Friday, 29 November 2013

Digital storytelling– Have you tried using Zooburst?


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I have known about the storytelling tool Zooburst (http://zooburst.com/)  for some time, but this week it was brought to my attention again by Warren Sparrow from Rondebosch Preparatory School who sent me an example he had created. Zooburst is available as a webtool, an Ipad app and it seems that Android. is working on developing an app as well.


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What is Zooburst?
Zooburst is a fun, free,  3D pop-up book website that would be easy for a young student to use and in fact, useful for any age of student. It can be used for non fiction information as well as for stories, myths and fairytales.  Users create their stories using public domain clipart and Zooburst’s web editing tools. The Zooburst website describes Zooburst books as Augmented Reality 3D pop-up books

Examples of Zooburst stories

1.Here is an example of a History project


2. This is an example of a book review


3. Warren Sparrow's example.

This was unfortunately too big in size to place on the blog but you can view his example on his blog http://wsparrow.blogspot.com/2013/11/zooburst.html

Zooburst Gallery
Visit the Zooburst Gallery to view some finished books.The Gallery showcases some of the amazing stories that have been brought to life by members of the ZooBurst community. Simply click on any of the images below to get started. 

Tutorial on using Zooburst
Here is a young student giving a step-by-step tutorial on how to use Zooburst



Zooburst is worth exploring don't you think?


SchoolNet webinar recording from Thursday 28 November 3:30pm ‘Edflipping videos into your classroom’ (Linda Foulkes)


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On Thursday afternoon (28 November 2013) at 3.30pm we held our final SchoolNet webinar for 2013 entitled ‘Edflipping videos into your lessons’ presented by Linda Foulkes of Elkanah High School in Cape Town.

Presentation

Linda summarised her presentation like this:
“I will demonstrate two very useful and exciting tools in order to create a lesson using a video. Teachers will love these tools.  Both resources allow one to track student progress. The first tool is EdTed which allows one to flip the classroom in three very easy steps. One can choose an existing lesson or choose any YouTube video to customize. Huge potential exists for these tools in the BYOD classroom as well as for homework or tutorials around a particular section of work. One can assess the students throughout the video by setting multiple choice and open ended questions, discussion topics, and add a links to further resources and information. The second tool is called EdPuzzle – this tool allows one to flip using four different video options [not only YouTube]. Crop videos, create audio tracks and auto notes along the timeline of the video, create quizzes in the video progress bar to assess student progress.”


The Presentations
Linda’s presentations are given below via SlideShare. Since she demonstrated two separate tools there are two Slideshare presentations.


1. Ed.Ted – Creating a lesson around a YouTube video



2. EdPuzzle – Flipping your classroom with a lesson around a video



The Webinar Recording
If you missed the webinar you can listen to the webinar recording. (There were a few sound issues during the webinar, so I have converted it into a YouTube video in order to eliminate the sound issues). Here is the link:



We hope you will join SchoolNet's webinar programme when it restarts in 2014.

Thursday, 28 November 2013

Writing poetry, stories or newspapers with ReadWriteThink.org –10 great Interactives for your students to use


ReadWriteThink.org has a great selection of poetry lessons many of which contain Interactives for the students to write online poems and print them.  Whenever an interactive is selected a number of lesson plans are shown with it. These are contributed by teachers around the world. I searched for ‘poetry interactives’ in the finder and was given 124 results. I have selected 10 for this post.

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1. Theme Poems
Formerly known as Shape Poems, this online tool allows elementary students to write poems in various shapes. In this online tool, elementary students can write poems based on shapes from five different categories: Nature, School, Sports, Celebrations, and Shapes. Within these categories, 32 different shapes are included.



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2. Letter Poem Creator
The Letter Poem Creator provides an online model for the thought process involved in creating poems based upon a letter; then, students are invited to experiment with letter poems independently.


The students look for words that they want to stand out and highlight them. They then break the words into three ideas and create three stanzas. Lastly they make line breaks using their notes on important words and the stanza idea.

Start example:
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End result:
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3. Doodle Splash
Doodle Splash combines the process of drawing with analytical thinking by pairing online drawing with writing prompts that encourage students to make connections between their visual designs and the text.

