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Classroom Innovation in SA

The following video was created as part of an application for the Google Teacher Academy.  There are two themes to choose from: Motivation and Learning or Classroom Innovation. I somehow was drawn towards the Classroom Innovation and had few versions to it before this final one.

Working with teachers in promoting classroom innovation is challenging and rewarding at the same time, but creating this one minute movie has opened some insight into what classroom innovation can be. I guess when you are forced to keep your ideas into a strict time frame; it helps to focus your views.

What is not in the movie is the South African perspective, as I see it, which I would like to share:

 More than 16 years ago, during Apartheid, there were different education systems assembled according to race; Black, White, Indian and Others known as BANTU education. Now 16 years Post Apartheid, the country has gone HUGE way into integration of all races into one system of education, but still has HUGE way to go as far as performance in education and infrastructure are concerned.

Most Township schools have these concerns to consider: Number of learners in a class (can get 6o to 100 learners per class), crowded classrooms, dire infrastructure, low teachers’ proficiency, poverty, hunger and families strike by loss to HIV/AIDS.  Child-house hold is the phenomena in those townships and teachers are mothers, social workers, nurses, psychologist in addition to their teaching profession.

I therefore found it very difficult to define classroom innovation to these classrooms, as what I wish for them is that these classroom meet basic needs first , with children well fed, secured homes and environment and not being abused on the way to school or when going home from school. 

At ORT SA we try and contribute together with our funders by working with teachers to upgrade their skills and knowledge in subject matters as well as in mentorship and leadership skills. We can only hope that the bit we are doing is assisting to transformation in education in SA.

My thoughts are that mobile phones, which are fast taking SA by storm, may be the way to get those classrooms to “leapfrog” into technology integration. Which is the area we, in Professional Development, should be looking at.

Hope you enjoy the movie!

How to integrate ICT at your school?

No more talking about the problems, frustrations and the state of ICT in education, in this post I would like to propose a process a school can follow for the integration of ICT.

The steps to consider when thinking about ICT integration at your school:

  • 1. Start by defining ICT distinctively to your school
    What is ICT?

    What is ICT?

Definition of ICT can be found in the DOE White paper:

Information technology (IT) is a term used to describe the items of equipment (hardware) and computer programmes (software) that allow us to access, retrieve, store, organise, manipulate and present information by electronic means. Personal computers, scanners and digital cameras fit into the hardware category; database programmes and multimedia programmes fit into the software category.

Communication technology (CT) is a term used to describe telecommunications equipment through which information can be sought, sent and accessed – for example, phones, faxes, modems and computers.

Information and communication technologies (ICTs) represent the convergence of information technology and communication technology. ICTs are the combination of networks, hardware and software as well as the means of communication, collaboration and engagement that enable the processing, management and exchange of data, information and knowledge.

 Note that not all ICT implications are internet or computers based. This broad definition needs considering when a school defines their “own” ICT vision and mission.

 •2.       Planning process   He who fails to plan, plans to fail”

Planning is a vital and crucial component in the implementation of ICT and its importance lies also on who was involved in the planning.  (Don’t treat planning strictly and be flexible to adopt your plan to changes as you encounter them in the process)

The planning process starts by setting up a steering group comprises of educators, parents’ representatives, lay leaders in your community, experts in the field of ICT.

  • i. Define the role and tasks of this group
  • ii. Visit schools and have workshops on ICT to ensure your group of people are knowledgeable and well informed regards ICT at schools
  • iii. Develop a vision for ICT at your school (based on School’s vision)
  • iv. Conduct an ICT audit (infrastructure, software, teachers’ competency skills, survey learners/ parents/ teachers)
  • v. Perform a SCOT analysis after data has been collected and analyzed
  • vi. identify the gap between your vision and your current status at the school (you may need to adjust your vision based on findings)
  • vii. you are now ready to put a plan scheme

•3.       Plan scheme for ICT integration “A good plan today is better than a perfect plan tomorrow” 

 It is a good idea to collate all your findings and thereafter include in your plan scheme : project goals, project’s description (a brief description of activities and actions to be taken to implement ICT at your school) project’s deliverables, outcomes, performance indicators, and time line.

 This post is inspired by the following site: http://ictpd.net/techplan/