Monday, 11 December 2017

Useful Microsoft in Education posts this week #134

The Internet is currently full of posts about using Microsoft products effectively in the classroom. Here are a The Internet is currently full of posts about using Microsoft products effectively in the classroom. Here are a number of them from this past week. The list is embedded below but can also be found at http://bit.ly/2BqkQDZ .The link to the back-dated posts is: http://bit.ly/1GVLTUZ


Saturday, 9 December 2017

Useful Google in Education posts this week #123

After looking through all the Google posts that were shared to various subscriptions recently, these are a selection that look useful for teachers https://goo.gl/BaagZ2  . (The link to previous posts can be found here https://goo.gl/CNO3M2). 



Friday, 8 December 2017

Webinar recording and presentation download link for 'Putting your story on the map with Google Tourbuilder' by Linda Foulkes.



On Thursday Thursday 30th November 2017 at 3:15pm (GMT+2) we held a free SchoolNet webinar entitled 'Putting your story on the map with Google Tour Builder'' which was presented by Linda Foulkes, SMIEE / Freelance Trainer / Consultant / Courseware Author / eLearning Content Creator at Foulkes@Work in the United Kingdom. 

How much do you know about Google Tour Builder? Google describes its product like this: "Tour Builder is a new way to show people the places you've visited and the experiences you had along the way using Google Earth. It lets you pick the locations right on the map, add in photos, text, and video, and then share your creation."

Webinar descriptionLinda said, "Students and Teachers can create an interactive timeline-like experience to share information using features from Google Earth, Google Drive, YouTube, Photos, and so much more, using the free tool, Google Tour Builder. Creating a Google Tour transforms your traditional interactive map by adding in a multimedia component that helps students gain a deeper understanding of content. During this session we will explore Tour Builder and learn how to add locations, photos, video and descriptions to create a visual timeline of events."

The downloadable webinar presentation
Here is the downloadable presentation from the webinar available online in SlideShare from this link https://goo.gl/quqkNt


Putting your story on the map with Google Tour Builder by Linda Foulkes from SchoolNet SA

Webinar recording
The webinar recording can be listened to and viewed here: https://goo.gl/mwVz6y (The recording is currently being uploaded to YouTube and consequently this link will change to a YouTube link shortly)
http://meet78641452.adobeconnect.com/pie06uubq4nn/ 
SchoolNet presents a free webinar once a month.


The BCX Disrupt Summit brings inspiration to Johannesburg


Recently on 16 – 17 November the inaugural BCX Disrupt Summit took place in Johannesberg, hosted in collaboration with BrainFarm, with the exhilarating Kyalami racetrack as the backdrop. Omashani from SchoolNet attended. The BCX Disrupt website advertised the event saying: “For the first time in Africa, the world’s greatest thinkers gathered on one stage, giving us a glimpse of a future brimming with opportunity.”  

Listen to will.I.am announcing this inspirational event in this short 49 second video




There was an impressive lineup of speakers:


If you missed the summit but you’re keen to be exposed to some of the great talkss, the best of the videos are available to watch on YouTube at: http://bit.ly/2A30Z9o   Here are some examples: 




BCX Disrupt also has an interesting Facebook page. https://www.facebook.com/pg/BCXworld/

Thursday, 7 December 2017

I Am Science – a new free Science app offering great opportunities for high school girls in disadvantaged areas


SchoolNet SA was invited to brainstorm at the Goethe Institut more than a year ago.  It is most pleasing to now report on the outcome - a new Science learning app called I am Science which targets early high school girls in disadvantaged areas and aims to smash gender stereotyping in science, biased against girls and women.   The initiative is being implemented by the Goethe-Institut with support from the GIZ and financial support from the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ).

The Goethe Institut was concerned that only 30% of science researchers in the world are women and the gender, digital and science divide has only increased in developing countries since 2013. Bridging this gap is complicated because its roots run deep. Unequal access to education for girls; gender stereotypes and poor access to science labs are just some of the obstacles in the way of girls being curious about science and technology.

That's where I Am Science comes in. The project combines science activities; video, and digital learning with the dual aim of increasing curiosity in science and changing perceptions about girls in science. At after-school events, the project offers groups of girls the chance to do hands-on science activities and be professionally filmed doing these. The videos are then turned into video quizzes and published on a popular learning app: http://mylevelup.mobi/iamscience  where other South African teens can earn data and airtime as a reward for doing them.


