Thursday, 26 June 2014

Our photo gallery from the Phase 2 graduation

Thursday, 19 June 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, 13 June 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