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4. Diamante Poems
This online tool enables students to learn about and write diamante poems.


In this online tool, students can learn about and write diamante poems, which are diamond-shaped poems that use nouns, adjectives, and gerunds to describe either one central topic or two opposing topics (for example, night/day or winter/spring). Examples of both kinds of diamante poems can be viewed online or printed out.

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5. Acrostic Poems
This online tool enables students to learn about and write acrostic poems. Elements of the writing process are also included.


In this online tool, students can learn about and write acrostic poems. An acrostic poem uses the letters in a word to begin each line of the poem. All lines of the poem relate to or describe the main topic word. As part of the online tool, students brainstorm words to help write their poems and can save their work-in-progress to revise and edit, reinforcing elements of the writing process. Students can also print their finished acrostic poems or proudly show off their work by e-mailing it to a friend.

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6. Literary Graffiti
Literary Graffiti, a high school version of the Doodle Splash student interactive, also aims to teach students to visualize what they are reading to help them develop as readers.


Teaching high school students to visualize what they are reading and to create graphic symbols helps them develop as readers. The Literary Graffiti interactive combines the process of drawing with analytical thinking about a text by pairing an online drawing space with writing prompts (shown at left) that encourage students to make connections between their visual designs and the text. The tool can be used for whole-class discussion of a text, small-group work, or individually, where students use "graffiti," symbols, drawings, shapes, and colors to construct a graphic of the text they are reading. After completing their individual or group images, students have the ability to print out their final versions for feedback and assessment.

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7. What Am I? Teaching Poetry through Riddles
Students explore figurative language in poetry by reading and writing riddle poems.

Good riddles rely upon creative use of metaphor, simile, and metonymy; concrete imagery; and imaginative presentation and description of an object or concept. Because they are games, riddles are an excellent vehicle for introducing students to poetry and poetry writing. Students begin their exploration of riddle poems by reading sample riddle poems and guessing the answers. They then analyze the riddle poems to find the techniques used in the poems and to define what makes a good riddle poem. Students then write a riddle poem together as a class and conclude by writing riddles poems individually and sharing them with the class.

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8. Flip Book
The Flip Book is designed to allow users to type and illustrate tabbed flip books up to ten pages long. Students and teachers can use the flip book for taking notes while reading, making picture books, collecting facts, or creating question and answer booklets.

The Flip Book is designed to allow users to type and illustrate tabbed flip books up to ten pages long. Students and teachers can use the flip book for taking notes while reading, making picture books, collecting facts, or creating question and answer booklets. Students can choose from nine different layouts for the pages of their books (shown left). A blank flip book is available for demonstration and planning.

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9. Story Map
The Story Map interactive is designed to assist students in prewriting and postreading activities by focusing on the key elements of character, setting, conflict, and resolution.

The Story Map interactive includes a set of graphic organizers designed to assist teachers and students in prewriting and postreading activities. The organizers are intended to focus on the key elements of character, setting, conflict, and resolution development. Students can develop multiple characters, for example, in preparation for writing their own fiction, or they may reflect on and further develop characters from stories they have read. After completing individual sections or the entire organizer, students have the ability to print out their final versions for feedback and assessment. The versatility of this tool allows it to be used in multiple contexts.
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10. Printing Press
The interactive Printing Press is designed to assist students in creating newspapers, brochures, and flyers.

The interactive Printing Press is designed to assist students in creating newspapers, brochures, and flyers. Teachers and students can choose from several templates to publish class newspapers, informational brochures, and flyers announcing class events. Text added to the templates can be modified using a simple WYSIWYG editor, which allows students to choose text features, such as font size and color. Documentation for the Printing Press includes instructions for using the tool. Customized versions of the tool, which include additional instructions and more focused choices, are included with some lessons. A basic planning sheet is available to help students gather ideas before working on this interactive tool.

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Why not try getting your class (or yourself!) writing poetry, stories or newspapers using ReadWriteThink.org’s selection of inspirational ideas!

Wednesday, 27 November 2013

How much do you know about the wonderful ReadWriteThink website?


