Wednesday, 18 May 2016

MIEExpert Spotlight #14: Chipa Maimela talks about the importance of ICT in taking science content to under-resourced schools

This is the fourteenth 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 Chipa Maimela from Johannesburg who is one of our Microsoft's #MIEExperts for 2016. Chipa was a
high school Science teacher in Limpopo before he was appointed to Wits as an Educational Developer. He lectures in instructional design using ICT technology and he trains the academic staff on eLearning. He has his own blog of science resources called Physical Science Break ! which covers Physical Sciences Topics for Grade 10-11-12. You can visit his blog at this URL:
https://maimelatct.wordpress.com/. Chipa has also developed an Android App based on the South African Science CAPS. You can follow Chipa on Twitter at @maimelatct

“Despite some extreme variations, schools in the provinces of Gauteng and the Western Cape have on average a better ICT infrastructure than schools in the Eastern Cape, Northern Cape and Northern Province. Schools in the Free State, KwaZulu-Natal, Mpumalanga and the North West province hold an intermediate position.” 
This statement is according to the Education Policy Unit, University of the Western Cape and the International Development Research Centre 2000.


Mobile devices play an important role
ICT can assist under-resourced schools by making science content available to them online. Here are some ideas:
  • Most parents all over the country, regardless of their backgrounds, own a mobile device. This can play a vital role in enabling science learners to access content. 
  • The interest in learning using personal mobile devices (PMD’s) by learners is growling daily. Most learners in high schools belong to social media platforms. If science content is advertised on social media it can encourage learners to explore the recommended sites. 
  • Coming from an under-resourced school in Limpopo, myself, I believe that we could greatly assist educators by providing access to online scientific content. This would greatly improve teacher motivation and would probably increase the enrolment in mathematics and science in those areas. Occasionally learners from the under-resourced areas perform to a satisfactory level in this subjects, but if they had access to the right online resources this would improve steadily. 
Online Science content
There is an increase in the availability of online science content, ranging from websites and blogs to apps and add-ins etc. The advantage in this is that most science tasks that were once considered difficult to explain, can now be easily and freely accessed and understood by usingapplications such as YouTube. Other educational science content created by experienced science educators in the country can also be made available online. We should encourage online collaboration and dsicussion. Learners in under-resourced schools use Facebook, for example, as much as learners of their age in the more resourced areas, Group discussions for mathematics and science can be escalated by using Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, WhatsApp and other platforms using ICT.


Microsoft tools
Microsoft tools greatly aid the creation of content for learners. Content-creating tools such Office Mix and Sway can be used to generate interesting content for the learners, even with that one computer or laptop the school is able to provide. Teachers can connect their classrooms using Skype so that classes can learn from one another,  

ICT has changed the way science and mathematics can be taught and learned. Let's use it to raise the standards in our under-resourced schools.

Get involved in the Microsoft MIE program in 2016/2017
If you are a teacher who likes to be innovative in the classroom, think about entering Microsoft's Innovative Teacher MIEExpert program in 2016/2017 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.

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