Want to get more involved? Teens can use the mobisite to apply for the I am Science team from the Goethe Institut to visit their school. Are you a teacher looking for unique, supplementary teaching content? The videos are divided into categories such as ‘Catalysts’ and ‘Air pressure’ on the mobisite and are a great way to introduce peer-to-peer learning into your classroom.
Through I Am Science, teen girls will touch, hear and see the scientific concepts they’ve only heard about from words on a chalkboard. They are able to watch themselves and their peers in high-quality videos of science activities. They are able to say, ‘I am science’, because science is all around us. And it is for everyone, no matter who you are, or where you come from.

For the past 2 months, I Am Science has implemented programmes at 3 Gauteng schools. Professionally-produced videos of girls from Soweto, Tembisa and Alexandra doing hands-on science activities have been uploaded to YouTube & turned into video quizzes - published on the learning app Levelup.  @_IAmScience is the first project in South Africa to co-create peer-to-peer, educational, science video content with girls. The Levelup app allows teen users to earn digital tokens for submitting correct answers which are redeemable for airtime and data.  Visit the app to see how it works: http://mylevelup.mobi/iamscience
  1. I Am Science - How do you crush a can without standing on it? http://bit.ly/2BRQsiR 
  2. Can you set your hand on fire without burning it? http://bit.ly/2j4F92l 
  3. How do you make a fire without using matches? http://bit.ly/2AnFVyE

As reported by Fundisiwe Maseko in IT News Africa, “Not only do girls get to star in a professional video in which they demonstrate science activities but the programme also allows for time to demonstrate these to their classmates and teachers, thereby flipping traditional teaching-learning roles.  Through the creation and dissemination of free and unique science learning content, the project will continue in 2018 to contribute towards the ultimate goal of propelling more girls towards science-related career. “

For further information visit the project website https://www.iamscienceproject.com/

Wednesday, 6 December 2017

The Story of a Successful School...

SchoolNet South Africa has been conducting a fascinating research project over the past four years, called Learning Gains through Play (LGP) which is funded by the D G Murray Trust. Ten schools received technology in the form of a bank of tablets with carefully selected apps and Xbox Kinect console, large-screen TV and games. Teachers received personal tablets and intensive professional development training in mastering and embedding technology in classroom teaching and learning and learner-driven activities focusing on learning through play. A change-leadership course for school leaders and a peer-mentoring programme for participating teachers strengthened the project design by creating a supportive environment for these teachers to explore new pedagogies.  The peer coaching programme ensure that the learnings from the training would be sustained after the project end.

Tracking over four years
Learning Gains through Play Project learners were tracked over a four year period to assess their progress in foundational skills. Data was compared with control school learners who were assessed and tracked in the same manner (but did not enjoy the benefits of any of the Learning Gains through Play project inputs). While results showed improved achievement in all five foundational literacies of gross-motor skills, fine-motor skills, numeracy, visual literacy and oral English communication skills, it was the last of these that yielded extraordinarily substantial gains in learning. While all Project school learners showed improved achievement when compared to the Control school learners, one Project school stood out and above the others.
A school in Asanda village
This school was situated on the edge of the informal settlement of Asanda Village between Somerset West and the Strand.  This school has almost 1300 learners and 36 teachers. The school is made up entirely of pre-fabricated classrooms and these are often plagued by flooding right up to their entrances and freezing cold or boiling hot inside temperatures depending on the season of the year. Despite the obvious challenges, there is a special kind of magic at play here at this school.


A great school team
Learners are in class and visibly learning during the day. Teachers are in class, motivated and proud of their activities. The principal is resolute, and together with her deputy and HODs, they are a formidable team pursuing their goals and enacting their plans. There is a great sense of purpose and ambition at this school.

At the beginning of the project...
When the LGP project began in 2014, the Annual National Assessments (ANAs) were still being written in South African schools. Grade 1 learners in all ten LGP Project schools and the two Control schools wrote ANAs for Language and Mathematics. These results provided a standardized comparison between all of the schools involved in the project at the start. When ranked according to their Grade 1 2014 ANA results, our Asanda Village school was ninth among the 12 schools involved. This poor ranking was confirmed in the LGP baseline assessments where this school was ranked 10th out of the 12 schools. These included the two project schools who occupied positions 5th and 6th rankings on ANA results and 5th and 7th rankings on LGP baseline results.

