MIEExpert Spotlight #20: Freddy Chireka: Explore OneNote and OneNote Class Creator

This is the 20th post in the series “MIEExpert Spotlight” for South Africa. The tab with all the posts can be found at: 

http://bit.ly/1ZYy8Z7. Today we focus on Freddy Chireka. Freddy is passionate about training teachers in South Africa in the use of Microsoft applications. He taught in Johannesburg for nine years. His turning point came when the Gauteng MEC for Education, Mr. Panyaza Lesufi, launched the ICT Integration Project. Freddy then became effectively involved in the training of teachers and served as an ICT Co-ordinator, championing the adoption of the use of ICTs in learning. As an ICT Coordinator he worked closely with the District’s E-learning Unit in implementing various E-learning Projects. In 2015 Freddy joined Vastratech Professional Development Academy and Thandulwazi Maths and Science Academy as a Technology Coach.


Microsoft tools in education

Freddy states that,“Microsoft’s tools for education, to me, are vital in assisting
teachers to move away from the 20th century type of education that prepares
students for routine and general recall skills to the excitement of
implementing 21st century thinking,”
He maintains that he is driven by the
desire to play a meaningful role in society through effective education that
fosters the development of 21st century skills such as critical thinking,
collaboration, communication and creativity. “At Thandulwazi Maths and Science
Academy under the leadership of Ronelle Klinck, we train teachers from under
privileged communities on the use of ICTs in education in digital literacy and
from 2017 we will be training all the teachers on the use of Microsoft Tools
for Education.  By training teachers, I
am thrilled that I am contributing to the goal of preparing learners for the
future.”
 
Freddy is also a
Professional Learning Specialist at Vastratech where he is tasked with running
professional development activities across the country. 




The OneNote Class Notebook Creator

Microsoft offers extensive Professional Development on the
use of its products. There is an abundance of short videos and tutorials that
can be easily followed and understood by the average teacher. Freddy loves
using OneNote Classwork Creator.  When
asked how he got started with OneNote and OneNote Classwork Creator he said, “OneNote is a great tool to use in the classroom with learners, but when I
noticed the risk of learners tampering with original notes and other learners’
work, I realised that this was going to present me with big challenges in
managing my learners. Upon research I realized Microsoft has introduced OneNote
Class Notebook to solve that challenge. It should be very easy for an average
teacher to download Class Notebook using the OneNote Class Notebook creator. It
is basically an easy to follow wizard
.”



How the OneNote Class Notebook Creator works

A teacher can easily manage all her classes effectively with
OneNote Class Notebook. When asked to expound this Freddy explained that
In OneNote Class Notebook creator you
create a Class Notebook with three main sub-notebooks namely student notebooks,
content library and collaboration space. 
In the Student Notebook only the teacher and the individual learner have
access to that folder. A teacher can then share individual handouts, class
notes, homework assignments and quizzes. The teacher is able to monitor, in
real time, the individual progress of each learner and give feedback only to
the learner concerned. In the Content Library space teachers are able to add
relevant content or edit content for their learners. For the learners this
material is read-only. This is useful to avoid students tampering with original
materials. This is the same concept as a paper-based library where students are
not allowed to cut or edit 
books
in the library. In the third space, the Collaboration Space all learners have
editing rights and can also add any materials of their choice. This allows
sharing, trying new ideas and collaboration. The teacher is able to monitor and
control activities in this space. Freddy
adds, “The OneNote Class Notebook Add-in, which can be
opened in OneNote 2013 or 2016, enables teachers to save time and work even
more efficiently with their Class Notebooks. It has many additional very useful
features for teachers
.”


A Microsoft Innovative Educator Expert
As a Microsoft Innovative Educator
Expert Freddy likes to share his experiences with Microsoft tools with other.
He uses various online media for this. He says, “Recently I had a skype session
with teachers in India and I encouraged them to teach mathematics using
OneNote. I always encourage fellow teachers to join the Microsoft Educator
Community
.” 
He concludes, “I would like to see
teachers embracing technology as a tool to better education practices.
Microsoft offers great tools that would enhance teaching and learning but
teachers and learners have to be shown how to 
effectively tap into that advantage. In South Africa there is need for
an urgent solution to the connectivity issue. Most of our schools in South
Africa are poorly connected especially in remote areas. Once that happens the
sky is the limit.
 “


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