Wednesday, 30 July 2014

Why you should you start using Google+...


What is Google+
This is Google’s social media platform.  When you open a Gmail account you have to create a Google account first, and suddenly you discover that you have so much ore than just a Google account. You’ll see that you have a Google+ part to your account and all you need to do is activate it and fill in your profile. It takes your Gmail account to the next level
What can you so on Google+
  • Create a post that consists of text, images links, and videos. 
  • You can even create an event
  • You can respond to other folks’ posts.
  • You can share your post with one person, a few people, or public. 
  • You can ‘like’ a post and you can share t with others. 
  • It is very searchable. i.e. you can search on a topic.


Why should you  use Google+
  • You can use more than 140 characters
  • You can share ideas, resources, links, thoughts,  vdeos and images….you name it!
  • You can ask questions (and someone will probably answer them)
  • You can join a community of like-minded people and connect with them i different ways.  
  • Google+ is searchable and you can find great resources.

Where do circles fit in?You can create circles that are particular to you and they  help you direct a post to a certain group of people. Your circles are particular to you and not mutual. They are a way of organising your contacts and makes for easier posting.

A super Google+ tutorial This tutorial is by Jamie Linton and it is 7mins long…it is well worth watching

Get started with Google+
1. Activate Google+ byvisiting
2. Create your profile
3. Create circles. Circles are like folders to help you organise your contacts
4. Add people to your circles
5. Share some information and write a post!
6. Comment on other posts.
7. Search for what you are looking for with filters such as hashtags #
8. Enjoy!

A fantastic Doodle4Google competition which includes R100,000 prize to a school is launched in SA


Here is a letter from Google to South African teachers...

"Dear Teacher

Would you like your student’s artwork to be viewed by millions of South Africans on the homepage of Would you like your school to benefit from a R100 000 technology grant? Then we would like to invite your school to take part in the Doodle 4 Google ‘South Africa of My Dreams’ competition, which offers school children across South Africa the chance to design a Doodle to appear on Google.

At Google we use the homepage logo designs, Google Doodles, to celebrate different people, events or special dates. These Google ‘Doodles’ are usually created by our web designers and represent important cultural occasions. However, this year we would like to open this space up to the designs of South African school children between the ages of 6 - 17 years.

As we celebrate 20 Years of Freedom in South Africa this year, we are asking learners to create a Doodle around the theme ‘South Africa of My Dreams’.

We have a host of local celebrity judges lined up to shortlist their favourite Doodles, followed by the South African public casting their vote for the final winner. This Doodle will then be shown on the 2  December 2014 on the homepage of for all South Africans to see!

To take part, visit the Doodle 4 Google website for details and send your entries to us no later than 22 October 2014.

Attached is an introductory brochure, which provides more information on the competition, OR find it all online at On the website you’ll all find inspiring lesson plans that will make it easy to integrate the initiative into your daily teaching.

We look forward to seeing your Doodles portraying our beautiful country.

Good luck!
The Doodle 4 Google team


Tuesday, 29 July 2014

Watch Tech Report’s feedback on the Nokia Mobile Maths service which is free to Grade 10–12 Maths students in South Africa

This is Tech Report’s video created in February 2014 about the Nokia Mobile Maths service. We hear a lot about the need to improve South Africa's Maths and Science literacy, and Tech Report thought they would introduce folk to a nifty new phone service that aims to helpSouth Africa Mathematics Grade 10-12 learners become more numerate.

If you are a Grade 10-12 Maths teacher that didn’t know about this great service for your students after hours, please encourage them to go to and sign up. You can’t afford to miss this great opportunity.

Digital Storytelling #2: What is Creative Commons Licensing all about?

Submitted by Fiona Beal
How much do you know about the ins and outs of posting something you have created on the Internet? Can anyone use it and share it? Can you use and share anything someone else has posted?