Three years later...
Three years later, by the end of the Learning Gains through Play project, this school had risen significantly above all of the other schools to occupy 1st position on the ranking scale! This underprivileged school had made the greatest learning gains and achieved the highest overall final assessment results amongst the 12 schools.

Impressive findings
When considering the oral English skills assessed over the course of the project, the achievements in this school are extraordinary. All learners were assessed by means of a scripted interview, face-to-face and one at a time. Learner responses were analysed to place each learner on one of five stages identified by Professor Stephen Krashen[1], a world leader in Second Language Acquisition (SLA). According to Krashen, students learning a second language move through five predictable stages: Preproduction, Early Production, Speech Emergence, Intermediate Fluency, and Advanced Fluency. This Stage 1 of “Preproduction” is also known as the “Silent Stage” and the vast majority of learners (both Project and Control) in the Learning Gains through Play project were assessed on this level at the start of the project. Learners were tested each year at the same time of the year through Grade R, Grade 1, Grade 2 and Grade 3 and their progress through the SLA stages recorded. All learners were isiZulu or isiXhosa speakers at home and were taught at school in these same languages.



This graph shows the progress of the Control learners. Even though formal English Additional Language learning was introduced from Grade 1, the bulk of the learners (57%) were still stuck on the Silent Stage 1 after the four Foundation Phase years.

Learners at the school in Asanda Village started behind the Control learners and learners at the other Project schools as 100% of their learners were on the SLA Silent Stage 1 at the beginning. Initial progress was small, but by Grade 2 there was a considerable difference between the oral English skills of this school’s learners compared to the Control learners. By Grade 3 the majority of Control learners (57%) were still on Stage 1 while 100% of this school’s learners had progressed beyond Stage 1 with half of these already at Stage 3 (almost four times the number of Control learners at this stage).

All Learning Gains through Play Project schools received the same project inputs and benefited from change management training for school leaders, teacher professional development workshops, (not just to use the technology but focusing on new pedagogies to integrate the technology and encourage learning through play) and regular visits from Western Cape Education Department e-Learning officials and the SchoolNet team. Yet this need school outperformed all of the other schools, so what is their secret of success?

The Principal, and her Deputy, were personally involved in the LGP project right from the start. When the project was first initiated, the principal consulted with the teachers to prime them and to reassure them of her support. She approached the School Governing Board (SGB) to secure their buy-in and their backing. They agreed to fund the cost of transporting the teachers to the professional development workshops over the three years ahead. The Deputy Head took responsibility for the security and maintenance of the technology and both leaders kept the teachers encouraged and supported especially at the start through the challenges of mastering the technology. This visionary lady principal could appreciate the value of using technology in all classrooms at her school. By the end of the LGP project, she had secured additional tablets and had devised a plan to use the LGP project teachers to share their newly-acquired expertise with the teachers of other grades at the school on how to effectively use digital tools and resources for learning.

The teachers of all the grades throughout the school were made aware of the LGP project and the feedback from workshops was shared so that other phase teachers could also support the LGP project. The Foundation Phase HOD and the Grade 1 HOD, was an enthusiastic “early adopter” of the technology and actively assisted the straggler teachers to keep up. When one scratches a bit below the surface, it is clear that this school is made up of many teachers who share admiring and supportive relationships, not only at work but in their personal lives too. School leaders and teachers share car lifts home after afternoon workshops; teachers are long-serving and friendships between teachers from their first appointments together exist and grow as they further their studies together. There is an optimistic, dynamic and purposeful air around this prefab school contrasting sharply with the hopelessness of the sprawling impoverished informal settlement right next door. At this successful school, teachers meet opportunities for change with enthusiasm and this contagious energy among a staff with existing positive relationships creates and builds a team for success.

__________________________________________
[1] Krashen, S.D. (1981) Bilingual Education and Second Language Acquisition. Schooling and Language Minority Students: A Theoretical Framework, 51-79.

Tuesday, 5 December 2017

Useful Microsoft in Education posts this week #133

The Internet is currently full of posts about using Microsoft products effectively in the classroom. Here are a The Internet is currently full of posts about using Microsoft products effectively in the classroom. Here are a number of them from this past week. The list is embedded below but can also be found at http://bit.ly/2Btf7x8.The link to the back-d ated posts is: http://bit.ly/1GVLTUZ

Lesotho gets Skyping


Submitted by Megan Rademeyer
Microsoft’s annual Skype-a-Thon is a 48-hour long event that aims to connect classrooms across continents, travelling over 10 million virtual miles and connecting half a million students. Between 28 and 29 November 2017 a number of schools in South Africa and Lesotho got involved by connecting with other students, sharing stories, playing games and collaborating on subjects that the classes shared in common.

