Thursday, 30 May 2013

Creative Writing #10: An African Storybook Project report back from The Rock Academy…

I am SO thrilled when teachers send reports on how their Digital Storytelling writing is going for the African Storybook Project. This is an amazing project. The plan is to create a huge website of stories for the Grade 1-3 children of Africa where the stories can be read, translated and adapted for use by teachers and students across Africa. The website is due to be launched in July and the idea is to populate it at its launch with donated stories created by mainly South African teachers and students. 

Today’s report back comes from The Rock Academy in Fish Hoek where the Grade 6 teacher, Christine Venter, is working in conjunction with the ICT teacher, Lisa Gair, in engaging the Grade 6s in writing for the project. This is what they say:

“Mrs Gair & Mrs Venter reporting…


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Lisa Gair (left - ICT teacher) and Christine Venter (right - Grade 6 teacher) 
The Grade 6 Rock Academy kids have loved taking on this writing adventure. They started off with a bang, ideas were pouring out, and constant chit chat was happening while comparing their ideas. They knuckled down quickly to get their thoughts on paper and developed their story line.  Some were so eager they took their writing home to complete in one afternoon (even though they had 2 weeks to get it done).


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Now we're on our animation stage and they are also loving this too. It has been a growing, and fun experience for each child individually and as a class.


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They have moved to the ICT Centre and are busy typing up their stories in PowerPoint and doing their illustrations in Paint. We are learning lots of new skills in both programs and are looking forward to reading their final products!”


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Mrs Christine Venter with her Grade 6 writing their stories
Thank you SO much for participating in the project and for this wonderful report back Mrs Venter and Mrs Gair – we can’t wait to read your stories!

Webinar recording from 29/05/2013 - Uploading a Learning Activity to the Partners in Learning Network


Yesterday we had a great webinar presented by Megan Rademeyer of SchoolNet. It showed how to create and upload a Learning Activity to the Microsoft Partners in Learning Network. This webinar is of special relevance to anyone who wishes to enter the Microsoft Innovative Educator Expert competition which has new requirements this year. These requirements require uploading a Learning Activity to the Partners in Learning Network and creating a 2 minute video about that Learning Activity. (A Learning Activity can be anything from one really good lesson, or a series of lessons on a topic, or a project).   If you wish to be one of the 15 teachers selected to be sponsored to the Schoolnet Conference in July as part of the South African and Lesotho Partners in Learning Forum you need to do this by Monday 3rd June. However the competition proper has a closing date of 30 September 2013. 

The webinar summary
"Are you using technology in a creative and engaging way to enhance a lesson? Have you developed a project that makes use of technology to build knowledge or solve a real world problem? If so - share your learning activity on the Partners in Learning Network and you could win a trip to the Global Partners in Learning Forum. In this webinar you will learn about the requirements for the competition and tips for developing an impressive learning activity."

Presenter 
Megan Rademeyer from SchoolNet

Webinar recording (30 mins)
Thank you to those who attended. Here is the link to the recording.
http://meet78641452.adobeconnect.com/p8czjpzksbn/


The presentation used for the webinar
This is the presentation that was used in the webinar. It can be easily downloaded from Slideshare.


Monday, 27 May 2013

Microsoft webinar on Weds at 3:30 – especially relevant to those who are entering the Microsoft Innovative Educator Expert competition


We invite you to a second Microsoft Partners in Learning webinar to be held on Wednesday afternoon at 3:30pm.. This will be of special interest to those who are entering Microsoft’s Innovative Educator Expert competition in South Africa where the first closing date is 3 June if you would like to be chosen as one of the 15 teachers who will be completely sponsored to the SchoolNet Conference in Bloemfontein in July 2013. (The final closing date for the Microsoft’s Innovative Educator Expert competition is on 30 September. Find out more about that  here.)

