Thursday, 12 January 2017

MIEExpert Spotlight #20: Freddy Chireka: Explore OneNote and OneNote Class Creator

This is the 20th 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 Freddy Chireka. Freddy is passionate about training teachers in South Africa in the use of Microsoft applications. He taught in Johannesburg for nine years. His turning point came when the Gauteng MEC for Education, Mr. Panyaza Lesufi, launched the ICT Integration Project. Freddy then became effectively involved in the training of teachers and served as an ICT Co-ordinator, championing the adoption of the use of ICTs in learning. As an ICT Coordinator he worked closely with the District’s E-learning Unit in implementing various E-learning Projects. In 2015 Freddy joined Vastratech Professional Development Academy and Thandulwazi Maths and Science Academy as a Technology Coach.

Microsoft tools in education
Freddy states that,“Microsoft’s tools for education, to me, are vital in assisting teachers to move away from the 20th century type of education that prepares students for routine and general recall skills to the excitement of implementing 21st century thinking,” He maintains that he is driven by the desire to play a meaningful role in society through effective education that fosters the development of 21st century skills such as critical thinking, collaboration, communication and creativity. “At Thandulwazi Maths and Science Academy under the leadership of Ronelle Klinck, we train teachers from under privileged communities on the use of ICTs in education in digital literacy and from 2017 we will be training all the teachers on the use of Microsoft Tools for Education.  By training teachers, I am thrilled that I am contributing to the goal of preparing learners for the future.”  Freddy is also a Professional Learning Specialist at Vastratech where he is tasked with running professional development activities across the country. 



The OneNote Class Notebook Creator
Microsoft offers extensive Professional Development on the use of its products. There is an abundance of short videos and tutorials that can be easily followed and understood by the average teacher. Freddy loves using OneNote Classwork Creator.  When asked how he got started with OneNote and OneNote Classwork Creator he said, “OneNote is a great tool to use in the classroom with learners, but when I noticed the risk of learners tampering with original notes and other learners’ work, I realised that this was going to present me with big challenges in managing my learners. Upon research I realized Microsoft has introduced OneNote Class Notebook to solve that challenge. It should be very easy for an average teacher to download Class Notebook using the OneNote Class Notebook creator. It is basically an easy to follow wizard.”


How the OneNote Class Notebook Creator works
A teacher can easily manage all her classes effectively with OneNote Class Notebook. When asked to expound this Freddy explained that In OneNote Class Notebook creator you create a Class Notebook with three main sub-notebooks namely student notebooks, content library and collaboration space.  In the Student Notebook only the teacher and the individual learner have access to that folder. A teacher can then share individual handouts, class notes, homework assignments and quizzes. The teacher is able to monitor, in real time, the individual progress of each learner and give feedback only to the learner concerned. In the Content Library space teachers are able to add relevant content or edit content for their learners. For the learners this material is read-only. This is useful to avoid students tampering with original materials. This is the same concept as a paper-based library where students are not allowed to cut or edit books in the library. In the third space, the Collaboration Space all learners have editing rights and can also add any materials of their choice. This allows sharing, trying new ideas and collaboration. The teacher is able to monitor and control activities in this space. Freddy adds, “The OneNote Class Notebook Add-in, which can be opened in OneNote 2013 or 2016, enables teachers to save time and work even more efficiently with their Class Notebooks. It has many additional very useful features for teachers.”

A Microsoft Innovative Educator Expert
As a Microsoft Innovative Educator Expert Freddy likes to share his experiences with Microsoft tools with other. He uses various online media for this. He says, “Recently I had a skype session with teachers in India and I encouraged them to teach mathematics using OneNote. I always encourage fellow teachers to join the Microsoft Educator Community.” 
He concludes, “I would like to see teachers embracing technology as a tool to better education practices. Microsoft offers great tools that would enhance teaching and learning but teachers and learners have to be shown how to  effectively tap into that advantage. In South Africa there is need for an urgent solution to the connectivity issue. Most of our schools in South Africa are poorly connected especially in remote areas. Once that happens the sky is the limit. "\


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