Microsoft Innovative Educator Expert Mpho Phakisi of Lesotho got her students involved in the Skype-A-Thon. She connected her learners from Phethahatso English Medium Community School with learners in Libya, Malaysia, Russia, Canada and France.

As exciting as it was for the Lesotho learners to get to speak to learners from different countries, it was as exciting for the foreign learners to connect with children from the mountain kingdom – in a small country they had possibly never heard of. 

Mpho said, "We had a great session with Aliff Othman class from Malaysia touring their Art classroom"


Mpho has recently completed an Advanced Certificate in Teaching part-time through the University of the Free State and enjoys integrating technology into her lessons. By being part of the Skype-A-Thon, Mpho earned her Skype Explorer badge on the Microsoft Educator Community for participating in five Skype in the Classroom sessions.

Mpho commented that her learners were so motivated by the experience that they want to share their activities and their culture in next year's Skype-a-thon.

Find out more about the Skype-A-Thon and other Skype in the Classroom activities by joining the Microsoft Educator Community

Monday, 4 December 2017

A visit to the Cape of Good Hope and the SchoolNet ICT in the Classroom Conference - by Peter Rafferty


SchoolNet Conference goers in 2017 will remember the valuable contribution made by our overseas presenter, Peter Rafferty and his infectious enthusiasm for innovation in teaching. He has taken the time to write this article about his visit to South Africa. Even more interesting is the way he relates his experiences in South Africa to his own experiences as a learner when he was at school and as a teacher now in England and somehow Peter manages to subtly highlight the impact that technology has had on teaching and learning.


Peter writes:
"In 1966 Francis Chichester became the first person to sail single handed around the world by the Clipper route and in doing so became the fastest circumnavigator in nine months and one day. I remember his journey pretty clearly, because as a pupil at St Anne’s Primary School (Ormskirk, UK) we followed his journey as a class project on a great big map on our classroom wall. The thing I could never quite understand, at the time, was that Francis Chichester (and his boat) disappeared off the map, east of Australia and New Zealand and then, somehow, magically appeared west of Argentina and South America.

I recall our teacher, Miss Sissons, repeating the phrase, “this map is flat, the world isn’t….” as a seven year old, I just didn’t get it.

Other notable things I remember about the project was watching Francis Chichester on television land at Plymouth harbour (wobbly legs), the description of his journey round Cape Horn (because of the huge waves and rough seas) and The Cape of Good Hope (because of why it is called “The Cape of Good Hope”). Where Miss Sissons got the rest of the information about this epic voyage from, or how long it took to appear on our classroom map, I’m not quite sure, and in all fairness, I don’t remember much else, but things stick and random connections develop. 

Les Sables D’Olonne is a small harbour town on the west coast of France. For a while, when my children were younger, we used to go on holiday there every year. It’s a lovely place and is the start and finish point of the four yearly Vendee Globe. This a single handed, round the world yacht race and, especially in France, is a huge event. Ellen MacArthur is quite famous because of it and just like when I was a pupil at St Anne’s, as a teacher at Green Park Primary School (Maghull, UK) my class followed a round the world single-handed yacht journey on a great big map on the wall in our classroom. Of course technology changed the way this particular adventure was viewed. Everything was online. Where she was, what she did, everyday trials and tribulations and we saw her, as near as time zones permitted, instantly as she battled past places like…... …….the Cape of Good Hope and Cape Horn. The information was presented to us as part of a global audience of classrooms, television companies, individuals, just about anyone who was interested. For our class, it was a window on a world event that we could actually participate in. 

Well in the land of small worldism, coincidences and “I’m not quite sure how this has happened,” I (and my wife) found ourselves last month at “The Cape of Good Hope”

The reason we were there was because of an invitation by Janet Thomson and her team at SchoolNet South Africa (including Intel Visionary Omashani Naidoo) to come along to take part and present at their 20th birthday conference. The invitation was as exciting and thrilling to me as Istanbul 2005. Not least because it gave me a platform to talk about my enthusiasm, passion and belief that skilled and effective use of technology has an absolutely vital part in teaching and learning wherever in the world anyone happens to be..