Sharing a Learning Activity on the Partners in Learning Network
Name: Sharing a Learning Activity on the PIL-Network
Summary: Are you using technology in a creative and engaging way to enhance a lesson? Have you developed a project that makes use of technology to build knowledge or solve a real world problem? If so - share your learning activity on the Partners in Learning Network and you could win a trip to the Global Partners in Learning Forum. In this webinar you will learn about the requirements for the competiton and tips for developing an impressive learning activity.
Presenter: Megan Rademeyer from SchoolNet
Start Time: 05/29/2013 3:30 PM
Duration: 00:15
URL:http://meet78641452.adobeconnect.com/r1do1h6omuo/
Access:Anyone who has the URL for the meeting can enter the room
See you there!

Creative Writing #9: How are teachers going about writing stories with their classes for the African Storybook Project? Here is one example from Laerskool Heledekruin…

We have just completed our online course on Digital Storytelling and now we are waiting for stories suitable for Grade 3 readers around Africa to be submitted from teachers and schools in South Africa by June 21st. It is planned that these stories will be displayed on the African Storybook Project website when it is launched in July. 

SchoolNet was thrilled when we were invited to view a lesson presented by one of the teachers who participated in the course and I thought I would write a blogpost about this exciting lesson. Megan Rademeyer from SchoolNet went to observe the lesson at the school and this is what Megan says:

“The school is Laerskool Heledekruin an Afrikaans School in Johannesburg where Yolandi (the English teacher) and Nolene (the computer teacher) are busy running with the African Storybook project.


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Yolandi from Laerskool Heledekruin in Johannesburg


They are asking every child from Grade 4 - Grade 7 to develop a story and I saw the pictures and text that they had started on using PowerPoint.


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They did a session launching the project in the hall using two of the videos from the course videos and said how useful the webinars have been. Yolandi showed a PowerPoint while I was there using some course examples that seemed to get the class excited for the task. As a class they also used the Smartboard to collectively brainstorm one example story so they could get used to the terminology like "theme", "character", "plot" etc.


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The kids are very excited about writing a story for a genuine audience and purpose.  They have been told that only the best ones will make it to the website - so they are really keen to make sure that their stories are good.

This is a really exciting project. The portal of stories will be great - but
the African Storybook Project is also doing worthwhile work in terms of encouraging good writing.”



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Enter your story for the Microsoft Innovative Educator Expert competition
Thanks to Yolandi and Nolene for running with this project at their school and presenting such a fantastic lesson. We would like them and anyone else who is writing with a class to consider entering their Learning Activity for the Microsoft Innovative Educator: Expert Competition. They way they present teaching about the story at their school will be unique and really worthy of using for the competition. See the blogpost Calling all innovative teachers! Apply to be a Microsoft Innovative Educator: Expert

Write for the African Storybook Project before June 21st
If you would like to find out more about your class writing a story for the African Storybook project and the incentive for the school that submits the most usable stories see the blogpost There’s still time to submit a story suitable for a Grade 3 reader for the African Storybook project. Join us!

Send us your 'writing' story
If you are writing for the competition please send us a short report and some photos to use as a blogpost. We’d LOVE that.

Creative Writing #8: Try using Storybird with its beautiful art for inspired writing sessions

Storybird can be accessed at http://storybird.com/. This is a wonderful free creative writing site where you can create your own stories using interesting and beautiful images provided by a variety of illustrators. These can be summarised as 'short, art-inspired stories' and they are great for writing collaboratively or for individual writing. Teachers can get a free account for each class with easy access which is a great timesaver. Users can share their stories by sending a URL via e-mail, or they can purchase them.

How to use in the classroom
*Excite the students about becoming a published author
*Explain that their work will be read by people all over the world

*Have the writings be completed before they publish to the web... if they already have a draft of a story. It becomes easier to chunk their sentences to import into different pages to represent the given art work.

Tutorials

Storybird demo.movie

Super Storytelling with StoryBird

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T00YjRBIcIw


An example of  a story
Examples of friendship, love and family in nature

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Further Reading
http://www.edutopia.org/blog/storybird-new-teacher-boot-camp-lisa-dabbs

Do try Storybird with your class. It is a great way of encouraging reluctant writer to write and feel very proud of their achievements. 


