This is a  reflection  by Fiona Beal from SchoolNet on the initial workshop of the African Storybook project  held in Johannesburg last month.

If you had been walking past the Boardroom in the offices of Saide (South African Distance Education) in Johannesburg on Saturday 10 November 2012 you would have heard loud hoots of laughter. If you had tiptoed to the door and peeped inside to see what was happening you might have seen a group of adults sitting totally engrossed in a very unusual form of storytelling.

Jemma Khan demonstrating the art of Kamisihibai

South African performance artist Jemma Khan was presenting some of her stories based on the unique style of Japanese storytelling known as the art of Kamisihibai. In the YouTube video below Jemma explains some of the features of this unusual form of storytelling.


At the end of the story you would have heard the group calling, “More! More!” and certainly you would have smiled as another story was whipped out and related with deep emotion and humour.

Later on as you walked past the boardroom again you would have heard loud guffaws of laughter. This time when you peeped on you would have seen the words of a story up on a screen and the audience acting out the story with great enjoyment with Nicholas Welch, a young South African comedian and his two colleagues, Jefferson Tshabalala and Jeremiah Mntonga calling out the next form of action. 

Nic and Co getting the workshop participants involved

You might even have heard an event being related from the point of view of two cows who had been silently observing an incident as they chewed the cud (Nic and co once again).

Two cows commenting on an incident they had observed
related in Shona by Nicholas Welch & Jeremiah Mntonga

You would certainly have been highly entertained by Jefferson Tshabalala in his performance of the Xhosa weatherman.  In fact, at this stage you would have sat down and joined the fun.

Jefferson Tshabalala’s enthusiastic weather report

It was a day to remember.  If a school day was like this day then an enormous amount of learning would take place. This was the initial workshop of the African Storybook Project which is due to be launched in early 2013.Those of us at the workshop were exposed to so many exciting methods of reading and writing stories. We heard how an author extracted stories from children in a holiday club for refugees. We played fun storytelling games where we received pieces of a puzzle, had to find the rest of the picture, quickly create a group story and relate it to the whole group. We discussed so many aspects of reading and writing. This was a day when reading and writing came alive.

Find the missing pieces and create a group story

You’ll be hearing a lot more about the African storybook project in 2013 when it is officially launched by Saide. The project is  funded by Comic Relief in Britain for a four year period and the initial pilot will involve three countries namely South Africa, Kenya and Uganda. The end result will be a lovely website of African stories  for younger students in many African languages and in many different.formats which will contribute to the improvement of reading and writing for young African children. We will elaborate on this initial workshop and the project itself in future blog posts.

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I am so thrilled about owning an iPad 2. I just LOVE it and decided today to start recording my journey as I have been exploring this remarkable tablet. So…I am going to go right back to the beginning – a very good place to start!

Which Model to get?

Fortunately I made the right decision for my circumstances right at the start. I selected:
*Wifi and 3G model so that I could be online on demand! The wifi works at home, and for the 3G I have a monthly contract.
*For data storage capacity I chose the 64GB model

I guess the time will come when my iPad 2 will be out of date (sigh…) but right now it fits the bill!

 

Getting to know my device – tutorials

a) Video tutorials

I just love the way you can learn anything using the Internet. No wonder Google has become a verb! I found some very helpful YouTube videos that showed me how to get to know my device. Here is one!

iPad Basics: Getting to Know the iPad (4mins)

b) e-book tutorials

I purchased an e-book app called ‘Ipad Secrets’.

image

At first I downloaded the free lite version – but it was so useful that I then bought the paid full version which was incredibly cheap.

c) Online tutorials

There are so many good tutorial sites. I guess your selection depends on what you come across first. I found a great site called iPad Basics

Getting an Apple ID

Since one uses apps on an iPad you have to get an Apple ID in order to download these apps, even if you want free apps. It doesn’t cost anything to get an Apple ID – it just gives you a username and a password, and it is your identity on your device.  To find out more about an Apple ID take a look at this great post ‘Creating an Apple ID‘.

So that was my first introduction to my iPad. Keep tuning in…!

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I have two blogs – this one and a Blogger blog which is my work blog. Recently I was opening my Blogger blog when I was directed to a message from Google saying that people in two parts of the world (Austria and Sweden) were trying to access the blog. They gave the IP address of the devices concerned.  Google had refused permission but wanted to know if I wanted to give these unknown people access – good old Google. They advised me to change my password in case it was someone trying to compromise my account…which of course I did. So I knew it was time for me to back up my blog!

Other reasons for backing up a blog
I will quote the good advice of Richard Byrne here, ‘The fact of the matter is, if we rely on a free web-based service we should be aware of the possibility that it could shut-down or move to a fee model at some point. To that end, we should be in the habit of periodically creating offline back-ups of our data.’

How to back up a blog?
I remember Richard Byrne on this blog Free technology 4 teachers urging us one time as a weekend project  to back up our blogs so I crossed over to his post for guidance.  It is a relief to know that nothing happens to the original blog when you backup!  I have put the steps I took into a Slideshare. It was rather nerve-wracking at first as I imagined how it would be if something went wrong and I lost the whole blog! To allay that fear I practised on a not-too-important previous blog and all went well.

What else can be done with the exported file?
If you decide to change blogging platforms you can import the xml backup files to the new blog. Amazing! The other thing you can do with the xml file is convert it to a PDF and make it into a book using BlogBooker – a free service! It takes about 5 minutes. Imagine how nice it would be to do this for your students’ blogs at the end of a year!  BlogBooker points to some public examples on the web to look at

You can also get this done professionally on the web into a hard cover book using blog2print. I have seen one of these and they are lovely.

image

 

This post of Richard Byrne’s also gives instructions for backing up an Edublogs or WordPress blog How to back up your blog and why you should - so that is next on my list!

Further reading

7 tips for turning your blog into a book

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Submitted by Fiona Beal
The Google Teacher Academy is not really all that well known in South Africa yet, but in countries like the USA, Britain and Australia, teachers who are interested in integrating the curriculum with technology clamour to attend. Just as Microsoft has its popular products and free tools, Google provides very useful programs such as Blogger blogs, Google Forms, Google Chrome with its huge selection of extensions designed to make browsing a dream, and Google Reader as a place to read all the blogs you follow – to name but a few.

So recently, when Google announced their next Teacher Academy in New York I decided to apply so as to find out more about Google. To my delight my application was one of the 50 that were successful!  Since then I have started learning more about Google! For example I hadn’t really got to grips with Google +, but as soon as we were accepted we were joined to a Google + circle to communicate privately with one another (as well as on the Twitter hashtag #GTANY which is more public).  The next exciting thing is that we were put into groups of 6 with a leader. 

Our group leader is Lisa Thumann. The leaders also present sessions at the Academy. Lisa is from Kean University and judging by this photo in Google + she is quite entertaining. She told us that there had been 567 applications for this upcoming Academy.

image

 

Another Google application I have recently been introduced to is a Google hangout! The seven of us had a hangout last week to get to know one other before the event and I can see that this is an amazing free future tool to use. 10 people at a time can participate in a video hangout. 

image

At the hangout Lisa took a snapshot whilst one of the group was sharing information so here it is (thank goodness I wasn’t speaking at the time…)

 

image

 

So once I am back on October 8th I’ll keep you posted in case you would also like to apply for a Google Teacher Academy and experience the rich community and inspiration that accompanies an event like this. Our SchoolNet webmaster has posted a Google press release on our website in case you would like to view it and find out more. http://www.schoolnet.org.za/.

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Recently I had the privilege of participating in a TEFL/TESOL course at a local Language Training Institute. The reason for attending was mainly to accompany my daughter who is hoping to teach English in S. Korea in 2013 after she graduates from University at the end of this year. I attended so that I can see how they go about teaching English as an ESL to foreigners. I must say that I enjoyed the experience very much. Our instructor, Craig, was very inspiring and knowledgeable and I loved being part of a diverse group from all walks of life and different cultures.  Here is a photo of our group.

 

The TEFL part of the course took place in the evening and on Saturdays. During the course we were split into two groups and each group presented lessons and taught them to the others.  This was great for confidence-building for the non-teachers, and it also got us right into the task of preparing detailed lesson plans. I am a teacher by profession and I have also written quite a number of English ESL textbooks from Grade R – 9 for our South African curriculum in the last ten years, so it was very interesting to see that TEFL/TESOL introduces a different approach.  Their approach seems to work.  I say this because we also experienced teaching their students who are mostly either immigrants or refugees, and their English is coming along really nicely.

In the middle of last year I left the classroom as a teacher when I took up a new post with SchoolNetSA, an NGO that focuses on combining the curriculum with technology.  My job involves helping teachers around the country do just that… take what they are doing in class and add technology to enhance the lesson and make it more effective, so as to keep up with world trends in education. Naturally, while doing this course my mind was thinking of ways of combining a TEFL/TESOL course with technology without losing the pedagogy used by the course. A picture is worth a thousand words. The text, graphics, video, and audio involved in integrating technology would encourage increased involvement in language. Most webtools are completely free so the outlay for a classroom would be at least a computer and a data projector. These are some of my thoughts.

1. Best would be to have an electronic whiteboard such as a Smartboard of course, as everything the teacher does could take place from the confines of the board.

2. The teacher could create or reproduce classroom materials to use in the lessons. The basic resources needed would be a computer and a data projector so as to show PowerPoints and videos.

3. When setting the context of a lesson the teacher could have a quick PowerPoint or movie relating to the context. This would also increase the general knowledge of the students.

4.  There are so many great free audio tools that one could incorporate into a lesson for phonemics and general listening to pronunciation of words.  For example I came across this website that promotes the use of jazz chants for teaching stress and rhythm in the classroom: http://www.onestopenglish.com/skills/listening/jazz-chants/.
Just to get an idea of a jazz chant and what it sounds like here is a list of all the chants from Starter to Intermediate level as listening skills to click on: http://www.onestopenglish.com/skills/listening/jazz-chants/mp3-files-and-recording-scripts/. I would love to use this method – I clicked on a few to listen.

5. For Listening skills, if you didn’t want to create your own there is a vast online resource called http://www.elllo.org/.

6. Songs are always  powerful ways of teaching sounds or words and this site Lyrics Training helps you to create audio and use it for testing words or sounds words. http://www.lyricstraining.com/

Well, the list could go on and on. The main thing is that the computer must not become the centre of attention in the lesson – but just an enhancement of a lesson to bring about greater learning in the students.

 

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Have you ever tried using an online recorder with your class? The Internet has a wonderful array of free online recorders that can be very useful in a classroom. In this post I will mention seven of them and in the Slideshare that follows I have added instructions on how to use them. Most of these are really easy to use, especially as they don’t require one to download any software. Audio recordings are very useful for reading – I have used them in a project where a class shared the books we were reading with another class.  Apart from that they can be used for quick audio messages on a blog or wiki.

Online audio recorders

View more presentations from Fiona Beal

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I have been having a lot of fun exploring with Storify.com. It is a great way to summarise an event such as a Twitter chat. One of the options for publishing a story using Storify is to embed the story in a blog, so I am going to try that now.

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Imagine receiving a phone call on the morning of the totally booked-out TEDxCapeTownED event on 16 June and being asked, “Would you still like to attend TEDx – we have a ticket for you?” Well, it happened to me, and I got there at lightning speed as excited as a kid in a candy store! What a worthwhile day it proved to be – with the words of movers and shakers in education pounding at one’s heart and leaving their mark.

Let me explain what a TEDx event is. The famous international TED talks are riveting short talks given by remarkable people on relevant topics. The TEDx program is designed to give communities, organizations and individuals the opportunity to stimulate dialogue through TED-like experiences at the local level. This particular event centred around education – 19 twelve minute talks by innovative thinkers in South African education.

Problems in our South African Education system

There’s no doubt that education in South Africa has a long way to go and many of the speakers echoed this feeling. Solly Philander said of his now grown-up children, “I had to apologise to my children for sending them to school.” Now that might be taking things a bit far, but then Dr Mamphela Ramphele, who was introduced as someone who ‘says it like it is’, said our failed system has only one competitor… At that point she placed on the screen a picture of the sinking ship ‘Costa Concordia’. “Our education system is on the rocks,” she said. Sam Paddock painted a gloomy picture of Unisa’s distance education saying that it is ‘too distant’. Out of 300,000 enrolled students only 9% graduate. Professor Ian Scott from UCT gave alarming statistics of our Higher Education drop out rate. “Higher education has not come to terms with the needs of students”, he said.

Innovative solutions offered

But TEDx wouldn’t be TEDx if speakers left us drowning in the pool of doom and gloom. The picture IS marred, and many, many children have been lost to a poorly managed system but the innovative solutions that were offered by the speakers planted seeds of hope.

Highlights

Here are just a few of the highlights that I noted. Brent van Rensburg spoke on ‘Your failures are our superstars’ and stressed how important it is for teachers to go with their students’ strengths rather than a one-size-fits-all approach. Students from his Zip Zap circus show illustrated his point with their amazing expertise and skill. Steve Sherman, the MD of Living Maths, related how a teacher once said to him as a child, “I think you should drop Maths”. Fortunately he didn’t listen! Richard Malholland spoke about the different kind of career paths that await our students. ‘They will resemble mindmaps’. He caused a reaction from the audience when he suggested that degrees have a sell-by date of maybe five years unless certain requirements are met in professional development! Tim Noakes urged teachers to become like coaches who “generate belief in themselves in the students we teach”.

John Gilmour encouraged us to concentrate on producing good mothers and fathers for the sake of society. At least two of the speakers suggested that all graduates spend two years in community service teaching before continuing with their own career paths. Christopher Hagspihl has been doing just that, teaching Maths in a township school before continuing with a career in banking, and he spoke of the rewards of such an experience. Leigh Maynert who co-founded a business university at age 25 with no educational background spoke of nurturing the souls of students. TSiBA Institute has produced four Nelson Mandela Rhodes scholars in the last few years. Each and every speaker added their flavour to the pot as the day progressed.

Our responsibility in Education

Judging by the tweets on the Twitter stream we all left inspired and refreshed by the ideas of others put forward during the day. It was the kind of day one wouldn’t want to have spent in any other way! It was also a day of connecting with old friends , and making new ones. But the question always is…What now? Inspired as we are by events like this, is it going to lead to any major change anywhere? Is government likely to listen? I guess the conclusion we are forced into adopting is that WE have to do our bit in society as transformative agents. It is actually up to us! Dr Mamphela Ramphele left us with these words, “We are ALL responsible for improving education.”

 

 Catching up with my TeachMeet buddies from Somerset West

Note: If you would like to listen to any of these talks, the videos are now available online at
http://tedxcapetowned.org/videos/session-1
http://tedxcapetowned.org/videos/session-2
http://tedxcapetowned.org/videos/session-3
http://tedxcapetowned.org/videos/session-4


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In August last year I started a new job as a technology integration facilitator with SchoolNetSA and one of my many interesting tasks was to create and maintain a blog that will interest teachers (for SchoolNetSA). The blog address for that is http://schoolnetsa.blogspot.com. Suddenly I found there wasn’t enough time to maintain two blogs, but now I am back with the idea of updating my Edublogs blog as well, as regularly as possible. Whew, Edublogs has changed quite a bit since I was last here – I am going to have fun updating myself.

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With Windows Live Writer you can write your posts offline and then publish them when you are finished. This will be a great help to me as I usually write my posts in Word – and the HTML code is very complicated behind the scenes. Correcting the formatting in the published post is also a headache! I am using Live Writer now for the first time so I’ll be able to comment on how easy it is to use in a minute. To install Live Writer this is what you need to do:

1. Go to the Internet and search for Windows Live Writer.

windows live writer

2. Click on Download now. It will give you an option to download the whole Live Essentials pack. Untick the blocks that you don’t require.

3. Install Live Write.

4. Choose your blog type and follow the instruction.

live writer

5. Once everything is ready and you have restarted your computer you can start writing your post offline, and then publish it.

Just to recap, here is a short video from the Partners in Learning UK site giving the instructions for using Live Writer.

Well, I have taken a look at the published post and wow! I love the formatting! If I look behind the scenes to the HTML code it is very neat and straightforward. I might be doing all my posts like this in future!