Introducing Copyright on the web
The African Storybook team felt that it was important to learn about free licensing on the web right at the beginning of this course. Licensing tells others what they can and can't do with anything you put on the web. Basically, when you put something on the web it is copyright and officially no-one should use it. But if you want people to use your work in any way it you need to say something to give permission.  This applies to the stories we'll be donating to the African Storybook Project. We need to put a specific free license on them (very simple to do) to give other teachers and Grades 1-3 children in Africa permission to create a new story from them, translate them, make them easier or more difficult etc. But the original story will still be there on the web in its entirety. You will be the only one who can actually sell your story if you should want to.

Creative Commons Licensing
The licensing we are talking about is called Creative Commons licensing.  This video gives a great introduction to licensing on the web and shows six Creative Commons licenses one could choose from.

These are the six licenses. The one in red shows a popular one nowadays.


This is how they look in their official form – the license choice can just be copied and pasted on to something one creates and it’s done. It is as simple as that. 


An example - Using images on the web
Let’s take the example of using images on the web. Can we simply just find a picture in Google and use it as if it was our own on the web?

Generally, permission to use images ranges from pictures that are in the public domain (anyone can use them) to images that are copyright and require permission to use. Creative Commons licenses grant permission in advance. All Creative Commons licenses require 'attribution' (meaning you have to credit the person who created the item). Most images copyright online are covered by Creative Commons licensing. This means that some sites allow you to use their images but you need to give attribution to them.

How do you find out which creative works are covered by this licensing?

  • This website shows you how to use Creative Commons to find free images, audio and video for your website etc:
  • Take a look at the video below – it explains really well how to go about searching for something with a Creative Commons license. This video explains the website mentioned above -

How do you add a license to your own work?
If you open you will see a link to start the process of putting one of the licenses on to your work. As the website says, "There is no registration to use the Creative Commons licenses. Licensing a work is as simple as selecting which of the six licenses best meets your goals, and then marking your work in some way so that others know that you have chosen to release the work under the terms of that license. Our license-choosing tool can help you select the right license."

What is the public domain?
Sometimes people wish for a piece of their own work to be freely available to everyone to use with no strings attached, and put the work in the public domain. This isn't very hard to do — the copyright holder merely has to make a statement that they release all rights to the work. Once this irrevocable act is complete they no longer have any power over how the work is used since it is then owned by the public as a whole.

When it comes to the public domain, there is no catch. If a book, song, movie, or artwork is in the public domain, then it is not protected by intellectual property laws (copyright, trademark, or patent laws)—which means it’s free for you to use without permission. · This would include works and inventions whose copyright has expired due to age or lack of renewal.

Saide’s guide to using copyright
Saide (South African Institute of Distance Education) has a very good guide to licensing which they call ‘The OER Africa Copyright and licensing toolkit’. It can be found here":

Obami's Open Me course
Obami, a South African Social Learning site that is very popular with schools, has a wonderful, free Creative Commons online course that high school students upwards can easily complete and learn from. The course takes 45 mins and is written by Kelsey Wiens who is the Creative Commons Public Lead in South Africa.
Explore royalty free resources
Fortunately, there are loads of resources that are freely available to us. Here are just a few.

  • Larry Ferlazzo - The Best Places To Get Royalty-Free Music & Sound Effects from Larry has 160,000 copyright-free images available.Larry Ferlazzo Best online sources for imagesFree clipart Phil Martin’s collection
  • Wikimedia Commons (4 million images in the public domain)
  • Free Images (6000 stock photos, and they require you to credit them as the source)
  • World Images (80,000 photos from the California State University IMAGE project, under a non-commercial  CC license)
  • ELT Pics (Images taken by teachers for teachers, collected via Twitter and stored on Flickr, under a non-commercial CC license)
  • PhotoPin (a search engine that finds Creative Commons images)
  • Wylio- Search engine for CC images for bloggers
  • PhotoeXpress- lengthy registration process but you get 10 free quality stock images a day with a search engine and you don't have to attribute.
  • Great songs, music that is Creative Commons! Just give attribution
  • FreeSound- Free sound files and clips for use!
  • Soundzabound- royalty free music library
Our webinar on Thursday will explain the inns and outs of licencing. 

