Friday, 31 January 2014

Wordpress #1 Useful, simple tutorials on how to create a WordPress website


Recently I thought it would be very useful to know how to create a simple WordPress website since this is a very popular website option currently. I was also keen to know what the difference is between creating a WordPress website and a WordPress blog. The best way to learn really is to plunge right in a create something so I did that as part of the learning process. I really enjoyed these short presentations from ne of the Internet sites I visited.  

Making a WordPress website using a hosted platform
It seems that there is that you can create a website that is hosted by Wordpress itself – but I have to look into all that. But generally, for a website,  you would go for a hosted platform where you can add your own domain name and choose your own website size.  These videos shown below were created with hosting on a particular platform in mind but the process is the same and the presenter, Paul, is excellent and easy to follow. The process is presented in seven short, easy to follow videos. What I like about this series is that the presenter has created a simple website and he shows how he went about it step-by-step.

Video 1: How to Use WordPress (1 of 7) – Introduction 
(2m 12)

This is a short simple video that does a great job of explaining about creating a WordPress website. and getting one started on the journey.

Video 2: How to Use WordPress (2 of 7) - Installing WordPress on yourBluehost Account
(3m 41)

Video 2 is about installing Wordpress on a particular hosted server so I won’t add that for now but it can be found at:

Video 3: How to Use WordPress (3 of 7) - Changing Themes and Appearance
(7m 59)

In this video Paul explains how to change the appearance, or overall look and feel of your website, by selecting, installing, and activating different themes. He starts creating an example website by changing the header image and site title.

Video 4: How to Use WordPress (4 of 7) - Creating a Static Page (4m 57)

In this video Paul shows how to create a static webpage, which is perfect for an 'about us' page, contact information, business hours and location, etc... He reveals the trick of how to remove comments from the page!

Video 5: How to Use WordPress (5 of 7) - Create a Page for Blog Posts
(7m 39)

In this video Paul shows how to create dynamic content in the form of a blog page on the website.

Video 6: How to Use WordPress (6 of 7) - Create & Upload a Photo Gallery
(6m 47)

In this video Paul shows how easy it is to create, manage, and upload a photo gallery to your website! There's a lot of plugins that allow you to do this. For this video we demonstrate the NextGEN Gallery plugin that you can get at

Video 7: How to Use WordPress (7 of 7) - Upload a Résumé (3m 42)

In this video Paul shows how easy it is to upload a résumé (or any document for that matter) onto a separate static page on your WordPress website! Lots of free plugins allow you to do this. He demonstrates how to use the free Google Document Embedder plugin which can be found at:

If you are wanting to create a WordPress website you can't go wrong following these videos. I tried it as I went along and found the instructions very useful.

Thursday, 30 January 2014

A wonderful opportunity for South African teachers - apply to join our upcoming, free Adobe Youth Voices Programme starting in February

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Are you a teacher that likes to use the media with your 13-19 year old students? If so, please think about joining our upcoming Adobe Youth Voices programme with a group of students – even if you need to form an after school club in order to do this.  The great thing about it is that you’ll learn to create media with the free products and free online training from Adobe headquarters that we supply. All teachers and learners who meet all expectations will go into a prize draw to win great prizes and a trip to the next IEARN International conference.

What is this programme all about?
Adobe Youth Voices (AYV) is about igniting young people’s creative confidence – the ability to harness creative skills to solve problems – by empowering them to find their voice and make it heard. AYV is the Adobe Foundation’s global initiative to increase creativity in education, which we believe will better equip young people to be the problem solvers, critical thinkers, and leaders of tomorrow.

At the heart of AYV is an educational methodology that provides youth 13-19 years of age with the inspiration, training and technology to create original media content on an issue they care about. Through this experience, participants hone skills of self-expression, ideation, collaboration, flexibility and persistence – the skills we believe are central to creative confidence.

Who is eligible to participate
• Schools or youth organizations that serve low-income, disadvantaged middle and high school youth (ages 13–19)
• Access to or a plan to access media production equipment and resources
• Commitment of site administrator and/or information technology department to expedite the installation of donated software on site computers as soon as it is made available.

Course on offer
This is an opportunity for 6 educators from South Africa educators to join the course that starts in in February. Each new educator is expected to take one 8-week course.

