Teacher geeks to gather in Cape Town

More than 500 teachers, education leaders and technology experts will converge at the Cape Town International Convention Centre next week, where 110 teachers from all over the world will compete in the finals of Microsoft’s Sixth Worldwide Innovative Education Forum.

The participating teachers have made it through national and regional finals and have been judged for their effective use of technology as a tool for innovative teaching and learning.

The event will allow the finalists to showcase their projects and for the sharing of ideas and best practices around the use of technology to improve teaching and learning.

This is the first time that this event is being held in Africa and forms part of the Microsoft Partners in Learning network, a global initiative designed to increase teachers’ access to technology and improve its use in learning.

According to Angela Schaerer, Microsoft South Africa’s Academic Programme Manager, “our goal is to help schools gain better access to technology, foster innovative approaches to pedagogy and teacher professional development and provide education leaders with the tools to envision, implement and manage change.”


In South Africa the company has already trained over 25 000 teachers and school leaders on the use of ICT. Through the Partners in Learning network, free access has been provided to online training resources and professional support. Participants may join communities and discussions as well as find lesson plans and projects as well as share their own resources. Participants have access to a free CD containing the Microsoft Learning Suite, which includes tools like moviemaker, songsmith (song-making software), and worldwide telescope (which allows users to zoom into outerspace), and allows for “effective administration, innovative teaching and engaging learning,” Schaerer told the Mail & Guardian Online.

Finalists in the competition have already been through training within the Partners in Learning network and their technological projects have to be contextualized within their teaching methodology.

The South African finalists are: Linda Bradfield (St John’s College, Johannesburg); Chris Gantsi (General Smuts High, Vereeniging); Warren Sparrow (Rondebosch Boys Preparatory School, Cape Town); and Sunia Dokter of Dr Blok High School, Shireen Persens of Heatherdale High School, Ngaka Ralekoala of St Bernard’s High School and Lehentse Seekoei of Lereko Secondary School in Bloemfontein.

Referring to next week’s event, Schaerer said: “South Africa’s entries were very good but you often get the same teacher entering every year. The challenge is how can we ensure that more teachers submit entries.”

She explained that while the standard of projects improves each year “this is not a quick one-month programme” where teachers become experts. “It takes years of professional training and … it is a long journey.”

Schaerer said this training programme is an important one for Microsoft and something it does not “intend doing on our own. We are able to support schools with tools for teachers” but the supply of electricity as well as internet connectivity at schools remains a problem. “Public-private partnerships are the way to go.”

Subscribe to the M&G

These are unprecedented times, and the role of media to tell and record the story of South Africa as it develops is more important than ever.

The Mail & Guardian is a proud news publisher with roots stretching back 35 years, and we’ve survived right from day one thanks to the support of readers who value fiercely independent journalism that is beholden to no-one. To help us continue for another 35 future years with the same proud values, please consider taking out a subscription.

Primarashni Gower
Guest Author

Related stories

Crime stats mark a bitter start to Women’s Month

We must celebrate women’s achievements this month while agitating for structural change, argues Luke Waltham

Now is the time for true innovation in education and the economy

Because of the government’s indecisiveness, we have missed the boat on charting new territory for learning

There are useful lessons to learn from the generation of the 1986 emergency

The parents of the 2020 crisis have little say about their children’s education

Miss Rona’s teaching the 4IR lessons

Schooling is stuck in the 1950s, but technology must be blended with the basics of education

Caring for students goes beyond the teaching project

The Covid-19 pandemic gives universities an opportunity to find new ways of ensuring the health and well-being of students

Teachers trying to catch up, ‘ticking boxes’, overloading learners

Teachers who spoke to the Mail & Guardian this week are not confident that any effective teaching and learning will take place during this academic year, even if it is extended
Advertising

Jailed journalist a symbol of a disillusioned Zimbabwe

Hopewell Chin’ono backed President Emmerson Mnangagwa when he succeeded Robert Mugabe. Now he’s in jail

Sisulu axes another water board

Umgeni Water’s board in KwaZulu-Natal was appointed irregularly by her predecessor, the water and sanitation minister claims
Advertising

press releases

Loading latest Press Releases…

The best local and international journalism

handpicked and in your inbox every weekday