Wednesday, 19 July 2017

Minecraft: Education Edition - The #SmallSouthAfrica #Minecraftedu map created by Stephen Reid is finished

Recently in Joburg, the Microsoft Education Exchange (E2) Africa Forum bought together almost sixty MIE Experts and representatives of Microsoft Schools for two days of hands-on learning, networking, and trying out some of the latest Microsoft tools at the Microsoft offices in Bryanston. One of the highlights of the event was a keynote on Problem-Based Learning presented by Stephen Reid from Immersive Minds in Scotland. Stephen introduced teachers to the basics of Minecraft in the context of developing a group work project which involved coming up with a South African problem and then modeling a solution in a Small South Africa Minecraft world.

Stephen Reid presenting a keynote on problem-based learning and Minecraft

The #SmallSouthAfrica #Minecraftedu map is finished

Stephen recently created a post on his Immersive Minds Facebook profile entitled ‘Our #SmallSouthAfrica #Minecraftedu map is finished”. He says: “Designed to accompany our Microsoft #ProblemBasedLearning course on the Microsoft Educator Community (https://education.microsoft.com/…/co…/problem-based-learning) we've used the map with teachers from all over Africa to explore some of the prime issues facing South Africa today. So far we've see it used to explore:
  • Ethical mining practices
  • Clean water access
  • Urban development and social housing
  • Education for girls
  • Tax expenditure
  • Xenophobia
  • Human rights
  • Conservation and animal rights
  • and more
Minecraft can be used as a powerful tool for critical and creative thinking in social, economic and environmental issues and in developing awareness and empathy beyond the curriculum.

The map includes:
  • A diamond mine
  • A coastal area, including discoloured water 
  • A game reserve including a cheetah, warthog, buffalo, termite mounds and hyena dens. 
  • A city model, including some key historical buildings from Jo'burg and Cape Town
  • An informal settlement 
  • Lion's Head Mountain 
  • A replica of the Ndebele village.
As with all Minecraft resources the map can be changed in any way and can be extended beyond the walls seen in the images.

The map will be available for download soon via https://education.minecraft.net/"

Here are a couple of the images from Stephen's Facebook post:






Computer4Kids and Minecraft
Contact Computer4Kids in South Africa to find out more about using Minecraft: Education Edition in your classroom. They provide Minecraft: Education Edition training and have created some great Minecraft: Education Edition learning resources for you to use in your classroom.  Currently Computers4Kids is running a Minecraft: Education Edition competition which closes on 17 September. Why not encourage your students to enter this competition? 

  
Complete the free course on problem-based learning on the Microsoft Educator Community
The free problem-based learning course, which is available on the Minecraft Education Community, can be accessed here. Problem-based learning (PBL) has become an integral part of the 21st century classroom. When students are faced with solving ill-structured, open-ended, messy problems, they are pushed to think more critically and work collaboratively. Many Microsoft tools help support problem-based learning. This course has been developed to help you understand what PBL is and how to plan and implement a problem-based learning experience in your classroom.


To view one of the problem-based learning projects which used Minecraft: Education Edition  to demonstrate a solution, (done at the E2 in Joburg),  visit our blog here 

Tuesday, 18 July 2017

Useful Microsoft in Education posts this week #112

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/2uckiNb The link to the back-dated posts is: http://bit.ly/1GVLTUZ


Monday, 17 July 2017

MIEExpert Spotlight #29: Moses Sello Sehoole from Limpopo - Using Microsoft resources as a school principal

MIEExpert Moses Sello Sehoole is a secondary school principal who displays great ambition,
determination and drive. In 2008 he was head-hunted and recruited as principal of Mankuroane Technical and Commercial High School school because of his achievements as principal at his previous school. Mankuroane Technical and Commercial High School school is situated in a deep rural area in Taung, Limpopo. Moses immediately set to work to upgrade the school's technology. In 2010 he applied to the national lottery for funding to build workshops and purchase computers. This was granted in 2011. As part of the business plan 60 computers were purchased for curriculum delivery. As a result the Engineering, Graphics and Design pass rate improved to the current 100% pass rate.

