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Microsoft Innovative Teacher Forum Awards
2007 Finalists

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The winners of the South African finals are:

Victor Ngobeni (Rotterdam Secondary, Limpopo) for his innovative use of multiple intelligences and multimedia for a school field trip in deep rural Limpopo. Victor Ngobeni
Kumaras Pillay (Burnwood Secondary, KwaZulu0Natal ) for his use of cell phone technology to make maths and science content more easily accessible at virtually no cost. KG_Pillay
Abdullah Sujee, who won the peer review award for his mulitmedia project on the "Vaal Hearings". Abdullah Sujee

Winners won a Dell laptop, Leaf PDA and a trip to Finland to participate in the international event.

Top 20 participants in the South African finals were (alphabetical order):

Jacqueline Batchelor
Owen Buchanan
Vanita Coetzee
Cheryl Douglas
Wally du Preez
Neen Hollick
Karin Horne
John Lanser
Thamsanqa Makhathini
Merna Meyer
Murphy Mugabi
Sarietjie Musgrave
Kubendhran Naidoo
Victor Ngobeni
Simphiwe Gregory Njoko
Gaye Pieterse
Kumaras Pillay
André Schlemmer
Abdullah Sujee
Paul Wilton

Jacqueline Batchelor, Cornwall Hill College, Irene, Gauteng

Gr 11 Life Science. Learners used  the MobilED kit and accessed the service to search for information using key search terms and could then also  contribute their own knowledge to the service to be made available to others.

Comment: The use of Mobile Ed is an impressive innovative development of technology, but the innovation is a project supported by Meraka and not Jacqueline's personal innovation. This did not disqualify Jacqui, but this award does focus on the teacher, and not the project. Given the context, Jacqueline's learning and teaching strategies were not considered sufficiently innovative beyond the use of the technology to recognise her as a winner of the Innovative Teachers Forum Awards competition. We hope to see Mobile Ed being used in even more innovative ways in next year’s competition.

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Owen Buchanan, Treverton College, Mooi River, KZN

Grade 8 Cross curricular series. This is a cross-curricular series which draws together basic ICT skills, practicing learning skills, revising subject content as well as gathering and organising information.

Comment: This project is regarded as being a superior strategy for integrating ICT with the curriculum. While Owen is commended on his fresh approach this is essentially an example of ICT integration, which in itself should no longer be regarded as an innovation.

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Vanita Coetzee, Ikanyegeng Combined School, Jacobsdal, Free State

Grade 8 – 12. Life Orientation with strong links to all other learning areas. The project evolved from a RADS (Radically Different Species) peer support group.  The aim of the group is to help vulnerable learners to withstand peer pressure. The group handed in a business plan to the Free State Department of Education that awarded them R500.00 to start an Art and Craft Business. Learners soon realized it was much easier to run the day to day business by using computers.

Comment: The project itself is extremely interesting and its value is beyond doubt. ICT was not used to its full potential and did not match the innovative levels of the rest of the project. This entry scored highly in terms of community involvement and collaboration, however to be regarded as a winning entry Vanita should try to use ICT innovatively in the project.

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Cheryl Douglas, Bishops, Cape Town, Western Cape

Grade 10 Life Science. All work is linked in tables on the schools Intranet. As an introduction to Ecology students visited a National Garden and created a Powerpoint presentation on biomes studied. As an introduction to cycles in Nature they research aspects of global warming and its effects and were introduced to argumentation skills and critical analysis of web pages in the context of Ecology.

Comment: Given the context of the teacher, the use of laptops and the Intranet is not regarded as a personal innovation, but rather something that is already well-established at the school. Cheryl's passion for teaching was noteworthy. Cheryl should explore ways of making fuller use of the potential of ICT to enhance learning.

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Wally du Preez, Hibernia Primary, George, Western Cape

Grade 7 Technology, Nature Science. Learners produced a documentary video on aquatic bio monitoring as part of the GLOBE project.

Comment: Creating a documentary video was recognised as being innovative in this teacher's context. The poster was well-presented. Participation in the GLOBE programme is not the teacher's own innovation. Had Wally organised such international collaboration on his own this would have been a world-class entry.

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Neen Hollick, Pecanwood College, Broederstroom, North West Province

Grade 9 Interdisciplinary. Learners were facilitated into creating a better social environment for the local community by proposing a rail link to join up with the Gautrain.  Learners had to research and apply real life processes to obtain suitable results. 

