Wednesday, March 28th, 2012 | internet | Comments Off
A guest post by Ian Anderson of SENT
The Schools eNetwork Trust (SENT) is a non-profit organisation, which was established in 2011 to provide free internet access and other services to schools. The pilot project has started in the Western Cape, and has achieved sixty applications and over twenty-five installations of schools. The vision is that in time, depending on input and assistance, this service will become available to schools in other provinces.
The initiative is a blue print for the implementation of a provincial schools Wide Area Network (WAN), which we have called the Intranet. The intranet is not designed to take over the administration of the schools networks although it should help; it is designed to connect the schools with service providers and enable appropriate services.
We understand that many of our schools do not have the necessary technical skills, or the finances, to employ these skills directly to run networks and manage complex technical services. SENT supports this process and provides the resource base that directly improves productivity and reduces operational costs.
SENT provides a WAN connection into which schools are connected for internet access that also includes various secure services including email, web proxy and remote backup. An amount of 20gb of bandwidth is provided with up to a 5mb synchronous speed.
A message from the CEO, Dave Couves:
As the CEO of Comtel Communications, we support SENT with all the resources we can provide, as connecting schools is a very realistic goal.
At this stage the entire project is financed by a commitment from Comtel Communications, which has pledged R1 million in resources, with the assistance of Scoop Distribution Cape Town, who has supplied R40 000 worth of wireless equipment. Other keen stakeholders are welcome to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org .
For more information or to register your school in the Western Cape, please visit our website for a free Line of site and installation.
Monday, November 7th, 2011 | internet | Comments Off
The internet is a wonderful source of information but it can be misleading at times. This is particularly so when it comes to the use of good grammar.
Gone are the days when only journalists, skilled in the use of beautiful and correct language, were employed to write articles. Nowadays, anyone who has access to the internet is free to publish information on their websites and blogs. This freedom is great, since we have access to more insights and ideas, but often the way in which material is presented leaves much to be desired. Postings on the web are often riddled with grammatical errors – some estimate that errors can be found on more than half of what is published on the web.
Why are there so many errors? The writer may not be writing in his mother tongue or may not know the rules of grammar. In many cases errors are present simply because the author did not check and edit the writing before it was published.
Whatever the reasons for grammatical mistakes, learners must be made aware of the fact that:
Not everything you read online is grammatically correct.
The price you pay for bad grammar is poor communication. Even though learners may incline towards “SMS speak” good grammar is still necessary for clear communication in the professional world where learners will operate after they leave school.Teachers must teach learners the rules of grammar. After alerting learners to the poor grammar they will encounter on the web, teachers can turn the bad usage to their advantage: identify a site where the rules of grammar have not been followed and give learners an assignment to correct the errors.
Thursday, June 30th, 2011 | internet | 2 Comments
The value of the internet can not be questioned. All efforts to provide connectivity to schools deserve your support and applause.
However (there is alway a ‘however’!) …
… the promise of connectivity to schools who do not have technology in working order, is like the promise of a bridge where there is no river.
Thursday, January 27th, 2011 | Computer Usage, internet | 2 Comments
Dangerous mix: The instant online life of cellphones combined with the poor impulse control make adolescents particularly vulnerable to online bullying. (According to Lisa Skinner, M&G)
The Mail&Guardian carried an article on 21 January 2011 highlighing the dangers of cyber bullying and sexting, emphasizing that they are realities in our schools.
The article ends with good advice to learners, teachers and parents. Do yourself and your learners a favour by reading it.
If we do not educate our children against the dangers of the cyber world, we are failing as educators – and as an education system. What is the use of teaching children to read and write and count, but allowing them to be consumed by depravity?
Thursday, January 13th, 2011 | internet | 5 Comments
The term Web2.0 has been with us for a while now – in fact it is so 2009 – but many still grapple to understand what it is.
Web2.0 is not a new software version of the internet – rather, it is a concept. Many attempts have been made to explain what it is, but if you cut through all the complex explanations, it is not difficult to understand the concept:
Web1.0 refers to the internet as most of us know it – a world wide web of information to be surfed when we need information. But it is ‘read only’ – we go there to find information. The main difference of Web2.0 is that it is ‘read/write’.
The advent of Web2.0 simply means that new tools became available so that ordinary people like you and me have the ability to write our ideas onto the web with little effort. We can do so by maintaining a blog – or even commenting on a blog – or through other networking programmes such as Twitter, Facebook, Plurk and others. Of course, there are also other ways in which you can be an active participant on the web.
Web2.0 tools empower us to make our voice heard on the internet. It is now possible for every person who has access to the internet to write to it – sharing experiences, knowledge, insights, views, theories, and other ideas. This can be done by means of text, graphics, sound and video.
While the concept of Web2.0 has been advocated for some time now, too many – perhaps most – web surfers are still doing so in Web1.0 mode.
In what mode are you operating?
Thursday, December 30th, 2010 | internet, technology | 2 Comments
Just because children have the ability to use a mouse or know where to press the buttons on a computer does not mean that technology will benefit them.
Let’s use the internet as an example. Learners quickly discover how to surf the net – oh yes, they do! But how beneficial is such surfing to them – and how safe is it?