Moses was selected to attend Microsoft's E2 Teacher Exchange in Budapest in 2016
Moses attended the, Microsoft Education Master Training on ICT integration in teaching and learning in 2015, and it was here that he learned about the Microsoft Innovative Expert Program. He adds proudly that, “On the 16th November 2015 I was announced as Microsoft Innovative Educator Expert, joining the more than 5,600 educators in the MIE program worldwide. I was excited and happy to see that my efforts to integrate technology in classroom were recognized.” In 2016 Moses was selected as one of three educators who represented South Africa at the Microsoft Teacher Exchange (E2) in Budapest in 2016. This experience greatly impacted him. He found that it was awesome achievement because he learned to collaborate, be creative and think out of the box. He adds, "The lesson plan that is driven by technology is lively and exciting because it acknowledges individual uniqueness and independent thinking.”


Moses Sello Sehoole’s success story doesn’t stop there. In 2008 and again in 2011 he was nominated to participate in the South African National Teaching Awards for Excellence in Secondary School Leadership. He reached the provincial level on both occasions, which was a great achievement for him and the school. In 2016 he was nominated again to participate in the 17th National Teaching Awards and he went on to reach national level.


Moses's use of Microsoft  tools at his school
Moses makes extensive use of Microsoft tools at his school. He uses Sway to present his lessons to some of his classes. He uses Office Mix to give notes to his learners in Grade 10. When Moses became a Certified Microsoft Innovative Educator, he went a step further and started to empower his learners to develop their ICT skills in the classroom. He encouraged them to also apply these to their daily learning. “In 2016, I started engaging my Grade 10 learners to use Microsoft tools for themselves. I taught them how to do research, to collaborate and presenting their work to one another.”


The benefits of using ICT integration
Moses finds that the benefits of using ICT integration in his classes are evident. “Using Microsoft tools makes learning more interesting and fun for my learners and helps them to remember and recall better. The class performance improved a lot because of their professional looking work using a desktop computer. We used to have only a few learners progressing from Grade 10 to 12 but since we started integrating Microsoft technology into our daily teaching and learning, I am delighted to see more and more learners successfully progressing from one grade to another.” Moses is of the opinion that learners are independent thinkers, who no longer desire to simply consume information but who would rather participate actively in various projects with excitement because of technology. He has noticed that his learners’ self-esteem, self-awareness and growth has improved as a result of the technology integration using Microsoft tools.


Moses helps train the teachers at his school
The teachers have also benefited from training in ICT integration. “As a Microsoft Innovative Educator Expert, I trained about 30 teachers on how to integrate ICT in their daily teaching and learning. After training they are required to use the ICT skills acquired in daily teaching and learning.” The training continued in 2017 when the Department of Education entered into a partnership with the University of Witwatersrand to present a three months’ workshop for selected teachers in using ICT integration in daily teaching and learning. This workshop afforded Moses an opportunity to showcase his ICT skills as he was appointed as an ICT Champion to teach some of the topics.


Find out more about becoming a Microsoft Innovative Educator Expert 
MIE Experts are part of an exclusive Microsoft program created to recognize global educator visionaries who are using technology to improve teaching and learning. Outstanding MIE Experts
from South Africa and Lesotho are selected to attend Education Exchange (E2) events both locally and internationally; they participate in webinars to boost their own skills; they feature in case studies, blogposts and webinars; and they are part of a local and international community of teachers who share ideas and best practices.If you would like to be a part of this exciting program we invite you to view the Microsoft Educator Expert page on the Microsoft Educator Community to find out more and to apply for the next intake. 

