Friday, 31 July 2015

Are your Grade 10-12 Maths students using Microsoft Math? It’s free and available on any device 24/7

Why not introduce your Grade 10-12 Maths students to Microsoft Math https://math.microsoft.com if they don’t know about it?  This is a great free site for Grade 10-12 Maths students to use after hours either in groups or individually to revise their Maths content and get help with any queries. Teachers can use Microsoft Math to motivate, monitor, and track learning and skill levels, giving more specific and individual feedback to students.

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Advantages of Microsoft MathOne of the big advantages of this program is that learners can set up their own study groups with friends and see how they are doing or compete with each other! The program is accessible from a smart phone, a PC and a tablet.

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What will you find on the site?
9000+ quizzes. Exercises are divided into levels of difficulty. When a studentt masters a set of quizzes you will move up on a level. There is 10 levels in each sub-topic. There is plenty of theory to help one along and examples to work through.

Can your students afford to be without this great maths companion as the end of the year looms? Try it today!

13 Great Google posts this week #24

After looking through all the Google posts that were shared to my various subscriptions recently, these are the ten that have caught my eye so far..

Webinar recording from SchoolNet’s free webinar on Thursday 30 July at 3:15pm on ‘How to use Microsoft Sway to profile teaching life’ by Phuti Ragophala

 On Thursday afternoon 30th July we held a webinar entitled, ‘How to use Microsoft Sway to profile teaching life’.  Our speaker was Phuti Ragophala, Principal of Pula Madibogo Primary  in Limpopo.who shared on how she uses Microsoft Sway to profile her teaching life.
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The webinar description
In this webinar Phuti showed how to use Sway.com to profile teaching life. She says, "Sway is one of the recent apps by Microsoft which is very user-friendly. I use it to text messages, to upload videos, to paste images and paste recorded YouTube and Skype videos and for learners to upload their projects with images and animations. Today I’ll show some further uses of Sway".

The downloadable webinar presentation
Here is the downloadable presentation from the webinar available online in SlideShare:



The webinar recording
The webinar recording can be listened to on the following link:
http://meet78641452.adobeconnect.com/p4dsopijo4e/

SchoolNet South Africa provides a short, free webinar on most Thursday afternoons during the school term.

Useful Microsoft posts for teachers this week #14

The Internet is currently full of posts about using Microsoft products effectively in the classroom. Here are a number of them from this past week:

Thursday, 30 July 2015

Anglo Platinum Community Project takes Intel professional development to teachers in Limpopo and NorthWest

Anglo Platinum has a passionate commitment to the communities in the vicinities of its mines. Recently SchoolNet SA was contracted by Anglo Platinum to provide professional development to teachers from 226 schools who had received ICT equipment as part of Anglo Platinum’s social responsibility framework. The intention of this initiative is to uplift and support specifically targeted communities in the North West (Bojanala District) and in Limpopo (Waterberg, Greater Sekhukhune and Capricorn Districts). SchoolNet provided professional development  to clusters of Maths and Science teachers from schools in the four project districts and either Intel Teach Getting Started or Intel Teach Elements was offered depending on the needs and skills of teachers is the group as part of the introductory ICT integration programme.

AngloPlat


Mpumalanga ready to run 2Enable training

The Mpumalanga Department of Education has embarked upon a pilot project that involves equipping schools with technology and access to the 2Enable app and empowering teachers with the skills to use the content available through the app to enhance teaching and learning. Microsoft commissioned SchoolNet SA to develop a course called Using Digital Resources in the Classroom that aims to equip participants with the skills to effectively use digital content learning resources in the classroom. On 2 and 3 June 2015, master trainer and course developer Gerald Roos led fifteen officials from the Mpumalanga Department of Education through the course with a view to these officials then being able to provide training to schools in the province. Officials also used the opportunity to critique the course and gave some valuable input into how the content could be restructured.

2Enable



SchoolNet facilitates the Buffelshoek HelpDesk course

SchoolNet SA recently ran a Microsoft Partners in Learning HelpDesk course with 27 out-of-school youth from the villages surrounding the Buffleshoek Trust’s nine partner schools. The training, led by Trainer Themba Mabaso, took place at the Acorns to Oaks Comprehensive High School in Acornhoek. The training included a beginners guide to computer hardware, supporting networked computers, installing an operating system and supporting hardware. As part of the course students were required to dismantle computers and reassemble them, which for many participants was the first opportunity to see the inside of a computer and all of its components. The participants responded so well to the training, that they now meet on weekends as a group to further their learnings. One student had this to say on the last day of training,“When I started here, I knew Word, Excel, and Powerpoint, but today I am a technician!”

