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May 2013

Posted: 31 May 2013

There’s no doubt that there is a reform in education taking place around the world at the moment and that the use of tablets in schools is becoming an increasingly popular trend because of all the benefits a mobile device offers. One model of doing this that I particularly like is where the technology almost remains invisible as such because the focus is on the necessary skills and content for the task. The technology just makes this more achievable with better results than had it been done without technology. In the classroom we want a technology that is so simple and easy to use that we can integrate it into any of our lessons. The technology needs to be mobile so that it can be used wherever the lesson is taking place; it should turn on quickly and stay on all day because of a long battery life, and a touch interface is also a great advantage in a device. All this is possible with a tablet. Using a tablet, learners can easily collaborate with those in their own classroom as well as those in another part of the world. They can innovate, create and publish presentations, videos, stop animation movies, screencasts, slideshows, podcasts, books etc. that supplement their written tasks, and hopefully also have instant connection to the Internet for guided research.

As an Ancient Proverb says, “Do not confine your children to your own learning for they were born in another time” The 21st century learning environment is about empowering students with technology.

In light of this, we are excited to announce that we will be distributing the ‘SWAG’ tablet at the end of June. This android tablet is pre-loaded with fantastic education apps, CAPS content, games, parental control etc. It also boasts a fantastic dual camera and sound and video recorder. These will be available to order directly from the e-classroom website from the end of June. For more enquiries, contact [email protected].


We are looking for good textbooks for the current CAPS curriculum that weren’t selected by the Education Department for use in schools. Please contact me if you have a learner book and teacher guide in your subject, as we might want to purchase them from you.


I received an appealing letter from a teacher in Harding this month which really touched my heart as he had gone out of his way to make a difference at his school. Here is a little excerpt:

‘My name is Zamuxolo Wiseman Mgumane, a teacher from Harding in the KZN. I am teaching in a Primary School at very poor rural village called KwaJali. The area is one of those that are very poverty stricken. We are in dire need of books (readers and non-fiction) for the learners as well as any other education materials. We are also looking for support from another school who will be able to assist us with mentorship for our teachers’.

When I spoke to Wiseman, I found him to be a very humble and dedicated person to his profession. He is trying against all odds to help this school as few people give thought to rural children. On week-ends he visits libraries to take out books for the learners so that they have some sort of access to content to support their learning subject. E-Classroom has decided to start a collection of books, both fiction and non-fiction, including dictionaries and encyclopaedias etc. to help set up a library for the Ntaba Primary School. If you would like to assist with a collection programme in your school or community, or consider them for a twinning/mentorship programme, please email me at: [email protected]. Let’s help make a difference.


We have a lovely competition starting in June which encourages literacy skills for foundation right through to senior phase. Look out for this on our post note on the landing page of the website. This will be a fantastic literacy exercise for your learners.


New CAPS aligned content is uploaded on a monthly basis, and we are now translating to different vernaculars. Notices are posted on our Facebook page (E-Classroom South Africa), so please follow us to receive updates.


I look forward to attending the SchoolNet ICT in the classroom conference in Bloemfontein on 2-4 July 2013 at the University of the Freestate. I think you would be interested in the programme which still needs to be finalised, but here are the proposed themes:

  • Connecting classrooms – learning activities that use technology to connect classrooms beyond the school’s boundaries.
  • Learning with tablets – learning activities that are unique to the use of tablets in and beyond the classroom.
  • Learning with mobile phones – learning activities that are unique to the use of mobile phones in and beyond the classroom.
  • Innovative teaching – any teaching with technology that you feel is innovative, especially if you have entered the Microsoft Innovative Education Forum now and in the past, but not reserved for that group of teachers.
  • ICT leadership in the school – ways in which you have shown successful leadership of ICT integration activities in your school generally.
  • Curriculum delivery through digital content – how the inclusion of digital content in the curriculum has enhanced your teaching and student learning.

Contact Thethe for bookings: Phone: 011 403 5777

SchoolNet SA and Parklands College are hosting a ‘Google in Education’ summit in Cape Town on 26 and 27th September 2013 at Parklands College. This will be the first of its kind in Africa and focuses on deploying, integrating and using Google Apps for Education and other Google tools to promote student learning. SchoolNet and Parklands College have negotiated a special rate with the conference organisers – the EdTech Team from the USA. Early registrants pay only US$199 as long as they register before July 26. Visit http://za.gafesummit.com/ for more information.

CRITICAL THINKING AND PHILOSOPHY WITH CHILDREN CONFERENCE: Announcement from University of Cape Town: 30 August-2 September 2013. Topics: Critical Thinking, Enquiry-based learning and Philosophy with Children, including children’s literature, thinking in literacy, mathematics, science and life orientation/skills, Ubuntu, philosophy of childhood with pre and post workshops. Further information: icpic.cmc-uct.co.za


Teachers from South Africa and Lesotho are invited to apply to be Microsoft Innovative Educator: Experts to stand a chance of winning a trip to the Partners in Learning Global Forum. To do this you will need to fill in the online application form and upload a learning activity which includes a two-minute video describing how you used technology to enhance a lesson or project to the Partners in Learning Network. The final closing date for Microsoft Innovative Educator: Expert applications has been extended to 30 September 2013. Find out more on the Partners in Learning Network at:


In my last newsletter, I mentioned the African Storybook project. If you would like your class to write stories for this, there is still time to submit a story suitable for a Grade 3 reader. Closing date is 21 June 2013. Visit http://schoolnetsa.blogspot.com for more details.

Last but not least, we extend our thanks to Pioneer Foods (Pty) Ltd, Metrofile Holdings (Pty) Ltd, Lil-lets SA (Pty) Ltd and IFAW for their recent sponsorship.

Yours in education



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