Thursday, 13 April 2017

How to scare the CEO....

Last week Marsh hosted and sponsored an ICT4RED TTT tablet training workshop for facilitators at their head office in Sandton. One of the sessions was about how to use Role play as a learner centered teaching strategy. The aim is to explore issues around a given relevant topic and to then brainstorm some solutions or answers using a negotiated process. Participants are asked to design the role play, video it and then evaluate each others role plays while learning about the issues and solutions.​
To kick start the process we always do a sample role play to give everybody an idea of how to get going. Normally we pick a participant using a random student picker app. On this occasion, however, the CEO of Marsh, Spiros Fatouros, came to sit in on our session to see what ICT4RED is all about and to share a bit about what Marsch do, which was a perfect opportunity to get him involved. To our delight he voluntarily agreed to participate and fulfilled the role of the teacher brilliantly. He was a little scared though (and we do not blame him).....

The scenario: Teachers not handing in, or doing their badges.

Tuesday, 30 August 2016

Celebrating our Alex teachers' success

On Friday night the teachers of Alexandra High School were taken to a new "high" when we celebrated their success in the #ICT4RED course at The Venue with a spectacular view over Johannesburg. Thirty four teachers completed the course successfully and 86% of them did so with Merit! This is the best result for any iteration yet. As a result they all achieve 45 SACE points.

The project and graduation was sponsored by MARSH insurance and they made sure that it is indeed a glamorous affair with not just an amazing view, but wonderful entertainment as well as gifts for all the teachers. Errol Masinga, the transformation manager at MARSH gave a brief overview of the BOOST a SCHOOL initiative

Maggie Verster explained how the the ICT4RED project has impacted on the teachers' professional development and 4 of the champion teachers explained how they used the learner centered strategies in their classrooms.

Fiona Wallace, from the Coza Care Foundation, explained how they went about the accreditation of the 45 SACE points for the course. The teachers received their certificates with jubilant support from the dignitaries and their peers. The evening concluded with an ICT4RED song and jubilant singing and dancing.

Tuesday, 7 June 2016

Alex Final Badging- A jaribaaa Experience

Last week we did our last badging in Alexandra High school and we really did have a Jaribaaaa time! The most rewarding element of the #ICT4RED training course is to see how the teachers are implementing what they are learning during the course into their classroom practice despite having to cope with their school being rebuild around them, hectic teaching deadlines and other training demands.

As the whole course is gamified, accreditation is also done through awarding the teachers badges for milestones achieved after every training session. We don't believe in "dumping" tablets that won't be used as teachers do not know how to integrate them into their classroom practice.  We rather propose that teachers have to change their classroom practice in order to enhance students learning experiences with or without tablets. Our modules are therefore designed to encourage active participation by learners in a learners centred (not teacher centred) environment. The technology (tablets) is therefore lightly embedded into every hands-on module and by the conclusion of the course most teachers as confident not only to use their tablets, but also to innovate their classroom practice with the support of mobile technologies.

The teachers have to earn 13 compulsory badges in order to "earn" their tablet. This means that they have to prove that they have implemented the learner centred strategies at least once in their classrooms. There are also 5 challenge badges that require the use of the internet, which is not always available.

To achieve all the badges take hard work and determination, but our Alex teachers showed us that they can do it in style! On completion the teachers will be awarded a Certificate that entitled them not only to earn their tablet, but also 45 SACE points towards their Teachers Professional Development. The graduation will take place in August were we will officially celebrate our wonderful teacher's success!

A big thank you MARSH Insurance for making all of this possible and supporting the teachers throughout the implementation! Also to Milford and the CoZa Care team who provided training and badging support. You guys rock!!!!

Some of the Jaribaaa badging moments form last week..... See here:
Alex Final Badging

Tuesday, 19 April 2016

Whatsapp with this?

In our #ict4red projects and implementations Whatsapp has been of immense value and I would even go as far as to say that it has been a game changer. Most of our teachers are already on Whatsapp and if they are not, it  rel is relatively easy to get them on-board. It was therefore a no-brainer that it is an ideal communication platform to use!

