Wednesday, 19 July 2017

Minecraft: Education Edition - The #SmallSouthAfrica #Minecraftedu map created by Stehen 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