Maybe, just like the round the world yacht adventures I followed as a pupil, and then later as a teacher, technology in education over the years has had its brilliantly exciting moments of inspiration and excitement and equally, moments of expensive time consuming failure. Everyone who has the slightest interest in the topic can recount their own differing stories. I visited a school in the UK last week and the frustration of the newly qualified Year 4 (eight and nine year olds) class teacher about the devices she (and her pupils) had to work with was palpable. My SchoolNet presentation about “A Classroom in My Back Pocket” which, amongst other things, described how the simple and wonderful Google Classroom can be opened up to involve people from across the world to participate and collaborate in a safe, controllable environment, was almost sabotaged in the UK by a firewall issue. A text message arrived on the morning of the presentation from Mrs Burns the Y6 at Green Park:


These things happen, and will continue to happen, with technology, but for each of these kind of stories there are lots of examples of teachers inspiring students, connecting events and making learning better, with the use of technology.

Getting the best of what is available for the children we educate, and using it with skilled creative imagination is essential. Choosing not to, isn’t an option I think and here’s the thing. Everyone I met, spoke to, had conversations with, presented, and gave workshops, whether at the conference or in more informal “social” settings were there because they wanted to be there and to make a difference. Whatever the conference brought to them to develop their teacher technology skills they will go back to their schools with the enthusiasm and determination to make a difference that brought them there in the first place. I often see or hear the phrase, “it’s the teacher not the technology”. Here in South Africa as people headed home on trains, planes and automobiles (as well as packed coaches) it most definitely was.

One of the last places we visited, and just round the corner from The Cape of Good Hope, was Boulders Beach. We knew it was home to a colony of African Penguins but the knowledge we had didn’t prepare us for the sight we saw when we arrived at the beach. It was exactly the same feeling you get when you see an inspirational teacher. is was a brilliant trip that had taken us from Maghull to Manchester to Doha to Johannesburg to Pietermaritzburg to Cape Town to The Cape of Good Hope and back again. We encountered a wonderfully friendly, young country, full of people who smiled and shared their enthusiasm. In the middle of it all is Nelson Mandela. "


Conference photos

Friday, 1 December 2017

Get your learners involved in the Hour of Code


Submitted by Megan Rademeyer
Microsoft is once again teaming up with Code.org to support the Hour of Code. Although the activities on code.org/minecraft can be completed at no cost at any time, learners around the world are encouraged to be part of an initiative to get students learning the basics of coding during Computer Science Education Week – between 4 and 10 December 2017.

You may have got your learners doing the Minecraft themed Hour of Code activities last year, and if you would like to use these tutorials again, they are still available. This year, however, Minecraft is supporting the Hour of Code with a NEW Minecraft tutorial that introduces a new character: the Minecraft Agent! This tutorial is focused on helping students learn to write code that will help their Agent overcome obstacles. Using the Minecraft world they know and love, students of all ages and any experience level can learn the basics of coding, and how to use problem solving and critical thinking to achieve their goals. 


Why code?
Technology is constantly changing the way we navigate the world, and there is a growing need for students to build new skills to help them be successful in the future. In some cases, to prepare them for jobs and careers that don't even exist yet. Coding is a way to empower young people, and gives them the tools they need to not only express themselves, but help them transform the way they think critically and solve complex problems. All young people deserve the opportunity to learn the skills they need to find their passions and succeed. Coding is a great way to help them go from simply interacting with technology - to creating it.

Take action!
Sign up your centre to run an Hour of Code workshop here. You can use the free facilitator's guide, quick tip sheet, and PowerPoint slides to lead your own Minecraft Hour of Code.

Continue the learning experience
Once complete, students can import their code into Minecraft: Education Edition to bring their own creations to life in the real game!

Hour of Code is organized by Code.org, a Microsoft YouthSpark grant recipient dedicated to expanding participation in computer science by making it available in more schools and increasing participation by women and other underrepresented students.

Useful Google in Education posts this week #122

After looking through all the Google posts that were shared to various subscriptions recently, these are a selection that look useful for teachers https://goo.gl/NWoBGD  . (The link to previous posts can be found here https://goo.gl/CNO3M2). 

