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Welcome back to school! As we start another term, I thank you for your consistent support. The monthly page views have steadily increased, with the latest reaching 1, 6 million viewers in a month!
Changes in education are happening at a fast pace, and the education world is taking notice of tablets, so this month I would like to focus on tablets in education. The age of the tablet is here, and this piece of technology which embraces touch technology is giving learning a whole new meaning. It definitely looks as though education is heading towards a digitized classroom where the students are free to explore technology and collaborate with their peers around the world.
More and more classrooms around the world and South Africa are imagining the curriculum in terms of each child having his or her own tablet. I have been thinking of the ways that tablets can transform learning in our South African context.
History: Tablets can make learning about the past more understandable through the use of interactive e-books, videos, podcasts and games. These help us to empathise with the struggles and hardships of those who have gone before us.
Research: Every project starts with a bit of research and tablets allow students to have the Internet at their fingertips.
Home and school: Tablets can provide a connection between the home and school, and help to bring parents in touch with their children’s work.
Textbooks: these can be created and updated more easily on a tablet. Students can highlight and bookmark easily, and the burden of carrying around a heavy bag can become a thing of the past.
Future jobs: The world is run by computers and the more students are familiar with them, the better equipped they will be for the real world.
2nd Language: Students can follow an individualized second language program and listen to the correct accent on the tablet. They can communicate with students who speak the language via Skype or Google hangouts.
Maths: Students can easily show their math processes and not just give answers. They can view videos explaining the material as many times as they need.
Reading. A tablet can also be used to help students learn to read with all the amazing free reading apps.
Writing: Rather than doing creative writing in a book and never looking at it again as time goes on, it is so much easier to do daily writing when each child has a tablet. Students can also journal and blog, and easily receive feedback from a variety of sources.
There’s no doubt that a tablet is becoming a popular and powerful educational tool for classrooms. We are in the process of researching tablets for the classroom, taking into account performance, technology, accessibility, safety and affordability. Hopefully I will be able to give you final feedback within the next few weeks on our preferred brand of choice.
The African Storybook project
I would like to promote an exciting project that I have read about on the SchoolNet blog, the African Storybook project. This project aims to create a huge website of stories for Grades 1 -3 children in Africa. I see there is a free short, online digital writing and storytelling course being offered to teachers as well, which will encourage them to discover the writer within them and write a story for the website. It is hoped that they will then also get their classes writing for the project. Take a look under the free, online courses page on the SchoolNet website http://schoolnetsa.blogspot.com. The course starts on the 15th April. Why not sign up? This could be a good way to get involved in the digital scene that will soon become commonplace in education.
ViralChoice® have a fantastic competition running at the moment which involves children using their creative skills and technological minds to decorate photos of themselves wearing the ViralChoice® complimentary button badge and uploading their photo to URL: http://www.pharmachoice.co.za/vcj/. There are some fantastic prizes for the school and learners.
Collect-a-can has two competitions running – their 20th year celebration and rewards to schools for participating in can collection initiatives.
Our next Teacher Development session
This will take place on the 19th April in Cape Town at Canal Walk from 17h00-18h00. We will continue to host these sessions once a month. Please look out for the notices on our Facebook page to make a booking or email Debbie at: [email protected]. In this session we will show Foundation Phase teachers some of the technology that is being used around the world in classrooms. Teachers will also receive a goody-bag of classroom items from our sponsors, Bic, IFAW and Khoki.
If you are passionate about education and would like to earn some pocket money, we are looking for content writers for the following subjects in Intermediate and Senior phase:
Life Skills (English and Afrikaans)
Mathematics (English and Afrikaans)
Natural Sciences and Technology (English and Afrikaans)
Social Sciences (English and Afrikaans)
Please email me should you wish to contribute: [email protected]. We have new content online for Foundation and Intermediate phase, so please keep visiting the website for updates. Remember to follow us on Facebook for weekly posts: E-Classroom South Africa, as well as Twitter: @eclassroomsa.
Wishing you all the best for a fantastic term 2.
Yours in education