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In one of our pre-assignments before attending PIL Institute in Redmond, we were asked to discuss our views on 21st century teaching and learning, and also add artefacts, and place all of this in our teacher learning community. Many of the attendees added video links as their artefacts, so I have listed them here for quick access. These videos capture what, I believe, best describes teaching and learning in the 21st Century. These videos focus on the skills that students need or what teachers see as vital skills for both teachers and learners. I could tell from these pre-assignments that we were going to focus quite heavily on 21st century skills.

1. A vision of K-12 today

2. A vision of 21st century teachers

3. What teachers make by Taylor Mali

4. Three steps

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aPQlu5Vxm28&feature=related

5. Learning to change, changing to learn
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tahTKdEUAPk&feature=player_embedded

Can you recommend any others?

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One of the PIL Institute attendees from the UK, Dan Roberts, had this grand idea to visually collate information about each person attending the Institute before we arrived, and linking it to Bing maps, so that we could get to know something about each other. He suggested we use a website called About.me.com to write a bit about ourselves. I thought this was a great idea. You can sign up to this free website (About.me.com) and write something about yourself and how to contact you, and you can add a photo background. It literally takes 5 minutes. So, we were asked to create one and put the link in our teacher learning community website. The person who suggested this, Dan, has a really interesting profile. http://about.me/chickensaltash. Well, I tried it out and signed up http://about.me/fionabeal What was interesting, I thought, was the way Dan linked these profiles to a Bing map so that we could see the spread of teachers and where they come from. You can view this on http://binged.it/mVOYKh. Once you click on the person’s name you can click on ‘more info‘ and you’ll be taken to their about.me page. Dan is still adding details of everyone, but as he says, it is a great way to visually connect and possibly even collaborate in the future. Oh gosh, I love innovative approaches to things…

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Our third pre-assignment has been to find out about and prepare for a TeachMeet. When I was preparing for a ‘PD in your PJs’ talk recently I came upon this concept of TeachMeets and EdCamps which are apparently taking off in the USA, and now I will be involved in one! It is an explosive way of sharing integration-with-Technology practices, teachers teaching teachers about ideas that have worked for them. In Britain it often happens from – 7 informally in a pub! The time is set – ours is to be 3 minutes and we will be presenting these ideas to the 100 United States innovative Teacher competition finalists in Redmond. (The finals takes place while we are in Redmond).
Here is the video we have been asked to view before we gt to Redmond:

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A second pre-assignment for Partners in Learning is to research and write about our views on 21st century learning and 21st century teaching, and to submit an artefact that demonstrates this. Well, I am very aware that we are living in a digital age where our students are incredibly digitally-minded, and of course education will have to start incorporating this more and more if it wishes to impact this generation. I am going to put an artefact here in the form of a You Tube video. This is the type of learner we will be dealing with in schools soon ultimately.

When I think of 21st century skills I think of core curriculum expressed in collaborative learning, project-based learning, with connections to the community, research-driven, using technology and multimedia. higher order thinking skills, interdisciplinary… I think ISTE’s NETS STANDARDS sums up the required skills so well.

http://www.iste.org/standards.aspx

To me 21st century teaching is about being relevant in the age in which we live. It is the social networking age, the age of collective intelligence that takes us so much further than we can go on our own, the age of giving, sharing and collaborating. Thus our education system needs to integrate these values and technologies with the curriculum and prepare our digitally-minded students for their future in a rapidly changing world. I have used this Ted video in another post previousy, but to me it just sums up our age so well, that I am adding it again!
http://www.ted.com/talks/gel_gotta_share.html) .

These twenty pointers from SimpleK12 come from one of their articles entitled ‘Are you a 21st century teacher? Find out”. I think this is a very thought provoking summary:
http://blog.simplek12.com/education/21-signs-youre-a-21st-century-teacher/

We are really living in exciting times!

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The fifty teachers from around the globe who have been selected to attend the inaugural Partners in Learning Institute at Microsoft’s headquarters in Seattle have been announced, and I am one of them! Whoopee!!!! What can be more exciting than that to a Cape Town teacher! There are THREE of us from South Africa which is even more exciting, as I know the other two teachers, and we will be spending the last week of July in Redmond, Washington. The fifty of us have been communicating and getting to know each other on the Partners in Learning Network, and we have also have four pre-assignments to complete. Mine are done fortunately and I am going to write posts about them. (That is the beauty of blogging – you can post things here and have them at your fingertips). So, USA, here I come!!!!! For the next while I will be writing posts under PIL institute #1-? to record my experiences.

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Photosynth is a free Microsoft graphics programme that I have only just started to get to know. It is so simple to use yet it is so amazing to see how it seamlessly connects all the photos you take in a 360 degree turn. One of our pre-assignments for the Partners in Learning Institute is to create a photosynth of our schoool location. Today I sent students in pairs to select a location at the school and take lots of photos just standing in one spot and turning slowly full circle. They loved the experience. I have been uploading the photos to the photosynth site and am excited to see that you can also embed them in a blog. That’s what I am going to try now:


Wow, look how nicely it embeds. I think this is a great programme and must definitely incorporate it in some of my lessons.

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I have just attended a most memorable SchoolNet/Intel “ICT in the classroom” social-networking national conference hosted at St John’s School in Johannesburg last week. The Conference was held in the heart of winter and who would have thought Johannesburg could be even colder than Cape Town, but it was! I really appreciated the lovely St John’s school venue, as everything was so close and it was easy to navigate oneself around.

The hostel was right there in the middle of everything, and it used fingerprint recognition for entrance, so one didn’t have to worry about keys! The beds were ever so comfortable and the underfloor heating in the rooms made such a difference. I gave four presentations at the conference, and it was great to discover my venues were just ‘down the passage’ from the hostel, so to speak. Speaking of presentations I think I will add mine at this point from Slideshare so that I have them all in one place.

The Conference itself was very well-organized by Gerald Roos and the SchoolNet team. Everything seemed to happen seamlessly without a hitch, as far as I could see. The presentations looked very interesting and there was a great variety to choose from. The online booking that took place before the conference left everyone knowing exactly where they stand. The door keepers did a good job in making sure that only the people who had booked were the ones who were allowed to enter the sessions. In the keynote sessions Dezlin Jacobs, one of the SchoolNetters, held us spellbound with her housekeeping antics.

The keynote speakers were absolutely superb. They were well-known presenters from around the globe – Naomi Harm (http://blog.innovativeeducator.us/), John Davitt (http://www.davittlearning.net/), Jane Hart (http://janeknight.typepad.com/) and (Shelee George King via Skype). Wow their sessions were SO good. I managed to go to two of Naomi Harm’s classroom presentations as well, and wouldn’t have missed those for the world. The one on Google has left me itching to get back to the classroom next week to try out everything. Naomi Harm is an incredible presenter and so generous with everything. I couldn’t believe how she just gave us her Box.net link containing all her presentations she delivers around the world. It was like being given an overflowing treasure chest. She really epitomizes the sharing nature of the present age. I loved the one Ted video that she showed in her keynote, all about sharing. Here it is: (http://www.ted.com/talks/gel_gotta_share.html) .

I for one have been inspired to adopt this giving approach as fully as I can. What a great way to enhance the furtherance of ICT integration in schools.
Talking about sharing makes me think about the age in which we live – the social-networking age. It’s the age of collective intelligence that takes us so much further than we can go on our own. SchoolNet epitomized at the conference by embracing the help of local volunteers who are known experts in social-networking. Maggie Verster (http://maggiev.edublogs.org/) maintained an amazing conference blog (http://schoolnetsa11.blogspot.com) which kept us all very much on track and in touch. She made sure that:
SchoolNet’s Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/pages/SchoolNet-SA/125361914200052 ),
their Diigo bookmarks (http://groups.diigo.com/group/school_net_sa),
their Slideshare page (http://www.slideshare.net/Schoolnetsa11/presentations) for the presentations, and of course the designated #Schoolnesa11 twitter stream all worked together perfectly in true social-networking fashion. She was ably assisted in the Twitter backchannel by Arthur Preston (http://headthoughts.co.za/), a Worcester headmaster who had not even heard of SchoolNet till a few months ago. I have to admit that I have come away absolutely more enthused and excited about social-networking than ever before as a result of the conference. It was, after all, a social-networking conference and it certainly showed us how it all works together.
I loved the way the conference delegates also observed the Awards Ceremony for the Microsoft Innovative Teachers Forum as a natural part of the conference. What a treat! I think that many of the teachers watching were unaware that such a great competition with such amazing prizes exists. Next year should see a growth in entries as a result.

Last but not least was the opportunity to meet up with Conference buddies from past years and exchange notes and ideas. This networking is always so priceless. I have already signed up four teachers from schools across South Africa for a Grade 3 ‘Flat Stanley’ Literacy project starting this term. The Conference Dinner where we socialised even more was excellent and exuberant. Whaaahooo!!!! (the conference expression of great joy!)
I think this conference has definitely done its bit for the furtherance of technology integration in education. It has shown the amazing thing that teachers are doing in the classroom as they incorporate technology. It has even inspired teachers beyond our borders. I’ll never forget the teacher from Zambia running after me when the conference was over to ask for my presentations. I was able to say to him “Conference blog….Slideshare”, and he knew exactly what I was talking about.

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Today the Grade 7s created ‘movies’ about blogging using xtranormal.com to put on their blogs, only to find that xtranomral is no longer free. One person successfully created a movie which generated code and I am putting it below. I suppose all these great applications will eventually start charging a fee!

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I love this PD in your PJ thing!!! I have just participated in an awesome SimpleK12 webinar on keeping oneself organised as a teacher using online tools, by Kyle Pace. Some of the tools he mentioned I already know about and use, but there were some great new ideas. This is a very abbreviated summary of Kyle’s talk.

kyle

FILE MANAGEMENT
He spoke about Dropbox, Google Docs, and Evernote. I use all three and love them!

WEB RESOURCES
a) He spoke about Diigo (my favourite).  I think I must try and follow Kyle Pace on Diigo. When he showed us how it worked he had some amazing looking resources!
b) He mentioned Livebinders. This a lot like One Note in its layout. He gave us the web address of his collection on Using Livescribe in the classroom. The address is: http://bit.ly/livebindersexample. I saw a nice one there on the LiveBinders site on Ipads in Schools by Mike someone.
c) The third tool he looked at was Bridge url (http://bridgeurl.com).   Using this site you list like tools together and it saves them as a group.
 d) Google Chrome. Apparently Google Chrome syncs on all your computers. It has great educational apps and also great extensions. To learn more about Google Chrome apps he gave this address: http://bit.ly/ericSchromeextensions - a useful blog post.

Capture4

 STUDENT WORK AND SOCIAL LEARNING
These are sites that can be used for social collaboration amongst students in a class. I haven’t tried any of them…YET!
a)    Edmodo.com
b)     Collaboriseclassroom.com (Kimberley from SimpleK12 mentioned at this point that they have a past webinar on this application for people to listen to. These are stored at http://simpleK12.com/webinars).
c)     Sophia.org

 KEEPING UP WITH CONFERENCES ON TWITTER
I liked the sound of this.  Kyle mentioned that Iste is starting next week and we can keep up with it on the following hashtag #iste11. He also mentioned other conference tags – #rscon3 and #blc11.

 UTILITIES
Here he mentioned:
1)      Bit.ly.com to reduce website addresses
2)     Readability.com to cut adverts etc out of online reading matter.
3)     Viewpure.com to cut advertising clutter out of videos.
4)     Google Forms to do polls etc. He showed how amazing Google Forms is for this and how it translates the findings in Google Docs.

Capture11
Well, this was a very worthwhile webinar and it all happened in my PJs. There was someone else from South Africa attending, from Joburg – Bronwyn D! She must have also been in her PJs! She has just followed me on Twitter! I tried something new as well – I recorded using Audacity while the webinar was going and saved it as an MP3 recording.

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One of my Thinkquest teams created a video on ‘baby dumping’ as part of the Adobe Youth Voices program. They also entered the video as part of their Thinkquest project. Adobe kindly sent them certificates which they received in Assembly at school.

xyz 006
Today is the Thinkquest results announcement day and they are huddled around my computer in anticipation! It is so lovely to see the excitement… They have just worked out for themselves on the world clock converter that results will only be made known at 10pm this evening!

xyz 094

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