Background of EDN

Background of EDN

Background of EDN

In 2000 SchoolNet SA developed a framework for educator development in using information and communication technologies (ICTs) to support teaching and learning. Recommendations from that framework sought to address the inequity, effectiveness and logistic difficulties of educator ICT development in this country. As a result an online learning model was proposed, with ongoing support from learning communities, mentors and help desk technical support. Due to the cost constraints of connectivity, the materials would be primarily CD-based.

The Educators’ Network grew from this framework  and these major recommendations were adopted and refined. This was a consultative process with cooperation from many stakeholders, primarily SAIDE, the national Education Department’s Centre for Educational Technology and Distance Education (CETDE) and SCOPE, a Finnish government-funded project hosted by the CETDE. SCOPE has subsequently provided much of the funding for the development of the modules.

At the same time SchoolNet SA was involved in major projects that provided educational ICT solutions in schools disadvantaged communities throughout the country. The Thintana Project provided largely networked and Internet-connected computers to computer rooms in 200 schools and the Telkom SuperCentres project provided 100 schools with networked and Internet-connected computer rooms. The Educators’ Network has been used as the educator ICT development strategy for the educators at these schools. Several other smaller projects such as SCOPE, Multigrade and Khanya (both latter projects managed by the Western Cape Education Department), have also subsequently made use of the Educators’ Network under SchoolNet SA’s management. In the first two years of existence 2051 educators had completed 2932 modules on the Educators’ Network – some 75 000 notional hours of top quality educator development.  Recently SchoolNet SA invited educators from a number African countries to participate in  the Educators Network.

The objectives for these projects include to

  • Create communities of educators who use computers and the Internet in their work as educators;
  • Provide opportunities for them to support each other by e-mail (thus sustaining an online community);
  • Enhance teaching and learning through use of this technology as a tool to support learning.
  • Influence a change in classroom practice

At first seven modules were developed, piloted and refined. This process was funded largely by SCOPE using mostly SchoolNet SA’s own associates and consultants to write the materials:

  1. Word processing for educators
  2. Spreadsheets for educators
  3. Finding information
  4. Using web resources
  5. Designing web pages
  6. Questioning  and thinking skills
  7. Assessing information literacy (subsequently removed and re-written)

Subsequently, further modules have been developed and by the end of 2004 20 modules had been fully commissioned. In addition to the modules listed above, the newer modules were:

  1. Newcomers’ module
  2. ICT Maths resources for educators
  3. Developing classroom resources for maths
  4. ICT Science resources for educators
  5. Developing classroom resources for science
  6. ICT Planning for educators
  7. ICT Leadership for educators
  8. Choosing and evaluating software
  9. Learning with projects
  10. Working with information
  11. ICT in schools
  12. ICT and the roles of the educator
  13. Assessing ICT integration
  14. Facilitating ICT integraton for educators

SchoolNet South Africa is an incorporated Non Profit Company - Registration 2001/012244/08, NPO Number 030-817
and holds Public Benefit Organisation (PBO) Status, in terms of Section 30 of the Income Tax Act - PBO Number 130003557.

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