Thursday, 13 July 2017

Useful Microsoft in Education posts this week #111

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/2uLOoFlThe link to the back-dated posts is: http://bit.ly/1GVLTUZ



Wednesday, 12 July 2017

Apply to be a Microsoft Innovative Educator Expert – applications close 15 July 2017

MIE Experts are part of an exclusive Microsoft program created to recognize global educator visionaries who are using technology to improve teaching and learning. Outstanding MIE Experts from South Africa and Lesotho are selected to attend Education Exchange (E2) events both locally and internationally; they participate in webinars to boost their own skills; they feature in case studies, blogposts and webinars; and they are part of a local and international community of teachers who share ideas and best practices.

Here is an image of the MIE Experts who were invited to the very exciting Microsoft E2 Africa  #makewhatsnext  In Johannesburg recently.

                  

If you would like to be a part of this exciting program we invite you to apply.

To apply, you will need to:
  • register on the Microsoft Educator Community and complete your profile;
  • earn at least 1 000 points on the Microsoft Education Community;
  • share a link to a 2-minute Sway, video or Office Mix that tells us if you’ve got what it takes to be an MIE Expert, and
  • complete the online self-nomination form by 15 July 2017
See the Microsoft Educator Expert page on the Microsoft Educator Community to find out more and to apply.

Microsoft is opening this program to education trainers, ICT Centre managers, government leaders or someone who sets policy at a local, regional or country level.

Monday, 10 July 2017

MIEExpert Spotlight #28: Charmaine Roynon from Cape Town talks about coding and growing great teachers

Charmaine Roynon, a Microsoft Innovative Educator Expert from Cape Town, is currently the ICT Integrator at Wynberg Girl’s Junior School, (also coined WGJS). In addition she is also Head of Curriculum Development and Teacher Training at EDU 365 SA. Charmaine says, “Working in the Education space is an ongoing adventure – it is dynamic and exciting. I thrive on working with curriculum and learning new, authentic methods to deliver curriculum. I would like to see teachers being given FAR, FAR more time to learn, engage with and implement technology in meaningful way – to use technology as a relevant teaching, administration and delivery tool.” Charmaine's passion is two-fold. She loves introducing teachers and learners  to coding, and she also loves growing great teachers by means of professional development.

Professional development at Wynberg Girls Junior School
WGJS is a very well resourced school in terms of teacher devices and mobile devices for the girls. In her role at school Charmaine teaches the teachers how to use the various Microsoft tools. She finds that the teachers at WGJS are enthusiastic and interested in integrating ICT into the curriculum, so they are keen to attend regular training. “The teachers are required to attend professional development every 3rd or 4th Monday afternoon. I make sure that my development session has a spot at least twice a term. I try to vary further training to suit our teachers. For example I regularly hold a Muffin morning in my room where teachers have conversations about the technology they need to use. Each grade has an IT Champion who ensures that their colleagues keep up to date. WGJS is in the process of implementing O365, which is really exciting as I am aiming to grow 8 MIE’s! We will be implementing BYOD this year – we will not be prescribing which devices they must use, but my previous experience with BYOD clearly indicates that Windows laptops are a choice of device – especially from Gr 6 up.”



Crack the Code Conference
Charmaine believes strongly in sharing expertise. “I would like to see advantaged schools sharing their expertise more with disadvantaged schools. Education is definitely moving into a digital space where more learners will have access to resources and tools.” To this end she introduced an exciting coding initiative which spread the influence of WGIS beyond the school walls. She arranged a “Crack the Code – Promoting Cerebral Fitness” Conference at the school in March this year..


The aim of the event was to expose the wider school community to coding, robotics and the critical thinking skills it addresses. “The WGIS girls already work in Kodu, Minecraft, Scratch, Alice 3, www.code.org and Code Monkey. This two day conference allowed WGIS teachers and other presenters to introduce coding to the wider school community.” If you would like to hear more about this please listen to the coding webinar that Charmaine presented for SchoolNet in June 2017.


WGIS is developing a Wynberg Teaching AcademyThe second initiative that Charmaine is involved in is still in the pipeline but it involves forming a Wynberg Teacher’s Academy – called “Growing Great Teachers”. This will be a professional development hub at WGJS where teachers will have the opportunity to share best practice with others. Charmaine says: “Good teachers help other teachers find the good teacher in themselves”.

