Wednesday, 18 January 2012

A recap. of our South African teachers' involvement in the Microsoft Partners in Learning Forum in 2011

Since the Partners in Learning Forum (formerly known as the Innovative Teachers’ Forum) has opened its 2012 competition and we at SchoolNet are encouraging all teachers to participate in our free online support group http://partnersinlearningforum-sa.wikispaces.com/Sign+up+for+this+course (so that we can support you with your entry), I thought I would write and tell you something about our participants last year. 

Face-to-face Courses in 2011 and 2012

SchoolNet hosted a number of free face-to-face courses for this competition around the country in 2011 so that teachers could find out more about the requirements of the competition. We are doing the same this year and if you want to be included in one and you have heard nothing about them to date please contact almah@schoolnet.org.za to find out more.  
New this year – an Innovative Online Support Course!

This year we are also including a free online support course with daily posts which you can follow at at your own pace. It will include two (optional) webinars a week where you can find out about past finalists and winners and hear what they did. If you miss the webinars they will be recorded and you will get access to the link to listen at leisure. "Where will this link be posted?" I can hear you asking. Well, the course will be run from a wiki and if you sign up we will take an extra special interest in you all the way to the final date for entries! The place to sign up is:
http://partnersinlearningforum-sa.wikispaces.com/Sign+up+for+this+course


Last year’s entrants

So let me tell you about last year’s entrants. Quite a number uploaded their PowerPoint entries (don’t worry, we’ll guide you through all this) by the required date and 22 were chosen because they offered something that was considered innovative for their schools. Those 22 people were elated when they heard of their success especially as they were to be whisked off to Johannesburg to the South African Finals to present their projects to the judges. They stayed in excellent five star accommodation, and for once in their lives teachers were treated like royalty! They also experienced some really innovative workshops and were sponsored to attend the ICT in the Classroom Conference which SchoolNet hosted last year. The winners received their accolades on the last night of the Conference amidst the cheering of the large crowd of educators from around the country.

They had a ball! Did you think that innovative teacher finalists could be so crazy? Look at this!

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In the next video (created by Lisa Gair who was a finalist), you can see them riding trolleys down the ramp at the Oliver Thambo Airport in Johannesburg on the way home, excited and happy after an AMAZING week!



The South African winners

The winners were:

§ Louise Clarke and Kim Jackson of St Cyprians College in Cape Town for their class project “Tollbooth Movie Maker”;
§ Natalie Meerholz of Holy Rosary School in Edenvale for her class project “E-Waste Away”;
§ Lyneth Crighton of Brescia House in Bryanston for her class project “DigiGirlz puzzle IT out”;
§ Wessel Theron of Bishops Diocesan College in Cape Town for his class project “School of Rock”;
§ Ryan Galvin of St Nicholas Diocesan School in Pietermaritzburg for his class project “R and J in R and B”.

Unfortunately we don’t have a photo of the five winners all together, but here is Louise Clarke the overall winner (along with Kim her Grade 4 colleague who was in England at the time) receiving her award and prize.

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The Jordan finals

The next round of the competition for the five winners was to attend the Middle East and Africa Finals in Jordan in September 2011. I have written a blog post about this if you would like to find out more. Once again it was loads of fun and Microsoft provided the most stunning accommodation. http://schoolnetsa.blogspot.com/2011/09/snippets-from-partners-in-learning.html

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The South African and Lesotho winners at this event were:

§Louise Clarke and Kim Jackson from St Cyprians College in Cape Town won the 'Collaboration' category for their Grade 4 class project 'Tollbooth Movie Maker'.
§Lyneth Crighton from Brescia House in Bryanston won the 'Cutting Edge' award for her class project 'DigiGirlz puzzle IT out'.
§Natalie Meerholz of Holy Rosary School in Edenvale came 3rd in the ‘Beyond the Classroom’ award  for her class project 'E-Waste Away'.
§Malatela  Monaheng from Lesotho came 2nd in the 'Challenging Contexts' category. §Wessel Theron from Bishops and Thejani Malakane from Lesotho were part of the group that won the 'group project' award in Jordan, which meant the whole group could compete in Washington.

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Malatela  Monaheng and Wessel Theron (Thejane is seen below)

The World Finals in Washington in November

The winners from this event went on to the World Finals in Washington in November. Here they are in Washington:


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Some of the group with the Whitehouse in the background
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Natalie at her project stand

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Kim and Louise at their project stand
Wessel and Thejane with their winning group from Jordan
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Lyneth at her project stand


Lyneth Crighton was also interveiwed by the Global Forum team and found herself being featured on YouTube
     

This is what Natalie Meerholtz said about the event in Facebook, “Awesome closing gala dinner in Washington DC. No SA awards. The Yanks cleaned up on innovative gaming projects! There should have been a category for most spirited country - no doubt South Africa!”
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The final Gala dinner when the Awards were announced

What this means for you!

Please consider entering a project this year. You just never know what can happen!
Projects have to be uploaded by March 15th and the Awards will be handed out at the Basic Education conference in Durban in April. The winners will go on the Middle East and Africa forum in Morocco, and the winners from that occasion will participate in the Global Forum in Athens,  Greece. All expenses are paid by Microsoft each step of the way.

Don’t know where to start? Sign up for our  free online support course so that we can take you through the steps and encourage you during the next 8 weeks.  http://partnersinlearningforum-sa.wikispaces.com/Sign+up+for+this+course



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