The ICTISE (ICT Innovation in School Education) section of the School of Open Learning was commissioned by the South African Police Service to train 20 Free State Police Detectives during March 2012. Upon arrival none of these detectives have ever used a computer before – they were relying on mainly administrative staff to handle e-mail, digital media and all other electronic documents.
During the training the ICTISE mobile laptop trollies (3 x 10 laptops housed in aluminum crates) made it possible for training to happen in venues where computer training is normally not possible, creating the opportunity to mimic how a detective could be using mobile computer devices to be more productive when visiting crime scenes.
What a great privilege to see this group grow in one week to being confident computer users who not only now access and manage e-mail on their cell phones, but are also capable of drawing up budgets and analyse crime statistics in Excel, do a presentation to the community using PowerPoint, write their next report using Word and they can now make “wanted suspect” posters in Publisher using digital images they capture themselves. The week ended with a UFS student show casing how the youth access social media, like facebook and twitter.
Following the Innovation in Education Workshops held at the University of the Free State (attended by more than 600 teachers), follow-up workshops in each of the 5 Free State Districts were conducted during the past month. The ICTISE (ICT Innovation in School Education) section of the School of Open Learning teamed up with the e-learning division of the Free State Department of Education to make these workshops possible.
The focus of each of the workshops was to bring together a community of teachers to learn and exchange expertise, while fostering dialogue on best practices, innovation and pedagogy. Teachers were engage intellectually when exceptional innovative practices of technology integration in the educational process were shared. Teachers’ confidence in integrating technology throughout the learning process increased while teachers became active stakeholders in their profession.
The aims of the workshops were:
- Reflect on own teaching practice and level of innovation
- Reflect on the nature of 21st Century education and how it can be incorporated into learning experiences
- Learn about the importance of knowledge building and critical thinking in innovation
- Explore ways of extending learning experiences beyond the classroom
- Explore ways of including collaboration in learning experiences
- Recognise opportunities to use ICT in innovative ways to achieve each of the above
- Join an online community of Free State teachers that uses ICT in innovative ways
These workshops, held in Bloemfontein, Welkom, Sasolburg and Bethlehem were attended by more than 160 teachers from both primary and high schools. Teachers will spend the rest of 2012 implementing their new skills, while preparing to participate in an Expo were best practices from across the Free State will be shared.