One of my proudest moments as a teacher were when Mrs Kling (a robot that my students built) got recognition. What was special about this project was the fact that we were the underdogs and knew nothing about robots (myself included) and it took a team of 10 kids and 4 teachers to make this happen. We also had the opportunity to test the robot in the Rising Star cave where no one is allowed to go- what a privilege. Read about the cave here.
I am the proudest of the team work that made this happen. As I said before we were all novices but we had a dream and a plan. We spent many afternoons building the robot and experimenting. Tshimo and Retabile were the faces of the project and made the biggest input but around them there were a host of fellow students, teachers, their parents and other adilts that assisted. Here is a newspaper article about us.
My biggest takeaway from this experience is: You are never too old- or too young to learn. I salute everyone that was part of this project especially Tshimo and Retabile. May their stars always shine bright!!!
What I found interesting was the fact that even though Talitha, Sonia and I are on three different continents we shared some of the same experiences. Talitha shared her experiences from Indonesia and she also mentioned that data is expensive there- just like in South Africa. Sonia shared about her experiences in teaching people how to create games.
I met Gizelle in 2018 and soon realized that she is an awesome teacher and a great person. Since I started this blog I thought that I had to ask her to share her story because she is an inspiration. Gizelle has the ability to see an opportunity and grab it with both hands. If the going gets tough as they say Gizelle gets going. I am honored to have her as a friend and a colleague. Here is her story in her own words:
“My name is Gizelle Simpson, and I started teaching in 2010. I started teaching in the rural area of Atlantis in the Western Cape. I taught there for a year and then got a permanent position in Malmesbury at a high school. I was there from 2011-2018. This is where my passion for teaching with technology arose.
class sizes were between 40-60 and teaching English to high school kids under
those circumstances in itself was a challenge. I then decided after having an
interactive whiteboard put in my class that I was going to have to use this in
order to get my students excited about learning and me about teaching.
decided to do some courses on the Microsoft educator center, and here I
discovered the power of using technology effectively. My students started being
engaged, they were no longer truant and started enjoying coming to class. They
were engaged and I saw an increase in their performance on tests.
was here I decided to an IBL project with my Grade 11 students using their
novel at the time Buckingham Palace. It was the first time that this school was
exposed to IBL. I entered this project into the Microsoft educator exchange
program for an opportunity to go to Paris. This project awarded me the
opportunity to go and meet and collaborate with 300 educators from across the
world. What a life changing experience. I then decided to venture out and look
for another opportunity. I wanted to share my new skill set with teacher and
inspire them to teach with technology. In 2019 I started at Wynberg Girls’
Junior school as their ICT integrator. In this space I could not only share my
knowledge and skills with the students but also with the teachers.
will continue to advocate 21st century teaching and learning and
encourage teachers to use technology in their teaching pedagogy. I want to
inspire teachers and students alike to see the endless possibilities which lay
ahead of them if they embrace the power of technology in teaching.
is no point in teaching if you are not learning alongside your students”
Building on yesterday’s article and on the #Road2e2 series where I share info about people, events and places that’s come my way on my journey I want to dedicate another post on the people of Sonderwater. I introduced you to this community yesterday.
The community of Sonderwater called me Maspoti. We are not sure why but it could be because I handed out beanies when I started working in Sonderwater. When I arrived in the community you could hear the kids shout “Maspoti!”
In this corrugated iron building we had a preschool in the mornings and needlework classes for the community ladies in the afternoons. The summers where hot and the winters cold but here I learnt that anything is possible. I witnessed miracles here in my own life and in the life of others.
It was during this time that I realized that I am a teacher at heart. So much so that I handed over my work to someone and took a year off to pursue a post graduate diploma in teaching. I would always be thankful to the people of Sonderwater for this realisation.
Om die een of ander rede het die mense van Sonderwater my Maspoti genoem. ‘n Spoti is ‘n beanie of hoed en ek het eenkeer vir hulle Spoti’s uitgedeel wat iemand geborg het. Dis seker die rede hoekom. Ek gaan nie veel se nie ek wys net die foto’s van hierdie amazing mense.
This post forms part of the #Road2e2 countdown: 57 Days ’till #e2
Sonderwater is an informal community just outside of Potchefstroom, North West Province, South Africa. I worked here for 2 years overseeing a creche and making sure the 80 kids are fed each day. I’ve always wanted to help people and share the love of Jesus Christ with them and in Sonderwater I had the opportunity to do so. All of this happened in 2005-2006 and on the one hand it was a lifetime ago and on the other it is only a wink away. I am thankful for every child and adult that crossed my path. You always think that you go out to help others but in the end they help you.
When you are in the community where people have to carry water for kilometres and live in shacks and make shift housing you realise that you don’t need much and that you are privileged and blessed.
I want to encourage you to reach out to someone and be touched by their life.
As jy my vra om oor Sonderwater te praat kan ek vir dae aaneen praat. Ek het eintlik oorweeg om dit Sonderwater deel 1 te noem of iets. Vandat ek kan onthou wou ek al mense help. As ek vir mense kan kos gee en hulle van die Here vertel is ek op my gelukkigste. Toe ek van hierdie projek gehoor het, het ons kos uitgedeel by die watertoring. Vandag dink ek ver terug. In jare is dit nie so ver terug nie maar dit voel soos ‘n ander leeftyd. 2005 is net ‘n oogwink gelede. Ek is dankbaar vir elke kind wat ek geken het. Elke kind wat my iets geleer het. ‘n Mens dink altyd jy gaan na ander om vir hulle te help. Maar eintlik help hulle jou. Jy leer wat vir jou belangrik is en wat jy eintlik nodig het. My twee jaar in Sonderwater was ‘n voorreg. Ek sal altyd dankbaar wees vir die geleentheid wat ek gehad het om dit te ervaar.
This post forms part of the #Road2e2 countdown: 58 Days ’till #e2
As a South African citizen I want to see every South African succeed in life. I know that we have all the potential needed to be the best. As a technology educator I believe that it is my responsibility to encourage and assist everyone that I meet to be the best in the current and future world of work especially girls who are chronically underrepresented in the STEM fields to know that they have all the potential and what it takes to succeed to be the best in the STEM field. I have an interest in game based learning and gamification. My goal is to create a space where everyone (focus on women and girls) can collaborate and create games that will benefit Africa. Many of the games that exist today are Eurocentric or Westernized. I want to create games with African characters and story lines.
I have been involved in community projects from a young age. I was lucky enough to have parents that felt the spirit of Ubuntu (I am because we are) I went to Ghana and London in 1997 as part of an exchange programme hosted by Peace Child International(A UN NGO). As a 17 year old I co-founded a computer school on 1998 with my dad called Answer 2001 in Mafikeng. It aimed to teach digital literacy to High School Students. In 1999 my brother, sister and I won the 3rd place in the South African round of the Thinkquest web design competition (thinkquest.com) In 2006 I won the prize for the best NGO in the Potchefstroom (North West Province, South Africa) region. I headed up the Potchefstroom branch of the Thembalitsha foundation at this time. As a teacher I have been involved inAstronomy Quizzes and the Eskom Expo for Young Scientists. Mentoring students and teachers on their journey to become scientists. In 2015 I was the Organizer of the IASC (international asteroid search campaign) a campaign where students get the opportunity to look for asteroids (partners University of Texas, NASA, SAASTA, Johannesburg Observatory) in a few local schools as well as neighboring schools. I was part of the pilot project for Africa Code Week in 2015. (Africacodeweek.org) Teaching learners how to code using the Scratch computer program. I was the regional science fair director for the Johannesburg region in 2016 and 2017 organizing the science fair with over 1200 participants. In 2016 I coached the South African silver medal winners of the World Robotics Olympiad. (Primary Open Category) and in 2018 I coached the South African Gold and silver medalists (Primary Open Category) as well as the Bronze medalists (Junior High Open Category)
I am happily married to an amazing husband. We have two awesome dogs. We enjoy being out in the country. I am a very creative person always on the lookout to learn a new skill.
Life is a journey and it is what you make of it.
I hope that you will linger next to the road with me every once in a while-hopefully with a cup of coffee in hand.