Educators praised for digital teaching at national awards ceremony

| November 14, 2016 | 0 Comments

Department of Telecommunications and Postal Services (DTPS) minister, Siyabonga Cwele, recently praised South African educators for introducing digital teaching tools in classrooms. “Learners today don’t respond well to blackboards. They want digital content in the classroom and teachers who know how to use it,” he said.

He was speaking at South Africa’s Internet Service Providers’ Association (ISPA)1 SuperTeacher™ Awards Gala Dinner in late September 2016, a highlight of the annual ISPA iWeek conference and exhibition. Acknowledging that learner performance is linked to educator information and communications technology (ICT) knowledge, Cwele congratulated ISPA SuperTeacher™ 2016, Kedibone Makgato, on being chosen as the teacher who has best imparted her newly-acquired ICT knowledge to her learners, school and community. ISPA SuperTeacher™ finalists must demonstrate to the annual competition’s judges exactly how they have best used their newfound knowledge after participating in ICT training partly sponsored by ISPA and its members, and facilitated by the CoZa Cares Foundation.2

Professional development for more than 5 000 teachers

Makgato, from Toronto Primary School in Limpopo, joined ISPA ChampTeacher™ of the Year 2016, Mokhudu Machaba from Ngwanamago Primary in Limpopo, and ISPA TechTeacher™ of the Year 2016, Erika Esterhuizen from St Andrew’s College in the Eastern Cape, on stage as delegates attending ISPA’s iWeek XV looked on. According to CoZa Cares Foundation CEO, Fiona Wallace, sponsorship from ISPA members over the years has equipped over 5 000 teachers with ICT confidence, skills and leadership. In the last three years alone, some 750 school leaders, educators and district officials have been supported through a variety of professional development courses.

“All credit is due to Kedibone Makgato for working hard to be named as this year’s ISPA SuperTeacher.™ She is surely set to use this prestigious competition as a springboard to even greater achievements, as so many of her peers have done,” says Wallace.

Makgato thanked all those involved for the life-changing experience that is the ISPA SuperTeacher™ of the Year competition. “ICT is a powerful tool in the hands of properly equipped educators who also have a passion for sharing new technology with their communities. I now have the title to go with my passion,” she says.

A prestigious panel

The judges of the now fully online competition, designed and developed by CoZa Cares, comprised a strongly representative cross-section of the South African education and ICT sectors. They included Sarah-Jane Capazario (ISPA), Dorcas Thabane (ISPA), Jenny King (e-Schools Network),3 Marcus Lamola (Matthew Goniwe School of Leadership and Governance),4 Neo Mothobi (Department of Basic Education, Pretoria), Megan Rademeyer (SchoolNet SA)5 and Clinton Walker (Western Cape Education Department).

South Africa’s leading annual internet industry gathering, iWeek, marked its 15th year from 19 to 23 September this year by returning to Johannesburg. An annual fixture of the closing
night gala dinner is the announcement of the ISPA SuperTeacherTM of the Year from the 10 competition finalists.

Diverse support

The three competition winners received several gifts from generous sponsors. The Mighty Pen Education Magazine6 provided three lifetime gift subscriptions for the three winners, maths teaching resource Matific7 also sponsored a prize for each of the winners and Mustek8 sponsored a Mecer Executive Series tablet for each of the three winners. The Matific winners’ prizes specially included Matific school subscriptions until the end of 2017.

South Africa’s Wireless Application Service Providers’ Association (WASPA)9 sponsored accommodation for the teachers, tablets for each of the winners, and one special professional development training session on assisting learners to navigate the digital space safely. In addition, WASPA member Smartcall Technology Solutions10 sponsored one gigabyte of data monthly for a year for each of the three winners. The host of the Gala Dinner awards evening was Neotel.11

References:

1. See: http://ispa.org.za/.
2. See: http://www.cozacares.co.za/.
3. See: http://www.esn.org.za/.
4. See: http://www.mgslg.co.za/.
5. See: http://www.schoolnet.org.za/.
6. See: www.themightypen.co.za.
7. See: www.matiific.com.
8. See: http://mustek.co.za/.
9. See: https://waspa.org.za/.
10. See: http://www.smartcalltech.co.za/contact.aspx.
11. See: https://www.neotel.co.za.

Category: Summer 2016

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