Tuesday, 28 November 2017

Useful Microsoft in Education posts this week #132

The Internet is currently full of posts about using Microsoft products effectively in the classroom. Here are a The Internet is currently full of posts about using Microsoft products effectively in the classroom. Here are a number of them from this past week. The list is embedded below but can also be found at http://bit.ly/2AJ9v1v  The link to the back-dated posts is: http://bit.ly/1GVLTUZ



Monday, 27 November 2017

SchoolNet free webinar ' Putting your story on the map with Google Tour Builder' presented by Linda Foulkes on Thurs 30th November at 3:15pm


We are pleased to announce that our next free webinar, 'Putting your story on the map with Google Tour Builder' will be held this coming Thursday 30th November 2017 at 3:15pm (GMT+2). Our speaker will be Linda Foulkes, MIEE / Freelance Trainer / Consultant / Courseware Author / eLearning Content Creator at Foulkes@Work in the United Kingdom. This will be SchoolNet's final webinar for 2017. 

Google Tour Builder
How much do you know about Google Tour Builder? Google describes its product like this: "Tour Builder is a new way to show people the places you've visited and the experiences you had along the way using Google Earth. It lets you pick the locations right on the map, add in photos, text, and video, and then share your creation." In Thursday's webinar Linda will take us through this amazing, free program. We invite you to join us! 


Webinar details
Webinar title: Putting your story on the map with Google Tour Builder
Presenter: Linda Foulkes, MIEExpert / Freelance Trainer / Consultant / Courseware Author / eLearning Content Creator at Foulkes@Work
Summary: Linda says, "Students and Teachers can create an interactive timeline-like experience to share information using features from Google Earth, Google Drive, YouTube, Photos, and so much more, using the free tool, Google Tour Builder. Creating a Google Tour transforms your traditional interactive map by adding in a multimedia component that helps students gain a deeper understanding of content. During this session we will explore Tour Builder and learn how to add locations, photos, video and descriptions to create a visual timeline of events."
Date: Thursday 30th November at 3:15pm
Duration: 15-30 minutes
Host: Fiona Beal representing SchoolNet
To join the online meeting:
http://meet78641452.adobeconnect.com/googletourbuilder/

Note:
Even if you have attended an Adobe Connect meeting before you will need to install a free add-in. To investigate this, test your connection: http://bit.ly/2kcJiiH

Saturday, 25 November 2017

The SchoolNet 2017 ICT in the Classroom Conference – a handy list of links…

The SchoolNet Conference 2017 has been and gone but the memory lingers on... This post brings you a handy list of links including links to presentations from some of our presenters. Only 24 of our presenters have shared their presentations to date, and we are very grateful to them. But first, a quick recap! 


Over 400 delegates attended the 2017 SchoolNet SA ICT in the Classroom conference held at Brescia House School in Bryanston, Gauteng between 5 – 7 October 2017.  It was a conference to remember with amazing international keynote speakers and a great assortment of local speakers as well.  The conference was opened by Deputy Minister of Basic Education Enver Surty who also sat down with SchoolNet’s executive director, Janet Thomson, to define the national Department of Basic Education’s plans for digital learning.  SchoolNetSA also celebrated its 20th Anniversary at a well- attended cocktail function at the SchoolNet Conference - and what a celebration it was!


Here is the handy, updated list of links to various aspects of the conference:

Conference  presentations
Shared presentations from conference presenters have been uploaded to Google Drive
https://goo.gl/J5RQSC

Interview with the Deputy Minister of Basic Education

Conference websites

Conference photos

Conference reports

Video footage
To access Maggie Verster’s videos that she live streamed using Facebook Live:
Storify curated list of conference tweets
The link to the Storify collection of tweets can be accessed at:
https://storify.com/JanetThomson/schoolnet-conference-2017#publicize

The Conference was a huge success and we thank Brescia House for the incredible facilities they provided. 

Friday, 24 November 2017

Useful Google in Education posts this week #121

After looking through all the Google posts that were shared to various subscriptions recently, these are a selection that look useful for teachers https://goo.gl/rrqryH . (The link to previous posts can be found here https://goo.gl/CNO3M2). 


