|The East London TeachMeet logo|
In September I had the HUGE privilege of flying up to East London to attend the first TeachMeet in the Eastern Cape. I was invited by two schools, Stirling Primary and Clarendon Primary. Whatever one may hear about education in the Eastern Cape, these two schools are beacons of light providing an excellent education for their students. I was taken on a tour of the schools which left me quite amazed. The TeachMeet was organised by three energetic teachers Claire Dean from Stirling Primary, Liesel Kruger from Stirling Primary and Sharon Cox from Clarendon Primary, and it was hosted at Stirling Primary this time around.
Personally, I don’t think there’s much that can equal the professional development opportunity and learning that takes place at a TeachMeet. Teachers from around the community share on best practise in technology integration with one another in short 3 minute presentations, and they also make their presentation available for others to have using Dropbox. Not only that, but networking opportunities emerge and teachers can contact one another with any queries.
All the presenters (except for Abrie Pepler and Wesley Renton)
What was shared at the TeachMeet?
So, what was shared? Let me give you an insight. (By the way I’ll mostly share the second slide of ech presentation below as the first slide was the template cover)
1) Sharon Cox
After Claire Dean from Stirling had welcomed all the attendees and explained how TeachMeets work Sharon Cox from Clarendon encouraged everyone to follow and tweet about the event using Twitter and the assigned hashtag for the afternoon. Sharon was responsible for the Twitter feed for the afternoon (the Storify tweet archive of all the tweets can be viewed at the end of this post).
2) Les McGregor (Clickers)
Les, who is from Selborne College in East London, shared on Clicker Technology. He had seen them and heard about clickers many times at Conferences and his school decided to invest in a set. Les uses them for pre-assessment, mid topic and post-assessment and finds that the students are engaged, and are 70% more likely to participate when using Clickers because of their anonymity when giving feedback. Les demonstrated the use of Clickers to us and we had a lot of fun responding.
3) Claire Dean (Dropbox)
Claire, from Stirling Primary, was one of the organisers. She shared on Dropbox (https://www.dropbox.com/) and how it all works. Dropbox is a must for every teacher. Among other things it allows you to access your files on any computer from a web browser, syncs your Dropbox folders on all your chosen computers and allows you to share your files or folders with others.
4) Liesel Kruger (Kidscapism, Thinkquest)
Liesel is from Stirling (also an organiser) and she gave two presentations.
a) Kidscapism - (http://www.kidscapism.com/) . She wanted her Foundation Phase students to learn about e-mail, but she wanted to be in complete control – know what they are sending, control of who they are sending to etc. Kidscapism is community based around a school, managed by the teacher. Students can read and write stories, send email to their classmates, and the teacher can sign up his/her class to work with other classes...in other schools...all around the world.
b) Liesel also spoke about how she enjoyed using Thinkquest projects and what she does with this application. Sadly, Thinkquest is soon to be discontinued.
5) Mary Lou Berndt (Learn the news, Prezi, Brainpop)
Mary Lou is from Merrifield College and she shared three presentations.
a) Learn the News (http://www.learnthenews.com/). This is a SOUTH AFRICAN news service and website for school kids produced by the South African Press Association (SAPA). The aim is to encourage reading and interest in current affairs. It covers important news events in the form of an e-newspaper for kids BUT leaves out the horror stories typically found in newspapers. It provides Maths and Literacy worksheets that extract educational value from the news.
b) Mary Lou also spoke on BrainPop (http://www.brainpop.com/) which is an educational website with hundreds of short Flash-based movies for students from pre-school to Grade 12. BrainPOP creates animated, curricular content that engages students, supports educators, and bolsters achievement. There is both a free and a paid version.
c) Mary Lou’s third presentation was a useful presentation on how to use Prezi (http://prezi.com/) the zooming presentation editor that keeps students engaged and intrigued.
6) Miranda Botha (Video creation)
Miranda is a Grade 4 teacher from Clarendon, and she gave a most inspiring presentation on how she and her class had made a movie together called ‘Helping Hamilton’. They created a DVD movie using the data projector and whiteboard, all based on a story that the students created together. The movie’s audio is edited for effect, using editing software. Photographs and audio recordings are made for the purpose of making a “book” of the same title.
7) Wesley Renton (Tiki-toki, Flashcard Stash)
Wesley is from Stirling Primary and he gave a presentation showing how he combines two Web2 programmes with excellent results.
The first is Tiki-Toki (http://www.tiki-toki.com/) which is a web-based timeline software that creates beautiful interactive timelines that can be shared on the web. This application can create a great visual representation of what the students are studying, and you are able to link it up to virtually any website or youtube video for extra material.
The second application is Wordstash, now called Flashcard Stash (http://flashcardstash.com/) which is a keyword creator and allows the pupils to essentially test themselves
8) Margi Diab (Vocaroo)
Margi is a music teacher from Stirling Primary spoke on Vocaroo (http://vocaroo.com/) which is an easy-to-use online recorder. Margi showed us how easy it is to use and oitlined the procedure. She followed this with a recording made of one of her piano students. Margi gave a few hints on how to get a really clear recording.
9) Abrie Pepler (iPad story)
Abrie is the Deputy Head at Selborne Primary and he spoke on how he successfully used the iPad in Grade 3 with story writing using a free app called Story Kit. His students first wrote the story and drew accompanying pictures. he then allowed them to type these on the iPad using the Story Kit app and he assisted them with adding the drawings plus a photo of themselves. The lesson created a real buzz and the boys had a tremendous amount of fun creating the stories.
10) Fiona Beal (ClassDojo, PowerPoint, YouTube
Creative Writing, Scoop.it)
Fiona is a technology integration facilitator who works for SchoolNet. She gave five presentations. (This was a request by the organisers by the way!)
a) ClassDojo is a free and fun classroom tool that helps teachers improve behaviour in their classrooms quickly and easily. It also captures and generates data on behaviour that teachers can share with parents and administrators.
b) The second presentation was called ‘I love PowerPoint’ showing some of the classroom uses for this Microsoft programme.
c) A presentation called ‘Lovely sites for creative writing’ included showing the use of web tools such a Story Jumper, Story Bird, Youblisher, Artisans Picture Book, Little Bird Tales, Newspaper Clips, and various poetry templates from Read, Write, Think.
d) ‘Make YouTube work for you’ showed a few useful ways a teacher can use YouTube in the classroom.
e) ‘Have you tried Scoopit’ illustrated the role that Scoopit (http://www.scoop.it) can play in helping a teacher curate websites based around a topic that will be useful in the classroom. Some examples of Scoopit magazines are:
*History and Geography resources for elementary school (Fiona Beal)
*Reading and Writing in primary school (Fiona Beal)
*Maths for K-3 students (Fiona Beal)
*Just iPadding along (Karen Stadler)
f) Fiona also encouraged teachers to join SchoolNet’s free premium membership programme. by visiting the website (http://www.schoolnet.org.za/) and following the prompts.
This was an amazing couple of days spent in East London. The opportunity of visiting Claire, Liesel and Sharon in their respective labs was a rare opportunity and I also greatly appreciated being hosted overnight by Liesel. The teachers at the TeachMeet were thrilled to received some sponsored items from Microsoft such as their amazing Learning Suite DVD and some other classroom aids.
The Twitter feed archive using Storify can be found at http://storify.com/fibeal/east-london-teachmeet-tweet-archive-11-sept-2012
Well done East London teachers! I am sure there will be many more TeachMeets coming your way.