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SchoolNet News September 2016
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Welcome to our September 2016 newsletter. In this issue we bring you:
  • A report on our National Awards ICT-Advanced Educators who were invited to attend the EdTechSummit
  • An invitation to become part of the Microsoft Schools programme
  • News about Intel's new course for leaders in education
  • News about Microsoft and Western Cape School Improvement Project that has launched 
  • and much more.
SchoolNet Members receive our newsletter; they are invited to our free webinars; and they are the first to know about conferences and events. If you are not sure whether you are a SchoolNet member we invite you to visit our website home page found at: http://www.schoolnet.org.za/ and click on 'Sign up for SchoolNet membership' to join.

National Teachers Awards Winners attend EdTech Summit

In order to recognise teachers who are using technology to enhance education, SchoolNet SA sponsored prizes for the teachers placing first, second and third in the ICT-Enhanced Education Category of the National Teachers Awards. This prize comprised a SchoolNet SA facilitated course for each of the three winner’s schools as well as an opportunity to attend a conference focusing on ICT in education. The winners all chose to attend the EdTEch Team’s Google Apps for Education Summit held at Dainfern Collegeon 2 and 3 September 2016.
 
Gafieza Ismail, the winner of this category from Spine Road High School in Mitchells Plain, Western Cape thoroughly enjoyed the conference. She wrote “Thanking you once again for the wonderful and educable experience I had at the Edtech Summit. It was enlightening but more importantly it enlivened once more the indelible impression we can make as educators. It allowed for discursive and productive communication amongst professionals, empowering our potential and capabilities as educators.”
 
Roshan Behareelall of ML Sultan Primary School in Ladysmith, KwaZulu-Natal, who placed second, said that he “had wonderful learning experience at the Google summit. It has assisted me to re-ignite the flame of the use of technology in my classroom. The amount of experience and knowledge gained has raised me to a point of no return. All excited to start implementing these concepts of learning in the classroom. The tools on assessment by L Wesner was the highlight of my Summit.”
 
The third place winners for the ICT Enhanced Education category were a pair of teachers from Hoer Volkskool Potchefstroom in the NorthWest, Morne Smit and Dejon Weyers. They both attended the conference and enjoyed a range of inspirational sessions that provided hands-on opportunities to use a range of Google tools in ways that could enhance lessons or make teachers more productive.
 

Intel® Launches new Course for Leaders in Education

Intel® Corporation’s professional development team, Ms Shelley Shott and Ms Annie Gladding were recently in South Africa to pilot Intel’s new Leading Sustainable Change course in 
Ga-Rankuwa in Tshwane West. The district’s 160 school principals were invited to two day workshops which took place between 29 August and 2 September 2016

Please see our website here to find out more details
Apply to be part of the Microsoft Schools Programme
Is your school actively using technology to improve teaching and learning? Is your school using (or considering deploying) Office 365 for use in school administration and the classroom? Are your school leaders using technology to assist with school transformation? Would your school like technical support and professional development from Microsoft to make better use of your Microsoft technology for education?
 
If you have answered “yes” to these questions, consider signing your school up to be part of the Microsoft Schools Programme by linking to this online form http://bit.ly/2cDh49a by Friday 21 October 2016. When we receive and approve your application to be a Microsoft School – you will receive Microsoft School status for demonstrating commitment to embracing technology to transform education and improve learning outcomes for students.
 
