Sunday, July 20, 2014

ICT4RED Champions go Google!

In the first week of July four of our ICT4RED Cofimvaba champion teachers, Mandlakazi Bikitsha, Sindiswa  Mwanda, Nomonde Tyembile, Wisiwe Mvandaba and 1 district e-learning facilitator, Sindi Sibawu, were invited by the Google Edtechteam to attend the Google Summit at Dainfern College in Johannesburg.

Here are some thoughts from our champions:

Sindiswa Sibawu
Cofimvaba ICT Champions were honoured to be invited to Google Summit by ICT4RED, CSIR & SCHOOLNET teams. The event was well organised especially the presenters in every session were well prepared.  We are looking forward to keep in touch with every one we met in Google Summit for professional development especially Karen who was kind to E.C. delegates in all aspects.  We're willing to share the ideas and information with all our educators in the Eastern Cape.

Nomonde Tyembile
The summit was an activity that was well organised and we thank the Edtech team, Schoolnet and all other stakeholders who made the summit a success.As the team Cofimvaba ict4red champs, we had a great time in learning that teaching and learning can be a fun, great and also be a success for the learners in South Africa, through the use of technology and the internet. We wish, as the Cofimvaba team,  that the summit we attended, be organised locally so that all the educators out there are well informed of how teaching and learning can be enjoyed by learners and how it can change their attitudes towards their everyday teaching.

We are prepared to change the situation at our schools through the information we got at the summit to produce "LIFE LONG LEARNERS WHO WILL BE ABLE TO COMPETE WITH THE REST OF THE LEARNERS WORLD WIDE"

Mandlakazi Bikitsha

Wow! The 2nd Annual Google Summit was another round of professional development for 5 delegates from the Cofimvaba education district. It was a huge success, for we came back capacitated and ready for action! It was so uplifting.

The sessions I attended were awesome. I saw how social media in my class can impact on learning, for it is also another platform where writing and collaboration takes place- a way to engage learners. I came back empowered and motivated to use social media as one of the effective tools to facilitate learning. Problem based strategies really make learners think out of the box. It makes them own their learning as they explore solutions to the problem. However, Chrome books, Netbooks and Tablets are just technological tools invented to bridge the gap in the digital divide and teachers need not shift their focus, for the integration of technology in teaching and learning is part of preparing our learners for a socially networked workplace.

When defining the word` TECHNOLOGY ‘we say, it is the use of knowledge, skills and resources…The knowledge I gained from the summit when shared with learners will unleash ideas on the learners, for they can also be the source of information. We need to get them exposed to google apps, for they need to acquire skills in preparation for the workplace tomorrow and use the resources at their disposal which in our case as Cofimvaba Education District, is mobile tablets. Attending the Google summit has made me foresee the attainment of the 21st century goals in education whereby teachers and learners are to be technological savvy. I HAVE GONE GOOGLE!!!

Some fun learning moments:

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Our photo gallery from the Phase 2 graduation

Thursday, June 19, 2014

From tentative, trembling fingers to confident, competent teachers

Over a 100 teachers in Cofimvaba in the Eastern Cape will graduate at the weekend after successfully completing a teacher professional development course in integrating information and communication technology (ICT) using tablets into teaching and learning at their schools.

The teachers are part of the second phase of the ICT for Rural Education Development (ICT4RED) project. The professional teacher development course has seen 140 teachers trained with a 100% pass rate. The project has also seen 165 tablets distributed at 11 schools.

Led by the CSIR's Meraka Institute, ICT4RED is the ICT aspect of the broader Technology for Rural Education Development (TECH4RED) research project. This is a joint initiative between the Department of Science and Technology, the Department of Basic Education (DBE), the Department of Rural Development and Land Reform, and the Eastern Cape Department of Education.

TECH4RED is aimed at contributing to the improvement of lives in rural communities through technology-led innovation. Thus ICT4RED is demonstrating how ICT, particularly tablets, can be used to support teaching and learning in rural schools in the Nciba circuit.

Accredited by the South African Council of Educators (SACE) and carrying 10 accreditation points, the course focuses on practical ways to integrate tablets into teaching and learning in the classroom, with teacher professional development modules including storytelling, role-playing, mind-mapping and game-based learning.

Already the project has observed a dramatic change in the way teaching is happening in these rural classrooms, with teachers implementing the new teaching strategies actively and with aplomb. The courseware has been made available freely for download at

Manager of ICT for Education/mLearning at CSIR Meraka Institute, Merryl Ford, commended the hard work of all stakeholders involved in this project, especially the teachers.