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What is ReadWriteThink.org?
I have always known about the amazing ReadWriteThink website (http://www.readwritethink.org/) and its wonderful templates but when I attended ISTE 2013 I suddenly saw what a great potential this programme has in the classroom. Lisa Storm Fink gave a wonderful session entitled 'A day with ReadWriteThink.org.' ReadWriteThink describes its mission like this: “to provide educators, parents, and afterschool professionals with access to the highest quality practices in reading and language arts instruction by offering the very best in free materials.” In fact this is a site that most teachers really need to discover.

What does ReadWriteThink.org have to offer?
They have an amazing ‘finder’ on the left hand side of the page and one can search for whatever is needed. One can search by Keyword, Grade level, Lesson plan type, Learning objective or Theme.

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I’ll just mention a few of the categories that particularly appeal to me

1. Classroom resources by Grade level
These go from Kindergarten to Grade 12 and comprise Lesson Plans, Student Interactives, Mobile Apps, Calendar Activities and Printouts. One could spend a lot of time browsing through this section:



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Everything is so clearly categorised that it is easy to find one’s way about. The Classroom Resource home page looks like this:


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2. Lists of the most popular resources
I love the way they show you which resources have been the most popular. In fact they break this down into three categories – most emailed, most shared and most viewed. It is always good to know how others have found the resources.


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3. Lesson plans
They have hundreds of lesson plans written and reviewed by educators using current research and the best instructional practices.


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4. Student Interactives
You can engage your students in online literacy learning with these interactive tools that help them accomplish a variety of goals—from organizing their thoughts to learning about language—all while having fun. I have used many of their Poetry Interactives in the classroom.


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Examples of lesson plans

1. Digitally Telling the Story of Greek Figures


One of the lesson plans for Grades 5 – 8 is a digital story lesson plan.


Students become engaged learners through this unit that prepares students for studying ancient Greece and combines learning basic research skills with digital storytelling skills.  While researching about Greek gods, heroes and creatures, students learn how to find main ideas in sentences and paragraphs in books and Internet articles, which they then learn to record in short phrases on index cards divided by topic.  Working with a partner, students turn these short phrases into the script for their digital story that includes music and pictures. 

The recommended programme to use is Microsoft Photostory and here is one of the samples shown by Linda Storm Fink at ISTE.


 
 2. Vote for Me! Making Presidential Commercials Using Avatars

This lesson is for Grades 6 – 12 and features using Voki in the classroom. 

imageIn this lesson each student researches the political platform and the campaign slogan of a past president.  Then the student creates a 45-60 second script for a commercial for the election of the president. Using this script the student creates the commercial using Voki, an online web tool in which a student can create an avatar to resemble the presidential candidate.  The student can record his own voice or use text to speech option to add the script.  The final product can be linked to or embedded in a website.

The recommended application to use is Voki and here is the example shown by Linda Storm Fink at ISTE:


3. Students as Creators: Exploring Copyright

This lesson for Grades 6-8 gives students the tools they need to consider the ethical issues surrounding use and ownership of copyrighted materials. Students discuss how to tell if a work is protected and how copyright affects their ability to use resources in their own work. One of the documents provided for students to work through is a "Can I Use It?" Checklist for Copyright Clearance:


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ISTE 2013 Session Resource
The ISTE session resource that I obtained is really worth looking at for a more detailed guide to using Read, Write, Think. It was delivered by Lisa Storm Fink and called ‘A Day with Read, Write Think.org’

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Monday, 25 November 2013

Lesson ideas #3: Use PowerPoint to make a 3D museum to present a task (Gr 5-7)

This idea comes from a lovely shared resource from the Simple K12 Learning Community which I have elaborated on.

The aim of the lesson
The aim of the lesson is for the students to recall their knowledge on a Unit they might have learned about in class or a project task they have been given. They would create a PowerPoint 3D museum with different rooms, with animations,  showing what they have learned and they would present this to the rest of the class.



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Preparation
  1. Following the suggestions given on Simple K12 for making a 3D museum, I  went through the instructions to fully grasp what it entailed.  You can find this instructions below each slide here:
  2. The Grade 6s were learning about medicine. I added the following task:



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Lesson
  1. After a discussion on great discoveries in medicine, the students choose their person to research individually but are placed with a buddy for discussion purposes and brainstorming how to complete some of the requirements of the task.  
  2. They create the 3D museum so that they have four slides on which to present their information plus a bibliography slide at the end.
  3. They work on their research and presentations with the teacher facilitating. .
  4. When their presentation is complete let the students report back on their findings.
The result
The students enjoyed making these presentations. The complete lesson took 4 hours.



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Example
These are three sides from a presentation from one of the students 
hosted in Google Drive. The transitions and hyperlinks don't work in this format, but one can see the general idea. 


SchoolNet Webinar on Thursday 28 November at 3:30pm ‘Edflipping videos into your lessons'

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We are pleased to announce that we will be holding a webinar on Thursday afternoon 28th November at 3.30pm.  This week is our last webinar for the year. Here are the details:

Title: Edflipping videos into your lessons
Summary of the webinar
Linda says: “I will demonstrate two very useful and exciting tools in order to create a lesson using a video. Teachers will love these tools.  Both resources allow one to track student progress. The first tool is EdTed which allows one to flip the classroom in three very easy steps. One can choose an existing lesson or choose any YouTube video to customize. Huge potential exists for these tools in the BYOD classroom as well as for homework or tutorials around a particular section of work. One can assess the students throughout the video by setting multiple choice and open ended questions, discussion topics, and add a links to further resources and information. The second tool is called EdPuzzle – this tool allows one to flip using four different video options [not only YouTube]. Crop videos, create audio tracks and auto notes along the timeline of the video, create quizzes in the video progress bar to assess student progress.”
Presenter: Linda Foulkes [Elkanah House High School]
Date: Thursday 28th November 3:30pm
Duration:15 – 30 mins
URLhttp://meet78641452.adobeconnect.com/video/
Time Zone: (GMT+02:00) Harare, Pretoria


Please feel free to join us.   Click on the URL and enter as a guest with your name.

Note: If you have never attended an Adobe Connect meeting before or if you haven’t attended an Adobe Connect meeting for a while you might need to install a free add-in. Test your connection:
http://meet78641452.adobeconnect.com/common/help/en/support/meeting_test.htm

Lesson ideas #2: Use PowerPoint to make an animation for learning about weather Grade 3


This is a lovely lesson idea that I heard at a TeachMeet. It was presented by Megan Skelly from Hudson Primary School in East London. I tried it out with a Grade 3 class and the students absolutely loved it.  This is an example of one of the slides that a student created.


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The aim of the lesson

The aim of the lesson is for the students to recall their knowledge learning about the four seasons. They would create a PowerPoint with animations showing the characteristics of the seasons.

Preparation
Following Megan’s suggestions I prepared a template for the students. Three of the slides included clipart that they could use. There was one slide for each of the four seasons. The clipart came from the royalty free site  http://www.clker.com. The template can be downloaded here.

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Lesson
  1. After a discussion on weather the students related what they know about each season.
  2. They opened the PowerPoint templates and saved them. They created four more slides. They used Word Art to name these slides Summer, Winter, Autumn and Spring. 
  3. They created their slides from the provided clipart but were encouraged to search for their own clipart as well.
  4. We learned about animations in PowerPoint and they applied their knowledge.
  5. The students then used their microphones on each side and narrated what they knew about each season.
The result
The students enjoyed making these slides. The complete lesson took 1.5 hours.

Example
Unfortunately you are not able to listen to the sound or see may of the transitions on this web example shown using Google Drive but it gives a good idea of how the lesson progressed.

              

Friday, 22 November 2013

SchoolNet webinar recording from Thursday 22 November 3:30pm ‘An introduction to ebooks’ (Malcolm Seegers)


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On Thursday afternoon (21 November 2013) at 3.30pm we held a SchoolNet webinar entitled ‘An introduction to e-books’ presented by Malcolm Seegers a digital publisher for a well-known South African publishing group. Thank you to all who attended the webinar.

Summary of the webinar
Malcom says:
"More and more schools are going digital with many of them putting the technology in the hands of the learners. This webinar will discuss the basics of ebooks –how to choose the correct format, what you will need to get them onto devices, what you can do with them and how they enhance the learning experience."


Presentation
Malcolm’s presentation is given below via SlideShare.





Recording
If you missed the webinar you can listen to the recording at this link:

http://meet78641452.adobeconnect.com/p4p4kqtc3h7/

Thursday, 21 November 2013

Getting started with setting up a Google Apps domain at your school



After our recent Google Summit in Cape Town many teachers were excited about the possibility of using Google Apps in the classroom. It seems so exciting that there is a quick and easy way to embrace Google in your classroom or school and make daily use of Google Search, Google Drive, Google Forms, get your students a Gmail address that is moderated by the teacher for school use, and all the other free Google products that work so well in education. In fact here is a quick summary of ten things one can do with Google Apps put out by http://k12guide.googleapps.com/pd/top-10

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But how does one actually begin especially with the technical side?

Kern Kelley was one of the keynote speakers at the Google Summit and I wrote and asked him that question and he sent me a presentation entitled ‘Setting up a Google Domain’.


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If you are keen to know these steps you can find this very useful presentation at this link.
If you are a South African teacher reading and implementing this please let us know how it all went!

Twitter story #3 - An introduction to 3X3Links

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As I was browsing Twitter today I came across a retweet of a post by @PrimaryIdeas. I looked them up on Twitter and my search led me to another site called 3X3 links where they advertise links to their various resources http://www.3x3links.com/pi


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What is 3X3 links?
3X3Links (http://www.3x3links.com/index.html).  is a useful webtool that allows you to create links, namely 9, to resources. This could be useful as an Internet start page. When you open 3X3Links it describes itself as an Internet start page used mainly by teachers. The opening slide looks like this:


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It gives you the option to customize your page which is the option I chose.


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After that you start adding the links you would like on there. When you choose a logo it has to be reviewed by their admin which could take up to 24 hours. Three of my blocks’ logos have to be reviewed. But in the meantime here is the grid I created for SchoolNet.


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As soon as the logos have been approved I’ll try adding this as a widget at the side of the blog.

Classroom uses for 3X3Links
This is a great tool. I can see that it could be useful in the classroom. The following ideas come from TES resources shared by Dan Roberts from the UK (http://goo.gl/bzoshX
1. Get students to create their own 3x3Links for a series of homework tasks, the whole class can then look at each other’s links. This could be as part of a long term project or simply as a way of collecting useful websites for revision lessons.
2. Ask students to work together in groups to build a 3x3 starting page for researching a specific topic.

3. When you’re working with students to develop their study skills encourage them to produce 3x3Link pages for different topics containing relevant websites.

4. You could get other teachers in your own school, or department, to create their own 3x3Link pages containing useful resources or starters that they can then share with other teachers. You could even display these pages on the school intranet or website.

Dan gives a link to the page he created for his students on cloning http://www.3x3links.com/cloning2



Tuesday, 19 November 2013

SchoolNet Webinar on Thursday 21 November at 3:30pm ‘An introduction to ebooks’

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We are pleased to announce that we will be holding a webinar this week on Thursday afternoon 14th November at 3.30pm on ebooks. I heard Malcolm Seegers giving this interesting presentation at the SchoolNet conference earlier this year  and have asked him to present his talk as a webinar. Here are the details:

Name: Introduction to eBooks
Summary: More and more schools are going digital with many of them putting the technology in the hands of the learners. This webinar will discuss the basics of ebooks –how to choose the correct format, what you will need to get them onto devices, what you can do with them and how they enhance the learning experience.
Presenter: Malcolm Seegers, a digital publisher
Invited By: Fiona Beal (fiona@schoolnet.org.za)
When: Thursday 21 November 2013
Time 3:30 PM - 4:00 PM
Time Zone: (GMT+02:00) Harare, Pretoria
URL: http://meet78641452.adobeconnect.com/ebooks/

Please feel free to join us.  This week is our second last webinar for the year. Next week, for our last webinar, we also have an exciting guest speaker. Watch this space!

