+ Research + Teacher Development + Distance Learning + Instructional Design
Chicago, Ill, USA, 17 April, 2009
Principals from two South African primary schools were rewarded with a grant of just over a half a million Rands for their M-Ubuntu, a creative proposal of using mobile phones to build a literacy collaboratory, through which primary school teachers develop partnerships, identify strategies and create content to engage and advance functional literacy in young learners.
Sam Nenngwekhulu from Spectrum Primary, south from Johannesburg and Sydney Teme from Ramosadi Primary, close to Mafeking, were beaming on receipt of the news and were flown to Chicago earlier this week by Learning Academy Worldwide to accept their award.
The schools entered the Digital Media Learning Competition in October last year and took the honours from more than 700 applications. The competition, managed for the MacArthur Foundation by HASTAC, a Californian-based organization "committed to new forms of collaboration across communities and disciplines fostered by creative uses of technology", praised the South Africans for their initiative to make a difference in their schools.
Mr SamNenngwekhulu, far left and Mr Sydney Teme are being congratulated by Dr Cathy Davidson Professor of Interdisciplinary Studies, John Hope Franklin Humanities Institute, and Ruth F. DeVarney Professor of English at Duke University
The two schools have been involved in teacher development projects with the Swedish-based Learning organization, Learning Academy Worldwide, since early 2008. Their commitment to provide the best learning experience with very limited resources have been a hallmark of their approach and gave them a sound platform to manage this new project.
Washington DC 16 March 2009
Teachers from Ramosadi Primary School near Mafeking and Spectrum Primary School south of Johannesburg returns home on Wednesday morning from two full and busy weeks at conferences in the states of North Carolina and Maryland.
"We had spent a truly meaningful time here in the US since the day we arrived on March 3rd," said Ramosadi Primary principal, Mr Sydney Teme. Dorothy Ratshefola, Lindi Ntuli, Babara van Vught and Jabu Hlubi added that "we are taking a lot with us on our way back home." From the conference, though, the reverse was also true too - these teachers inspired as they told their stories of courage in the face of brutal odds. They also surprised some of their American counterparts with their awareness of and use of communications technology as tools for the classroom and for teacher development.
The teachers attended the National Paideia's 16th National Conference in Winston-Salem, North Carolina together with about 80 educators from the US and also participated in the International M-Learning summit just outside of Washington DC. These aside, the teachers visited two primary schools in both the US states they visited, attended a seminar on Distance Learning at the Nova Southeastern University in Fort Lauderdale, Florida and conducted an on-site tour of a community garden in Durham, North Carolina.
Also, between all of these, the teachers still found time to prepare a delicious South African meal (Bobotie) for their hosts in Durham, North Carolina, managing to keep in touch with family via Skype and being special guests at a church service in Silver Spring, Maryland.
The trip, sponsored by the National Paideia Center and Learning Academy Worldwide, was part of the Academy's teacher development initiative in South Africa.
29 January 2009
As South African schools returned, after a long, warm summer holiday to start the new academic year, Ramosadi Primary School in the North West province of South Africa started in a decidedly different way - dedicating four full days to rekindling teacher morale and providing practical support to improve learner participation.
"Most schools, at this time of the year", says principal, Mr Sydney Teme, "have to deal with problems, and we do, connected to having the right amount of learners, teachers and the issues of cleaning up after the holidays and getting the sports programme going. But we felt that we wanted to start differently this year and also give our team of teachers a chance to think about how we can raise our own comptence levels."
Mr Teme collaborated with Learning Academy Worldwide to coordinate the 4-day after-school workshops for teachers. Two of the days included sessions moderated from Bethesda, just outside of Washington DC using the Elluminate e-learning web-solution.
Ms Naomi Tempies, educator with experience of teaching and leadership in both Sweden and the Middle-East, conducted the on-site needs assessment and teacher workshops. Read her preliminary report by clicking here. Download Adobe reader, if needed, to view this document.
28th November 2008
University of North Carolina's National Paideia Center together with Learning Academy Worldwide and Duke University acknowledged the efforts of six teachers from Spectrum Primary School in Ennerdale, South Africa at an award ceremony at the school.
The teachers received honours for the completion of the Introduction to Teaching Reading through Participatory Learning module. Teachers completed the 8-session program, totaling 20 hours of course work (12 contact hours and 8 independent work hours) with enthusiasm as they juggled an intense teaching schedule at the same time.
Veronicka Reyneck Anglana De Lange Lindiwe Ntuli
Babara van Vught Grace Mabasa Jabulani Hlubi
The certificates were presented to the teachers by Mr Eran Williams, regional English Language Officer from the US Embassy in Pretoria, South Africa.
1 December 2008, Ennerdale, Johannesburg
With between 40-47 children in a class, teaching at Primary Schools in South Africa becomes a daunting task especially when learning materials are limited. Spectrum Primary school in Ennerdale, south from Johannesburg, while facing this all too familiar dilemma, received help when a full class set of the Beverley Naidoo novel, Journey to Jo’burg, was given to the language department.
The donation was part of a teacher development program that focused on the use of South African literature in the classroom. During the program, teachers were coached in using pre-reading strategies to heighten learner expectations prior to reading as a way to improve participation in class. Teachers engaged in a demonstration of how a text could be used to stimulate discussions around a specific idea in much the same way as is proposed by Paideia - an approach to learning inspired by the work of educator and philosopher, Mortimer J. Adler.
“This is more than a gift because Learning Academy Worldwide also coached us, as they call it, in the ways to use the literature in the classroom,” said principal, Mr. Sam Nengwenkhulu.
Ms Naomi Tempies handed over the set of books at Spectrum Primary School on behalf of Learning Academy Worldwide.
Ms Naomi Tempies had over a full class set of Journey to Joburg to Spectrum Primary principal, Mr Sam Nengwenkhulu.
© Learning Academy Worldwide