Date: February 17 – April 14, 2014
Courses: iEARN Adobe Youth Voices Online Course Session Two
·1 English Course
· + 2 new courses for returning educators: Photoshop and Digital Messaging

What are the benefits for me as a participating educator?
In addition to learning skills in the use of Adobe Photoshop and Premier Elements, learn skills in facilitating workshops on creating media and creating social messaging, the following programme activities are also offered to participating teachers and learners.

Aspire Awards
Aspire Awards (, a global online media festival, recognizes best-in-class content and creativity from youth around the world. AYV youth are invited to submit projects for online viewing and voting and winning projects are awarded software and hardware.

AYV Summit
The AYV Summit brings together AYV educators, partners and youth from around the world for a bi-annual training and celebration of the program. The Summit fosters best practice sharing, cross-cultural exchanges, develops youth leadership, and celebrates best-in-class educators.
Lead Educator Program

The Lead Educator program has been designed as a way for AYV to maintain fidelity by supporting the core. AYV hosts an annual Lead Educator Training where Leads are prepared to be advocates for the program by articulating the need for creative confidence in their region and the community at large.

How to apply
1. Download the Application form from this link:
2. Send Ms Omashani Naidoo ( an email to express interest in participating in the upcoming Adobe Youth Voices project.

Wednesday, 29 January 2014

Two videos from the October 2013 Google Summit in Cape Town


Last year in October Cape Town experienced the first ever Google Summit in Africa hosted by SchoolNet and Parklands College at Parklands College. It was presented by the amazing EdTech team from the USA and it was an exceptionally inspiring event for teachers in the classroom as well as anyone involved in education.  If you would like to read more about what happened at the Google Summit in Cape Town or look at the various presentations please do visit

Parklands videoed some of the sessions and SchoolNet has placed two of them on the SchoolNet website. Hopefully there will be more to follow:

1) Rushton Hurley – The Good, the Great and the Rapid Change GAFE RushtonHurley The Good, the Great and the Rapid Change (48 mins)

This was a keynote from the ever popular Rushton Hurley from The Next Vista for Learning

2) GAFE Demo Slam
GAFE DemoSlam Small

A Demo Slam comprises a series of very short presentations by teachers on cool ideas related to education. This session was extremely popular and a load of fun.

Tuesday, 28 January 2014

Places to find free online resources for the classroom in South Africa…

In South Africa there are many online resources available to teachers free of charge to assist them in their classroom activities. This post outlines a few of these.

1. e-classroom ( 

One of the really popular sites in South Africa that has over 2,000,000 downloads per month is e-classroom. The sites consists of CAPS related worksheets for Grade R-6 which are mainly in English (and Afrikaans) but are currently being translated into the other South African languages.

On their home page the founder of e-classroom, Natalie Wood, says “This website was created for educators and parents to access support material to use in the classroom and at home. We provide excellent quality printable resources which can be downloaded for free for beneficiaries in South Africa. All our worksheets are aligned to the news CAPS curriculum and developed for the subject matters of: Mathematics, English, Natural Sciences, Social Sciences, Life Skills and Creative Arts. Our education content is developed by teachers who are dedicated to making a difference in education. Our free worksheets offer great opportunities for learners to practice key skills, and are easy to use. This initiative is open to all primary schools in South Africa and internationally as we believe that every child has a right to education.”

2. Siyavula ( and also


The Everything Maths and Science Grade 10-12 Maths books from Siyavula have a small license fee attached as they are accompanied by their Intelligent Practice service at or questions are curriculum-aligned and based on the content in our Everything Maths and Science textbooks. You can track your progress with your personalised dashboard. Intelligent Practice is available for mobile, and is coming soon to Mxit.

