Friday, 13 April 2012

Microsoft Free Tools webinars

Here is our webinar programme for the next three weeks. The webinars will all relate to Microsoft  Free Tools.

1.How to use Microsoft's Autocollage and its uses in the classroom:
Thursday 12th April: 6pm - 6:30pm

2. How to use Microsoft's Photostory 3 and its uses in the classroom
Tuesday 17th April 2012: 6pm – 6:30pm

3. How to use Microsoft's Windows Live Movie Maker and its benefits in the classroom
Thursday 19th April: 6pm – 6:30pm

4. How to use Microsoft's SongSmith and its uses in the classroom
Thursday 26th April: 6pm – 6:30pm (NOTE THE NEW TIME)

Friday, 6 April 2012

Webinar of past winners shows the creative ideas teachers come up with to enter Microsoft’s Partners in Learning Forum (13th Feb)

At the moment we are having a series of nine webinars featuring past finalists and winners in Microsoft’s Partners in Learning Forum (formerly called the Innovative Teacher competition)  I have thoroughly enjoyed hosting and listening to these twice a week as it shows me that we have some very creative teachers in our midst. I have also had the tasks of converting these webinars to YouTube videos and podcasts which makes for easier viewing 

Today I am going to feature the webinar presented by Helen Robertson, Wessel Theron, Ryan Galving and Sarietjie Musgrave . After the little write ups about the projects I will add the vdieos and podcasts. If you are a South African teacher please considering entering this great competition. Some of these presenters travelled up to Joburg for the South African Finals, then went off to Jordan for the African and Middle east finals. Some even got to the World Finals in Washington DC. What a year of travel in 2011!

Helen Robertson who was teaching at Cornwall Hill College in Pretoria at the time

Helen’s project was called Functions for Technologically Functioning Teens. In the webinar she renamed it ‘It all started with a cell phone’. Getting learners to plot and analyse functions is a tricky part of the grade 10 Mathematics curriculum. To address this, learners used a cell phone app to plot the functions whilst they focused on the more important skill of analysing the effects of changing the variables. Support structures, including contacting their teacher using Whatsapp and asking questions of the “Functions for Technologically Functioning Teens” Facebook group, encouraged independent learning. 


Wessel Theron from Bishops Diocesan College in Cape Town

Wessel called his project ‘School of Rock’. To create interest and excitement in additional language lessons, this project involved learners searching for their own Afrikaans song and then creating a music video for it that is shared on YouTube. Grade 8s had to work in pairs to match images to the lyrics of the song. They also had the option of translating a song and singing it themselves. This was a perfect opportunity to be creative using ICTs, improve Afrikaans comprehension and vocabulary, and be entertained while learning. 


Ryan Galvin from St Nicholas in Pietermaritzburg
Ryan called his project R and J in R and B which is short for Romeo and Juliet in Rhythm and Blues. In an attempt to persuade his grade ten class that the story of Romeo and Juliet is relevant to any time, this teacher offered learners the opportunity to re-tell the story and revise the play. Learners made use of MP3s on their cellphones, iPods, YouTube, Twitter, digital cameras and videos. The final task was creating a MovieMaker slideshow, using the music, tweets and photos they had gathered.


Sarietjie Musgrave who was teaching at Eunice High School in Bloemfontein at the time.
She did a hugely successful project called ‘Spread the sunshine’ and did South Africa proud by achieving a second place in the world finals with this project! Her students each found students with disabilities in the community to link with and created ICT programmes to help them.


Here are their YouTube presentations neatly tucked into this Slideshare presentation. Their podcasts will appear below.

Join our webinar session of past winners at 5pm today! (9 Feb 2012)

This afternoon we have another webinar of three past finalists or winners in the South African Partners in Learning forum. Please log in as a guest and join us if you can:

Ngaka Ralekoala from Bloemfontein
We have Ngaka Ralekoala who worked in a team of four in a project about vulnerable children. In this project learners from participating schools received training in ethics and research methodology and then conducted research in their local community to determine the needs of vulnerable children.  Through this project, learners have been given the opportunity to collaborate with other schools, the University of the Free State as well as experts in the field of Social Action research from the De Montford University in the United Kingdom via the Internet. 

Charli Wiggil from Eden College in Durban
 We also have Charli Wiggil from Durban who did a project around the world cup in South Africa called ‘Tweenzites’. In this grade 10 Life Orientation project involved learners identifying a contemporary problem in their community and exploring it using various technological tools (Intel Thinking with Technology, GPRS, cell phones, Microsoft Office Applications etc). Learners were then challenged to devise strategies to address the problem that they identified and these were presented to local community and government leaders, community members, educators and learners from other schools. It is hoped that the municipality might implement some of the suggestions through their Department Planning Programme. One of the groups developed a DVD to be used in Life Skills by other schools.

Glen Williams from Sunridge Primary in Port Elizabeth
 The third teacher is Glen Williams who did a project which he calls ‘Silent Morals’ around a particular IT programme called Scratch.Glen says " Well , my grade 6 learners had to USE what they learnt in basic programming, EXPLORE, and CREATE an ANIMATED SILENT MOVIE which DEPICTS a MORAL VALUE or LESSON.You will see that I start AND end this presentation with the word FUN, because I believe that education must be ENGAGING in a FUN way. Projects allow learners the FREEDOM to EXPERIMENT with what they already learnt in a STRUCTURED way AND forces them to EXPLORE things which they haven’t learnt yet, without RELYING on a teacher."

This all makes for some interesting listening this evening. If you can’t make it the recording will be placed on the wiki tomorrow. ( But please join us if you can this evening at 5pm:

Well, five 'o clock has now been and gone and the webinar is over. Here is a Slideshare with embedded YouTube videos showing the webinars of these three finalists. Take a watch and a listen if you have the time.

Otherwise, listen to their podcasts instead

Ngaka Ralekoala - Children who care (mp3)

Charli Wiggil - Tweenzite (mp3)

Glen Williams - Silent Morals (mp3)