Buffleshoek



According to Dr Alice Barlow-Zambodla who leads the Buffelshoek Trust ICT programme, nine of the Help Desk trainees will be placed in schools for the third term so that they can put into practice what they have learnt. The trainees will be referred to as ICT Help Desk Monitors and will earn a small stipend as volunteers. They will serve to ensure that the computer centres remain functional at all times and will provide support for teachers and learners in using the ICT facilities at each school. The monitors will also serve as the first line of defence in terms of troubleshooting and will be linked to two local service providers who will be consulted and provide the extra technical support that may at times be required. This approach should contribute to the sustainability of the system in terms of both functionality and use. The Buffelshoek Trust is continually fundraising to keep the Help Desk monitors in the schools until the schools centres are functioning at full capacity and their positions are absorbed by the schools. The remaining trainees are setting up a small School ICT centre at the Utah Community



Wednesday, 29 July 2015

SchoolNet free webinar on Thursday 30 July at 3:15pm on ‘How to use Microsoft Sway to profile teaching life’ by Phuti Ragophala

We will be holding a short, free SchoolNet webinar on Thursday 30th July (tomorrow) at 3:15 . Our speaker will be Phuti Ragophala from Pula Madibogo Primary  in Limpopo.who will share on how she uses Microsoft Sway to profile her teaching life. We invite you join us at the webinar.

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Webinar details

Meeting Name:  How to use Microsoft Sway to profile teaching life
Summary: In this webinar Phuti shows how to use Sway.com to profile teaching life. She says, "Sway is one of the recent apps by Microsoft which is very user-friendly. I use it to text messages, to upload videos, to paste images and paste recorded YouTube and Skype videos and for learners to upload their projects with images and animations. Today I’ll show some further uses of Sway".
Presenter:Phuti Ragophala, Principal of Pula Madibogo Primary School in Limpopo Province
WhenThursday 30 July 2015 at 3:15 PM
Duration: 20 – 30 minutes
Time Zone:  (GMT+02:00) Pretoria
To join the meeting: http://meet78641452.adobeconnect.com/sway/

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. To investigate this, test your connection: http://meet78641452.adobeconnect.com/common/help/en/support/meeting_test.htm

Google’s Computational Thinking MOOC for teachers and CS First Club for children

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This is a message from Google South Africa:

"As teachers we are continually looking for areas to grow in, Google has created a Computational Thinking MOOC which is free for teachers, we would love you to sign up and do the course! The course should between 10 and 30 hours to complete and is open until the end of September. Here is more information about it: Computational Thinking to grow as a teacher

Get started now with Computational Thinking for Educators, an online course where you will learn what CT is and how it can be integrated into a variety of subject areas. Learn at your own pace by exploring examples of CT in a variety of subject areas, experimenting with examples of CT-integrated activities, and creating a plan to incorporate CT into your classroom. Register today and begin your free online course, the estimated time of completion is 10 - 30 hours. The course is open, and will remain available until the end of September.

Exploring Computational Thinking, to use in your classroom
The Exploring Computational Thinking (ECT) website is a curated collection of lesson plans, videos, and other resources on computational thinking (CT). This site was created to provide a better understanding of CT for educators and administrators, and to support those who want to integrate CT into their own classroom content, teaching practice, and learning.
ECT includes:
Computational thinking (CT) is a problem solving process that includes a number of characteristics, such as logically ordering and analyzing data and creating solutions using a series of ordered steps (or algorithms), and dispositions, such as the ability to confidently deal with complexity and open-ended problems. CT is essential to the development of computer applications, but it can also be used to support problem solving across all disciplines, including math, science, and the humanities. Students who learn CT across the curriculum can begin to see a relationship between subjects as well as between school and life outside of the classroom.

Coding club for children
Another initiative is coding club idea for children, called C S First Club - What about encouraging your learners to programme computers or to code. Google has developed an entire resource for schools to use with teaching materials and planning methodology for both teachers and non-teachers to run effective C S First clubs, using ‘Scratch’ in the afternoon  or evening, as an extra-mural activity or even part of your school day.

Scratch is a project of the Lifelong Kindergarten Group at the MIT Media Lab. It is provided free of charge. With Scratch, you can program your own interactive stories, games, and animations — and share your creations with others in the online community. Each CS First club is based on a real-world theme and offers about 10 hours worth of lessons and activities. The different club themes aim to attract and engage students of varying backgrounds and interests. All materials are targeted at students in 4th - 8th grades (or between the ages of 9 - 14) and are free and easy to use.

