Monday, 11 July 2016

EduWeek16: a report back from Janet Thomson of SchoolNet - part 1

Submitted by Janet Thomson CEO of SchoolNetSA
This is the first of a two part series reporting back on the recent Eduweek16 in Johannesburg. 
This year #EduWeek16 partnered with the SABC, the headline sponsor being Intel. Other major sponsors were Microsoft, Pearson and Dell. Educational exhibitors were there in large numbers (120). The conference theme was “Education for Sustainable Development” and the choice of parallel sessions was greater than in previous years. There were five choices of conference threads which included Early Childhood Development, Vocational and Higher Education, Inclusive Education, general basic education and Educational Technology.

This year #EduWeek16 partnered with the SABC, the headline sponsor being Intel. Other major sponsors were Microsoft, Pearson and Dell. Educational exhibitors were there in large numbers (120). The conference theme was “Education for Sustainable Development” and the choice of parallel sessions was greater than in previous years. There were five choices of conference threads which included Early Childhood Development, Vocational and Higher Education, Inclusive Education, general basic education and Educational Technology


The Opening Plenary was well attended as can be seen from this photo above. Brian Gonzales from Intel, Jaye Richards-Hill from Microsoft and Maurice de Hond from Steve Jobs Schools (Netherlands) all preceded the closing remarks given by National Minister Motshekga. All the speakers were engaging but Maurice de Hond captured the imagination of the audience when he explained the reason he had opened his first school in the Netherlands. He had been compelled by the fact that his 7 year old daughter was about to attend the same school as his 30-something sons and the school had not changed in the least in those intervening two decades. He said if Bill Gates had died around the same time he might have named his school after him. He announced that he had just opened two Steve Jobs schools in Gauteng. This year, Steve Jobs Schools have been named Most Innovative Schools in the world by Tech-Insider Magazine. Maurice de Hond and Minister Motshekga are pictured here http://stevejobsschool.world/4221-2/ on the Steve Jobs schools website.

Next up in the E-Tech theatre was a panel discussion, chaired by Angela Schaerer of Microsoft entitled, “Rock, Paper, Tablets – will technology save our schools?”
The speakers were: Riaan van der Bergh. Deputy Provincial Manager, FEDSAS; Brian Wafawarowa, Executive Director, Learning Services, Pearson South Africa; Jaye Richards-Hill, Teacher Engagement Manager, Microsoft South Africa; Dr. Sabine Huber, Worldwide Education Specialist, Intel Education, Intel Corporation and Elias Chipimo, Commercial Director, Mwabu.  The speakers came from a wide range of countries and backgrounds but were all very much on the same page and in favour of the effective use of technology in classrooms.  One question from the floor was quite difficult for panel members to answer, “Save our schools from what?”

Due to SchoolNet’s involvement with the D G Murray Trust project, Learning Gains through Play (LGP), we found ourselves drawn to the new EduWeek conference thread, Early Childhood Development.  One of the presentations that aligned closely with the LGP project was a presentation by Norman Mphake from the Physical Education Institute of South Africa, entitled, “Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes”. Norman explained how important it is for children to have early positive experiences of physical activity.  Another of his main points was the relevance of motor development to cognitive development in ECD, which is one of the focal points of our Learning Gains Research when using Xbox Kinect games. Details of other presentations are available from the EduWeek 2016 website


The Awards Dinner was a glamorous affair, magnificently hosted by Hlubi Mboya, pictured below. A wonderful surprise was the Lifetime Achievement Award being won by Phuti Ragophala, Principal of Pula Madibogo Primary in Limpopo. Phuti magnanimously thanked SchoolNet South Africa, Coza Cares and Microsoft for all the support she had received during her digital journey.


Other awards winners were:
Brain Booster for Early Childhood Development as well as for the Innovation product award, Edit Micro Systems for Special Needs Education, The Reach Trust for the NGO award and Siyafunda Community Technology Centres for the Community Award. The Institution leader of the Year award went to Sehoole Moses Sello, Principal of Mankuroane Technical and Commercial Secondary who also won the Educator who Cares award and the Teacher of Tomorrow was awarded to Lindsay Wesner, ICT integrator and Subject Head of Life Orientation at Parklands College in Cape Town."

This post will be followed by Part 2 where Janet Thomson talks specifically about the Gaming in Education panel discussion at Eduweek 2016.

No comments:

Post a Comment