Comment: The project, although not couched entirely in reality, was noted as being very innovative in the way that it engaged learners and teachers from a wide spectrum in the school's own community. Neen should explore how ICT resources can be integrated more fully to enhance this project.

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John Lanser, Diocesan College (Bishops); Cape Town, Western Cape

Grade 10 Geography. In order to teach learners the functional elements of a GIS and  the various steps that they should follow in order to create their own GIS project, learners made use of data sets and instructional worksheets. The data sets consisted of maps, aerial photographs and digital photographs of the ‘camps’ that the learners would stay at when they embarked upon their Epic outdoor educational journey. By creating a GIS project, learners acquired a great deal of information about the Epic and also learned about GIS and map work skills and terminologies.

Comment: This project certainly provided a fun and enjoyable learning experience for his learners. However, as John explained, the use of GIS is written into the curriculum. The use of GIS is therefore no longer regarded as innovative in itself, especially in John's context. We look forward to John exploring how GIS can be used innovatively to integrate with other ICT resources in enhancing his project learning experience.

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Thamsanqa Makhathini, Mpophomeni High School, near Howick, KZN

Grade 9-11 Mathematics. The class was divided into groups of 5 or 6, each group brainstorming on social problems and hence coming up with a research question focusing on one challenge. They had to design their own questionnaires and distribute tasks among themselves. After analysing data learners presentated their findings using PowerPoint and/or produce a brochure using Publisher.

Comment: Thamsanqa, given his context, is doing excellent work in integrating Excel with community-based research. Integrating office applications with learning is not regarded as sufficiently innovative to recognise this as a winning entry in this competition. We look forward to Thamsanqa collaborating with other teachers to make the project impact more collaborative in the community while possibly integrating a fuller range of ICT resources.

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Merna Meyer, The Northern Academy. Polokwane, Limpopo

Intermediate and Senior Phase Arts and Culture. “Animation goes Potty” is an introductory course for the teacher who wants to enhance and improve the perceptual and interpretative skills of the learners by showing ceramic pots from different cultures. It focuses on translating ideas and complex concepts by blending both indigenous and global cultures.

Comment: The project has a very innovative approach to teaching arts and culture, but the reference to ICT (animations) was misleading and not innovative in the context of this competition. To improve this project, instead of watching a video animation the learners could rather be encouraged to make animations using ICT in future.

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Murphy Mugabi , Reasoma Secondary School, Johannesburg, Gauteng

Grade 10 Life Sciences. This is project based learning which will allow learners to work together in groups, learn to share ideas and resources, realize the value of all living organisms within an ecosystem and learn to respect the environment.

Comment: The potentially innovative part of this project was the use of sound to create audiovisual content. The judges however were concerned about the use of computer reading software and felt that it was not an enhancement on the learners recording their own voices. In addition to hearing the learners’ own voices we would also like to see more use of multimedia for this project to be regarded as really innovative.

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Sarietjie Musgrave, Eunice High School, Bloemfontein, Free State

Grade 9-11 CAT. The essence of the lesson was to create the opportunity for learners to share their computer knowledge with the wider community. The learners where give the challenge of providing support material for school teachers.

Comment: This project was highly regarded. A similar innovation was entered in the previous year and as soon as this happens it raises the bar for further innovation of this idea. Sarietjie did achieve that by extending the idea to become a community project. Further enhancements could focus on the quality of the content created and the independence built in participant teachers.

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Kubendhran Naidoo, St Stithians College, Johannesburg, Gauteng

Grade 9 Technology, Life Orientation. The learners use cell phones to capture pictures that best describe a day at their school. Using cell phones they have to conduct video interviews with learners. They then voice record their summaries. Everything is then collated using MovieMaker.

Comment: This teacher has succeeded in changing attitudes about cell phones in his school. The project is a good seed idea that requires evaluation regarding the appropriateness of the technology for quality output. It could possibly be enhanced by collaborating with other teachers regarding more structured content.

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Victor Ngobeni, Rotterdam Secondary, rural Limpopo

Grade 10, 12 Geography. This project is divided into two parts: Part I: Learners visit the nearest town and observe a number of urban functional activities. Part II: Learners listen to a song about the stress of urban life and produce poems/adverts of their own. Learners collaborate with peers from other parts of the World and exchange poems and ideas.

