraft: Education Edition? Can it really be integrated with the curriculum? Where can I get hold of it?”

Let’s explain exactly what it is. The official Minecraft: Education Edition website, found at https://education.minecraft.net/, describes the game as an open-world game that promotes creativity, collaboration, and problem-solving in an immersive environment where the only limit is your imagination.

Why would a teacher want to use Minecraft: Education Edition in the classroom?
Minecraft: Education Edition is a collaborative and versatile platform that educators can use across subjects to encourage 21st-century skills. Learners in the classroom can have endless enjoyment when combining this game with the curriculum. Watch this introductory video which demonstrates how Minecraft: Education Edition promotes creative exploration in an immersive environment where the only limit is your imagination!


In later posts we’ll show you how Minecraft: Education Edition can be combined with an educator’s current curriculum. But first let’s take note of what educators who use Minecraft: Education Edition in the classroom have noticed about its benefits.

1) Minecraft: Education Edition promotes engagement
Every educator longs to captivate the attention and engagement of his or her learners. Minecraft: Education Edition has the power to bring engagement and curriculum to the learners. Firstly, most learners are already comfortable in a digital environment so combining this with education for excellent results is a big plus. It encourages collaboration and it helps the teacher deliver the curriculum. By using Minecraft: Education Edition as a platform for learning, educators can motivate and inspire every student to achieve more, and ignite a passion for learning.

2) Minecraft: Education Edition promotes collaboration
Collaboration is a 21st century skill that helps prepare learners for their future. Teamwork is a natural part of the workplace. Minecraft: Education Edition is designed for students to play together – whether that means working in teams to solve a problem, or collaborating as an entire class complete learning activities.

3)  Minecraft: Education Edition promotes creative exploration
Think about how we learn naturally. It is through a combination of  observation, trial and  error, and
practice. In Minecraft: Education Edition there are no step-by-step instructions – learners must try, fail, and try again to achieve the result they want.  Minecraft: Education Edition is can be described as ‘an open canvas’ which allows learners to express themselves and their ideas in unique ways. The teachers guides the learning in the framework of the curriculum.

4) Minecraft: Education Edition
promotes learner-centred outcomes
Educators can use Minecraft: Education Edition to create lessons and activities that cater to all learning styles – visual, auditory and kinaesthetic/tactile. No longer will an activity be only reading and writing, or only listening and viewing. Minecraft: Education Edition can be described as a flexible maker-space that can engage kinaesthetic learners. Educators are able to map their projects and activities in Minecraft: Education Edition directly to learning styles, specific learning outcomes and curriculum standards.

What if an educator is not a gamer? Does it matter?
To close off today’s post we’d like to show you a video that introduces you to Katja Borregaard, an educator at Skt Josefs Skole in Roskilde, Denmark. She says one doesn’t have to be a gamer or an expert in Minecraft: Education Edition in order to get started. She took the plunge and got started for the sake of her learners, and she has never looked back. Follow her journey as she brings Minecraft: Education Edition into her classroom. Katja Borregaard first experienced the game in early 2016. Since that time, she has participated in the Minecraft: Education Edition beta and is currently learning with and from her students as she integrates it into her existing curriculum.

What next?
Think about entering into the world of your learners and introducing Minecraft: Education Edition into their space at school. In South Africa the best way to get Minecraft: Education Edition for your class is for your school to sign up by registering for Office 365 for Education (hyperlink: (which is free) and then buying Minecraft: Education Edition from a Microsoft Authorised Education Partners (AEP). These are current partners who can assist you:

Partner Name
Contact Person
Computers 4 Kids
Russell Pengelly
Mitchell Struwig
ITech Solutions
Daryl Duncan
Onsite IT
Clayton Campbell
Roelof de Bruyn
Brian Carl Brown
Dial a Nerd
Warren Morton

Technical requirements for Minecraft: Education Edition:
Operating System: Windows 10 or macOS
Identity: Office 365 Education account for each player. This is free for schools and your Authorised Education Partner can assist you getting this set up.
Network: Internet access required for login and multiplayer

Further reading:
· Education Minecraft.net https://education.minecraft.net/: This is the official Minecraft site
The Minecraft generation: http://nyti.ms/2nPOJTP: This is an interesting article from the New York Times