3. Thunderbolt Kids (

This site is part of Siyavula and consists of resource material for Grades 4 - 6 in Natural Sciences and Technology. These are openly-licensed workbooks, available in hardcopy, PDF, web books and EPUB, for desktop, tablets and mobile devices.Currently the following can be found on the website:
  • Grade 4 – 6 Natural Sciences and Technology Learner textbooks and Teacher Guides in English and Afrikaans that can be viewed online or downloaded as PDFs.
  • Science Adventure Comic Books for Grades 4,5 and 6 in English as well as Thinking Skills.
  • Concept maps to show the link between the grades.
  • Posters
This is whati s said about the project “There is much focus on the later grades in high school where learners are grappling with science and maths concepts. But, many of the misconceptions and problems that are evident at this level, often have their roots in the primary school phase. To attempt to improve the STEM subjects in South Africa, we actually need to start at the beginning and secure a strong foundation on which learners can build their future Science and Technology careers. This is something that we at Siyavula and the Sasol Inzalo Foundation believe strongly in. Not only this, but both organizations recognize the power and potential of open educational resources to make a difference to education in South Africa. This set the stage for a strong partnership to produce resources for Natural Sciences and Technology for Grades 4-6 to be printed by the Department of Basic Education for every child in a government school in 2013.”

4. Mindset (

Mindset is a South African not-for-profit company that creates, sources and distributes high quality, curriculum aligned digital content to support the education and health sectors. Mindset Learn is Mindset’s Schooling programme and provides video, print and interactive multimedia content designed to be used by teachers and learners in the classroom covering the curriculum for:
  • Grade 10 to 12 Mathematics, Physical Sciences, English, Maths Literacy and Information Technology
  • Grade 4 to 5 Mathematics, Natural Sciences and Technology
  • Financial Literacy
imageMindset Teach has a lovely YouTube channel with short 7-9 minute videos of great lessons in Grades 1-3 Maths and Literacy. This is really worth exploring.

5. Intel Explore and Learn Market Place

Intel has been collecting free educational resources which they have made available to South Africa, Nigeria and Kenya via their Intel Explore and Learn Market Place.
This is what they say about it “Welcome to Intel® Explore and Learn your one stop shop for all digital education content. Through this platform learners can find and acquire free and paid for, textbooks, instructional videos, exam preparation materials to help them succeed in their studies. The content you will find on Intel® Explore and Learn ranges from officially approved text books and multimedia content to supplementary multimedia and interactive content from Kenyan and International providers all designed to make your learning experience that much more fun and engaging.”

I wrote a blogpost abput the launch of the Intel Market Place when it was launched in Novemebr 2013:  Intel launches its Explore and Learn Marketplace - great news for education in South Africa!

6. South African History Online (

imageSouth African History Online is a user-friendly site offering alternative perspectives of history, focusing on untold stories and giving learners a chance to construct their own oral histories. The Classroom section has comprehensive content for grades 4 to 12. There's also plenty of information for teachers, and a well-illustrated section on arts and culture.

7. Thutong (
Thuthong Education Portal offers resources on teacher development, curriculum, legislation, educational policy, administration, links to external web resources on the internet and more. 


8. Onnies online (

The website says, “Onnies Online provides free quality resources for South African teachers and offers a space to connect with fellow teachers! In Afrikaans óók! Visit the recently added page for new resources added to the website.”

9. Vodacom Digital Classroom (


This site has also been collecting free available resources and when you register and join the site some of the the links to the above-mentioned sites are available. The links also lead to download pages of the various resources. The Digital Classroom also has a link to Mindset at and


10. Nokia free online Maths service to Grades 10 - 12

Nokia and the Department of Science and Technology launched the excellent Mobile Maths service to all South African high school Maths learners. Aligned to the CAPS curriculum, this service provides an excellent complimentary mobile learning opportunity for students in Grade 10-12.
Use of the Mobile Mathematics service is possible with any mobile phone with a data connection, or a computer with internet connection. The service is browser based, so nothing needs to be installed on the phone or computer to use it. The solution is free – the user faces only the data connection costs. Please note that for all MTN and Cell C data users, this service is zero-rated which means there is no data connection cost.
  • Login to the service
  • Register for the service, select your Maths grade, choose a topic and start practising.

There are different question types and these include multiple-choice; true of false; open-ended and step-by-step (to test understanding the steps of solving an exercise as opposed to learning by heart). The questions are randomised and start at level 1(easy) and progresses to more difficult questions. The correct answers earn learners points and they can compete against learners nationally.

imageWikipedia says "Mxit is a free instant messaging application developed by Mxit Lifestyle Ltd. in South Africa that runs on multiple mobile and computing platforms. Along with its own standard protocol, it can connect to Yahoo, ICQ, Google Talk, Facebook, AIM, or Windows Live Messenger contacts."

