Submitted by Hlengiwe Mfeka
Thembelihle Primary School is situated in KZN Midlands, Central Howick. The School Management Team bought laptops for the staff including digital data projector per classroom. The laptops are loaded with the latest software i.e. windows 8 and Microsoft Office 2013. The training consists of nine educators from the Primary school and two educators from the Pre-Primary school. The first session started on a high note and with lots of enthusiasm as teachers were looking forward to use their laptops for the first time. The training consisted teachers with different levels of ICT skills from no skill to some extent of advanced users. It is always a challenge to accommodate both a no skill and advanced participants but manageable.
The first module on 21 Century skills was equally enjoyed by all teachers (no skills and advanced users). It served as a motivation for the teachers to look forward to the next session. In that session teachers reflected on their classroom practices and identified gaps as they were studying or learning about 21st century skills. The training is being conducted in the afternoons for two and a half hours which is a big sacrifice on teachers’ part as they leave the school when it is almost dark with no complains – Their commitment is highly commendable. The teachers have completed ten modules out of fourteen (14) to date.
Every session starts with a sharing on a success story told by teachers how they had implemented or tried out what had been learnt in the training. A remarkable development and a level of confidence is displayed on individual teachers as they progress with the training. One success story or lesson shared by one of the teachers Nicky Msebele is on how she used internet search (Module 6) with her little ones for the first time which concluded with a creation of posters and creative writing of poems which they posted on the wall. She says she had never seen them so active and paying attention until the end of the lesson – That lesson motivated her to try more ways of integrating ICT in her class – http://youtu.be/I3mqQkTZuvw (Nicky explaining her lesson in a video)
In one of the sessions conducted in August teachers were pleased to finalize their class websites while the principal of the school Ms Carol Bonwell created her school teachers’ website and she is determined to upload it and start sharing documents with her teachers there.
In the last week of schools’ closing for their ten days holidays teachers get busy with marking and schedule compilation and it is a stressful time. When the trainer arrived at the school they were all stressed having to combine all of the term’s marks per learner. However the training held at the school this week brighten their faces and brought smiles to their faces when they were introduced to Excel app which they had never used before. On the last day of the training they were assisted to create an electronic mark book where they managed to move data from their traditional mark book to an electronic one. They couldn’t believe the amount of time they spent to calculate totals for all learners – one of them said they’ve managed to do full day’s work within few minutes. This was the best session experienced because it met their immediate need at the right time – just in time learning.