E Cape teachers graduate in ICT course

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Teachers in Cofimvaba in the Eastern Cape have successfully graduated
after completing an ICT course on using tablets to improve teaching and learning
at their schools.

Manager of information and communication technology (ICT) for
Education/Learning at the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR),
Merryl Ford, said the teachers are part of the second phase of the ICT for Rural
Education Development (ICT4RED) project.

She said the professional teacher development course has seen 140
teachers trained with a 100% pass rate, adding that the project has also seen
165 tablets distributed at 11 schools.

Led by the CSIR, ICT4RED is the ICT aspect of the broader Technology for Rural
Education Development (TECH4RED) research project.

TECH4RED is aimed at contributing to the improvement of lives in rural
communities through technology-led innovation.

"This is the culmination of a lot of hard work from many people. With the
passion and dedication of the team of government, academia, civil society and
community working together, there is no limit to our potential as a country.

"Attending classes was not the only requirement for graduation. The
teachers have gone through an in-depth assessment process.

"The approach taken in these piloted ICT teacher professional development
courses is different from the traditional method of training, where teachers focus
on the technology in order to develop "computer literacy? skills,' Ford said.

She said the aim is to develop teaching strategies which focus on
developing the appropriate pedagogy in the classroom, using technology as a
tool.

She said once the model has been presented and evaluated by the
Department of Basic Education, it may be considered as part of ICT teacher
development at a national level.

According to Ford, one of the so-called "mud schools' in the district,
Zamuxolo Junior Secondary School, has emerged as the top-performing school,
with more than 80% of its teachers passing with distinctions.

"The teachers have worked incredibly hard, moving away from their comfort
zones and embracing new ways of teaching.

"They have moved vast distances from those tentative, trembling fingers a
year ago to become the confident, competent and empowered educators they
are today," she said.

Accredited by the South African Council of Educators (SACE) and carrying 10
accreditation points, the course focuses on practical ways to integrate tablets
into teaching and learning in the classroom, with teacher professional
development modules including storytelling, role-playing, mind-mapping and
game-based learning.

Already the project has observed a dramatic change in the way teaching occurs
in rural classrooms, with teachers implementing the new teaching strategies
actively and with self-confidence.

The courseware has been made available freely for download at
target="_new">ICT4RED

This is a joint initiative between the Department of Science and Technology, the
Department of Basic Education (DBE), the Department of Rural Development and
Land Reform, and the Eastern Cape Department of Education. - SAnews.gov.za