Wednesday, 17 July 2013

SchoolNet Conference 2013 - Powerful Professional Development For Sure!

Submitted by Fiona Beal
imageAre you all ‘teched-out’ (a new Conference phrase we heard bandied about) after attending the SchoolNet2013 ICT in the Classroom  Conference held in Bloemfontein from 2nd – 4th July? Have you returned home inspired and motivated to do more in your classroom in the ensuing days? Of course all conferences have their hiccups of one sort or another but  the relationships formed and the learning that takes place in the space of three days definitely outweighs any downsides!

It was a busy time getting ready for the Conference in Blomefontein but Janet Thomson, SchoolNet’s Executive Director,  skilfully co-ordinated the Schoolnet team and the Bloemfontein ICTize team as they prepared for this biennial event. In this picture you can see the whole team on the stage at the close of the Conference. 

Our keynote speakers
SchoolNet conferences are known for including International speakers and we were thrilled to have four superb speakers who added their perspectives to those of our wonderful local presenters from around South Africa. We were especially thrilled to have our Deputy Minister of Education, Enver Surty, open the Conference.

imageNaomi Harm has been an invited keynote speaker at several of our SchoolNet Conferences over the years and she always gives us so much to think about and take away.  She presented tirelessly throughout the Conference with her various presentations and the closing keynote in which she summed up the Conference with her 'Top 10 Learning Tips'. Naomi’s presentations included:
  • So You Want to Hangout In My Community?|
  • What Would You Like to Create Today? iPad Literacy Center “Apptivities"
  • Intel Elements: Blended Learning
  • Visualize Your Thinking and Learning - Visual Ranking App
  • Closing Keynote ‘10 top learning tips’

You can read Naomi’s conference reflections on the conference on her great blog She provides links to all her presentations on her blog. 

imageBaldev Singh from Imagine Education in the UK was our opening keynote speaker. Baldev presented his keynote on "Trends in Technology and Implications for Learning, Teaching and Developing the International Dimension in Schools."   One of Baldev’s quotes was constantly tweeted throughout the conference ‘Technology might be the answer but what was the question?’ Baldev’s workshop sessions in the following two days included:
  • 21st Century Learning Design Through a Technology Lens
  • Create System-wide Change. Build Innovative Schools
  • TeachMeet

Frédéric Kastner and Malik Wilson are from The Virtual School in the UK. They presented
clip_image002a keynote entitled ‘Open Educational Resource Movement –Inspiring your Teaching and Sharing with Teachers around the world’. During the conference they provided sessions of hands-on movie-making projects through digital video productions and screen casting opportunities with free online and offline resources. Teachers were very eager to participate in these content creation technology sessions and one couldn’t easily get a seat in their sessions. Their sessions included:
  • Finding and using OER in and around the classroom. 
  • Enabling teachers to create their own Multimedia Lessons
Frédéric has published an article for those who missed his presentation on his blog. You can also view their various videos on their Virtual School YouTube playlist:

Apart from our keynote speakers we had inspiring local presenters of high calibre leading different sessions. We are very grateful for their input.

imageSocial networking
It is amazing how social media can bind a conference together. Maggie Verster  did a sterling job of introducing teachers to Twitter and keeping the social media alive and well. We have captured the tweet archIves from the three days of the Conference using Storify:

Day 2
Day 3:

Our Conference blog is being updated with all the presentations that have been received to date. These presentations have also been shared via Dropbox plus they also appear on the SchoolNet website under Conference ( Photos can be found on the SchoolNet website

It was according to all accounts a very successful and exciting conference. Here are some of the reflections via blogs or PDFs. (Please let us know if you have written a reflection on your blog)

  • @MaryFaragher 's reflection on the #Schoolnetsa conference  "The last three days I have been at a conference for “innovative teachers” in Bloem and it has been amazing! From the breadcrumb navigation to presentations of the latest technology, to the active workshops that formed the bulk of the programme, it has been an eye-opening journey."
  • @nharm reflection on our #schoolnetsa conference. It also has all her resources!!
  • Bongani Ncube from Ilanga Secondary School, Emalahleni, has sent in a reflection.
  • Frédéric Kastner has a reflection on his Virtual School blog
  • Kobus van Wyk also writes about the SchoolNet Conference

Three essential points
Once again we realise three essential points that emerge after attending a national technology in education conference:

1) We not alone. Everyone starts as a beginner and everyone can move forward and use technology where it matters most; no-one knows everything and everyone learns from others.

