The mission of ICTISE is to advance education through the innovative use of ICT in teaching, learning and leadership in schools and to support this through capacity building to ensure long term sustainable change.
With the launch of the Internet Broadcast Project, ICTISE in partnership with the Free State Department of Education more than 60 schools across the province is given the opportunity to participate in real-time interactive lessons which are broadcast daily to both teachers and learners in core subjects – Maths, Physical Science, Accounting, Life Science, Geography and Economics.
Each of the participating schools have been equipped with the necessary technology: VSAT with uncapped internet access (for the next three years), an iBox (all inclusive portable computer, data projector and sound system) as well as software, domain registration and e-mail accounts for each teacher/learner at all centres. During the past 4 months all of the centres across the Free State have been visited, while all headmasters, 6 teachers and 2 learners from each of the centres received face-to-face training at the South Campus of UFS.
Although the broadcasting of lessons is not a new concept, this project is unique in that it will allow users to engage and interact with each other through IM and videoconferencing while having access to some of the best subject teachers the Free State has to offer. Because all broadcasts are recorded, both learner and teacher can reuse lessons freely. These lessons are available through a cataloging system. Next phase development will see the broadcasts being supported by a call centre available to teachers daily from 14:00 till 19:00. Teachers will then be able to anonymously receive support in the development of knowledge and content within their subject area. These calls will be recorded and analysed to influence the development of subject focused workshops across the Free State.
Wide spread interest in the Internet Broadcast Project exists.
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.