Tuesday, 21 November 2017

Useful Microsoft in Education posts this week #131

The Internet is currently full of posts about using Microsoft products effectively in the classroom. Here are a The Internet is currently full of posts about using Microsoft products effectively in the classroom. Here are a number of them from this past week. The list is embedded below but can also be found at http://bit.ly/2Asikwx The link to the back-dated posts is: http://bit.ly/1GVLTUZ


Friday, 17 November 2017

Useful Google in Education posts this week #120

After looking through all the Google posts that were shared to various subscriptions recently, these are a selection that look useful for teachers https://goo.gl/ubmkje. (The link to previous posts can be found here https://goo.gl/CNO3M2)



Tech Talk – by Justin Harper, MIEExpert and IT Manager at SAHETI School, a Microsoft Showcase School in Johannesburg

Justin Harper and Saheti School came into the spotlight recently in a Business Day newspaper article entitled 'Hi Tech approach to education'. We have mentioned Justin in a few blog posts before. He was one of the five teachers from South Africa selected to attend the Microsoft Global E2 Exchange in Toronto in 2016. You can read about him in the post  'Meet the five South African MIEExpert Educators attending the Microsoft E2 Education Exchange in Toronto' http://bit.ly/2AV4ZsJ

In this article Justin shares what was written in the Business Day article.

"TECHNOLOGY is a way of life almost everywhere you look – and the classroom is no exception. Schools are increasingly integrating technology into all aspects of teaching to provide quality education. Some, like SAHETI School in Bedfordview, have carefully mapped out programmes to ensure learners and educators have on-going access to and a good grasp of the most effective technology available to enrich learning both at school and home. SAHETI was recently acknowledged as a forerunner in digital education when it became the fifth only South African school to be selected as a Microsoft Showcase School.

The Microsoft Showcase Schools programme is a global community of schools that recognise and amplify the use of technology to drive education and efficiencies school-wide. The announcement, in September, that SAHETI had been co-opted to the programme, followed information and communication technology (ICT) manager at the school, Justin Harper’s selection as one of five ‘innovative educator experts’ to represent South Africa at the Microsoft Education Exchange (E2) Global Forum in Toronto, Canada in March.














The E2 event brings together approximately 300 educators from around the world every year. Recognising their efforts and achievements to combine content, pedagogy and technology to enhance education, the forum provides delegates with opportunities to collaborate, create and share their experiences over three days.

Inspired to try new applications, full of fresh ideas from his peers and having participated in challenges to brainstorm ideas for future Microsoft products, Harper says he returned from Canada keener than ever to continue to drive SAHETI’s technology programme – which was already well established due (in part, at least) to the school’s bring your own device (BYOD) and training initiatives.

The BYOD plan was introduced because SAHETI believes technology introduced to learners should not only be device-agnostic, but also browser-agnostic. “Learners are encouraged to bring devices that they are familiar and comfortable with,” says Harper. “All the products we’ve introduced work on any platform at any time. We then link the educational material to learners’ devices so that they can access the content both at school and home.”

Training is central to the rollout of SAHETI’s technology programme. According to head of department of ICT at the school, Rhoda van Niekerk (who is also responsible for staff development), staff have “embraced” Microsoft Office 365 – including applications such as OneNote and Microsoft Teams – thanks largely to a comprehensive, on-going training programme. (Van Niekerk and Harper attended the Education Exchange E2 Africa Forum earlier this year, where Van Niekerk’s team emerged winner of the (video game) Minecraft group project, which involved coming up with a South African problem and then modelling a solution in a ‘Small South Africa Minecraft’ world.)



Most recently, Microsoft Office 365 was successfully used for interaction between students and teachers during SAHETI’s third term subject assessment module (SAM) project, which is a project based assessment introduced by the school for Grade 10’s as a replacement of mid-year examinations.

Applications used by the school also enable teachers to capture their ideas and to-do lists in one place wherever they are, says Harper. Microsoft Team keeps students up-to-date with assignments, announcements and grades. Technology also makes it possible for discussions to take place outside of class and gives teachers “a one-stop shop to create and grade assignments,” he says. SAHETI is equipped with more than 75 smart interactive white boards, 50 Aruba Wi-Fi access points, HP 3PAR and SAN data storage technology, and fibre break out.

The school’s approach is firmly based on the premise that correct use of technology in classrooms has the potential to enhance teaching and the student’s ability to learn.  “Creating a space for collaboration that takes learning far beyond the reach of the classroom is one of the reasons we use of technology in the classroom. Students can now easily participate in group projects even when they’re at home,” says Harper, adding that ensuring technology is in good working order and that the physical design of classrooms supports the best possible use of technology are also crucial to SAHETI’s on-going technology-driven success."

SchoolNet congratulates Justin and SAHETI School on this achievement.

