Tuesday, 9 October 2018

Tshwane West Interns boost their technical support skills

During the October school break, 32 of the 42 Tshwane West interns attended a two day workshop. The intention of this session was to provide the interns with some strategies and resources that they can use when supporting teachers and learners with ICT integration and technical support. The sessions took place at the Thuto-Pele Education Centre in in Ga-Rankuwa. Whilst this centre had a computer lab, interns were encouraged to use their own laptops as these are the digital tools that they use at the schools they support. 


On the first day of training, 3 October 2018, SchoolNet SA facilitator Mathapelo Sehume and technical assistant Siya Ntshintshi encouraged participants to add their expectations for the workshop  to a collaborative Google doc. The interns then "hit the ground running" with a challenge that involved each group being given a laptop with some technical issues that they had to solve. This exercise tested technical and problem solving skills and demonstrated the importance of following technical support processes and thinking systematically when confronted with technical challenges. 


Each group was then tasked with creating a PowerPoint presentation outlining the challenges the groups faced; the steps they took to resolve the challenges; and what it would take for the laptops they examined to be fully functional. These presentations were uploaded to a Google drive and one group member was randomly selected to present the findings of the group. This activity aimed to develop collaboration and presentation skills. 


The second day of training, 4 October 2018, began with a presentation from Pearson representatives. Their session aimed to provide the interns with the skills they would need to help teachers make better use of the Pearson resources that have been pre-installed on interactive boards provided in a Tshwane West schools.


The delegates then moved to the computer lab where Megan Rademeyer from Schoolnet SA introduced the group to the “YourthSpark Hour of Code”. After explaining the Hour of Code concept  Megan encouraged the interns to run Hour of Code sessions at their schools. The group worked through the first three Minecraft themed Hour of Code tutorials together, before the facilitator challenged the interns to complete the rest of the tutorials on their own. All participants were excited to try their hand at basic coding and wasted no time trying to complete the remaining stages. 


In the second phase of the training, Mathapelo introduced the interns to the Microsoft Digital Literacy course. She motivated the interns to encourage learners to complete the course to earn a digital competency certificate before learning school. Furthermore, Mathapelo encouraged the interns to assist the Grade 12 learners with their university applications.

In the final session, interns were introduced to the Microsoft ICT Skills for Teachers course and began to work through some of the scenarios. Interns were encouraged to upload their completed artifacts to their portfolios of evidence and to share them with the facilitator for assessment. Interns were informed that helping teachers develop digital skills would make teachers more self-sufficient with performing administrative tasks, leaving interns more time to be of technical assistance.


The training session ended with the team talking through the interns' expectations and how they were met through the training sessions. Most of the interns were delighted to be part of the training session and reported learning far more than what they were expecting. The group appreciated the initiative and were looking forward to implementing what they had learnt at the workshop when schools resumed after the break.

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