Mxit can be downloaded as an Android or iPad app as well.  Recently I noticed a tweet on Twitter saying that "The full SA high school curriculum is available on the Rethink Education App on Mxit for free. See"

12. DBE (

This appears to be a Telkom site under construction for the Department of Education. On closer look it hosts all the free workbooks tht the Department issued to learners in 2011, and will soon have links to other free resources in South Africa.


13. Internet Biology Project

imageInternet Biology Education Project The University of the Western Cape's botany department, the Western Cape Schools Network and the Western Cape education department collaborate to improve the teaching and learning of biology with online assistance. The site hosts mailing lists and newsgroups, and contains plenty of learning and teaching materials.

14. SchoolNet blog (

This blog  provides a source of professional development in integrating technology into the day-to-day classroom experience for teachers in South Africa. Many technology tips and tricks, plus uses of new tools and webinar recordings  can be found there. 

Android #5: How to delete an Android App from your tablet

If your Android tablet is starting to fill up with unwanted apps, or if you have tried out an app and you don't like it,  it's a good time to learn how to uninstall  unused apps.  Here's how you do it. Note: If the app you want to uninstall is a system app that came with you Android tablet you won’t be able to uninstall it!

1. In the menu tap on Settings


2. Select 'Apps'
Tap on Apps and then find the app you are wanting to uninstall


3. Tap on Uninstall
Find Uninstall and tap on it. Thereafter follow the prompts.


If there's no uninstall button, it's a system app, and you can't delete it. Remember that these instructions will vary slightly from device to device depending on your OS (Operating System) but generally they will be similar. These screenshots are from my Android tablet which runs on Jelly Bean (version 4.1)Later versions might require you to tap on Application Manager.

Further reading
How to Delete Android Apps from Your Phone or Tablet

Monday, 27 January 2014

Android #4: ColorNote–a great Android app for a busy teacher

Teachers are busy people and they have to remember a myriad of different things all day long. Everyone needs a good reminder system on their device, and for my Android I have downloaded a little app called ColorNote - it has saved my life quite a few times!


What is ColorNote?
ColorNote is a simple notepad app. It gives you a quick and simple notepad editing experience when you write notes, memo, email, message, shopping lists and to do lists. It has checklists and text notes.  All the notes can be colour coded and can even have a reminder set for them in the calendar section of ColorNotes.
What can you do with ColorNote?

image image image image
Notes and checklists

Colour coding
Stcky notes
image image image image

A lock
image image image image

Why not try ColorNote? The links below show how two busy people make us of ColorNote

Further reading

Friday, 24 January 2014

Android #3: What is a good, free Office Suite to use on an Android tablet?

The first thing I looked around for when I obtained my Android tablet was a good, free office suite, preferably something that could be used offline as well as online. In my thinking it needed to be compatible with Microsoft Word, Microsoft Powerpoint and Microsoft Excel. This post brings four productivity apps options – three that I that I have downloaded to try out and a fourth that I aspire to download in the near future.

Offline use (as well as online use)

Kingsoft Office


Kingsoft Office can be used offline anywhere which is why I like it so much - and it also works well with Microsoft file extensions for Word, Excel and PowerPoint. Apparently Kingsoft Office 5 s coming soon with a whole lot more features.  Kingsoft Office Free can be used completely for free. It includes the three components of Writer, Spreadsheets and Presentation, which are great free alternatives to Microsoft Word, Excel and PowerPoint on an Android tablet. With Kingsoft Office, you no longer need to worry about compatibility issues.

Kingsoft Office made USA Today’s 2013 “Best Apps for Mobile Phones and Tablets” list. It claims to be the only mobile Office with full-features FREE. It offers support for running on an Android 2.1 and above system. It has a user-friendly & nice UI interface! Users from over 200 countries and regions around the world are using it. Whether in a small cell phone screen or on a large screen on the Tablet, Kingsoft Office performs well.

  • Rich editing features! All is FREE!
  • Small size, stable operation, and special interface!
  • Support 23 kinds of files, including DOC/DOCX/TXT/XLS/XLSX/PPT/PPTX/PDF
  • Built-in file manager that can automatically organize your office document
  • Tight integration with the mail application
  • Support cloud storages such as Google Drive, Dropbox, and other services with WebDAV protocol
  • A variety of gestures operations, which make your work more interesting
  • Support different Read Mode which be closer to the users’ need.

