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For many of you, the third term has recently started in South Africa. We wish you a great term ahead. Thank you for the effort that you put into educating our children. I thought I would start off by taking some time to talk about the SchoolNet Conference that I attended from 2nd to 4th July in Bloemfontein and include some of the ideas that struck me while I was there. I attend these conferences to be exposed to new ways of thinking and talking about modernizing education, and to take note of the new technologies that are being promoted in South African schools. Of course it is always a privilege to network with others who are passionate about uplifting education in our country, and it was wonderful meeting so many interesting, friendly, knowledgeable, and helpful people in and outside of the different conference venues.
Firstly I must say a big thank you to the SchoolNet team and the University of the Free State team who had obviously worked really hard to make this a great professional development opportunity for our teachers. I thoroughly enjoyed the conference and especially loved meeting teachers who are followers of E-classroom. So many of you expressed your appreciation for our CAPS-related content that it made me realise we are on the right track in providing useful free content for you.
I noticed that the conference was very much a conference for teachers whether they were from disadvantaged schools or from well-resourced private schools. Sometimes I felt that the program should have indicated who the presentations were aimed at, whether for beginners in technology or for the more advanced, especially in the light of our diverse school situation in South Africa. Nevertheless, I loved seeing the enthusiasm of the teachers as they raced to get a place in the various venues.
I left the conference excited about the possibilities of using new technologies with our learners. I especially noticed the great interest in presentations that included tablets, such as iPad or Android. E-classroom will be distributing a range of tablets via our soon-to-be-launched on-line shop, and I realised afresh that this is definitely the way forward in South African education.
I noticed from the conference that the use of technology in education cannot be ignored and that teachers have the responsibility to use technology in the classroom in the most effective and meaningful way for their students. It was very useful having the input from the four international presenters and I definitely left the conference with a deeper perspective of our place as educators in the technology world.
One also gets to meet new start-up companies at these conferences that have been developed to make an impact on education. I’d like to mention one of these in this newsletter. Over the course of the past few months you may have possibly heard of EDGE Campus. They’re an edtech start-up company operating out of Stellenbosch. They recently launched their first education tool called Qurio. Qurio is a simple to use assessment tool built off the feedback of teachers who were tired of doing time consuming paper based assessments.
EDGE Campus wants Qurio to be the ‘go to’ tool for setting up tests, quizzes and surveys. They envision teachers using it frequently to enhance learning, rather than for benchmarking purposes. They’re building something really powerful, yet still simple to use, that can be used in many contexts across your school campus and, in fact, the education spectrum as a whole.
Qurio is free to use and Gareth and Paul from EDGE Campus would love to hear from you and are more than willing to come demonstrate Qurio to you and show you where and how to integrate it. They want to meet with schools, NGOs, companies, publishers, government departments, you name it. They’re that keen!
I would like to end off by inspiring you to continue browsing through our ever-growing free resources on https://e-classroom.co.za. You have probably noticed the improvements to our website recently. There are also some lovely competitions for you to tell your learners about. The most recent one asks you to encourage your learners to enter the SPUR ‘Author of the Month’ writing competition. We always welcome your comments and suggestions. Don’t forget to ‘like’ e-classroom South Africa on Facebook and follow us on twitter: #eclassroomsa.
To close, we would like to thank our recent sponsors:
NuLaid Eggs (Balanced Diet & Healthy Eating)
Metrofile (Natural Science and Technology)
Thank-you for your continued support.
Yours in education