Charmaine's use of Microsoft tools at WGISCharmaine loves using O365! ‘With O365, I am able to organize my very busy life and make my job as a teacher trainer relevant, meaningful and exciting!” At her previous school, which was not a Microsoft school, Charmaine felt that the school would benefit from the powerful O365 tools. Once they were set up, she introduced the teachers and children to the O365 dashboard, Mix and Sway. “I am looking forward to starting this journey at my current school once our O365 has been activated. However in my role at EDU 365, I conduct O365 training. I think I motivate teachers by my sheer passion and enthusiasm about these powerful tools. Because I am an educator and I have worked in IT integration for many years, I know what ‘hooks’ teachers.”

Charmaine enjoys using a range of other Microsoft tools such as Office Mix, and Sway.  She says, “Roll on Microsoft Teams and Classroom!” She considers herself privileged to have such a fulfilling and exciting career in the area of ICT integration and believes that Microsoft has a big role to play in South Africa. “I would like to see the gap between the “haves” and “have nots” narrow and disappear with the input of institutions like Microsoft continuing to contribute where they can.”

Find out more about becoming a Microsoft Innovative Educator Expert Recently we posted a post on the Schoolnet blog entitled: "Apply to be a Microsoft Innovative Educator Expert – applications close 15 July 2017. MIE Experts are part of an exclusive Microsoft
program created to recognize global educator visionaries who are using technology to improve teaching and learning. Outstanding MIE Experts from South Africa and Lesotho are selected to attend Education Exchange (E2) events both locally and internationally; they participate in webinars to boost their own skills; they feature in case studies, blogposts and webinars; and they are part of a local and international community of teachers who share ideas and best practices.

If you would like to be a part of this exciting program we invite you to apply before the 15th July.  To apply, you will need to:
  • register on the Microsoft Educator Community and complete your profile;
  • earn at least 1 000 points on the Microsoft Education Community;
  • share a link to a 2-minute Sway, video or Office Mix that tells us if you’ve got what it takes to be an MIE Expert, and
  • complete the online self-nomination form by 15 July 201
See the Microsoft Educator Expert page on the Microsoft Educator Community to find out more and to apply.

Friday, 7 July 2017

Useful Google in Education links this week #103

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/gSSgUQ. (The link to previous posts can be found here https://goo.gl/CNO3M2)



Thursday, 6 July 2017

Gerald Plaatjies – passionate about using Microsoft Office in the classroom

It is not every day that you find a Maths author is also a teacher who is passionate about using technology in his classroom. Mr Gerald Plaatjies is a Grade 5 Maths teachers at Eden Park Primary School in Johannesburg, South Africa (Ekurhuleni West District), and he is very passionate about integrating technology in education. He has been teaching Maths at Eden Park Primary School for over 21 years, and during this time he has created a variety of learning materials for his learners using Microsoft Office. Mr Plaatjies is the author of the Amazing Mental Calculations: Division book which was published in Canada; and he is in the process of completing his second book in this series entitled Amazing Mental Calculations: Timetables.

Gerald has been interested in using technology in teaching for many years. In fact, it all started in the year 2000 when he bought his first computer. “I learnt the nitty gritty stuff by myself, starting with word processing”, he said. He is motivated by making mathematics as interactive and practical as possible in the classroom. He uses Microsoft extensively in his classroom and PowerPoint is one of his favourite tools for his lessons and assessments.


Gerald uses ICT technology for lessons and other every day tasks in a variety of ways using Microsoft Office and other technologies. He displays images on PowerPoint to teach 3D shapes in Geometry as well as to show differences and similarities between 2D and 3D objects. He encourages his learners to take photos of buildings and objects around the school and he uses these in mathematics lessons. He makes video recordings of practical lessons for his learners to refer to when they don’t understand Maths concepts. Gerald enjoys using Microsoft Excel to make graphs for all kinds of situations. He chooses real life situations to demonstrate making graphs in class. He records all his marks using Microsoft Excel and also uses Excel as an analytical tool. He uses Microsoft Office programs to design certificates for the learners., and they love receiving these. He also created a cover for the school diary using Microsoft Office programs.