Scratch helps young people learn to think creatively, reason systematically, and work collaboratively — essential skills for life in the 21st century. Start a CS First Club today, You don't need computer science experience to start a free CS First club. Students learn by watching videos on the computer and code using an online tool called Scratch; all videos, scripts, agendas, and other club materials are provided by Google. All you need to bring is your enthusiasm to help young people learn and explore — if you're interested, you can learn along with your students! Minimum Requirements Access to a computer lab or laptops (one per student) and preferably headphones for each student, and reliable internet/wifi connection.

Hope both these initiatives can assist and excite you as a teacher!"

Tuesday, 28 July 2015

Microsoft Innovative Educator Expert Applications – Now open!

Microsoft is looking for self-driven educators who are passionate about their careers and inspiring students with outside-the-box thinking. If you have a collaborative spirit, are resourceful and entrepreneurial, relish the role of being a change agent, and work to achieve excellence in education using advanced technologies and social media – then you may have what it takes to be a Microsoft Innovative Educator Expert (MIE).

MIE Experts - E2 Exchange
The group of S.A teachers that attended the E2 Global Forum in Seattle

Being an MIE has a number of benefits including:
Access to numerous FREE education resources, apps and tools
An opportunity to connect with educators around the world via Microsoft’s global EduCast Webinar series
An opportunity to build educator capacity in your community
Eligibility to attend the Microsoft Global Educator Exchange Event (E2) in March/April 2016

To complete your entry you will be required to tell us why you consider yourself to be a Microsoft Innovative Educator Expert and how you think being an MIE Expert will enhance your teaching. You will also be asked to describe a lesson you have taught in which you have incorporated Microsoft technologies that enabled 21st Century skill development. You can either write your response or create and share a link to a 2 minute video, Office Mix, or a Sway, that creatively expresses what makes you a Microsoft Innovative Educator Expert.

Entries close on 30 October 2015. See the MIE Expert site for more information and a link to the application form. See http://www.educatornetwork.com/Sites/Educators/Expert

Want to have your iEARN Project included in the 2015-2016 iEARN Project Book? Looking for South African initiated projects…

What is iEARN?
iEARN is a non-profit organization made up of over 30,000 schools and youth organizations in more than 140 countries. iEARN empowers teachers and young people to work together online using the Internet and other new communications technologies. Over 2,000,000 students each day are engaged in collaborative project work worldwide. There are over 150 projects in iEARN, all designed and facilitated by teachers and students to fit their curriculum and classroom needs and schedules. Projects take place in the iEARN Collaboration Centre.  To join, participants select an online project and look at how they can integrate it into their classroom. Take a look at last year’s project book:

Last year’s project line-up
As a reference, the earlier 2014-2015 iEARN Project Book is available at http://iearn.org/iearn-project-book. (Click on the image below)
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Projects called for for the 2015-2016 iEARN Project Book
IEARN is seeking ideas or proposals from South African teachers for international teachers to collaborate on this year.
                                                                   
More about project submission
(This part of the post is mostly taken from the iEARN.org website at http://goo.gl/o9l4FL)

a) Are you facilitating an iEARN project? Do you have an idea for a new iEARN project? The 2015-2016 iEARN Project Book will be published again in early September 2015 and we would love to include all new and active iEARNprojects in the collection!

b) If you are facilitating a currently active iEARNproject, please submit an updated iEARNProject Template using this form: https://iearn.wufoo.com/forms/iearn-project-template/ This project template can be submitted in any language. Please note that ALL projects -- including those currently listed in iEARN, must submit an updated project template in order to be considered renewed and included in the book.

c) If you have an idea for a new iEARN project, please first post your project idea here in the Teachers Forum in this folder: "Do you have an idea for a new iEARN project? Post it here!" or, for students, the Youth Forum.

d) You can also share your project idea in the iEARN News Flash e-newsletter by sending a brief description of your idea to newsflash@iearn.org. If you find partners who are interested in collaborating with you and your students, please fill out an iEARN Project Template at https://iearn.wufoo.com/forms/iearn-project-template/

Submission deadline
The submission deadline for the 2015-2016 iEARN Project Book is Friday, August 14th, 2015. The book will then be published in early September, and the Project Space of the iEARN Collaboration Centre will also be updated with current project information as you submit your new project templates and http://iearn.org/about

Exciting news from Microsoft - New Online Teacher Academies are available #2

We are featuring each of the four new Microsoft Virtual Academy courses in four blogposts. We started yesterday with the Teacher AcademyIn the Cloud: File Storage, Collaboration and Communication with Office 365 course

Yesterday we posted a blogpost to the effect that Microsoft has announced that they are making four Teacher Academy online courses available both at Microsoft Virtual Academy (MVA) and IT Academy. All the courses are designed to empower educators with the ability to effectively integrate Microsoft’s tools in their classrooms. The online courses, 3 hours each, are based on Teacher Academies face-to-face courses (originally developed in the US). Courses are highly interactive, and include text, voice, video, simulations, quizzes, “do-it-yourself” sections and assessments.

Today we feature the next course:

#2 Teacher Academy: The Ultimate Collaboration Tool: An Introduction to OneNote

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The Ultimate Collaboration Tools: An Introduction to OneNote is designed to empower educators to navigate through the OneNote structure, and to organize and prepare lessons, student assignments, and tests. The course guides educators to create digital notebooks that support academic standards and education outcomes across disciplines and tasks. It also shows ways to enhance one’s productivity by using different OneNote features, like tagging, page templates, and drawing tools.
MVA: https://www.microsoftvirtualacademy.com/en-US/training-courses/teacher-academy-the-ultimate-collaboration-tool-an-introduction-to-onenote-11414

To summarise:
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Monday, 27 July 2015

Announcing the winners of the 2015 AYV Awards! Will you participate in SchoolNet’s next intake?

From all corners of the globe came powerful stories and images sharing youth perspectives on local issues. We are now pleased to announce the creative work chosen for First, Second, and Audience Awards in each category of the 2015 Adobe Youth Voices Awards. Congratulations to the youth artists who collaborated on the winning projects and to everyone who took part in creating media with purpose this year. See the projects ›

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Documentary
1st prize: Making Light in Tbilisi — San Francisco, California, USA
2nd prize: Better Than Baghdad — Charlottesville, Virginia, USA
Audience prize: Giants Land — Mora, Costa Rica

Narrative
1st prize: Amazing — Saint Paul, Minnesota, USA
2nd prize: Outside the Box — Saint Petersburg, Russia
Audience prize: My Cambodia — Singapore

Animation
1st prize: Meter X Meter — Amman, Jordan
2nd prize: The Question Is (A Collaboration) — Seattle, Washington, USA
Audience prize: iControl — Oakland, California, USA

Visual
1st prize: Human — Amman, Jordan
2nd prize: Representation Matters — Fremont, California, USA
Audience prize: Boundless Imagination — San Francisco, California, USA

Venture
1st prize: Green Goal — Lima, Peru
2nd prize: Club H2O Mission — Los Angeles California, USA
Audience prize: Garb-age — Bangalore, India

SchoolNet is involved in this project every year and always looks for teachers to participate. Mr Bennett Johannesen, Ms Omashani Naidoo and Ms Zodumo Mbulawa have all headed off to Brasilia to attend the IEARN conference 26th July- 31 July. www.iearn2015.org.

Exciting news from Microsoft - New Online Teacher Academies are available #1

Microsoft has announced that they are making four Teacher Academy online courses available both at Microsoft Virtual Academy (MVA) and IT Academy. All the courses are designed to empower educators with the ability to effectively integrate Microsoft’s tools in their classrooms. The online courses, 3 hours each, are based on Teacher Academies face-to-face courses (originally developed in the US). Courses are highly interactive, and include text, voice, video, simulations, quizzes, “do-it-yourself” sections and assessments.

We will feature each of the four Microsoft Virtual Academy courses in four blogposts starting today with the first one:

#1 Teacher Academy: 'In the Cloud: File Storage, Collaboration and Communication with Office 365'

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In the Cloud: File Storage, Collaboration and Communication with Office 365 is an online course developed for educators with basic knowledge about Microsoft's cloud-based communication and collaboration tools, such as Outlook, OneDrive, Skype for Business and Yammer. The course is designed to: increase awareness about Microsoft cloud-based tools, their capability and functionality, and empower educators with knowledge and skills to use these tools and services effectively in their classroom. With this online course, educators will be able to: communicate using Outlook Online, use OneDrive for Business to store and share files, conduct online meetings, and communicate with students, their parents and colleagues using Skype for Business and engage students parents and other people in their network using Yammer.