Through the Microsoft Schools programme your school would receive the following:
  • Technical support for getting Office 365 successfully deployed at your schoo
  • Teacher professional development to ensure that it can be used effectively to provide a 21st century teaching and learning environment
  • Opportunities to connect and share ideas with other schools in your region, across the country and globally
  • Invitations to Microsoft in Education events
Teacher spotlight on Mrs Nomusa Khoza
The language of teaching and learning for the Foundation phase at Sidlemu Primary School is isiSwati and this changes to English for grades 4 to 7 learners. This transition places immense pressure on learners because they have to grasp an additional language whilst at the same time trying to understand subject content. This has resulted in some learners being kept back in the same grade for two years and this leads to additional administration and challenges for teachers to think beyond the requirements of the grade to ensure that adequate interventions are put in place so that the learner can improve and progress. Nomusa has found that the best way to deal with some of these challenges is to look at the needs of the learners and seek for help from the community and corporations who have resources. In her case, she has found the Telkom Foundation whose Connected Schools Project introduced the Rally to Read programme where learners are encouraged to learn to read and focus on reading with understanding. Nomusa says “these programmes encourage learners to read and as we all know reading expands their vocabulary and demonstrates writing skills, and spelling which in turn makes my teaching a lot more effective.”

Read more about this month's Spotlight Teacher here
Microsoft and Western Cape School Improvement Project launches
Forty two schools in the Western Cape recently each received 100 Microsoft devices each for use in junior primary classrooms. As part of this project, SchoolNet SA was commissioned to provide training, coaching and support to the staff members who will be using the devices to help ensure that the technology is actively used to enhance teaching and learning.
 
This project kicked off with SchoolNet’s Omashani Naidoo running two workshops for the district Foundation Phase Coordinators on the 29th and 30th August 2016. The two-hour workshops were scheduled  to provide coordinators a chance to "play" with the tablets that have been rolled out to schools in their districts. The intention of these sessions was to ensure that coordinators were able to navigate the device, find and evaluate useful apps for teaching in foundation phase, understand what apps were available on the device and how to design lessons to include these apps to demonstrate learning.
 
The second component of the project was running nine clustered district training sessions for teachers from the junior primary phase at schools that have received the tablets. Each cluster had one day of training which took place on either Saturday 3rd and 10th October 2016. At these workshops, SchoolNet facilitated an adaptation of the SACE endorsed Intel Tablets in the Classroom course which focussed on Tablet Fundamentals; Educational Applications; Tablet Integration and Effective Classroom Management Strategies.
 
The third component of the project involves a SchoolNet SA facilitator visiting each school to provide one day of coaching and support to teachers. We look forward to hearing how the Microsoft devices are being used.
             
 Africa Code Week coming up...
Are you ready to CRACK THE CODE! Africa Coding Week 2016 is going to be the largest coding event in Africa with over 30 countries participating in coding from 15 October – 23 October 2016. Organised by SAP, youth between the ages of 8 and 11; 12 and 17; and 18 and 24 are invited to participate in customised coding programmes for their age group. Coding is fun and all yours to learn! Why not try your hand at creating your own interactive games?

For more information click here
Internet.org by Facebook and Free Basics in South Africa – offered by Cell C
Free Basics by Facebook partners with mobile operators in different countries to provide people with access to useful services on their mobile phones in areas where internet access may be less affordable. In South Africa, Cell C has thus far partnered with Free Basics and has a number of websites available for free without data charges (zero-rated), and include content such as the news, employment, health, education and local information. By introducing people to the benefits of the internet through these websites, Free Basics hope to bring more people online and help improve their lives.

Are you a Cell C subscriber? If you are why don’t you try Free Basics? Follow the steps on the link https://www.cellc.co.za/cellc/free-basics-by-facebook

Read more here
The RASA Conference takes place this weekend in Pietermaritzburg
The Reading Association of South Africa is holding its yearly conference in Pietermaritzburg this weekend, from 30 September - 2nd October. Will you be attending?  The DG Murray Trust and SchoolNet 's Learning Gains through Play teachers are making presentations on each day. You will find more details on their blog here https://rasakzn.wordpress.com/ 
If you are not yet a SchoolNet member, please join us by clicking here and following the prompts to be kept in touch with our various offerings from time to time. We hope you'll visit our blog and our Facebook page regularly. We also invite you to follow us on Twitter (@SchoolNetSa)

Warm regards 
The SchoolNet team

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