                                                             

Teaching at a public school in South Africa is not without its challenges especially when it comes to using technology during lessons. Electricity outages are not uncommon. Gerald has to book the devices when he wants to use them in class as these are in demand. Lack of Internet connectivity is also a regular challenge. However, these challenges do not diminish his enthusiasm. He bought his own data projector to use in class, as he believes it is important for the learners to see what he is presenting. Gerald believes that the use of a program PowerPoint can make a lesson very interesting. He often converts PowerPoint presentations to MP4 videos so that they can be viewed via a DVD player by means of a USB.

Gerald Plaaitjies has his future dreams for education. He looks forward to that day in South Africa when schools can do away with paper and become paperless classrooms. He longs for the day when parents are more involved in driving and encouraging the use of technology in education. He advocates that effective communication between parents and teachers will start the conversation in this direction.

How do you use Microsoft application in your classroom?

Monday, 3 July 2017

Useful Microsoft in Education posts this week #110

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/2uqadtW . The link to the back-dated posts is: http://bit.ly/1GVLTUZ

Thursday, 29 June 2017

SchoolNet webinar recording and downloadable presentation link 'Coding - it's not scary- it's easy and it's free...' by Charmaine Roynon


On Tuesday afternoon 27 Hune at 3:30pm we held a free SchoolNet webinar entitled 'Coding - it's not scary- it's easy, it's free and it promotes cerebral fitness!' Our speaker was Charmaine Roynon, a Microsoft MIEExpert from Cape Town. Charmaine is the ICT Integrator at Wynberg Girl’s Junior School, and she is also Head of Curriculum Development and Teacher Training at EDU 365 SA.  Charmaine is very interested in coding and its importance to our learners and she recently ran a Coding Conference at her school for teachers around Cape Town. 



Webinar description

Charmaine said before the webinar:: "I have spent many years supporting teachers in their ICT integration journey. Sometimes I have to expose teachers to material that I am not so sure of myself! So, in line with the saying: "If it scares you, it might be a good thing to try." (Seth Godin), I started exploring the world of coding, it's educational impact and why it is often referred to as "21st Century Oxygen". After doing some research, I discovered some incredible coding websites that are interactive, engaging and include teaching functions in the form of short video clips to guide users through each process. All this - for free! The coding community have really come together to enable and empower young people to develop computational thinking, problem solving and logical thinking and many other competencies! In 36 years in education, this has got to be one of the easiest things I have ever done - with (by far) the most impact. Join me on my journey into the invigorating and exciting world of coding - made easy! "

The downloadable webinar presentation
Here is the downloadable presentation from the webinar available online in SlideShare from this link: http://bit.ly/2s6Xfjb



The webinar recording
The webinar recording can be listened to on the following link on YouTubehttp://bit.ly/2s6L9GP or it can be viewed in the embedded video below.



SchoolNet presents a free webinar once a month.

Useful Microsoft in Education posts this week #109

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/2s6SZQJ. The link to the back-dated posts is: http://bit.ly/1GVLTUZ



Education Exchange (E2) Africa brings Innovative Teachers together

Submitted by Megan Rademeyer
On 29 and 30 May 2017, the Education Exchange (E2) Africa Forum bought together almost sixty MIE Experts and representatives of Microsoft Schools for two days of hands-on learning, networking, and trying out some of the latest Microsoft tools at the Microsoft offices in Bryanston. Thirty one Microsoft Innovative Educator Experts who have shown commitment to online learning and networking were invited to attend the Forum, including two MIE Experts from Kenya, one from Rwanda and one from Ghana. Representatives from Microsoft Schools also enjoyed the opportunity to network from with teachers, school leaders and ICT coordinators from other schools to see more ways of using Office 365 enhance teaching and learning.