Link to the course:
MVA: https://www.microsoftvirtualacademy.com/en-US/training-courses/teacher-academy-in-the-cloud-file-storage-collaboration-and-communication-with-office-365-11320

To summarise:

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Friday, 24 July 2015

This week's useful Microsoft posts for teachers #13

The Internet is currently full of posts about using Microsoft products effectively in the classroom. Here are a number of them from this past week:Useful Microsoft posts for teachers this week #13
View more lists from Fiona Beal

How to use WhatsApp on your PC via WhatsApp Web


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Facebook-owned WhatsApp is one of the really popular low-cost mobile messenger services in South Africa.   One of the newer updates to WhatsApp is that you can now use it on your PC by linking it to your phone version of WhatsApp.  The messages you send and receive are fully synced between your phone and your computer, and you can see all messages on both devices.Any action you take on the phone will apply to WhatsApp Web and vice versa.This means that what you receive on your cell’s WhatsApp can now be accessed on your PC!  The proviso for this is that you use the Chrome browser. The mobile device conversations will sync between your mobile device and your desktop as long as you are signed in.

How do you do this?
1, First, download the Google Chrome browser if you don't already have it installed on your computer. https://www.google.com/chrome/browser/desktop/

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2. On your cell phone’s WhatsApp look under the More menu (3 horizontal dots)  for WhatsApp Web. It will open on a scan for code page.

3. Visit Whatsapp Web on your computer at https://web.whatsapp.com/ 

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4. Follow the instructions to pull up the WhatsApp Web QR code scanner on your mobile device. Scan the QR code and watch as your conversations magically appear in your browser.

Before you know it you are connected! Now you can use WhatsApp from your web browser as long as you are signed in your phone's WhatsApp.

20 Great Google posts this week #23

After looking through all the Google posts that were shared to my various subscriptions recently, these are the ten that have caught my eye so far..

Thursday, 23 July 2015

Conference highlights #6: ‘Rethinking the way we teach’ and other presentations by our Keynote Shelley Shott

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Shelley Shot (@sshott_shott) from Intel was the keynote speaker on Day 3 (3rd Juky 2015). She presented the closing plenary keynote. Shelley is well known to South Africans because she was the first Intel facilitator to visit us back in 2003 and has been a frequent presenter at our conferences ever since. As Intel's Global Education Specialist, Shelley now drives the development and strategy for basic education around the world. A former middle school teacher and current university lecturer, Shelley understands the impact that quality teacher professional development can have. Shelley’s keynote was well received by delegates who had remained in force even though it was now late on the final day of the conference.
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Shelley shared many gems with the delegates. She has shared her three presentations with us namely:
a) Rethinking the way we teach (keynote)
b) Mobiles in the classroom
c) Creativity in the Digital Age

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Shelley's presentations





Wednesday, 22 July 2015

Conference highlights #5: Teachers Thrilled with our recent 2015 Learning Technologies Conference in Durban…report back by Janet Thomson

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This is a condensed version of the Conference report submitted by Janet Thomson the Executive Director of SchoolNetSA. The full report can be read on the SchoolNet website.
Over 500 teachers from across South Africa gathered at St Mary’s DSG in Kloof for the ICT in the Classroom conference held between 1 and 3 July 2015. SchoolNet South Africa has been hosting this ICT (Information and Communication Technologies) conference for educators, provincial and national educational department officials, sponsors, as well as representatives from other development and training organizations, since the 1990s. The objective of the conference is to share ideas around best practice and teaching methods using technologies in and beyond the classroom.

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These are just ten of the highlights of the conference.  Many others are mentioned in the full report on our website.

1. Stuart Ball
The opening keynote from Stuart Ball was inspirational as well as humorous. Entitled, “The most dangerous software in theclip_image001 world” it hit just the right note with the delegates and reminded everyone that the true value of technology in education is not what tools and software you have – but instead what you manage to do with what you have. As a former teacher Stuart was very popular with the delegates. He is also a former winner of Microsoft’s Innovative Teacher Award and he attended the first ever Innovative Education Forum in Seattle. Stuart challenged how we think about everyday devices, software and apps. He was the person responsible for Kodu winning a BETT award in 2014.

