Monday, 19 February 2018

Top teachers recognized for enhancing teaching and learning using technology

On Saturday 17 February 2018 the Department of Basic Education honored teachers who are doing exemplary work at the 18th National Teaching Awards.

At a prestigious event held at the Sandton Convention Centre, teachers were commended for extraordinary efforts across a range of categories including Excellence in Teaching Mathematics, Science, Grade R and Special Needs. Educators who have dedicated their professional lives to providing exceptional education were honoured with The Nelson Mandela Lifetime Achievement Award and the Professor Kader Asmal Award.

SchoolNet SA is particularly proud to be associated with the Excellence in Technology Enhanced Education category, as this category recognizes teachers who are using digital tools to engage and inspire learners. SchoolNet SA's Programmes Manager, Megan Rademeyer, served as a specialist adjudicator for this category and had the opportunity of hearing first hand from each of the provincial winners of this category how they are enhancing teaching and learning through the integration of technology.

The winner of this category was Mariette Vorster formerly of Touwsranten Primary in the Western Cape. Mariette says "using ICT as a tool to transform pedagogy is the future of education. Passive learning is something of the past." According to an article in All Africa, "Ms Vorster played a leading role in preparing Touwsranten Primary School for eLearning when the Western Cape Education Department selected the school as a Model School for the province's eLearning Game Changer programme." Mariette has now joined the Eden Karoo Education District office as an eLearning Advisor.

Nabeel Ismail of Zinnaville Secondary School in NorthWest placed second and Gerhardus Malan of Aurora Primary School in Free State who came third. Between them, these three teachers received a total sponsorship of R100 000 worth of SchoolNet SA training, mentorship and conference participation.

SchoolNet SA's Operations Manager Omashani Naidoo received a certificate of appreciation from Minister of Basic Education Angie Motsheka. 



Friday, 16 February 2018

Celebrate Digital Learning Day by joining our professional learning communities

Digital learning is any instructional practice that effectively uses technology to strengthen a student’s learning experience. With so many digital tools available, you may find that it is difficult to keep up with the apps, devices and software that are available. But, providing digital learning opportunities is not so much about the tools you are using - instead it is about what you are doing with them.

We know that teachers throughout South Africa are doing amazing things in their classrooms using technology. Digital Learning Day was started as a way to actively spread innovative practices and ensure that all youth have access to high-quality digital learning opportunities no matter where they live.

With Digital Learning Day approaching on 22 February 2018 think about how you can:
  • Share your innovative practices using digital tools with other teachers 
  • Get involved in a Professional Learning Community to be part of the conversation around enhancing learning opportunities for your learners
  • Upgrade your skills and learn more about some of the latest trends in education through committing yourself to ongoing professional development

SchoolNet SA provides a range of platforms for teachers to be part of our professional learning community. Please sign up to be a SchoolNet SA member if you have not done so already. Please also like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter to stay up to date about our professional development opportunities, digital tools to try out and educational projects to support. If you are willing to share your expertise with our community of teachers please be in touch with us about hosting a webinar or to write a guest blog post on how you are using technology in your classroom.

Wednesday, 14 February 2018

Looking forward to the National Teachers Awards

On Saturday 17 February 2018 The Department of Basic Education will honor some of South Africa's most dedicated teachers at the 18th National Teaching Awards. SchoolNet SA staff staff members and invited guests are looking forward to attending this prestigious event to celebrate the achievements of these exceptional educators.  

SchoolNet SA is especially proud to be associated with the Excellence in Technology Enhanced Teaching and Learning category. SchoolNet SA Programmes Manager Megan Rademeyer has been the specialist adjudicator for this category since its inception and had the privilege of listening to each provincial winner of this category present his or her work.

Megan says, "the standard of entries was especially high this year, with provincial winners in this category having been involved in a range of activities and projects to engage and inspire learners whilst using technology. It was heartwarming to see how teachers from across South Africa were using digital tools to broaden their own horizons and those of their learners."