Thursday, 23 May 2013

Webinar recording from 22/05/2013 - Navigating the Partners in Learning Network



The webinar summary
The Partners in Learning Network is a great portal for teachers who are interested in ICT in education who want to find like-minded colleagues, free downloadable tools that they can use to enhance lessons and a place to discuss hot topics. In this webinar you will learn more about how to find free tools, search for learning activities and complete your profile so that other teachers will be able to find you!

Presenter 
Megan Rademeyer from SchoolNet

Webinar recording
Thank you to those who attended. Here is the link to the recording.
http://meet78641452.adobeconnect.com/p3txiivl4d0/


The presentation used for the webinar
This is the presentation that was used in the webinar. It can be easily downloaded from Slideshare.


There’s still time to submit a story suitable for a Grade 3 reader for the African Storybook project. Join us!


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We have just completed our course on writing and now we are waiting for stories suitable for Grade 3 students around Africa to read to be submitted from teachers around the country who have completed the course. WE hope that many of them will get their classes to write as well all in time for the launch of the African Storybook Project website in July. If you would like to contribute a story, please consider it. Here are the details.

1. The stories must be written in PowerPoint or similar and must contain a Tilte page, an End page and 6  -  16 'chunks' or paragraphs each with an illustration which could be on a separate slide. (If the stories are written in another language they need to have an English translation sent in on a separate Word document.) Here is a guide for writing:


requirements



This screenshot of the requirements can be downloaded as a PowerPoint  here for easier reading: https://www.box.com/s/vc4oep6cko76emvb5cj3 

2. There should be a creative commons license copied and pasted under the author's name as shown below. You can download the PowerPoint with the six copy-and-paste licenses from from this link: https://www.box.com/s/ojw9pv80pu6m739vsnkl This means the story can be changed I(for translation into the vernacular of a country etc) but always attributed to you and you are the only person who could ever sell your story.


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3. Stories must reach us by email 21 June 2013 or before to. fiona (at) schoolnet.org.za


4. The school which submits the most usable stories will qualify to have someone from the school sponsored to attend the Reading and Writing Conference in Kenya in August as a part of the African Storybook Team.


Thank you so much for considering joining us on this great venture!

Wednesday, 22 May 2013

Put your school in the spotlight! Apply to be a Microsoft Innovative School

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submitted by Megan Rademeyer
Applications are currently open for the  Microsoft Innovative School’s programme. The Microsoft Innovative Schools program is "a leading change management program for district and school leaders to drive their own innovation processes while identifying partners, technologies and environments that further improve student learning."

Schools with a track-record of inspirational leadership, innovation and successful implementations of change are invited to apply to become Microsoft Innovative Schools. Through this programme, schools have an opportunity to learn from other schools’ successful implementations of technology; leaders will learn strategies for building capacity to improve teaching practices; and practical strategies for reaching learner goals will be shared.

As a member, participants will become part of an exclusive one-year program recognizing educators and  school leaders who are using technology to transform education. This programme connects school leaders and educators in South Africa with other school leaders and educators from around the world. Application deadline is September 30, 2013. School leaders who are selected will also have the opportunity to attend the Partners in Learning Global Forum, our premier event bringing together more than 600 of the most innovative educators, school leaders, education leaders, and government officials from 80 countries.

Eunice High School in Bloemfontein
This is what Paul Cassar Principal of Eunice High School in Bloemfontein, first Microsoft Innovative School in South Africa says: 
“Participating in the Microsoft Innovative Schools program inspired us as a learning community and enabled us to reach out to other schools.”


Paul Cassar on the left

Download the brochure here
Read more here: http://www.pil-network.com/schools
The brochure about the innovative schools programme can be found at this link:
https://docs.google.com/file/d/0B7qOnpaO5hRlN0pJRk5oZ3NwVDQ/edit?usp=sharing

Join the TeachMeet at Elkanah House in Cape Town Saturday 8th June.



TeachMeets are short two-hour events  where teachers teach teachers about what they are doing in their classes to promote technology. This could be a lesson or idea where they use iPads, tablets or PCs. We love to keep track of where this happens in South Africa on our TeachMeet-South Africa wiki (http://teachmeet-southafrica.wikispaces.com/) so that we can promote the TeachMeet and follow the event on Twitter. Consequently we would like to advertise the 17th TeachMeet in SA (to our Knowledge) which will take place at Elkanah House in Cape Town Saturday 8th June.

You can sign up for the TeachMeet on Linda Fowlkes Teachmeet wiki (http://elkteachmeet.pbworks.com


 

Here is a little summary of a TeachMeet given by Linda

What is a TeachMeet?


A tiny professional development “un-conference” where teachers get together to simply share ideas or lessons using ICT as a tool using different devices. If one cannot attend but would like to share…why not Skype or submit a video which I will present for you.

How long is a TeachMeet?

2 hours [if you only have an hour, that’s ok!

What happens at a TeachMeet?

On sign-up one indicates whether to attend as:
1. Keen Bean – prepare and share a 3 min idea or lesson
2. Enthusiastic Lurker – relax, learn and absorb!

How do I sign up?

1. Email teachmeet@elkanah.co.za
2. Visit the TeachMeet website on: http://elkteachmeet.pbworks.com
3. via the Faceboolk event: https://www.facebook.com/events/425599134202560/

Calling all innovative teachers! Apply to be a Microsoft Innovative Educator: Expert



Submitted by Megan Rademeyer
Teachers from South Africa and Lesotho are invited to apply to be Microsoft Innovative Educator: Experts to stand a chance of winning a trip to the Partners in Learning Global Forum. To do this you will need to fill in the online application form and upload a learning activity which includes a two-minute video describing how you used technology to enhance a lesson or project to the Partners in Learning Network.

From the applications that are received by 3 June 2013, fifteen teachers will be selected to attend the SchoolNet SA ICT in the Classroom conference that is being held in Bloemfontein from 2 – 4 July 2013. At this conference these fifteen teachers will have an opportunity to share their learning activities, network with like-minded teachers, and learn more about using technology to enhance teaching. Later in the year, at least one of these fifteen teachers will be selected to attend the Global Partners in Learning Forum which will be taking place in a not-yet-decided international destination in March or April 2014.

2012 Innovative Teachers and School representatives from SA in Prague

The final closing date for Microsoft Innovative Educator: Expert applications has been extended to 30 September 2013. This means that teachers who apply after 3 June 2013 are still eligible to win a trip to the Global Partners in Learning Forum even if they did not have an opportunity to attend the SchoolNet SA conference. We look forward to seeing the creative and engaging learning activities that South African and Lesotho teachers have developed, and seeing our most innovative teachers being recognized for their hard work and creativity.

Find out more on the Partners in Learning Network at:
http://www.pil-network.com/Discussion/488ae828-fa68-4ef5-83a0-faa249c866c4
(You might need to join the PIL Network as a member first - a free membership)

Tuesday, 21 May 2013

Why not tune into our two Microsoft Partners in Learning short webinars on Weds 22nd and Weds 29th May

Logo Design by FlamingText.com
Logo Design by FlamingText.com

We invite you to join two Microsoft Partners in Learning webinars to be held on the next two Wednesday afternoons. These will be of special interest to those who are entering Microsoft’s Innovative Educator Expert competition in South Africa where the first closing date is 3 June if you would like to be chosen as one of the 15 finalists who will be completely sponsored to the SchoolNet Conference in Bloemfontein in July 2013. (The final closing date for the Microsoft’s Innovative Educator Expert competition is on 30 September). Find out more here.

Navigating the Partners in Learning Network
Name: Navigating the Partners in Learning Network
Summary: The Partners in Learning Network is a great portal for teachers who are interested in ICT in education who want to find like-minded colleagues, free downloadable tools that they can use to enhance lessons and a place to discuss hot topics. In this webinar you will learn more about how to find free tools, search for learning activities and complete your profile so that other teachers will be able to find you!
Presenter: Megan Rademeyer from SchoolNet
Start Time: 05/22/2013 3:30 PM
Duration: 15 – 30 mins
URL:http://meet78641452.adobeconnect.com/piln1/
Access: Anyone who has the URL for the meeting can enter the room