Facilitators use it to keep everybody in the loop on what is up as far as course work is concerned, deal with questions and keep everybody motivated to complete badges. Participants use it ask questions and share experiences. From a research point of view, Whatsapp provided a way to gather honest data about participants experiences within the course. See paper: Using Social Media as a Managerial Platform for an Educational Development Project: Cofimvaba (

But, what if things go wrong??

This is the picture that are often presented as a motivation for not using public chat platforms for teaching and learning. My view has always been that the good must outweigh the bad from a learning point of view and I have therefore decided to use a personal experience to learn from. So this blog post will grow from the comments that will be posted below....

Some context first. This was a private conversation between me and a another person who I presumed to be one of my teachers.  As I take mentoring very seriously I got "sucked into" the private discussion, which did not end well. It actually ended with me blocking the person. I felt bullied and horrified at how easily I got distracted and decided to use it as part of our online safety exhibit in our Gallery Walk Strategy. So what can we learn from this?

Before you read the conversation, I would like to you to consider the following questions as you read it. I apologise for some of the language, but have decided that in order to understand the context of cyber bullying (I felt bullied), we need to be faced with what really happens out there and worse. How can we mitigate issues as they happen and not only support our learners, but keep ourselves safe while maintaining a positive professional digital identity.
  • Should I have engaged with this person in the first place?
  • What should I have done and should I not have done? 
  • What do you do if someone uses a learning group context (In this case Whatsapp),  to engage with you privately?
  • Should you share media (photos and videos) with someone you do not (really) know? 
  • Do we need rules? What rules should govern group chats and private chats? 
  • What is cyber bullying? Can you identify some elements. 

Thursday, 7 April 2016

Celebrating another #ict4red success story in Carnarvon

Last night we, yet again, came to the finale of another #ict4red training intervention in the heart of the Karoo in Carnarvon. The teachers of Carnarvon Hoƫrskool really did excel themselves with high quality tablet integrated lessons which were produced to earn their tablets and show what they have learned about using mobile devices in the classroom. But it was so much more than that!!

As always we had a lot of fun during this implementation. This was also the very first time that the course was conducted in Afrikaans. This in itself was a challenge as quite a few of the mobile terminology terms just do not quite exist in Afrikaans and we had a lot of fun with "innovative" translations. The teachers in the process took ownership of the course and we had a 98% pass rate with 75% of the teachers completing the challenge badges as well! Really worth a joyous celebration!

This happy occasion was supported by the Department of Education, representatives from the Department of Science and Technology, representatives from the SKA (Square Kilometer Array) project, and the training team from the Maraka Institute (CSIR), who were responsible for project management, workshop facilitation and assessment.  Delegates from the primary school attended as well and expressed the hope that they will also have the opportunity to partake in this fun teacher professional development initiative.

Five of the teachers were chosen to present the strategies that they enjoyed most while implementing the course material in their classrooms. They all agreed that it was a lot of fun and did not feel like training at all. They shared that the tablets were very motivating to the learners and contributed to better discipline in the classrooms. Some of them admitted that they were terrified in the beginning as they suffered from "techno-phobia", but are now convinced of the value of using technology in their classrooms. They are now comfortable with their tablets and made use of the occasion to campaign for more tablets and mobi-kits for their learners.

The evening was concluded with a delicious dinner and discussions on how to take this further. The enthusiasm was noted by all the speakers and we know that the Carnarvon staff will be shining their techno light in the heart of the Karoo!!

Tuesday, 15 March 2016

Alexandra Teachers Field Trip Fun

In Module 8 (a field trip), the teachers of Alexandra High School were privileged  to explore the Sci Bono Centre in Newton, Johannesburg. During this strategy,they had to work together to unravel a range of clues that took them on a scavenger hunt, interacting with all the exciting exhibits on display, covering a range of scientific subjects. Some of the clues were embedded in a QR code thus exposing the teachers to the use of QR codes in the classroom.
As internet access is always a problem,the clues were text based which made it possible to scan without needing connectivity.They could however access the internet for assistance with their own data. Some of the clues were just for fun in order to create team spirit, while the others involved keen observation and collaborative teamwork. 

Apart from getting some serious exercise frantically collecting evidence and answering the activity clues, the animated discussion during the assessment proved to be most entertaining!! The room  was abuzz with the sound of learning!!

To see all the fun that was had, click here or on the photo below:

For a detailed explanation of how to organise and create a field trip scavenger hunt Click here: