High-tech pioneers

Five educators have been honoured for their pioneering work in the use of technology in education.

The annual Microsoft Innovative Teachers Forum Awards brought together educators from around South Africa who were selected because they are using groundbreaking teaching methods in their classrooms.

The winning projects were judged on the level of innovation used, teaching methods and the impact they have on learners.

The winners were:

  • Thamsanqa Makhathini from Mphophomeni High in KwaZulu-Natal won the context category for his “Local is [email protected]” project. Grade 11 learners recorded their research and interviews about the township’s history and used this to create a website.
  • In the community category, Sarietjie Musgrave was honoured for her “Spread the Sunshine” project at Eunice High School in the Free State. The programme entailed grade 10 pupils devising ICT-based solutions to assist the needs of disabled people in their communities.
  • Jacqueline Batchelor of Cornwall Hill College in Gauteng won the content category for her “Dissections for All” project. The project allowed grade 11 learners to record dissections and share their learning with others.
  • Peter de Lisle of Hilton College in KwaZulu-Natal won the collaboration category for his “Thinking Tolerance – Do We Hate?” programme. The project promoted tolerance between learners from diverse backgrounds by teaching analytical and conflict-resolution skills.
  • Mmipe Mokgehle of Toronto Primary School in Limpopo won the peer review category for his project on the “Indigenous Knowledge Systems for Biodiversity Conservation”. Through the project, grade seven learners use ICT to create awareness of the sustainable use of plants and herbs in the community.

    All 22 finalists received smartphones, while Mokgehle’s school received an interactive whiteboard and a data projector, and the four other winners each received a laptop. In addition the four winners will participate in the international competition in Thailand in November.

    “Its always inspiring to see the levels of home-grown innovations that our educators can create,” said Trudi van Wyk, the national director of curriculum innovation at the department of education.

    “They are doing great work to give the future leaders of this country the skills they will need for future employability and to become productive citizens of our knowledge economy and information society.”

    The award is a collaboration between the department of education and Microsoft South Africa, and is now in its third year. Other partners include the Teacher, Smart Technologies, leaf, Dell, mindset, SchoolNet, learnthings Africa, NEC and the School Technology Innovation Centre.

    Keep watching this space as we will be telling you, step-by-step over the next months, how these teachers put technology to use in their lessons

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