Alan Yates and Ronald Ndungu
A think tank for innovative eLearning projects: At the Microsoft Pan-African Innovative Teachers Forum, teachers from all around Africa had the opportunity to present their lessons and also took part in a variety of skills-development workshops. Altogether, the event brought together 37 teachers who are doing exciting projects using technology in their classrooms, all of them finalists in a competition organised by Microsoft. The participants constituted a representative cross-section of African countries and included Burkina Faso, Gabon, Ghana, Kenya, Madagascar, Mozambique, Namibia, Nigeria, Senegal, South Africa and Uganda, as well as the Seychelles and Mauritius.
To provide teachers with an opportunity to network and share ideas and also to allow them to make friends with colleagues in other countries who they can collaborate with on future projects was the main aim of Microsoft’s first Pan-African Innovative Teachers Forum, held at the Kofi Annan Center in Accra parallel to the eLearning Africa 2008. Another aim was to look for teachers whose lessons and projects showed exceptional innovation in terms of collaboration, the content produced or the impact made on the community. The Microsoft award was presented to the winners during the Forum.
The opportunities offered were highly appreciated by the participants at the Kofi Annan Center. A further aim of the Forum was to expose teachers to new ideas, technologies and projects for potential use in their classrooms, which was done in a series of workshops. The participants all agreed that they had learnt something from the event and that they had come away with a range of ideas to help them to continue to teach in an innovative way. Following a judging process before and during the event, four teachers were acknowledged as winners in the following categories by Alan Yates, Microsoft’s General Manager, Worldwide Education.
Ronald Ddungu of Gayaza High School in Uganda won an award for his project on Education for Sustainability. This project was conducted with 13 – 19 year old Mathematics and Physics students. The project had three components:
- Community Outreach, in which senior students were required to teach mathematics to students in a nearby primary school using ICT to prepare the resources;
- Building Networks, in which students were required to organize an online seminar that had a one-day face-to-face session; and
- Environmental Education, in which several groups developed and tested lessons in Mathematics and Physics.
More award winners:
Innovation in Collaboration
Iyke Chukwu of Government Science & Technical
College in Garki, Nigeria won this award for his project on Diverse Cultures.
Innovation in Content
Ousmane Diouf of CEM Diery Fall in Senegal received this award for his Electronic Alarm Systems project.
Peer Review Award
In addition to the awards that were determined by the panel of judges, a Peer Review Award was also awarded to the teacher voted for as the “most innovative” by his or her fellow teachers. This accolade was awarded to Marie-May Iman of Plaisance Secondary School in the Seychelles for her “Tracking Sea Turtles” project.
About the Innovative Teachers Forum:
Microsoft introduced its Innovative Teacher Forums in 2005. Since then, the event has assumed global dimensions. Several regional forums are held around the world to help create communities of teachers who can share ideas and practices of technology integration in the educational process with their peers and facilitate the creation of collective knowledge. A follow-up to the regional forums is the Microsoft Worldwide Innovative Teachers Forum, which will be held this November in Thailand.