We are excited about our international keynote speakers who will be presenting at the SchoolNet ICT in the Classroom Conference

Yes, we are excited about our four international keynote speakers who will be presenting at the SchoolNet ICT in the Classroom Conference on 5-7 October at Brescia House in Johannesburg. The draft program is downloadable on our Conference page: http://www.schoolnet.org.za/conference2017/ We are also very excited about our many local presenters who will be delivering really exciting sessions,  but this post focuses our four keynote presenters, all international speakers, three of whom are from other countries. 

Stephen Reid from Scotland

Let’s start with Stephen Reid from Scotland. Stephen is the Director and creative genius of Immersive Minds. He presents on Minecraft: Education Edition all over the world. On his Facebook page, Stephen Reid says, “This week I am returning to my beloved South Africa to attend and present at three separate events over 11 days. I will be working with teachers from across all of the African continent to show them how they can use #Minecraftedu, 3DPrinting, Virtual Reality, 360 cameras, SketchFab, TinkerCAD and more new and emerging technologies in their classrooms.Africa is an exciting, vibrant and fertile education landscape, that experiences many of the same challenges we see in the UK. Teachers from across the continent contact me daily to ask about how they can better reach their students through technology. So I’ve put together this course to show how these technologies can be used alone or merged to create multiple, deep learning experiences for children of all ages. It’s going to be a wonderful week. I can’t wait!”

In his keynote at the SchoolNet Conference, entitled, Merging Emerging Technologies, Stephen will explore a variety of emerging technologies and explore how they can be merged to create blended learning and cross-curricular experiences for our students. We’ll learn how to use and merge Minecraft, Mineways, Spritecraft, TinkerCad, 3DPrint, 360 Cameras, Virtual Reality and more. In the Microsoft Microsoft Tech Playground at the conference, Stephen will present ‘Create-IT’: A practical exploration of ‘making things’ with multiple, new and emerging technologies at once. From Minecraft to the 3D Printer to the Virtual Reality headset, you can play with technologies that you can merge and make with. Stephen’s other four sessions in this series are entitled Experience iT. Make It, Visit It and Play It. 

Ollie Bray from Scotland

Next we have Ollie Bray from Scotland. Ollie is currently Head teacher at Kingussie High School located within the Cairngorms National Park; a Member of the Board of Management at Inverness College: University of the Highlands and Islands; and a member of the BBC’s Educational Broadcasting Council for Scotland advisory board. Under Ollie’s leadership Kingussie has been rated one of the most improved schools in Scotland. At a systems level most recently he has been responsible for co-designing the deployment of 22,000 Chromebooks across his education district (authority). For over a decade he has worked regularly in schools and school systems around the world advising of whole school improvement, technology for learning and learning space design (digital & physical). In his keynote entitled The New Learning Landscape Ollie will reflect on new trends in learning, teaching and school leadership and talk about how technology can improve outcomes for children and young people by transforming the learning landscape.

Peter Rafferty from the UK

Peter is planning to showcase how Google Classroom can be a powerful tool for teachers and pupils but also to include how analogue approaches can fit into a digital world. As a starting point he aims to use “Sparkly Letters” for a bit of interaction and as something a bit different. If you’ve not come across the concept of “Sparkly Letters” yet, Peter has provided these descriptions of how they have been used and received:



Peter says, “This is the analogue part of the session. I’d like the children of Green Park and Redgate to join in so that I have enough letters for the conference delegates to reply to and maybe enough to take back some to the schools and have pupils reply in Sparkly Letter style.

The digital part  of the session is to use one Great Big Global Google Classroom to connect everyone in the project and develop a shared resource/peer learning experience which subsequently highlights the simplicity and ease of using Google Classroom as a tool for teaching and learning. Maybe, as there is no time difference between South Africa and the UK, have some live collaboration going on.

In addition, I’ll take the opportunity to show some digital alternatives to analogue (hand written) Sparkly Letters.

The idea is that each person who opens a letter has got to reply to that person with their own Sparkly Letter. I’m filling my suitcase with suitable materials.”

Sarietjie Musgrave from Bloemfontein

Finally let’s talk about our South African keynote presenter,  Sarietjie Musgrave from Bloemfontein,  who will talk on Anywhere, Anytime Learning. This keynote presentation looks at anywhere, anytime learning from the perspective of the learner and the teacher as a lifelong learner. In this session Sarietjie draws on her range of experiences to describe different ways in which a teacher can continue to develop professionally over the course of his or her career. Sarietjie is the Director of Academic Services at HigherEdPartnersSA in conjunction with the University of the Free State.

This conference will be well-worth attending. Why not take advantage of some of our specials mentioned at and register? If you would like to download the draft programme to look at the sessions offered, please visit our conference site: http://www.schoolnet.org.za/conference2017/

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