Howick Principals Go Digital with Schoolnet SA

Howick Principals Go Digital with Schoolnet SA

Back row left: Zinhle Zondo, Joyce Ntuli, Hlengiwe Mfeka (Project Manager), Pat Makhaye, Sbongile Zulu, Thembisile Maphumulo Front row principals from left: Thembi Mbanjwa, Damon Shaw, Mazwakhe Mkhulisi (Howick Circuit Manager), Flo Shenge, Linda Zuma

Back row left: Zinhle Zondo, Joyce Ntuli, Hlengiwe Mfeka (Project Manager), Pat Makhaye, Sbongile Zulu, Thembisile Maphumulo
Front row principals from left: Thembi Mbanjwa, Damon Shaw, Mazwakhe Mkhulisi (Howick Circuit Manager), Flo Shenge, Linda Zuma

A worthy senior manager at a school in the Howick Circuit was presented with a Microsoft Surface Tablet computer recently, namely Mrs N F Buthelezi (Triandra Primary) who is part of the Learning Gains through Play (LGP) project.
For the past year, teachers from 5 schools in Howick and 5 schools in Somerset West in the Western Cape have been learning to make exciting use of digital content and learning technologies in their Grade R and Grade 1 classrooms.
In July last year, teachers and senior management team members started attending regular workshops to prepare for the introduction of innovative learning technologies to their schools. Each teacher in the LGP project received a 10.1 Galaxy Tablet for their personal use as well as for the main purpose of enhancing teaching and learning. Senior Management Team (SMT) members did not receive devices.

Later in 2014 these Howick schools; Nogqaza, Thembelihle, Cedara, Triandra and Qhamukile in the Howick Circuit received an array of learning devices for learners: 20 Intel tablets, a router for the school as well as an Xbox Kinect sensor and data projector.

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The D G Murray Trust has funded       SchoolNet South Africa to provide    professional development workshops to teachers with the purpose of effectively using the Xbox Kinect and Intel tablets to enhance learning. While there is a deliberate emphasis on the relationship between motor development and cognitive development, the research has targeted four distinct literacies, namely visual literacy, oral communication in English, as well as gross and fine motor coordination. The 7 inch Intel tablets for learners are pre-loaded with carefully selected relevant Apps and games.

At the heart of the project is exploring how the development of literacies is enhanced through play. Teachers have been excited and relieved to discover that the apps and games have been able to assist them to achieve the national curriculum outcomes listed in CAPS. A published compilation of reviews from the teachers on how to use specific Xbox Kinect games and android apps to develop and improve the vital Foundation Phase skills, will provide a valuable resource for other teachers and will fulfil a knowledge-sharing legacy for the project.
Teachers from the project will be sharing their experiences at conferences around the country this year – at the ICT in the Classroom Conference at St Mary’s in Kloof in July, at the Reading Association of Southern Africa in Cape Town in September and at the Google Summit in East London in October.