Friday, 19 February 2016

MIEExpert Spotlight #6: Phuti Ragophala, Principal of Pula Madibogo Primary School in Limpopo shares on her use of Sway

This is the sixth post in the series "MIEExpert Spotlight for South Africa". The tab with all the posts can be found at: http://bit.ly/1ZYy8Z7. Today we focus on Phuti Ragophala, the principal of Pula Madibogo Primary School in Limpopo.


Phuti is in her third year of being selected as one of South Africa’s Microsoft Innovative Educator Experts. Last year she was selected to attend the Global Forum in Dubai to interact, share with and learn from innovative teachers from other countries. She was also selected by Microsoft to attend the Global Forum in Barcelona in 2014.


These professional development events have grown Phuti’s professional network to include teachers throughout the world. In fact, one teacher from the USA who Phuti met in Barcelona was so moved by Phuti’s description of her learners that she arranged for books to be donated to Pula Madibogo Primary and has conducted Skype reading sessions with the learners.  The same teacher, Julie Hembree has traveled to South Africa especially to visit Phuti at her school.
Phuti says that from the Microsoft in Education Forums “I have learnt how technology should be used as a supporting tool and an educational booster to assist the teacher and learners to meet the objectives of a lesson”.

If Phuti was looking for an excuse not to use technology to enhance teaching and learning it would be easy for her to find one. Pula Madibogo is situated in the semi-rural area of Mankweng where accessing the Internet is a challenge and where teachers are already dealing with the challenges of limited resources and overpopulated classrooms.  Instead of feeling restricted by these difficulties, Phuti aims to show her learners the world beyond Mankweng and aims to develop skills beyond what learners can gain from textbooks so that they can escape poverty.  She says: “I realise that we are teaching a mobile generation who are competent in IT tools. My wish is to see educators incorporating teaching with IT tools to make teaching fun and to improve learners’ quality of learning.  If you want to shoot birds, shoot where they are going. If you shoot where they are, you will miss them. Learners learn by creating knowledge not by absorbing it.”

Phuti not only encourages learners to make use of technology, she inspires the teachers at her school to do so too and has collaborated with colleagues to produce joint learning activities that encompass different learning areas.


Phuti is very active on social networking sites. You can find her on Twitter at @PhutiRagophala sharing with others whatever she has created or inspiring others with her comments.  


She is well-known for the lovely Microsoft Sways that she creates on a variety of topics. Phuti also holds regular skype meetings with teachers and classes from other parts of the world. 

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Although she is the principal, and nearing the age of retirement, Phuti still plays an active role in teaching. She says, “I am an educator who does not follow prescribed teaching preparation from text books. I only get the theme for that week and come up with my own approach supported by websites, experience and learners inputs. Every year my approaches differ.” Phuti continues, “I am inspired by Microsoft’s commitment to empowering the youth through education and improving youth employability and entrepreneurship through digital inclusion, creativity and innovation.” In her own way Phuti is as committed to achieving these same goals for learners at Pula Madibogo Primary. 

Find out about using Skype in your classroom on the Microsoft Educator Community
Connect with hundreds of global professionals and experts on a variety of topics to bring live learning lessons into your classroom. Visit https://education.microsoft.com/findalesson


Find out about Microsoft Sway on the Microsoft Educator Community
You’ll find the Sway website at https://sway.com/ You can create and share interactive reports, presentations, personal stories, and more. If you are keen to learn about Sway – check out this free Introduction to Sway course on the Microsoft Educator Community.

Get involved in the Microsoft MIEE program in 2017
If you are a teacher who likes to be innovative in the classroom, think about entering Microsoft's Innovative Teacher MIEExpert program in 2017 when applications reopen later in the year. You can learn more about the program at this link: http://bit.ly/1H4gKcB on the Microsoft Educator Community. You won’t regret it!

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