2. Holly Clarke
Day two’s keynote speaker was Holly Clark who is a technology and innovation specialist from San Diego, California. She is a Google Certified Teacher and holds an MA in Technology in Education from Columbia University. Holly delivered a powerful
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presentation underlining how quickly cultures and technologies change and how important it is for us to remain in tune with our learners. Holly’s lively presentation made excellent use of contemporary examples and short video clips to illustrate the points she was making as well as anecdotes from Holly’s own experiences as a teacher that resonated with teachers in the audience. In addition to presenting this keynote address, Holly also ran workshop sessions on “The Google Infused Classroom” and “The iPad and Google: A friendship made in the Clouds”

3. Microsoft Cocktail Function
The Microsoft Cocktail Function which took place on the second day (2 July 2015) was a conference highlight. It began with Stuart Ball talking about Minecraft – but in a context of how it is important for teachers to use technology in a way that is relevant and meaningful to children. This presentation alerted teachers to the reality that their children were learning without them and that teenagers are particularly obsessed with Minecraft. It was the perfect presentation for the cocktail evening and highly entertaining. Megan Rademeyer then gave a brief overview of the Microsoft Innovative Educator Expert process and encouraged teachers to apply. Thereafter delegates celebrated at the Microsoft Cocktail Party with refreshments, music and networking, culminating in a steadfast group of the attendees dancing the night away.

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4. The EMIS Section of the National Department of Basic Education, ran a session on ‘Making Data work for you’ which proved to be so popular on Day 1 that it was repeated on day 2. The session on ‘Introducing the UkuFUNda Teacher Communicator App” was also well attended and equipped teachers with the skills to use this mobile app to support communication and knowledge sharing.
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5. The Learning Gains through Play project held three sessions on Day 2. One concerned the approach of the research being conducted around early literacy, the second explored the impact that the Xbox Kinect had already had on Grades 1 and R Physical Education and the third workshop session shared Tablet Apps for CAPS that had been used in the project so far.

6. Microsoft presentations
A number of the current Microsoft Innovative Educator Experts attended the ICT in the Classroom and they, along with Microsoft’s Education Training Manager Victor Ngobeni, ran a number of sessions focused on using Microsoft tools to enhance education. Warren Sparrow covered Office Mix, Sway and Office 365; Phuti Ragophala did a session on Sway; Linda Foulkes showcased ChronoZoom and One Note; Mabore Lekalakala did a session on Teaching with Technology and Mokhudu Machaba covered 21st Century Learning.

7. Google’s educational tools were also showcased in a number of sessions. Sean Hampton-Cole showed how to “Use Google to make kids smarter”, Omashani Naidoo and Mathapelo Sehume showcased “Google Educator Groups”, Saul Pila presented on “Google Mapmaker” and Kevin Sherman demonstrated how it is possible to “Add culture to your classroom… digitally”.

8. ICT4RED project

A number of sessions were devoted to teachers sharing their experiences of using ICT in their contexts so that others could learn from their successes and challenges. On Day 3, teachers and subject advisers from the ICT4RED project in Cofimvaba took a two hour session to explain how their role as change leaders had not only impacted positively on the success of the ICT4RED intervention but also how it had changed their lives and their outlook on education and on their district. This was a very popular session with the lecture hall full to capacity. The Cofimvaba team did not disappoint.
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9. Bring your own device sessions
In some sessions, teachers were asked to “Bring Your Own Device” and were then encouraged to use it to try out the tools being demonstrated by the session leader. Sean Hampton-Cole shared some ideas for using gamification in the classroom; Ron Beyers demonstrated how virtual Lego makes an effective teaching tool, Peter de Lisle proved that you don’t need 3D dinosaurs to teach well; and Elaine Smallbones showed how “Explain Everything” can enhance a lesson.

10. Closing Plenary by Shelley Shott

clip_image002[4]The closing plenary keynote was given by Shelley Shott who is well known to South Africans because she was the first Intel facilitator to visit us back in 2003 and has been a frequent presenter at our conferences ever since. As Intel's Global Education Specialist, Shelley now drives the development and strategy for basic education around the world. A former middle school teacher and current university lecturer, Shelley understands the impact that quality teacher professional development can have. Shelley’s keynote was well received by delegates who had remained in force even though it was now late on the final day of the conference.

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These are just a few of  the highlights. There were many more excellent presentations that can be read about in the full report on the SchoolNet Website at http://goo.gl/KOekCM.

The tweets from the conference have been captured in the following Storify Tweet Collections:
· Tweet collection from day 1
· Tweet collection from day 2
· Tweet collection from day 3

SiliconCape Women: Schools Workshops - Introducing STEM and Computer Science. Interested?

This is a message from Cara Turner about SiliconCape Women’s School workshops in Cape Town

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What are we trying to do?
  • Open girls' and young women's eyes to the world of digital and technology and the vast opportunities there. 
  • Provide them with knowledge and background idea of the spaces involved. 
  • Give practical demonstrations of skills and application in the tech-related fields. 
  • Equip them with sufficient digital skills/knowledge to allow them to take the next steps (foster conversation, further application of skills). 
Proposed approach
A multiple-layered approach is required to spread STEM career information effectively.