Sharing a Learning Activity on the Partners in Learning Network
Name: Sharing a Learning Activity on the PIL-Network
Summary: Are you using technology in a creative and engaging way to enhance a lesson? Have you developed a project that makes use of technology to build knowledge or solve a real world problem? If so - share your learning activity on the Partners in Learning Network and you could win a trip to the Global Partners in Learning Forum. In this webinar you will learn about the requirements for the competiton and tips for developing an impressive learning activity.Presenter: Megan Rademeyer from SchoolNet 
Start Time: 05/29/2013 3:30 PM
Duration: 00:15
URL:http://meet78641452.adobeconnect.com/r1do1h6omuo/
Access:Anyone who has the URL for the meeting can enter the room

See you there!

Friday, 17 May 2013

Creative Writing #7: Use YouTube stories to inspire your class to write...

There are many ways to get your class to write stories. This idea is to use YouTube videos to inspire writing. You could use these in different ways such as:

  • Talk about the structure of a story in terms that your age group understands
  • Show a video and then discuss the structure of the story or analyse the stages of a story
  • Watch the story and ask your class to rewrite it and change it. 

1. Owl Stories by Martin Waddell
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sJe0WupukAw




2. Handa’s Surprise by Eileene Browne
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XyIV_xYi0as



3. Handa’s Hen by Eileen Browne
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XyIV_xYi0as




An example of how to use these videos

Let's make a start by watching Owl Stories’ by Martin Waddell and then let's analyse it. Let’s see how a problem was brought in and resolved to make this beautiful story so appealing. I’ll use the following story structure idea, namely the idea of asking 'What If' and to keep asking 'What if?' until a plot emerges. 

What if question? 'What if the mother of new baby owls didn't come back from hunting for food?'  Keep asking related 'What if' questions and slowly a plot emerges as follows

1. Beginning: The babies are in their nest
2. Middle. A problem is introduced
    a) Mother Owl doesn’t come back.
    b) The baby owls start searching in the dark woods
    c) They discuss where they think Mommy could be
3. The end: The problem is resolved – Mommy comes back and finds them. 


A task
Why not take one of the other stories and see if you can analyse them to see if there was a problem or conflict introduced and resolved and how it impacted the story


Wednesday, 15 May 2013

Have you booked for the Inspired Teachers’ Conference in Johannesburg on 31st May?

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Read more and download the brochure here.

Creative writing #6: Have you explored using Little Bird Tales for writing?



Little Bird Tales (http://littlebirdtales.com) has quickly become a favourite web 2.0 tool of mine for writing in the primary school, mostly because it’s so easy to create a high-quality product and you can draw your own pictures online plus add narration. The web site allows users to create podcasts with images — basically, narrated slideshows — in just three steps:
  1. Users can upload photos to their Bird Tale or they can use an embedded drawing tool to draw images. Older students can add text to their images.
  2. Users then record narration to go with each image if they wish.
  3. Finally, users share their Bird Tales, by sending a URL via e-mail.
The name has a babyish sound but I have fund that this does not deter primary school age children. This video shows how Little Bird got his name: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=svnNCe5OD8k&feature=player_embedded

Watch this demo from Little bird tales
Here is a demo from YouTube showing how easy it is to us.


http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=P3CcWUtOiBk

An instruction video from Little Bird Tales


 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uEnhabCzrvo

Example of how a teacher created a story using Little Bird Tales
This comes from Juanit Oosthuizen from Elkanah House Cape Tiwn's lovely Foundation Phase blog  http://technoboffins.wordpress.com 

How Little Bird Tales is accessed
  1. Teachers can easily create a FREE account and begin creating tales. They can have all their students create tales under a single account, but the site also allows teachers to create separate FREE accounts for each student. These accounts are always connected to the teachers’ account, and the website is built to ensure student privacy since so many younger kids use it.
  2. The website asks users to create and use a “school code” so teachers and students from the same school can be grouped together. Teachers can’t access Bird Tales from another class unless it’s been shared with them, but it allows teachers to see who else in their school is using the tool and how often. This is helpful in terms of finding on-site teachers who can offer support.License
Try Little Bird Tales today and see what you think. 