"This is the culmination of a lot of hard work from many people. With the passion and dedication of the team of government, academia, civil society and community working together, there is no limit to our potential as a country."

Attending classes was not the only requirement for graduation. The teachers have gone through an in-depth assessment process. The approach taken in these piloted ICT teacher professional development courses is different from the traditional method of training, where teachers focus on the technology in order to develop "computer literacy" skills. Rather, the aim is to develop teaching strategies which
focus on developing the appropriate pedagogy in the classroom, using technology as a tool. Once this model has been presented and evaluated by the DBE it may be considered as part of ICT teacher development at a national level.

One of the so-called “mud schools” in the district, Zamuxolo Junior Secondary School, has emerged as the top-performing school, with more than 80% of its teachers passing with distinction. "The teachers have worked incredibly hard, moving away from their comfort zones and embracing new ways of teaching," Ford said.

"They have moved vast distances from those tentative, trembling fingers a year ago to become the confident, competent and empowered educators they are today."

Event details:
Date: Saturday, 21 June 2014
Place: Cofimvaba Senior Secondary School
Time: 10:00 – 13:00

Friday, June 13, 2014

Building Subject Adviser capacity in the Cofimvaba district

Our subject adviser change leaders
During the week of 23-25 April 2014 we hosted a 3 day Change Leadership course for 39 Cofimvaba district subject advisers. The purpose of the training course, which was developed and facilitated by Schoolnet,  was to launch the Change Leadership process before the ICT4RED phase 3 programme takes off. During the course the district officials were equipped with the skills and knowledge required to make new initiatives a lasting success in Cofimvaba schools who participate in the ICT4RED project.

What does it take to be a change leader?
The course has seven modules which were facilitated in three days i.e. three modules covered per day and only one module was done on the last day including the subject advisers' badges. As with the TPD course, badges are used as challenges to provide evidence of participants skills and understandings. The course is structured such that participants are gaining new knowledge, skills and understanding about Change Leadership. Participants experienced the use of Teaching Strategies to be used in the
ICT4RED Teacher Professional Development such as Jigsaw, Role play, Learning Stations and
Mind Mapping (Brainstorming) – other additional strategies learned or experienced were ‘Give one Get One’ and an orderly discussion meeting.

We can work and collaborate anywhere!
It is hoped that the Subject Advisers will share and reinforce the use of these learned teaching strategies with the teachers they work with.

To see all the photos from this training, click here.

To download the course materials, please complete a short form after which you will be redirected to the download page. Click here

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Endings and new beginnings

This week we are in the Cofimvaba area ending the second and starting the third iteration.

Half of the team is handing out the mobikits that was earned by the Iteration 2 school. They are a pragmatic solution to storing and charging tablets in a rural environment. After some design considerations we came up with a solution that  packages it beautifully.

Merryl and the team has been so teary and emotional when they come back. Words like humbled, awed, thankful and truly inspiring. Thank you Cofimvaba for opening your hearts for us and allowing us to share in the hundreds of little miracles that are happening all over the district!

On the flipside, Maggie, myself, Marlien, Senzo, Roy and an angel in the form of Lilian, started Iteration 3. We are positioning the subject advisers and Circuit Managers to play a much more hands on role in this iteration to enable them to implement the methodology in other circuits. It has been fantastic seeing again how robust the course is. Within 3 hours, they were content creators, within 6 hours making slideshows and the next day the conversation included tutorials, simulations, podcasts and ebooks...  and the added bonus is we are all enjoying ourselves very much! Again we are struggling to make people go to lunch, go to tea and eventually go home!
Three of the ladies have prepared a portfolio of Origami artifacts !!

Station B is about Tutorials as part of a digital Library. How do we demonstrate how you can learn from a tutorial ? we introduce them to Origami. Something that very few or any of them have ever done. They experience learning from a tutorial and can start co-creating by thinking how they will apply tutorials to their own teaching and learning situation. This is a valuable learning experience as they are then able to discuss the advantages and disadvantages of "tutorials in a class" . In addition we have a very competitive origami competition. I recon the Cofimvaba Origami artifacts is waayy ahead of a number of other places we tried this.
Station D is about Video's as part of a digital library. This results in a LOT of splashing and smiles!

We build a water sprinkler from instructions given via video. Very quickly the participants can see and experience the advantages of the medium as you can pause, rewind and fast forward without anyone having to repeat themselves. They are SO proud of their artifacts. I am usually wet from recording it!
Station C is about podcasts and simulations..
We learn to speak Irish and bake a cupcake!

All ready for the cupcake competition! This one will be evaluated by real chef! Will keep you updated on that.

This is how you video a roleplay... Cofimvaba Paparazzi.....