Highlights of the event included a group work project which involved coming up with a South African problem and then modeling a solution in a Small South Africa Minecraft world. Microsoft Teacher Ambassadors were on hand to guide teachers through using Office Mix and Microsoft Sway to present their group work projects and teachers were encouraged to use Microsoft OneNote as a platform for brainstorming their ideas and keeping their event notes. MIE Experts also enjoyed trying their hand at coding using Microbits – which involved programming a small digital display to flash a message by the end of a session.

Two Group 6 members exploring the wonders of Minecraft

Group 9 members - they won the group work challenge with their project
Stephen Reid from immersive Minds presented a keynote address on Problem Based Learning and introduced teachers to the basics of Minecraft in the context of developing a project. Microsoft’s Worldwide Senior Education Manager, Sonja Delafosse presented an inspirational keynote on #MakeWhatsNext which highlighted some of what Microsoft is doing to encourage girls to get involved in technology. During the Give One- Get One networking session, teachers had an opportunity to share what they are doing to #MakeWhatsNext. The networking and sharing then continued at the Networking Cocktail Function at the Hyde Park Sun.


At the end of the E2 Forum, many delegates crossed the road to Brescia House School to join in their TeachMeet. Some Microsoft School and MIE Experts presented at this session by sharing their classroom hacks, including Freddy Chireka and Brian Slater.

Two of our MIEExperts wrote reflections on this exciting event: Gizelle Simpson from Malmesbury and Margaret Tracy from Hillcrest. 

If you would like to be part on events such as the E2 Africa Forum – be sure to apply to be an MIE Expert before 15 July 2017

Wednesday, 28 June 2017

Have you registered for SchoolNet's ICT in the Classroom Conference in October?


SchoolNet SA will be holding an ICT in the Classroom Conference this year at Brescia House School in Bryanston, Johannesburg, on 5-7 October. We'd love you to attend as a participant, a presenter or an exhibitor. At least 500 teachers and Education Department officials from all provinces are expected to attend. The Schoolnet ICT in the Classroom C onference has been sponsored by Intel and Microsoft on a bi-annual basis in a number of provinces over the past twenty years. 

Please visit our conference website for all the details at: 

Our Conference flier
Here is our Conference poster:


Conference themes
You’ll notice the exciting Conference themes:
  • Digital Learning
  • Innovations in Primary Schooling
  • Leadership for Change
  • Connecting classrooms
  • Gaming and Makerspaces
  • Technologies in the Classroom (Exhibitors/Vendors)

Register today
The Conference cost is very reasonable at R1000. On the Conference website you’ll also see buttons to click on that give you an opportunity to Register, Apply to be a presenter, Apply to be an Exhibitor, and Find Accommodation,



Looking forward to seeing you at the  SchoolNet ICT in the Classroom Conference in October! 
  

MIEExpert Amandla Vinjwa advocates upskilling yourself on the Microsoft Educator Community

We have written about MIEExpert Amandla Vinjwa before when he was selected to attend the Microsoft E2 Global Forum in Toronto Canada earlier this year. He was featured in our series "MIEExpert Spotlight" for South Africa. The tab with all the posts can be found at: http://bit.ly/1ZYy8Z7We focus on him again how as a teacher who initiates his own professional development on the Microsoft Educator Community. Amandla is a primary school teacher at Sivile Primary School in Cape Town, Western Cape. 

Amandla Vinjwa from Sivile Primary School in Khyelitsha, Cape Town, believes in upskilling himself in professional development. He is a Social Sciences, Maths and Technology teacher who makes the most of the online courses on offer to teachers free of charge on the Microsoft Educator Community. To date he has earned over 29 badges. Amandla believes that "ICT technology. and especially the use of Microsoft tools, are like a bridge that can help you to cross a gigantic river.” It has allowed him to use creative and innovative ways of teaching and learning. Amandla believes that, aided by using ICT technology in his lessons, he is able to reach all his learners who have different learning abilities.