Comment: Given his context, Victor has thought "out of the box" and produced a project in which he has used ICT to capture and share learners' knowledge in a number of ways. He has taken his learners into unknown territory both physically and virtually. Victor is an example of an innovative thinker in that he operates beyond the realm of a routine expert in his school.

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Simphiwe Njoko, Amangwane High School, Bergville, KZN

Grade 10-12 CAT. Enhancing the knowledge of ICT for End Users, Technicians, Web Designers, etc.

Comment: Simphiwe is thinking of ways to break the mold in this school and find opportunities for his learners. Now that he has that mindset he is well-set to explore how he can focus on each individual project and find ways to enhance learning in his classroom, his community and beyond. Further innovation workshops will help him to grow as an innovative teacher.

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Gaye Pieterse, Durban Girls’ College, Durban, KZN

Grade 7-12 EMS and interdisciplinary. An innovation within an innovation! The teacher receives a CD (or can access it on the Net) & one day’s training. The CD outlines in full an entire project on deciding which of the 2 franchise businesses is the most viable. The CD contains learner and teacher resource material, assessment rubrics, instructions, voice-over & visual tutorials. The learners are divided into 2 teams and each team, (after due research) has to prepare a marketing presentation (PowerPoint, movie, stop-frame animation, Photostory etc – any digital format) which the class assesses. Final winners go forward to the regional competition and so on until an international winner is identified. Prizes and training are sponsored. These provide the impetus for teachers and learners engage and, hopefully, allow them to win and use more technology.

Comment: Gaye presented her case very well. The project idea has not been fully implemented in that the actual competitions have not taken place or been scheduled. Had this been the case, this innovation could have been world class collaborative project. It is therefore an innovation in the making and we hope to see Gaye's entry next year. Gaye should consider the extent to which she wants to spoon feed contestants with supporting content in lieu of a greater flexibility and input from participating teachers and learners.

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Kumaras Pillay, Burnwood Secondary  School, Durban,  KZN

Grade 12 Maths and Science. The project uses the cell phone as a tool to reach our digitally literate children who have no conventional Internet access. The content of the syllabus exists on the cell phone (www.mlearner.co.za)

Comment: While this is a project that is still evolving, it is the product of Kumaras' own innovative thinking and has been some time in development. Innovative ideas are not always easy to implement quickly. The strength of the project currently lies in the extent to which mlearning makes content available nationwide at a minute fraction of the cost of conventional access. In future development we would suggest more variety in content, including interaction with voluntary tutors. Further innovation is therefore possible.

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Andre Schlemmer, Settlers Park Primary School, Port Elizabeth, Eastern Cape

In collaboration with three previously disadvantaged schools Settlers Park have linked up with four other schools in Northern Ireland for this particular project. In their outreach program they have tried to expose schools to new experiences they never had before. They started a project called “The World Around Us” In collaboration with the University, NMMU, and arranged Internet linkup with the schools in Northern Ireland.

Comment: This is a good example of how content is being created and shared more widely in a collaborative way. However, inter-classroom collaboration is more of a norm than an innovation these days, especially for urban schools, and thus this project was not considered innovative enough to win the competition. The research on the guinea fowls in the school area could give rise to more innovation if pursued in more detail while exploring how the data collected can make an impact on the wider community.

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Abdullah Sujee. Roshnee Islamic School, Roshnee, Gauteng

Grade 9-12 Language. Make use of media and multimedia in practical ways as part of daily class work, assignments projects so that the reality of the world is brought into the learners' experience. This innovation focuses on a classroom project called "The Vaal Hearings".

Comment: Abdullah is an accomplished performer when presenting his project. The project is innovative by most standards, but given that Abdullah's learners have been doing multimedia work for some time, he has higher standards to achieve before his project can be considered innovative in his context. Innovators set high standards for their next innovation. Abdullah did achieve this with new ventures into radio broadcasting. This is a high quality innovative project.

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Paul Wilton, The Cape Academy of Mathematics, Science and Technology, Cape Town, Western Cape

Learners work collaboratively, using computers and to complete the following:

  •  brochures, which becomes their study-aids
  •  PowerPoint presentations,
  •  oral presentations, using PowerPoint

Comment: The use of ICT in resourced schools is now regarded as standard, and not innovative as such. However, the way in which Paul has arranged his class to work at workstations in a low density ICT configuration was innovative in this context because very few schools have ICT in the classroom in this country. The stage is now set for Paul to use this ICT in more innovative ways within the classroom and beyond.

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