August – also known as Women’s Month in South Africa – this year sees the ISPA SuperTeacher of the Year Competition emerge as an all-women affair.
The 10 finalists of the competition – all women – will travel to Johannesburg to compete for the titles of ISPA SuperTeacher of the Year, ISPA ChampTeacher of the Year and ISPA TechTeacher of the Year.
They are: Erika Esterhuizen (St Andrews College), Sadike Kekana (Toronto Primary School), Mokhudu Machaba (Ngwanamago Primary), Kedibone Mmakwena Makgato (Toronto Primary School), Matema Jacobeth Malatji (Diopong Primary School), Lepota Flora Mpyana (Makeketela primary School), Mandy Caroline Mashilo (Mogologolo Primary), Lindiwe Ngwenya (Zonkizizwe Secondary School), Ingrid Ramonyai (Diopong Primary School), and Daphney Matshidisho Thoka (Modimolle Primary School).
After participating in educator IT training managed by CoZa Cares Foundation and sponsored by the Internet Service Provider Association of SA (ISPA) and its members, the women’s closing projects were judged to be the best amongst the many received that demonstrated the value of the teachers’ newly acquired ICT skills.
The judges of the online competition designed and developed by CoZa Cares, comprised a strongly representative cross-section of the South African education and ICT sphere. They included Sarah-Jane Capazario (ISPA), Dorcas Thabane (ISPA), Jenny King (e-Schools Network), Marcus Lamola (Matthew Goniwe School of Leadership and Governance – MGSLG), Neo Mothobi (Department of Basic Education, Pretoria), Megan Rademeyer (SchoolNet SA) and Clinton Walker (Western Cape Education Department).
Speaking on behalf of the judges, Capazario says: “The projects we reviewed all demonstrated that ICT in education has reached something of a tipping point. It’s clear that more educators are viewing technology as a legitimate teaching aid, and are incorporating ICT into their lesson plans in interesting ways. The level of creativity really shone brightly this year.”
To date, ISPA’s Train the Teacher project – managed with the assistance of CoZa Cares Foundation – has equipped almost 5 000 teachers with ICT skills thanks to continued support from ISPA’s members. In the last three years alone, some 750 educators and district officials have been trained in different ICT courses. These include the CoZa Cares courses accredited by the South African Council for Educators (SACE): ICT Leadership and Change Management, ICT Support and Operations, Digital Confidence Level 1 and Level 2, Your Online Persona and Device integration.
“The founding philosophy of the ISPA SuperTeacher project is similar to the philosophy of Ubuntu. It’s all about contributing to the benefit of one’s wider community. Teachers are encouraged to be sharers of skills and experience. That willingness to broadcast new knowledge and to mentor others has been a strong feature of ISPA’s teacher training,” says Fiona Wallace, CoZa Cares Foundation CEO.
South Africa’s leading annual Internet industry gathering, iWeek, marks its 15th year by returning to Johannesburg from 19 to 23 September 2016. An annual fixture of the closing night gala dinner is the announcement of the ISPA SuperTeacher of the Year from the 10 competition finalists.
Tinny Molepo of Mothibedi Combined School, Limpopo, was ISPA SuperTeacher of the Year 2015, while the 2015 ISPA ChampTeacher was Mabore Lekalakala of Toronto Primary School, and the 2015 ISPA TechTeacher of the Year was Matthew Hains of Woodlands International College.
Aside from their iWeek attendance, which is a life-changing experience for many, the three competition winners also receive more tangible gifts. The Mighty Pen Education Magazine will provide three gift subscriptions for the three winners, maths teaching resource Matific is also sponsoring a prize for each of the winners, while Mustek is sponsoring Mecer Executive Series tablets for each of the winners. WASPA is sponsoring accommodation for the teachers as well as a special professional development training session on assisting learners to navigate ‘mobile space’ safely.
ISPA chair Graham Beneke comments: “It’s become an acknowledged fact that bears repeating that many past ISPA SuperTeacher award recipients started their training without ever having touched a mouse. They then go onto great things, which include revolutionising teaching in their classrooms and sphere of influence.”