Wednesday, 30 November 2016

MIEExpert Spotlight #19: Nosithembele Gcobo 'Integrating ICT in teaching and learning in rural contexts'

This is the 19th 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 Nosithembele Gcobo from Sentile Junior Secondary School in Queenstown.  Nosithembele teaches Grade 6 at a rural school where using technology is a challenge. In this post she shares some of the challenges with ICT in rural settings and shows how she has worked at overcoming these challenges.

Integrating ICT in curriculum practice is not as easy as it could be in the rural context such as in Cofimvaba where I teach. The challenges we face as teachers make it impossible, sometimes, to fully realise the benefits offered by ICT. For example the ICT infrastructure (WIFI, content server; mobile devices etc) can be the major barriers in the contribution to the improvement in the quality of teaching and learning in rural schools. I have found, though, that one way of overcoming challenges like this is to focus on the available tool that can be used to incorporate the technological part of the curriculum.


The Grade 6 learners have the responsibility of charging their mobile devices, checking the condition of their mobile devices and reporting whatever problems they have. They do this every time they use their mobile device. 


Here are four lessons I have done (or am planning to do) in Grade 6 with my learners where I focus on a particular program.

1. A biography project
I decided to do a biography project in Grade 6. This was a third term project where my Grade 6 learners had to write a biography about someone who has made a difference in our country, South Africa. They did their research using text books, the Internet and also by questioning their families, and their teachers. 

 
After gathering enough information for the project, they used Microsoft Word to write the project on their mobile devices. As the beginners, they were able to showcase their typing skills, inserting pictures and taking photos thus creating a standard document.


2. Mindmapping nouns
As a Grade 6 teacher, I always make sure that in every subject my learners use the mobile devices. I use a mindmapping program called Simple Mind where the learners can show their creative skills. Mindmapping helps my learners to master the content in a better way. This screenshot is an example of a First Additional Language – Lesson on Nouns.



3. Microsoft Sway
I love using Sway. It is easy to use and you can record events that happen. Here is a Sway I made which records a few events.



4. Videos
I have learned how to make videos and upload them to YouTube. I want to do this with my learners eventually. This is a video I made when i entered the Microsoft Innovative Educator Expert program.


I am hoping that as time goes the challenges get less and less. ICT integration adds value and provides clear guidelines on how to approach ordinary lessons and change them into experiential learning activities. Pedagogically, ICT is creating tech-savvy learners by changing the way they learn as it provides opportunities for them to operate in the current information age.

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. You can learn more about the program at this link: http://bit.ly/1H4gKcB on the Microsoft Educator Community.

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