Amandla had an opportunity to be part of the MIEExpert team from South Africa that headed to Toronto in March 2017 to attend the Microsoft E2 Teacher Exchange annual event. He regarded this as a once-in-a-life time experience that afforded him opportunities to connect with other educators around the world. He loved being exposed to the new ideas and views about different ways of teaching, and to the teaching and learning strategies and the resources used to enhance the learning process. Since returning he has been given the position of ICT co-ordinator at his school.


Sivile Primary has its challenges in limited ICT resources as well as limited internet connectivity r but this doesn’t hold back Amandla. He likes to share his knowledge with other teachers. “I initiate both formal and informal trainings and coaching sessions. My hands, heart, and head are always open to help and assist whenever help is needed.”


He learns how to use these by doing the courses provided by the Microsoft Educator Community. He has found OneNote to be his most effective and favourite tool. “Ï like to use OneNote because it can include different forms of media such as text, videos, audios and images, and it can be used collaboratively as well.”

Amandla uses Office 0365, OneNote, Skype in the Class room, Microsoft PowerPoint, and Microsoft Office Sway most often in his lessons. He learns how to use these by doing the courses provided by the Microsoft educator Community. He has found OneNote to be his most effective and favourite tool. “Ï like to use OneNote because it can include different forms of media such as text, videos, audios and images, and it can be used collaboratively as well.”


Amandla has been familiarizing himself with Microsoft Forms. He believes this tool could be very useful. “I have found Microsoft Forms a suitable tool to use for assessment," he says. "Microsoft Forms make it possible for us as teachers to design tests, questionnaires and quizzes. Thus the learners can be assessed, and a teacher can diversify an assessment and easily detect the areas needing more intervention and support. What I like about Microsoft Forms is that multiple choice questions, short discussion questions and the labeling of pictures and text information can be used. The beauty of this application is that marking is made so much easier and quicker. You create your own memorandum, and Microsoft Forms matches the responses and your anticipated answer or whatever input you inserted in advance. It then marks the answers. The marks are calculated automatically by the program.”


Amandla would like to see all the learners in South Africa having access to ICT resources. He believes the effective use of technology can help learners develop to their full potential in spite of their socio-economic backgrounds and personal circumstances.

Youth Spark ignites an interest in careers in IT around the country


YouthSpark Live, is a global community enabling young people to collaborate, inspire and support each other while using technology to spark change. YouthSpark events give learners an opportunity to get together to share ideas for using technology.

On Friday 23 June 2017, over 260 learners, in nine venues, in eight provinces participated in a YouthSpark Live event. The first part of the event involved a panel of IT professionals talking about how they got into the IT industry. This panel discussion took place at Brescia House School, which hosted the Gauteng event, but learners from eight other venues were able to watch the session via Skype broadcast. The panel were able to answer questions and provide insight on topics such as how to go about getting an internship, what studies a high school learner should pursue, how does it feel to be a woman in a male dominated industry, and what the value of certification is in a fast-paced industry. Learners then got to try their hand at some basic coding using the code.org/minecraft tutorials. The Brescia YouthSpark Live event extended on to Saturday 24 June 2017 so that learners could also experience Minecraft and additional coding activities.

Here are images from some of the venues.

Brescia House, Johannesburg

Gwanyesa

Hillcrest

Uppington

Witbank



Apply to be a Microsoft Innovative Educator Expert – applications close 15 July 2017

MIE Experts are part of an exclusive Microsoft program created to recognize global educator visionaries who are using technology to improve teaching and learning. Outstanding MIE Experts from South Africa and Lesotho are selected to attend Education Exchange (E2) events both locally and internationally; they participate in webinars to boost their own skills; they feature in case studies, blogposts and webinars; and they are part of a local and international community of teachers who share ideas and best practices.

Here is an image of the MIE Experts who were invited to the very exciting Microsoft E2 Africa  #makewhatsnext  In Johannesburg recently.