2) We share a worldwide vision for improving our education system and embracing technology to enhance it and do things we couldn't do before including technology. Attending a conference often shows new ways of engaging in and using technology to develop student skills at one’s own school.

3) A personal learning network is important. A conference introduces us to others who we can now add to our PLN. Joining Twitter links us to a means of gathering a powerful learning network around us whenever we need them. We hope that you will include @SchoolNetSA as one of your free professional development organisations in this personal learning network.

As we all know, not every teacher at our schools feels as enthusiastic as we do about the value of using technology to improve student learning and engagement. So, as you return to your day to day environment we encourage you to chat and share in the corridors, discuss over lunch, and offer ideas for the possibilities for learning that technology can bring.  Use your energy and renewed enthusiasm to build and develop relationships with your various teams, teachers and students to slowly help all to see that connections and learning through and with technology are important in education.

If you were at the conference we have sent you a link to an evaluation form. Please fill it in so that we can make our next conference even better. 

Monday, 8 July 2013

Naomi Harm

Naomi Harm is from Minnesota, USA. She is a well-known education consultant who will be speaking about Global Classroom Collaboration, Learning with Tablets and Designing blended learning for the classroom.

Sunday, 7 July 2013

Some reflections on #Schoolnetsa 2013 conference....

It was according to all accounts a very successful and exciting conference. We will be adding reflections here as we pick them up.
  • @MaryFaragher 's reflection on the #Schoolnetsa conference  "The last three days I have been at a conference for “innovative teachers” in Bloem and it has been amazing! From the breadcrumb navigation to presentations of the latest technology, to the active workshops that formed the bulk of the programme, it has been an eye-opening journey." 
  • @nharm reflection on our #schoolnetsa conference it also have all her resources!!
  • Bongani Ncube from Ilanga Secondary School, Emalahleni, has sent in a reflection.
  • Frédéric Kastner and Malik Wilson have a reflection on their blog 

Friday, 7 June 2013

Welcome to SchoolNet's 2013 ICT in the Classroom conference blog

A warm welcome to all our delegates, visitors and presenters! This blog will be the place where we will record every second of all the happenings at the conference. Here you can catch up on the conference Twitter stream and all the amazing resources that will shared during these three days.

Our themes for this year's conference: 
  1. Connecting classrooms - learning activities that use technology to connect classrooms beyond the school's boundaries
  2. Learning with tablets - learning activities that are unique to the use of tablets in and beyond the classroom
  3. Learning with mobile phones - learning activities that are unique to the use of mobile phones in and beyond the classroom
  4. Innovative teaching - any teaching with technology that you feel is innovative, especially if you have entered the Microsoft Innovative Education Forum now and in the past, but not reserved for that group of teachers
  5. ICT leadership in the school - ways in which you have shown successful leadership of ICT integration activities in your school generally.
  6. Curriculum delivery through digital content - how the inclusion of digital content in the curriculum has enhanced your teaching and student learning.

For general information, please visit the Information page where you will find all kinds of titbits that will guide you on your way.

Consult the Programme page to see what is on and when. You will also be able to click through from there to each presenters page where you will be able to ask questions and make comments as well as keep track of resources shared about or by the presenter and his/her topic.

The resources page will keep track of all the resources shared during the conference, whether it is in the Twitter stream or in our Diigo bookmarking group. If you have not already created a twitter account to keep track of and be part of the live "BUZZ" at the conference, work through the step by step guides and hints here.

Make sure that you go and 'like' the Schoolnet Facebook page if you want to keep up with things in your Facebook stream.

Let's get started with Twitter! Join us!

We invite you to become part of the conference Twitter stream. If you have not yet registered  for a Twitter account do so now by following the steps below. Please introduce yourself to us on Twitter and don't forget to add the hashtag  #schoolnetsa to your tweet. (Please don't forget to add your photo so that we can see who you are).
  • For a starter guide see the presentation 'Getting Started with Twitter'  created by Maggie Verster below:
  • If you prefer to follow the directions via a video please click on the video link entitled 'Getting started with Twitter (a five minute tutorial)' 
  • To visit the daily Twitter archives click here:

Getting Started with Twitter by Maggie Verster

Getting Started with Twitter from YouTube

Friday, 1 February 2013

John Aphane

Twitter: @Lake_Glory
Session: How iPads Enhance Learning
Place and time: Edu15

Thursday, 31 January 2013

Michele Botha

Total Engagement - Bring Your Own Device in Real Life


Twitter feed: