Is technology a "nice to have" in your class? Will it improve your teaching? And, more importantly, will it improve the learning that should take place? If it doesn't, or will not, there can be little justification for using it.
This is the argument of Craig Blewett, senior lecturer in education and technology, at the University of KwaZulu-Natal, (Please follow this link to access the full article http://www.usnews.com/news/articles/2016-05-31/schools-shouldnt-approach-technology-like-businesses-once-did)
SUNCEP fully supports this idea. As mentioned elsewhere on this webpage, the centre follows a practice-based philosophy of teaching and learning to bridge the gap between theory and practice. All the SUNCEP courses are offered in a blended format, consisting of face to face contact sessions, telematics sessions, interactive e-lessons and mentoring. The mentoring process is offered either on-site, via the US telematics platform and/or via different social media platforms. Teachers can access these platforms (Facebook, Whatsapp etc) via their phones, tablets or computers.
For teachers to be able to use technology in their teaching effectively, SUNCEP is currently developing interactive material to be used in the e-lessons, These will be used in the ADEs and the short courses not only as resources but to model the pedagogical sound integration of technological resources.
SUNCEP also supports the DBE's focus on Professional Learning Communities (PLCs). In each course, teachers join course-specific WhatsApp groups with their facilitators and mentors. The aims of these groups are to support participants during the course but also as the start-up point for PLCs. Teachers are also encouraged to join the SUNCEP Professional Learning Community on completion of a course.
SUNCEP is also doing research in this regard. Please click on the links below to access the article and paper that have been published and shared at an international conference.
- Gachago, D., Strydom, S., Hanekom, P. W., Simons, S. & Walters, S. 2015. Crossing boundaries: Lecturers' perspectives on the use of WhatsApp to support teaching and learning in Higher Education. Progressio: South African Journal for Open and Distance Learning Practice, 2015, 37(1): 172-187 Available from: http://www.upjournals.co.za/index.php/Progressio/article/view/579
- Ndlovu, M. & Mostert, I. (In press). Teacher perceptions of Moodle and throughput in a blended learning in-service programme for secondary mathematics. Africa Education Review.
- Ndlovu, M. & Hanekom, P. 2014. Overcoming the limited interactivity of telematic sessions: a case study of an in-service programme for secondary mathematics and science teachers. In L Gómez Chova, A López Martinez & I Candel Torres, Proceedings of the: 6th International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies (EDULEARN14), pp. 3725-3735, Barcelona, Spain: International Association for Technology, Education and Development (IATED). 7 – 9 July. Available from: http://library.iated.org/view/NDLOVU2014OVE.
- Ndlovu M & Mostert I. 7-9 July 2014. (Virtual presentation) The potential of Moodle in a blended learning management system: a case study of an in-service programme for secondary mathematics teachers. 6th International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies (EDULEARN2014), Barcelona, SPAIN.
Please watch this space for new developments in this component.