                  

If you would like to be a part of this exciting program we invite you to apply.

To apply, you will need to:
  • register on the Microsoft Educator Community and complete your profile;
  • earn at least 1 000 points on the Microsoft Education Community;
  • share a link to a 2-minute Sway, video or Office Mix that tells us if you’ve got what it takes to be an MIE Expert, and
  • complete the online self-nomination form by 15 July 2017
See the Microsoft Educator Expert page on the Microsoft Educator Community to find out more and to apply. 

Friday, 23 June 2017

Useful Google in Education links this week #102

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/RjbJ8E. (The link to previous posts can be found here https://goo.gl/CNO3M2)

 

Thursday, 22 June 2017

Margaret Tracy from Hillcrest High School reflects on the recent Microsoft E2 Africa Forum #Makewhatsnext in Johannesburg

This is a guest post from Margaret Tracy, the Technology Integrator at Hillcrest High School (HHS) in Kwazulu-Natal. She believes implicitly in pedagogy before technology in the transformation of education. Margaret  was invited to attend the Microsoft E2 Africa Form in Johannesburg, and in this article she gives a reflection on the event. Margaret first wrote this as a post in Linkedin http://bit.ly/2rW7D19

Introducing the E2 Africa Conference
The Microsoft E2 Africa #Makewhatsnext Conference held on 29-30 May was a constructive example of innovation and expertise in action. To launch the event, Sonya Delafosse, Senior Partners-in-Learning Manager of Microsoft's worldwide Education team, stressed the importance of 21st century skills and the role technology can play in education to harness these skills. As the Technology Integrator at Hillcrest High School (HHS)in Durban, what struck me most, was the global need to travel this road together and pool our best resources so that we can learn from each other.


Microsoft's Professional Development programs
A second confirmation was the focus given to the importance of pedagogy first, with technology being a powerful tool to transform education. Microsoft in the Classroom and the Microsoft Educator Community (MEC) provides a professional and directed framework to guide and measure each school in their journey to transforming education on a global scale. It is uncharted territory and all schools can be considered pioneers in their own right. I believe that all schools should seriously consider joining the Microsoft School's Programme, if they haven't already, to facilitate the implementation of what Microsoft has to offer both teachers and students. The free online educator courses and point system with Microsoft badges carries SACE endorsement. At HHS, our teacher IT Champions are embracing this internationally recognised opportunity and at a recent workshop, all teachers were motivated to become Microsoft Innovative Educators (MIE). Online learning allows teachers to address professional development in their own time at their own pace. A growing number of HHS students have joined the Student IT Champion initiative and they are now working towards achieving their online Microsoft Digital Literacy Certificate. Clearly, students are becoming more aware of the importance of gaining a relevant and internationally recognised accreditation.


The enormous potential of Minecraft: Education Edition in Education
We were privileged to learn from the Minecraft Education Edition guru himself, Stephen Reid, CEO of Immersive Minds in Scotland. Game-based learning is not a new phenomenon but the extent to which Minecraft Education Edition informs on Problem-based Learning (PBL) is truly inspirational. The opportunities for the teacher in a variety of subject areas - including cross-curricular - was evident in the number and scale of virtual worlds that Stephen Reid and his students from different parts of the world had created. For a day and a half, Mr Reid guided the E2 delegates in groups in their innovative attempts to find a solution to an important South African problem using Minecraft. Collaboration, communication, creative thinking and critical analysis were necessary ingredients and the resulting project enabled each of us to understand not only what Minecraft could produce, but what an enormous learning experience game-based learning can be. The created world offered by Minecraft provides a very real and relevant experience that I believe is difficult to emulate in any other teaching and learning experience.


A 'game-breaker' conference
Thank you to the SA Microsoft team headed by Angela Schaerer from Microsoft and Megan Rademeyer from SchoolNet, for hosting a 'game-breaker' conference. Thank you to Sonja Delafosse and Stephen Reid for joining us on our journey.