To start we aim to:
1. Demystify technology and overcome the misconception that tech careers are not for women

2. Create awareness of the possibilities and accessibility of tech careers
Our initial aim is to run a short, high-impact workshop that is easy for schools to accommodate in their schedules and provides a high level of engagement for the learners.

This workshop is designed to start raising awareness of careers in STEM and technology in all work fields, and provide hands-on experience of coding basics, assisted by mentors from similar backgrounds to the learners.

We are focusing on a visual and interactive format rather than a lecture, in order to provide the direct, personal experience which has proved highly effective at overcoming internal blocks caused by negative social messaging about women and technology.

Our immediate goal is to run this workshop at 5 schools in the Cape Peninsula, and 1 school in Johannesburg, during the month of August.

3. Future vision:
Once schools have experienced the initial introductory workshop, we see the workshops growing over time, in accordance with school feedback.

This could include providing speakers on technology careers in different industries, collaborating with tech & industry partners to provide more in-depth workshops, and collaborating with school committees to provide input into talks and workshops.

Logistics:
There is a low overhead for this workshop, making it an ideal place to start. However internet access is a must.

Technical requirements:
  • Schools need to be equipped with computer labs and have internet access 
  • For future: we may need to partner with a bandwidth sponsor for schools without internet access. 
  • Access to an overhead projector is preferable
Mentoring:
Project codeX has offered to provide mentors for the interactive workshop in Cape Town
We will approach partners with similar initiatives in Johannesburg

Cara can be contacted via Twitter at @Cara_Faye

Tuesday, 21 July 2015

OneNote Class Notebook for IT Admins Webcast invitation from Microsoft…

imageInterested in knowing more about the amazing free application One Note and how to implement it at your school? The OneNote team is putting on a series of webcasts for IT Admins, starting July 21st,  at 12:00 PST.  They are having these every two weeks from now until late September.  Given the numerous changes, updates, and improvements coming out with OneNote they wanted to set up this series and talk with our IT Admins at schools to help ensure a smooth rollout when the school year starts.

The agenda for each will be as follows:
1) OneNote team shares Class/Staff notebook & API roadmap.  Includes topics from this blog entry
2) Listen to IT Admin feedback
3) Q&A with the OneNote engineering team

Dates for the webcasts
Learn how easy it is for your users, educators or staff leaders, to utilize OneNote Class Notebook and OneNote Staff Notebook! The 60 minute webcasts start at 2:00 PM CDT (9pm South African time)
· Tuesday, July 21
· Wednesday, August 5
· Tuesday, August 18

· Wednesday, September 2
· Wednesday, September 16
· Wednesday, September 30

Conference highlights #4: Resources shared by Holly Clarke one of our keynotes

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We loved having Holly Clarke at our Conference. Her keynote was very stirring and well-received (see our Conference day 2 report-back http://goo.gl/hvVhnJ).  If you want to know more about Holly this is what she writes in the About section of her blog  http://goo.gl/tF4xNH:
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Holly has shared her resources for the SchoolNet Conference by means of a Google site bit.ly/learnwithHolly. Do take a look…  image .

Conference highlights #5: Resources shared by one our conference keynote speakers, Stuart Ball from Microsoft UK

We loved having the energetic Stuart Ball at our Conference. He will long be remembered for his ‘I love PowerPoint’ keynote which was very well-received (see our Conference Day 1 report-back http://goo.gl/VOU0O5).

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Stuart is from Microsoft UK and he is responsible for the Microsoft UK Teachers Blog http://goo.gl/7PIbH1

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Stuart has shared many of his conference presentations with us.

Here is a list:
a) Microsoft PowerPoint and Learning Styles
https://goo.gl/XlVN8Q
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2) Kodukup Teacher Resource Pack
https://goo.gl/XlVN8Q

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3) The most dangerous software in the world
https://goo.gl/XlVN8Q

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Monday, 20 July 2015

This week's useful Microsoft posts for teachers #12

The Internet is currently full of posts about using Microsoft products effectively in the classroom. Here are a number of them from this past week:

Conference highlights #3: Ten takeaways from SchoolNetSA’s conference from Phuti Ragaphala, one of our MIEExperts

Phuti Ragaphala, one of our Microsoft MIEExperts  really enjoyed the recent SchoolNet Conference. She has creatively presented her ten takeaways from the conference using the wonderful, free, online application,  Microsoft Sway. Take a look:

                      

Friday, 17 July 2015

15 great Google posts this week #22


After looking through all the Google posts that were shared to my various subscriptions recently, these are the ten that have caught my eye so far..