Online versions

Google Drive


This was my first choice for an online version as I work constantly in Google Drive and it is a fantastic place for cloud file storage and sharing with others.


  • With Google Drive, you can store all your files in one place, so you can access them from anywhere and share them with others
  • Use the Google Drive Android app to access your photos, documents, videos and other files stored on your Google Drive
  • Upload files to Google Drive directly from your Android device
  • Share any file with your contacts
  • Access files others have shared with you on Google Drive
  • Make any file available offline so you can view them even when you don't have an Internet connection
  • Manage files on the go
  • Create and edit Google documents with support for tables, comments and rich text formatting
  • Create and edit Google spreadsheets with support for text formatting, multiple sheets and sorting
  • Edits to your Google documents and spreadsheets appear to collaborators in seconds
  • View Google presentations with full animations and speaker notes
  • View your PDFs, Office documents and more
  • Scan documents, receipts and letters for safe keeping in Drive; then search by contents once uploaded
  • Print files stored in Google Drive on the go using Google Cloud Print
  • Open files stored in Google Drive through Drive enabled apps in the browser
  • Optimized experience to take advantage of larger screens for tablet users, Honeycomb (Android 3.0+)

Quick Office


This was my second choice as it works hand in glove with Google Drive.

This free app from Google lets you create and edit Microsoft® Office documents, spreadsheets and presentations on your Android phone and tablet. Sign in with your Google Account to save work in Google Drive, which gives you up to 15GB of free storage and lets you access your files from any mobile device or computer.

With Quickoffice and a Google Account you can:
  • Create and edit Word, Excel and PowerPoint files
  • Access files in Google Drive and on your device
  • Open and view PDF files
  • Share files through previously shared Google Drive folders
  • Attach files to emails

Office Mobile


Please note: Office Mobile requires a qualifying Office 365 subscription. (See requirements below). That is why I am aspiring to use this in the future as currently I don’t have an Office 365 subecription
Microsoft Office Mobile is the official Office companion optimized for your Android phone. You can access, view and edit your Microsoft Word, Microsoft Excel and Microsoft PowerPoint documents from virtually anywhere. Documents look like the originals, thanks to support for charts, animations, SmartArt graphics and shapes. When you make quick edits or add comments to a document, the formatting and content remain intact.

Thursday, 23 January 2014

SA teachers – get involved in Learning Circles: closing date 29 January 2014

What are Learning Circles?
Learning Circles are highly interactive, project-based partnerships among a small number of schools located throughout the world. The website is very informative Learning Circles provide a great structure for educators, both those new to global project-based learning and those with experience already, and also come with a comprehensive Teachers Guide ( more info here - ). 

There are two sessions each year, September - January and January - May. The next session begins January 30, 2014, and ends on May 30, 2014 (15 weeks with a 1-week break in April). Learning Circle Placement forms are due on January 29, 2014.

Registration deadline
Learning Circles has extended the deadline for registration for the January-May session of iEARN Global Learning Circles until Jan 29 to accommodate an additional number of Learning Circle options being offered.  More info here:

Additional themes being offered this session include:
Money Matters: A comparative international exploration about the role, value, significance, and history of money in each participating country.  Through creative writing, art, and project work, students will collaboratively investigate how money affects our lives.

My City and City: A social, cultural and environmental project that encourages students to explore what they can do to improve their life in the place they live, so they can be active members of their communities.

My Hero Multimedia: An advanced level mulitmedia project for teachers and students who are interested in putting the principles of the My Hero project into action. Students and teachers will explore the use of the My Hero multi-media page.  Several training sessions about making a short film will be offered.

Global Issues: Environment: Allows students to discuss a broad range of environmental social, political, and economic issues with concern and affect the Earth's entire population.

Global Issues: Education: Encourages students to investigate education as a fundamental human right as well as the broad range of issues regarding education throughout the world.

The traditional project themes of Computer Chronicles, Places and Perspectives, Mindworks, and My Hero will also be offered for all age levels (elementary, middle, and high school).

The upcoming session begins January 30, 2014, and ends on May 25, 2014 (15 weeks with a 1-week break in April). 