Tuesday, 14 May 2013

Four resource sites every South African teacher should join


Logo Design by FlamingText.com
Logo Design by FlamingText.com

As the digital age and technology integration with lessons becomes more and more part of our daily lives, teachers look for web resources and new online materials as part of their preparation to help them with their teaching. This is definitely not an easy task for one needs to ‘live’ online in order to be able to keep up with what is available online. So I thought I would mention four very useful resource sites that teachers in South Africa should consider joining.

Microsoft Partners in Learning Network
http://www.pil-network.com/
  1. I’ll mention Microsoft’s Partners in Learning Network first since they are having a competition for joining that closes in June. Apart from that this is an incredible resource for teachers with lesson plans, topics, for discussion, opportunities for you to better your digital understanding, tutorials, and opportunities to network with teachers from around the world etc.. Currently they have four million users world wide.
  2. Secondly Microsoft has introduced the Microsoft Innovative Educator Expert programme this year  – entries close on two dates for South African teachers (3 June if you would like to be considered as a finalist in the South African Global Forum and ponsored to the Bloemfontein SchoolNet Conference, and the 31 July if you missed the first date. For this competition one needs to upload a learning activity to the Partners in Learning Network. Find out more at this URL http://www.pil-network.com/Educators/Expert. Join today!   
SchoolNetSA
http://www.schoolnet.org.za/

SchoolNet SA is considered South Africa’s leading innovator in professional development programmes in ICT integration and school ICT leadership. We are the national agency for two multi-national teacher development programmes, Intel* Teach to the Future and Microsoft* Partners in Learning. Please join us. Joining SchoolNet as a member brings unique opportunities to teachers. Currently we have two Conferences on the horizon
Twitter
https://twitter.com/

This is an international resource site but it is mentioned in this list of four because it is something a South African teacher cannot do without. There are thouands of educators from around the world on Twitter who network, chat, share ideas and resources, collaborate and support each other so why not join them!

Vodacom’s Digital Classroom
http://digitalclassroom.co.za/digitalclassroom/

The Vodacom Mobile Education Programme is a nationwide teacher development initiative to improve the quality of instruction in all subjects, with particular emphasis on Mathematics, Mathematical Literacy and Physical Science at Grade 10 to 12 level. The project focuses on ICT Literacy, as well as the effective use and integration of digital content in the classroom. Join today.

Wondering how to join these sites?

I have added a Slideshare below showing how to join these four resource sites and  have listed some of the benefits of joining each one.



There are other lovely South African sites that are also full of useful, free resources for teachers and that you don't actually need to join as such. e-classroom comes to mind. Have you seen their lovely free CAPS-aligned downloadable worksheets that can form the written part of a lesson? They are starting to branch out into other languages and I see that many of their worksheets are now translated to Afrikaans. 

Don't delay - join today!

Thursday, 9 May 2013

Webinar recording: How to create and publish digital media online (09/05/2013)



The webinar summary
This webinar supports week four of the Digital Storytelling and the African Storybook Project course. We will be looking at popular creative, free applications especially appealing to students for creating and publishing stories online. We will also look at other ways of publishing digital writing online especially when the writing has been created using a PowerPoint presentation. 

Webinar recording
The webinar attempts to pull together the different aspects for this week.  Thank you to those who attended. 
http://meet78641452.adobeconnect.com/p7zimfhxk2w/


The presentation used for the webinar
I have put the presentation used in the webinar into Slideshare and here it is:



Google #22 Discover the potential of YouTube to motivate you as a teacher


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There are so many really amazing, educational videos available on YouTube that can really motivate a teacher. These are often brief but powerful in the message expressed. Take a look at these few examples.

1) Connecting classrooms (1min 53secs)
Cathy Cassidy a Grade 1 teacher from Canada Gr 1 teacher gives 'A brief description of my journey to connect my classroom of 6 and 7 year olds'




2) What most schools don’t teach (5min 46secs)
These famous names in technology such as Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, Will.i.am, Chris Bosh, Jack Dorsey, Tony Hsieh, Drew Houston, Gabe Newell, Ruchi Sanghvi, Elena Silenok, Vanessa Hurst, and Hadi Partovi.  express their viewpoints on knowing how to code a computer.



3) The Future of Learning, Networked Society - Ericsson (20 min 16secs)
We’re living in a networked society – a great way to learn anything new. Watch this video as world renowned experts and educators talk about a networked society’s potential to shift away from traditional methods of learning based on memorization and repetition to more holistic approaches that focus on individual students' needs and self expression.



4) What is 21st century learning?(2min 11secs)


These are just a few of the many many offerings that can inspire teachers on YouTube. Do you know of any others to recommend?

Wednesday, 8 May 2013

Join a free Western Cape Innovation workshop on Sat 11th or Sat 18th May


Microsoft is currently holding free workshops around the country to prepare teachers for the Microsoft Partners in Learning Innovative Educator Forum this year, and we are holding two in the Cape Town region over the next two Saturdays.  We would love you to attend one of them (the presenter at both workshops will be Fiona Beal).

Dates
Saturday 11th May 2013 – Somerset House Preparatory School,  Drama Street, Somerset West from 8:30 – 4pm
Saturday 18th May 2013 – St Cyprians School, Gorge Road, Oranjezicht, 8001 from 8:30 – 4pm

Microsoft Innovative Educator Expert programme
The format and requirements for the Microsoft Partners in Learning Forum have changed quite radically this year compared to previous years. Microsoft is introducing the Microsoft Innovative Educator Expert programme recognising 250 innovative teachers from around the world (much like the Apple Distinguished Educator and the Google Certified Teacher) The Global Forum for this will take place in March 2014 (destination still to be announced), but entries still have to be in this year. There are two entry dates for this competition:

        By 3 June 2013 to win a trip to the SchoolNet Conference in Bloemfontein and be selected as a finalist at the South African Global Forum
        By 31 July 2013 for another chance to be a Microsoft Innovative Educator Expert

(The reason for  the two dates  is that teachers can still apply for the Microsoft Expert Educator programme up till the closing date at the end of July but would miss being recognised at the local forum in Bloemfontein.)

Teachers are now asked to upload a Learning Activity to the Partners in Learning Network (including a two-minute video) and they need to apply to be a Microsoft Innovative Educator: Expert. This is not as daunting as it sounds! How to apply is covered in the workshop, but attention is also paid to making sound use of digital tools, using social media for professional development and looking at examples of how other teachers have used digital tools in engaging or creative ways.

Workshop sessions
The current Innovation Workshop is quite different from previous versions and feedback from sessions that have already been run has been very positive. Below are the session titles and what is covered:

Session 1: Teaching and Learning in a connected world
Using Social Media for educational purposes and your own professional development

Session 2: Learning Activities that use Digital Tools
See how other teachers have created or enhanced a lesson by incorporating free, easy-to-use tools

Session 3: Getting ideas, mastering tools, creating Learning Activities
Devise a Learning Activity that would teach a new concept to a group using a tool or technique

Session 4: 21st Century Learning Dimensions
Learn about six dimensions that 21st Century teachers should aim towards and how to include them in your learning activities

Session 5: Creating your own Learning Activity
Brainstorm ways of creating or enhancing a learning activity that you can use to develop 21st century skills

Session 6: Applying to be a Microsoft Innovative Educator: Expert
Show your passion for using technology for education and you stand a chance of winning a spot at the SchoolNet ICT in the Classroom conference to present your Learning Activity and being selected to attend the Partners in Learning Global Forum

We know that many teachers are creating creative and engaging learning activities and we would love to see these entries. It would be great if you could encourage colleagues to enter and could perhaps run a few sessions with them as part of your staff development programmes. More information about the Forum as well as the resources for the sessions can be found at the following link: 2013 South Africa and Lesotho Partners in Learning Discussion on the PiL Network at  http://www.pil-network.com/Discussion/488ae828-fa68-4ef5-83a0-faa249c866c4

Contact fiona(at)schoolnet.org.za for further details.