Friday, 25 July 2014

TV White Spaces brings connectivity to Limpopo Schools

SchoolNet SA has been providing training and support to champion teachers from five schools in Limpopo that have received internet access and Windows 8 devices through Microsoft’s TV White Spaces project. At the launch event on Wednesday 18 June Simon Matlebjane of Mountainview High School presented some of the ways in which he was integrating technology into his lessons and sharing his computer skills with his colleagues. Delegates then visited Doasho High School to watch a demonstration of a lesson that used the TV White Spaces Internet access to show a Science video and then encouraged learners to complete an online quiz. We look forward to seeing these Limpopo schools continue to use the devices and connectivity in a range of engaging lessons.


Monday, 21 July 2014

Now that the 3rd term is here get your Gr 10 - 12 Mathematics students signed up for Nokia's free mobile help service

Nokia has been running a Mobile Learning for Mathematics project in South Africa since 2008, collaborating with the South African government, Nokia Siemens Networks, as well as operators and content providers. Nokia Mobile Mathematics ( is a free, online Grade 10-12 Mathematics support service providing 9000+ CAPS-aligned questions.

Here is a video showing how learners appreciate this help

The programme started in 2008 with 300 learners and within a couple of years had grown to 50,000 learners. Nokia then opened the service to informal learning so that students could have 24/7 access to its materials.  This programme has had major impact in interactive Maths learning. 53% of students are active users. The competence level of the users rose by 14%. 82% of the usage happens after school hours.

What are some of the features of this service?

No sign-up or service fee.

2. 24/7/365 ACCESS
You can use the service whenever you want (evenings, weekends, holidays…) and via any device with internet access (cell phone, PC, tablet…).

Content follows the latest South African Math curriculum exactly. It is divided up by grade, topic and sub-topics and each sub-topic contains theory, at least 3 worked examples and over a hundred exercises for you to try.

4. 9000+ QUIZZES
Exercises are divided into levels of difficulty. When you master a set of quizzes you will move up on a level. There is 10 levels in each sub-topic.

Set up own study groups with friends and see how they are doing or compete with each other!

Encourage your High School learners to take advantage of this amazing opportunity provided by Nokia Mobile Mathematics. Sponsors of this service can be seen below.

image image image

Monday, 14 July 2014

Interested in joining a global project? Why not consider these projects from iEARN…

Seeking Partners: iEARN Projects and Activities
2014-2015 iEARN Project BookAre you facilitating an iEARN project? Do you have an idea for a new iEARN project? The 2014-2015 iEARN Project Book will be published in early September 2014 and we would love to include all new and activeiEARN projects! If you are facilitating a currently active iEARN project, please submit an updated iEARN Project Template. If you have an idea for a new iEARN project, please first post your project idea in the Teachers Forum or, for students, the Youth Forum. You can also share your project in the iEARN News Flash e-newsletter by sending a brief description of your idea to If you find partners who are interested in collaborating with you and your students, please fill out an iEARN Project Template.
The submission deadline for the 2014-2015 iEARN Project Book is Friday, August 1, 2014. The book will be published in early September.

New "Global Billy Cart Grant Prix Design and Engineering/Technology" Project Idea
Bill Cart Design ChallengeA class in Australia is seeking partners to join them in a design and engineering / technology inquiry unit called 'Billy Cart Grand Prix'.  It will involve designing a billy cart, and creating a billy cart that a student can drive/ride on a course.  Students will be testing, re-evaluating, redesigning and improving their designs and retesting.  The technology process combines all contemporary learning skills including design, planning, critical thinking, problem solving, analysing, testing, evaluating, collaboration and creativity.  The end of the unit will involve a a Billy Cart Grand Prix or some sort of timed race along a predetermined course.  Interested?  Read more and post your interest in the Billy Cart Grand Prix topic on the iEARN Teachers Forum.