This year, SchoolNet SA will once again be awarding R100 000 worth of SchoolNet SA training, mentorship and conference participation to the teachers placing first, second and third in this category. In previous years, each of the winners has selected any one of the many SACE- endorsed SchoolNet SA courses facilitated for teachers at their respective schools. Furthermore each of the three teachers has taken up the opportunity to attend or even present at a conference in South Africa relating to effective digital learning in the classroom.

Through the National Teaching Awards, the Department of Basic Education acknowledges the extraordinary efforts of teachers, often achieved under very difficult conditions and in service to children from underprivileged families and economically depressed communities. At SchoolNet SA we echo these sentiments and look forward to celebrating the achievements of some of South Africa's best teachers.

Tuesday, 6 February 2018

Happy Safer Internet Day

Tuesday, 6 February 2018 is Safer Internet Day. This year's theme is "Create, connect and share respect: A better internet starts with you".

At SchoolNet SA we encourage teachers to create communities of digital learners, but we also want to ensure that teachers and learners are safe online. We encourage teachers to play their part in creating a better internet for everyone, especially learners.

At the 2017 SchoolNet SA ICT in the Classroom Conference, Omashani Naidoo presented a session on "Cyber Wellness and Digital Citizenship". In this presentation Omashani stressed that individuals are their own biggest threat on the web and challenged the audience to Google themselves and to see what came up. She advised that before posting anything you should ask yourself "Is this something I can show my parents or my Gogo or my Principal?".

Here is some guidance for keeping yourself safe online. Ensure you don't do any of these things:
  • Don’t publish information that identifies you 
  • Don’t upload inappropriate photos/videos 
  • Don’t use inappropriate language 
  • Don’t make online presence all about you 
  • Don’t mix wall posts and personal messages
And that instead you adopt these practices:
  • Choose sensible, strong, hard-to-guess passwords 
  • Know the privacy settings on social media 
  • Be selective when adding friends- accept only people you know 
  • Stop and think before you click 
  • Use fully protected devices
This #SaferInternetDay let's think about how we can join in online discussions and professional development opportunities whilst ensuring a better and safer digital experience.

Microsoft Innovative Educator Experts heading for E2 Singapore

Congratulations to the following educators who were selected to participate in the E2 Education Exchange taking place in Singapore between 12 and 15 March 2018:
  • Amanda Calitz - Curro: Riverside 
  • Charmaine Roynon - EDU 365 SA 
  • Jonas Letsoalo - Kgetsa Primary School 
  • Margaret Tracey - Hillcrest High School 
  • Paula Barnard - eFundanathi & eZone at Wits 
  • Xoliswa Mahlangu - Future Nations College 
  • Charl Bloomberg - Curro: Waterfall 
  • Noxolo Mongwe - Curro: Clayville


These teachers were selected based on their active participation in the Microsoft Innovative Educator Expert Program; their sharing of learning activities on the Microsoft Educator Community; and their commitment to continuous professional development in the field of digital learning. 

They will be joined by Phuti Ragophala - a Microsoft Fellow and the former principal of Pula Madibogo Primary in Limpopo. Phuti, who has retired from the traditional classroom, will be speaking at E2 about using online collaborative platforms to create a "Classroom in the Sky". Ronelle Klinck - a Microsoft Learning Consultant will accompany the group.

Anthony Salcito, Vice President - Microsoft in Education, says, "Every day I’m inspired by educators who innovate in the classroom and provide the best learning opportunities for their students. Educators are sparking creativity and curiosity in their students, by embracing modern teaching and learning, innovative curriculum, and by providing immersive experiences with technology. To celebrate these amazing educators and provide them with the opportunity to collaborate with each other, Microsoft is hosting the annual Microsoft Education Exchange (E2) event, as it has done for more than a decade.

Singapore was selected as the host country for E2 as it has a highly regarded education system, one of the highest literacy rates in the world and students regularly scoring top marks in maths and science.

We wish our South African teachers well as they head to Singapore - and look forward to following what they are doing while they are there - and learning from their experiences upon their return to South Africa.