Note: If you have never attended an Adobe Connect meeting before or if you haven’t attended an Adobe Connect meeting for a while you might need to install a free add-in. Test your connection:
http://meet78641452.adobeconnect.com/common/help/en/support/meeting_test.htm

Update on the exciting African Storybook Project…


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Recently we featured a post on this blog entitled ‘Ten takeaways from the African Storybook Project Colloquium in Stellenbosch recently'  The groundbreaking African Storybook Project (ASP) which is being administered by Saide uses the web to revolutionize literacy education for African children, and draws on research to strengthen the project. Viewers are invited to use and contribute to open-access stories in multiple languages. The project is an initiative of the South African Institute for Distance Education (http://www.saide.org.za/african-story...). The project is planning to unveil the long-awaited www.africanstorybook.org website in early 2014. This will contain stories from the four pilot countries of South Africa, Uganda, Kenya and Lesotho. 

Bonny Norton, Professor of Dr. Bonny Norton, Professor in the Dept Language & Literacy Education at the University of British Columbia from Canada wrote an email recently with some updates on the research side of the African Storybook project. 

1. The Peter Wall website has been updated with the report on the colloquium, the final list of participants, and the final program. Please do check this out at: http://www.africanstorybookproject.pwias.ubc.ca/

2. There is now a 10 minute video of the ASP and research colloquium. Take a look.


 
      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rc-qjmdetp8&feature=youtu.be

3. You can read more about the project at http://www.saide.org.za/african-storybook-project

It was very exciting for SchoolNet to run a free, online digital storytelling course for teachers around South Africa earlier this year. Teachers were encouraged to write a story themselves and also get their classes writing for the project. All the stories written have been collected on a wiki while the website is in progress, and then the project plans to select 20 of the stories for the actual website. If you would like to read some of the stories on the wiki please visit http://africanstorybookproject.wikispaces.com.


We are hoping to run a further course next year for the project… we’ll keep you posted!

Monday, 18 November 2013

Eastern Cape Teachers enjoyed the ICT4RED ‘Fun with Tablets’ workshop on 2 November 2013

South Africa's Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) is providing multimedia tablets and training to 160 teachers at 11 schools in the Eastern Cape as part of a project that aims to develop a mobile teaching model that can be applied countrywide. This very successful project is known as the ICT4RED project which aims to support education in rural areas using ICT's and especially Android tablets. SchoolNet conducts the ICT4RED Teacher Professional Development in Queenstown.

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The project employs a "learn to earn" model, in which teachers get the opportunity to earn their tablets by attending training courses once a month in the afternoons, and by using them in their classrooms to support teaching and learning processes. This is further supported by a system in which teachers are rewarded with "digital badges" to encourage their progress. Once the teachers at each school show that they are ready, the rollout will be extended to learners as well. At Arthur Mfebe Senior Secondary, the second phase began on 18 July with each Matric student receiving their own tablet to support their studies.

Recently ICT4RED held a ‘tablet fun day’ where they hosted 150 teachers, on Saturday 2 November, with a whole day committed to tablet learning. The teachers had a great time at the photo booth at the start of the day.

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The event was held at Queens College who made their school, students and WiFi available to ICT4RED. The tablet fun day used the teaching strategy, learning stations,  to create a large scale, school-wide learning station, resembling a  fun market place of learning! The teachers went around collecting tidbits of skills, apps, knowledge and collaborations collecting as many ‘stars’ as possible within a limited time span.

Sponsors provided many wonderful prizes on the day. The first draw was for a Samsung S4 phone sponsored by Afritech. The winner was Nozuko Nyoka from Bangilizwe JS (Saki School)


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To qualify for an HP laptop, a teacher had to visit a mouse station to complete a teacher interview questionnaire. The HP laptop winner was Ms Vuyiswa Magwevana from Mthimbini JS. There were many sponsored prizes which included mini Bluetooth speakers, tablet pens, earphones, and portable speakers. At least half of the teachers who were there won something.

Summing up the 'Fun with Tablets' workshop Hlengiwe Mfeka of SchoolNet says:
"It was an exciting and amazing day for the Cofimvaba teachers. The workshop was a huge success and the teacher turnout was very good. It revitalized teachers’ commitment to the project."