Tuesday, 14 November 2017

Useful Microsoft in Education posts this week #130

The Internet is currently full of posts about using Microsoft products effectively in the classroom. Here are a The Internet is currently full of posts about using Microsoft products effectively in the classroom. Here are a number of them from this past week. The list is embedded below but can also be found at http://bit.ly/2zWRPPw The link to the back-dated posts is: http://bit.ly/1GVLTUZ


Friday, 10 November 2017

Useful Google in Education posts this week #119

After looking through all the Google posts that were shared to various subscriptions recently, these are a selection that look useful for teachers https://goo.gl/w49SJB. (The link to previous posts can be found here https://goo.gl/CNO3M2)


Wednesday, 8 November 2017

Screencasting with Screencast-o-Matic - a superb tool for making classroom videos

Submitted by Fiona Beal
My favourite screencasting tool, right now, is Screencast-O-Matic. Screencast-O-matic is a free, online tool to use if you want to quickly show someone how to do something on the computer. It easily creates a video of what you are doing and saying. These videos are called screencasts. If you want to create good screencasts without the hassle of downloading and installing any application on your computer then Screencast-O-Matic is the best available tool for the purpose. Screencasts are great to use in the flipped classroom.


I have written about Screencast-O-matic before, but as time has passed this application has some great new features that are well worth mentioning. It allows you to create up to 15 minute videos free of charge. 15 minutes is a long video. Mostly you will want to stick to 2 - 3 minute videos.

Get started with Screencast-o-matic
To summarise:
  1. Screencast-O-Matic is a free, online screen capture tool. 
  2. It has a free version (up to 15 mins video) and a paid Pro version
  3. You can use Screencast-O-matic to record narrated presentations or demonstrations and produce the recordings as videos for your classroom
  4. Screencast-o-matic can also be downloaded to your device and used offline.
  5. Navigate to http://www.screencast-o-matic.com to find Screencast-o-matic.
This video tutorial 'Screencast-O-Matic 2017 Tutorial' https://goo.gl/2YYNQL is excellent and it gives a step-by-step instruction on getting started with and using this great application.



Some of the great new features
There are a number of great new features some of which have tutorials

I want to mention four other features that have caught my attention.
 
1. Add a video of yourself presenting
You can now add a video insert of yourself presenting your screencast. You would do this by using the webcam and the screen at the same time.


2. Stock Music is now available with Screencast-O-Matic
You can now add stock music tracks to your recording directly from the Recorder. After you complete a recording, click the music icon to the right of the timeline to preview each track and then add music to your video.
With the Free Recorder, after you finish your recording Screencast-O-Matic will present you with a rotating selection of tracks for you to add to your recording. It’s easy to preview each track and then pick the one which suits your video best. Once selected, Screencast-O-Matic automatically adds ducking to the music, reducing the volume if you have recorded narration. Music will be automatically looped until the recording is finished.

With Pro Recorder you get access to all tracks and the option to add your own music. You can also use the Video Editor to adjust audio settings. Increase or decrease volume, set timing for fade in/out of music, normalizing sound tracks but using ducking and setting audio levels between music and narration and turn, looping on/off.

Screencast-O-Matics has some great tutorials where you can learn more about adding stock music:

3. Add Rich Text Annotations, Titles and callouts to your Videos
Many times your videos need additional visual aids to highlight a point. When you are narrating an explanation, having text annotations can help add important context.


4. Quickly share your published videos to Facebook, Twitter, Google Classroom and email directly from the Screen Recorder
You can now quickly share videos directly from the Recorder. As always, you can review your recording before publishing to ensure that it’s ready to share. Share options appear in the Recorder when your video is published so you can instantly share with friends or community. Teachers will love the fact that you can share your videos directly to Google Classroom.


How you can use Screencast-O-Matic in your classroom
The classroom possibilities for this tool are endless:
  1. Provide instruction for absent students and making a class video 
  2. Enhance your lessons by adding a screencast to explain a concept. You can make quick videos about anything really. 
  3. You can simply upload the file on YouTube or another platform and share the link with your students. 
  4. You can record lessons, provide demonstrations, present information to an online class, tell digital stories, and give feedback on student assignments.
  5. You can also create assignments that require students to produce a screencast. Because of its ease of use, Screencast-o-matic requires little or no training to get started.
  6. You can use captions with Screencast-o-matic 
  7. You can incorporate Screencast-O-Matic videos into Google classroom.
  8. In 1:1 environments your students can create videos  to explain their thinking using Screencast-O-Matic.
A fabulous tool, don’t you agree? Why not try it!