Get started with Learning Circles
Learning Circle Placement forms are now due January 29, 2014.  In order to participate in Learning Circles, teachers need to be registered in iEARN, and then fill out a special online Learning Circles placement form -

Contact details for further questions

For more information about iEARN Learning Circles, including Frequently Asked Questions,  A Learning Circles Teachers Guide is available to help educators organize their participation. Feel free to be in touch with Lisa Jobson or Barry Kramer at if you  have any questions about registering for a Learning Circle! 

Wednesday, 22 January 2014

Try creating word clouds in your lessons using Tagxedo

The use of word clouds in the classroom is a good way to really get through to visual learners. A word cloud is a visual image of collection of words made up of words from various sources such as words that you add yourself, a website, a poem or story etc. The great thing about word clouds is that not only do students love using them, but they are eas and valuable y to use in a variety of content areas and grade levels. My favourite word cloud generator in the past has been Wordle, but today I used Tagxedo in class and the students embraced it with great ease.

How to use Tagxedo
Tagxedo is free and is incredibly easy to use. I have created a SlideShare below to illustrate the steps.

Using Tagxedo as an icebreaker in the first week of the year
At this time of the year teachers are usually conducting activities relating to getting to know their students and yesterday I did likewise with a Grade 6 class.
  • They wrote their names at least ten times to ensure that their names stood out. 
  • We also used the time to revise grammar while we were about it. ‘Write down three adjectives that best describe you’ etc.
  • Finally they chose a shape that best depicts them.
  • They reported back on their word clouds to the rest of the class.
Using word clouds in the classroom
The Internet is full of ideas on how teachers have used word clouds in their lessons. Here are a few relevant posts loaded with ideas for all subjects.

More ideas can be found at:
101 ways to use Tagcedo in the classroom
108 ways to use word clouds in the classroom: 

Monday, 20 January 2014

SA teachers – join in the ENO Climate Change Skype sessions and campaign week events 10-14 Feb!


What are your thoughts on climate change? Truth is we have to wake up to the problems of climate change but not create fear or despair. Each one of us has the power to make a difference. This is where Environment Online (better known as ENO) comes in. The ENO website is very informative ENO says “Be Climate Smart! The ENO Programme calls schools to study about climate change and organize awareness raising campaigns on energy efficiency.

Join the ENO campaign and sign up for Skype sessions
Be Climate Smart! The ENO Programme calls schools to study about climate  change and organise awareness raising campaigns on energy efficiency. They invite you too join their campaign in February.

  • Theme will crystallize on the ENO Campaign Week 10-16 Feb with Frank’s Flashmob 12 Feb 2014, aiming to organize the most international flash mob ever!  Another ENO Flashmob will take place also 19 Mar 2013. 
  • Register your school here
  • During their campaign week 10-14 Feb WNO will organise Skype sessions between schools. Schools have to register to event so we will match schools to interact! Find the Google form here Once your registration has been processed your school’s name will appear on the website on this page You will be notified of the details that will involve in the Campaign week. 
Questions to discuss over Skype
  • What effects has climate change in your country? 
  • Which of them are negative, could some of them be positive? 
  • How do you act climate smart at school and in your daily life? 

Flashmob details for 12th Feb and 19th March
On the website you’ll also find the FlashMob song, poster and other downloads and details about the flashmob – also how to run a flashmob from your school for the event. Your class will love taking part. Read more here 


This is a world-wide event! Here is a video from last year’s event from Uzbekhistan.
Further videos can be seen on the ENO website here
What is climate change
Climate change is a long-term change in the statistical distribution of weather patterns over periods of time that range from decades to millions of years. The climate has and will always vary for natural reasons. However, natural causes can explain only a small part of the warming observed in recent decades. The overwhelming majority of scientists agree that it is due to rising concentrations of heat-trapping greenhouse gases in the atmosphere caused by human activities. The United Nations have created The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), consisting of a group of scientists, in order to evaluate the risks of climate change (caused by human activities). Read more about this on the ENO website here

Summary of what you need to do
  1. Visit the website and take a look around
  2. Find more information and register to campaign latest by Jan 1st 2014 on   the  campaign website
  3. Sign up your class for the Skype sessions
  4. Consider joining the Flashmob event 

Note: TheSchoolNet person who is a coordinator for ENO in SA is Omashani Naidoo (

Do your part - be climate smart!