New "Child Rights and Responsibilities" Project Idea
Child RightsParticipants will study Child Rights and Responsibilities and the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.  Students will be asked to identify their wants and needs (using UNICEF resources available online) and learn that their needs are their Rights and that Rights come with responsibilities.  Collaborative activities 1: Children create a diary of a day in their life and identify any Rights they have accessed (e.g. clean water, nutritious food, play, the right to practice their religion) and any responsibilities they have shown. Children share their diaries with children at partner schools and ask / answer questions.  2: Children take photos to illustrate that Right and add captions. Children share photos with children at partner schools and ask / answer questions.  3. Children share their ideas of what can be done to ensure that ALL children have access to these Rights and any actions taken.  Partner schools may participate in one, two or three collaborative activities.  This project is designed for ages 5-11 and would start end of October 2014 and end at end of June 2015.  Interested?  Login and respond to the Child Rights and Responsibilities topic on the iEARN Teachers Forum.

New "Weather Around the World" Project Idea
WeatherEach class that participates in the project will keep a pictorial weather chart showing the weather at a particular time each day, e.g. sun, rain, cloud, snow and shares it with partner schools. Children compare and contrast the weather in different parts of the world.  Optional extra activities - some ideas. Other ideas welcome.  Mathematics - children may use the weather charts to make block graphs of e.g. number of sunny, rainy, cloudy days each month.  Art - children may create artwork showing different types of weather.  Designed for students ages 5-11.  Project to start in September 2014 and end in June 2015 (or could continue if there is interest in keeping a weather chart for a whole year).  Interested?  Login and respond to the Weather Around the World topic on the iEARN Teachers Forum.

New "I Teach, You Teach" Project Idea
I Teach, You TeachThis project is about students sharing their skills and learning from one another. We will begin by getting students to share through videos, blogs or photos what they are skilled at, be it art, football, baking, sewing, coding, etc.  Partners will leave comments and then select which of these they would like to improve in. We then as classes decide what we want to learn from each other. Over a term, we will swap improvement videos tutorials based on those areas to each other so that we can help each other get better at that specific skill.  Interested?  Login and respond to the I Teach, You Teach topic on the iEARN Teachers Forum.

New "Digital Imaging and Photography Gallery 2014-2015" Project Idea
photography and imaging projectInviting schools around the world to collaborate to produce a Digital Imaging and Photography Gallery. The object is for student to use Photoshop to create image manipulations and showcase them. As part of this project, students will also post their photography images. To enhance the project, students can tutors each other via Skype so they can share their learning journeys and teach each other. Students can also produce a Photoshop tutorial so that other students can follow it. Interested? Login and respond to the Digital Imaging and Photography Gallery 2014-2015 topic on the iEARN Teachers Forum.

Local History Project
Local History ProjectA collaborative project in which students research the history of their communities and share their findings with their global peers. Possible classroom activities include writing essays and making power point presentations and sharing them on the project forum; discussions on the project forum to learn more about the local history issues of project partners; sharing photos and art representing cultural diversity of project participants, traditions, country cuisine and folklore; and live sessions via Skype or Blackboard Collaborate. The next cycle of this ongoing project will be September 15, 2014 - June 15, 2015.  Visit the Local History Project Page on the iEARN Collaboration Centre.

Don't Waste - Create! Project
Don't Waste - CreateJoin an ongoing global exchange of upcycling lessons, excursions for collecting herbs, exchange of reports about climate differences, water saving rules and how to get good drinking water, recipes with leftovers and different natural ingredients, and more.  Learn to save energy by cooking from the origins instead of precooked meals, and to use wild plants for food and health. Exchanges take place in multiple languages, including English, Spanish, and German, but others are welcome.  Visit theDon't Waste - Create Page on the iEARN Collaboration Centre.

Make sure all your Gr 10-12 Maths students have signed up for the Nokia Mobile Maths online service...

Last year ITWeb wrote an online article outlining the offer that Nokia makes to Grade 10-12 Mathematics learners, Nokia offers free mobile Maths service,  and explaining that Nokia Mobile Mathematics (MoMaths) is a mobile phone service that helps learners from Grades 10 to 12 better understand Mathematics. This Nokia Mobile Mathematics service ( is a free, online Grade 10-12 Mathematics support service providing 10000+ CAPS-aligned questions. 

The programme started in 2008 with 300 learners and within a couple of years had grown to 50,000 learners. Nokia then opened the service to informal learning so that students could have 24/7 access to its materials.  This programme has had major impact in interactive Maths learning. 53% of students are active users. The competence level of the users rose by 14%. 82% of the usage happens after school hours.


What are some of the features?

No sign-up or service fee.

2. 24/7/365 ACCESS
You can use the service whenever you want (evenings, weekends, holidays…) and via any device with internet access (cell phone, PC, tablet…).

Content follows the latest South African Math curriculum exactly. It is divided up by grade, topic and sub-topics and each sub-topic contains theory, at least 3 worked examples and over a hundred exercises for you to try.

4. 9000+ QUIZZES
Exercises are divided into levels of difficulty. When you master a set of quizzes you will move up on a level. There is 10 levels in each sub-topic.

Set up own study groups with friends and see how they are doing or compete with each other!

Encourage your High School learners to take advantage of this amazing opportunity provided by Nokia Mobile Mathematics. Sponsors of this service can be seen below.

image image image

Saturday, 12 July 2014

Think about creating a Google+ Community to run an online course or to manage a classroom

Submitted by Fiona Beal
Have you ever thought of using a Google+ community for classroom interaction or to run an online course? I recently created a community to use for running an online coure and it worked extremely well. I thought I would share the steps to creating such a community below.

Using a Google+ community to run an online course

This is a paperless way of running a course. The course materials are housed on another site such as a website, a Google site or a blog. If assessments or polls were part of the course these could be administered using a Google form. The Google+ community site remained the hub of the interaction. Students posted their activities on Google docs and shared the link via the community.We used the community for sharing images, links, discussions, and comments. I used Google Drive for all my recording. A Google Community is also searchable within itself, so I could search for participants as well as activities quite easily.

Using a Google+ community for your class

If you used a Google+ community for your class you could use it to share links, class events, and resources as the teacher and they could participate and contribute in the community by sharing assignment links, photos and images, discussions and comments.  You could also run a Hangout from within your community. The best way to do this as a teacher is to get your school using Google Apps so that everything is more under control. Where there is this control the restrictive age limits can be waived. I can really recommend using a community for an online course or even for a classroom. Try it! I am sure you’ll come to the same conclusion.

10 steps to creating a Google+ community

Here is a Slideshare showing how to create (and use) a Google+ community.

Thursday, 10 July 2014

SABC Education African EduWeek 2014 opened today, 10 July, at 8.30am!


SABC Education African EduWeek 2014 opens today, Thursday 10 July, at 8.30am! THis post is taken from the last email sent out advertising the conference.  The African EduWeek expo 2014 is free-to-attend for all visitors. If you haven't already registered you can do so upon arrival at the event on Thursday 10 or Friday 11 July.

Wednesday July 9th saw the African EduWeek pre-conference take place and our exhibitors busy putting the finishing touches to their stands. African EduWeek opens tomorrow and here is  a sneak peek of what's on offer at the 2014 event.





Interested? Well you should be. This is just the tip of the iceberg as African EduWeek will host over 90 of the world's leading suppliers to the education sector. 

Why you can't miss African EduWeek 2014!

  • Technical workshops: 17 free to attend workshops will be taking place on the expo floor. Topics such as Empowering educators to engage students through innovation technology and Capturing and sustaining students attention.
  • Prize Giving & Networking Function: Enage with your peers in a relaxed environment and enjoy a range of complimentary refreshments and nibbles whilst we announce the lucky winners of EduWeek’s competitions.
  • China Day: See the latest education products & innovations from China and discuss trade opportunities relating to South Africa and China’s bilateral agreement. China Pavilion - Stand IP14
  • Meet some of the leading suppliers in the education sector such as: Intel, Samsung, Pearson, Microsoft, Macmillan, Edit Microsystems, MIB Technology and BIC.
Pre-register to attend for FREE

Wednesday, 9 July 2014

According to enthusiastic SA teachers the 2014 Google Summit at Dainfern College was “just as awesome” as it was in 2013


Submitted by Janet Thomson, Executive Director of SchoolNetSA
Just as in 2013, the Google Summit this year proved to be a huge success. It was a high intensity two days focusing squarely on the integration of technology across the curriculum and primarily on the effective use of Google Apps for Education and other Google Tools to promote learning in the classroom.

This year the event was hosted at Dainfern College in Johannesburg on July 3 & 4. A pre-conference day comprised two full-day workshops facilitated by Jay Atwood and James Sanders. The groups were determined by participants selecting beginner level or Google ninja level but by the end of the day both groups had explored most of the following: a tool kit of research tools for students and educators, including advanced search techniques, Google Books, Google Scholar, Google News, Google Alerts; Learning how Google Docs and Google Drive can facilitate collaboration and creation between students and among colleagues; Experience of online publishing with Google Sites (and Blogger). Learn to expand your own personal learning network online with Google+.

Below you can see James and Jaye at work at the pre-conference workshops:

image image

The main summit two-day programme was jam packed with workshops and keynotes delivered by Google Certified Teachers, Google Apps for Education Certified Trainers, and a highly professional group of presenters from the Ed Tech Team.

Jim Sill
Molly Schroeder

James Sanders
Dee Lanier and Jay Atwood

Wendy Gorton
Tim Lee

As usual the biggest challenge was trying to decide which session to attend - the sessions were divided to assist with this decision-making but even so it was not always possible to catch everything that you just HAD to see. The strands were Getting Going, Getting Geeky, Gearing up and Technical. Quite a number of delegates are responsible for their school networks and all matters technical so the technical strand was as well attended as the teaching sessions.

image image
The Ladies from Cofimvaba, Eastern Cape

Selbourne Teachers Eastern Cape with James
image image
James with Fiona from SchoolNet Carolyn, Obum and Jeminatu from Google Education

Photos appear on Google + here:,  and on the SchoolNet website Gallery here:

Here is a video of James Sanders delivering his excellent keynote. You can visit our SchoolNetSA YouTube channel at 

We are thrilled that we were able to once again host this 2014 Summit along with Dainfern College at Dainfern College in Johannesburg; and we are very grateful to the EdTechTeam and their seven speakers for an amazing professional development event. A 2015 Google in Education Summit is on the cards…watch this space!

Monday, 7 July 2014

An exciting announcement – Google Education Groups (GEGs) launched in South Africa. Join us!


The Google in Education Summit held last week at Dainfern College in Johannesburg was a really awesome event. The EdTech team had seven amazing presenters – see more here who presented along with some of our local stars who are using Google effectively in the classroom.

An exciting new venture was launched by Google in South Africa at the Summit – Google Education groups at this URL: This is a world-wide launch with each country having its own GEGs  We invite you to join GEG South Africa.  This announcement was received with great excitement at the Summit.


What are Google Educator groups?
Google believes that the best inspiration to educators are other educators. It is for this reason that Google helped start a community of passionate educators, who bring the benefits of technology to schools, classrooms, and communities across the world. Google Educator Groups (GEGs) are communities of educators who learn, share, and inspire each other to meet the needs of their students through technology solutions, both in the classroom and beyond.

Why should I join?

'Learn. Share. Inspire. Empower.' These four words represent the essence of GEGs. Educators will build relationships with other educators and gain the necessary skills to use open technology to deliver the best possible education to their students.

How do I start?

Generally you would search the GEG directory to find the GEG nearest you, follow the group on Google+ to get their latest news, and feel free to show up to the group’s next event. BUT we have a South African group that you can join!  (See the useful links below)

Some useful resources

This is such an exciting venture, and we encourage you to get involved and be part of the move to ‘Learn Share Inspire Empower’ and form GEGs with teachers around you.