Coding fun with Pauline Maas

We had the privilege of welcoming Pauline Maas from the Netherlands on Friday 1 March 2019. Pauline and I met online when we were both asked to be #MSFTEDUChat hosts in November 2019. After the TweetMeet we stayed in contact. She told me that she is planning to visit a friend in South Africa and I invited her to spend some time with us and the rest is as they say history.

Her day started with #MIEFellow Xoliswa Mahlangu and a Grade 3 class at the Future Nations School in Fleurhof on the outskirts of Soweto. Pauline wowed the learners with her knowledge of the Micro:bit. She has various applications, tips and tricks up her sleeve which entertained the learners whilst they gained new skills.

Her next stop was at the eZone that is based in the School of Therapeutic Sciences at the University of the Witwatersrand. Here she spoke about computational thinking. She introduced the Micro:Bit once again and also showed the audience other applications. With the MakeyMakey everyone became a human piano.

The last stop of the day was at Fred and Martie’s soup kitchen in Claremont, Johannesburg.

They have started a Coding Club that aims to empower community members. At the moment there are 20 High School learners and 5 adults in the club.

Pauline was there to encourage them to code and to teach them how to use the Micro:bit. Unfortunately there was something wrong with the internet connection and we had to improvise and work offline. We decided to “programme” the students. One student would stand in the front and the rest of the group would “programme” him or her to do certain tasks. (Move forward, stand up, sit down etc) This was done to bring home the idea of algorithms.

The session ended with a Micro:bit competition that Pauline set up and it was enjoyed by everyone.

We would like to thank Pauline for her time and inspiration. We look forward to welcome her again to Johannesburg.

We would also like to thank the Micro:bit foundation for the donation of Micro:bits to the above 3 projects. We can’t wait to show everyone what we’re going to do with it.

For more information about Pauline please visit her website.

Nursing Education Postgraduate students embrace game based learning.

I just love my job and interacting with people. One of the awesome groups that I can interact with is the Nursing Education Postgraduate students. They have started a project where they incorporate game based learning #GBL to their studies. Minecraft Education Edition is the chosen platform.

Students are building a chosen system of the body in Minecraft. They will create a specific mission around it for the player to complete.

None of the students have used Minecraft EE before so it is a learning process for everyone. It is great to see how the students learn from each other. Teamwork and collaboration in action.

More info about #GBL projects:

  1. Minecraft May more info here:
  2. Nursing education Minecraft project more info here:
  3. Occupational therapy Minecraft project more info here:

Red Cap advanced training

I am ready for Day 2 of 3 of the Red Cap advanced training. It is a deep dive into this research platform.

I’ve only used Red Cap since September 2018 and can see that the possibilities with this platform is endless. Can’t wait to share this knowledge with lecturers and students.

If you are doing research and are looking for a secure environment to collect your data Red Cap is the answer.

Read more about Red Cap here.

This article was first published on Linkedin.

Only a few more sleeps before the #EduDays at @MicrosoftEduSA

The #EduDays that will be hosted in Johannesburg South Africa is next week!! Can’t wait to see all my #EdTech friends and make a few new ones.

I have learnt a lot at last year’s event. You can find photo’s from that event here

Become an #MIEExpert today and stand a chance of joining us next year. Find more information about the programme here.

#MIEExpert #MicrosoftEdu #Microsoft #MIEFellow

Nurses can use Minecraft E:E in the classroom

Zelda Laurie and Amanda Calitz created a poster presentation around their experience with game based learning and Minecraft in the classroom.

They won the poster competition at the ANEC conference hosted by the Nursing Educator Association(NEA) in South Africa. You can visit NEA’s website here.

Using Minecraft Education Edition In the Undergraduate Occupational Therapy Curriculum at the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, South Africa

Occupational therapy focuses on promoting health and wellness through the therapeutic use of everyday occupations. Individuals who live in rural less-resourced contexts experience unique challenges with daily tasks such as bathing, cooking and doing laundry, as amenities such as water and electricity are frequently not easily available. Occupational Therapy students are currently trained to assess the occupational needs of communities using Participatory Rural Appraisal (PRA) techniques, including transect walks and community mapping.  To assist the students with the preparation for their community work a rural village in Minecraft Education Edition was created.  Students had time to navigate through the world and see what a rural dweller needs to go through daily to fetch water.

The game creators were challenged by the fact that a lot of the materials that they needed to build an authentic rural village with wasn’t available in Minecraft and the Resource packs needed to be edited to fill the needs of the building. For example, a roof made from sheets of corrugated iron needed to be developed.

The students immersed themselves in the game and associated with Arabang, the main character. As many students grew up in cities and are unfamiliar with the demands of rural lifestyles, it is hoped that exposure to a simulated rural Minecraft world will contribute to preparing them to deliver contextually relevant occupational therapy services.

The project lead is: Jennifer McAdam  @jennife08118989 and the lead game creator is Amanda Calitz. @AmandaCalitz

The project was done at the #Wits_eZone and @eFundanathi was very supportive.

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