The situation reminds us of ducklings. It is often said that learners take to technology like ducks take to water. When ducklings are hatched they follow their mother to the nearest river or pond. They know instinctively that they must jump into the water and when they land in the water they know what to do – their mother does not have to teach them how to swim. But she does teach them how to forage for food and she protects them when she senses danger.
An interesting thing happens when duck eggs are hatched by a chicken hen. When the ducklings emerge from the eggs the hen will cluck-cluck and the ducklings will respond and follow her. Until they sense water! Then nature takes over – they make a bee-line for the water, dive into it and swim. It seems as if they are programmed to do so.
Cool! Or is it? Without a mother duck, how purposeful is their swimming? With the hen standing on the shore, she can’t teach them how to find food – she knows how to forage for food on land, but has no clue how to do so in water. The mother duck would be able to alert them to dangers – such as crocodiles or water snakes – and lead them to safety. A mother hen standing on shore has no experience in this matter.
The application of this analogy should be clear. Modern learners may easily find their way around on the internet but without the guidance of a skilled teacher how beneficial will their browsing be? They won’t know how to search purposefully for information and they’ll be exposed to the dangers of the internet – without guidance or protection.
As teachers you can’t afford to stand on the periphery of technology – you must jump into the information pool and show them the safe way to find relevant information.
For more technology tips for teachers click here.
Tuesday, November 30th, 2010 | internet | Comments Off
The internet is a rich source of information. You can now even find secret documents not intended for public viewing on the web.
WikiLeaks is a whistleblower website where confidential government and political documents are published. These revelations may be fictional, or it may be “fact stranger than fiction”.
According to a news report, South African international relations spokesperson Saul Molobi said:
“It is the policy of this government not to comment on leaks.”
The internet may yet prove to be the best form of entertainment!
Monday, November 29th, 2010 | internet | 2 Comments
The information held on hundreds of thousands of computers around the world – all linked together to form the internet – is in effect without limit. Anything you want to learn can be found on the internet. This includes knowledge about the use of technology in the classroom.
Of course, all of this information is accessible to you only if you are connected to the internet. If you want to use the internet to improve your technology skills it is best if you have it available at home so that you can use it when it is convenient for you.
Once you have internet access, the next step is to learn how to google. Google is the name of one of a number of search engines – programs used to search for information on the internet – but it has become so popular that its name is now used as a verb. Googling is easy. It’s like looking up information in a library – just easier.
When you want to learn how to use a particular technology device, you simply type the name of the device into Google and you will receive a string of references – perhaps thousands of them. You can make your exploration more meaningful if you are more specific when you specify your search. Let’s illustrate this by means of an example:
A grade three teacher has an interactive whiteboard (IWB) in her classroom and wants to learn how to use it to improve literacy among her learners. If she types in ‘IWB’ she will get several million references. But if she makes her search more specific by typing in ‘IWB how literacy grade 3’ she will receive a shorter list, but the articles will be more focused on her immediate need – some will give examples, lesson plans or worked examples; others may contain useful tips and techniques from other teachers who already did what this teacher now wants to do.
While browsing around the internet in search of information that can help you to master technology in the classroom, you will come across sites that you like. You can bookmark these sites by storing them under ‘Favourites’ on your internet browser or by using programs available at no cost through the internet, such as Diigo.
As a skilled internet user, you’ll be able to use this technology to become expert users of other technologies.
For more technology tips for teachers click here.
This comic strip was created at MakeBeliefsComix – go there to create your own.
Sunday, October 17th, 2010 | internet | 6 Comments
An unintended, unwelcome consequence of technology is cyber-bullying.
What is cyber-bullying?
The prefix cyber is used in many terms to describe new things that are being made possible by modern information and communication technologies, such as computers, cell phones and the internet.
We know the phenomenon of bullying among children – when weaker ones are intimidated by others through name-calling, spreading of rumours, threats, breaking their things, and physical abuse.
Cyber-bullying is the use of technology to achieve the objectives of the bully. Since many modes of technology are available to children, cyber-bullying can take many forms – the methods used are limited only by the child’s imagination and access to technology. Examples are:
Facebook is often used to post nasty comments with the intent of insulting, hurting or harming the reputation of a youngster. These comments could be text, such as “Sally has slept with every boy in the class”; at times they may be in the form of photographs, which have been doctored into a slanderous image.
Cell phones can take this practice to even younger children. Hurtful messages are sent, such as: “You are fat and ugly and we all hate you”. It is even possible to send these messages anonymously – simply buy a SIM card at a supermarket for a few cents, send the messages, and dispose of the card. Nobody will ever trace the bully – but the damage has been done.
The effects of cyber-bullying on children can be the same as that of physical bullying: low self-esteem, frustration, anger, depression, loss of friends, exclusion from social activities, and in severe cases even suicide attempts.
Our children are growing up in an environment that has changed dramatically over the past decade and it is an absolute necessity that principals stay on track with developing technology. Many schools and parents report that cyber-bullying is on the increase in South Africa and protecting our children against it is no longer optional.
The first step a principal must take to fight cyber-bullying is to gain an understanding of the problem.
For more tips for principles, click here.
For more technology tips for teachers click here.
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