Thursday, 16 July 2015

Find out about Deep Learning from Microsoft and download the resource they offer…

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On July 5th, 2015 Microsoft announced the availability of DEEP LEADING (http://aka.ms/deepleading), a resource for K-12 School Leadership built as a downloadable OneNote Notebook. The resource was co-authored by Dr Maria Langworthy, the lead researcher for the ITL Research (www.itlresearch.com) and Mark Sparvell, Microsoft. 
Teachers and Leaders will find DEEP LEADING valuable as:
  • A ‘conversation guide’ to facilitate deep learning conversations built around the 21CLD materials.
  • A collection of professional learning materials to build leader and teacher capacity to leverage digital to drive improvement. See this example in Sway for how one school is using this: https://sway.com/EdWFIHqyAChz40qg
  • A different approach to improvement planning using an appreciative/strength-based approach.
  • A collection of ideas about BEST practice and NEXT practice using MSFT solutions.
  • A place to store critical conversations.
  • A resource to bend, shape and grow to suit YOUR NEEDS and YOUR CONTEXT.

Wednesday, 15 July 2015

Conference highlights#2: Teachers - get started with Twitter


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Recently we held the SchoolNet Conference in Kloof, Kwazulu-Natal and the very first session was called ‘Twitter for Beginners’ presented by Megan Rademeyer from SchoolNet. Before displaying the presentation let’s talk about Twitter,  and,  if you are not yet on Twitter perhaps this is the time to join!

What is Twitter?

Twitter is a free social networking service that allows its users to send and read short 140-character messages known as tweets. It’s a fantastic way to share ideas and learn from other teachers – in fact it’s an indispensable tool for educators around the globe. Once you have got started on Twitter and benefitted from networking with other teachers, you’ll wonder how you survived before that!

Get started with Twitter
1. Go to https://twitter.com and join

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2. Create you own Twitter username
Twitter names start with @ (For example @fibeal)

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3. Now start following a few people
In her presentation below Megan shows some people she recommends to follow. Try following @Schoolnetsa. Once you find someone you know, see who they follow and follow a few of them…and so it goes. You'll soon build up a network

Twitter and the SchoolNet Conference
Megan Rademeyer from SchoolNet held a Twitter for Beginners session at the SchoolNet Conference. Here is her presentation:


This is a fairly old 5 minute Twitter tutorial video but it shows the actual steps for getting started with Twitter in case you need them.

Tuesday, 14 July 2015

Dangers when working with shared documents or folders in Google Drive that have the permission to edit…

imageIf you research how the sharing of documents or folders in Google Drive, some alarming facts emerge especially if those documents allow one to edit. For example you may want participants to be able to to share documents from a recent conference. This can cause some real problems if anyone decides to move a folder.

What are these alarming facts or problems?
The main problem is that whatever you do with that folder or document, it will remain attached to the original https://goo.gl/tLGMjX and has to be handled with care or the files can disappear.

The dangers
If you move a file/folder out of the original shared folder by mistake it is no longer available to others. Even if you save the folder/file to your own drive it still remains in the original shared folder.

Here is a quote from Chris Betcha highlighting this problem. “Because you can share Google Docs, there are some interesting things you can do as far as filing your shared documents. Moving a Doc that's been shared with you does not affect the original owner's view of the same Doc. Same with a Folder... file away. But don't move a file out of a Shared folder, or things will start getting messy...

The rule
Never remove a file from a shared folder wherever it is placed as it will affect the original folder. This image makes the point:

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What is the BEST way to get your own copy of a presentation from the recent SchoolNet Conference for example?
If you have a link to the folder, right click on the file/folder and select Download. It will now download to your computer and  if it is a Google Doc it will convert to the relevant Microsoft application. If it is a folder it will download as a zipped folder.

Caution  is advised when making copies for your own Google Drive
If you want to just have the folder in your own Google Drive to view when necessary please take note of these cautions:

  1. Share the file or folder with yourself by right-clicking on it, choosing Share and adding your email address on the box that comes up.
  2. Go to your Google Drive where you'll find the shared file/folder. Right click on it and ADD IT to your Google Drive.
  3. Do not ever move anything out of the folder as it will affect the original folder.

Watch this short video by Chris Betcha explaining the process and the dangers. He calls it ‘Moving Google Docs’ or 'Where did my Google Doc go?.'