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Teachers and School Leaders Sharing during COVID-19 ZA (Wk 3)

Tuesday 7 April and Thursday 9 April 2020 (Week 3)

Dear All

Thank you for your participation in the Teachers Let's Chat discussions, for your willingness to share, listen and support each other.

There are so many religious festivals at this time, I would like to wish you all many blessings now and always.

To our Christian friends, Blessed and Happy Easter - The Lord Has Risen!

To our Jewish friends, “Chag Pesach sameai-ch!” “Happy Passover!"

To our Muslim friends, many blessings during Ramadan, as you fast and pray.

Difficulties and successes of engaging with all students during Covid-19 in South Africa

Sharing Teaching and Leanring Information with Learners:

  • Using video conferencing (Google Hangouts meet, Ms Teams or Zoom), in large and small groups. Small groups allow for closer collaboration and engagement, more personal interaction and communication.

  • Security of video conferencing: Google blog: How Google Meet keeps video conferecing secure, and Singapore locked Zoom access in Schools

  • WhatsApp Groups - class, small groups for engagement, and broadcast groups

  • SMS messages, via D6 or school bulk SMS

  • Teachers phoning learners, and having a discussion, especially those who are not responding and seem to have difficulty engaging. Catching up via phone.

Types of resources used or created by Teachers for Learners

  • Teachers are creating resources on a range of digital platforms (Google Classroom, MS Teams, PurpleMash, SeeSaw)

  • Teachers creating videos to share with learners

  • Teachers creating - Learning channels on TeacherTube and YouTube Search for the topics and areas and share with learners. This is my limited channel. Schools could create their own YouTube Channels, and save video in playlists they have created. The playlists could be named according to subjects and grades or both. Leareners could then be told where to look for the resources.

  • Resources shared on WhatsApp as pdfs, voice messages and videos.

  • Apps and websites to engage:

  • Teachers creating “House party” app - ensure you set the security settings, so it is a “closed” party, and not open to the public to prevent lurkers dropping in, see guidelines

  • Teachers using “Flipgrid” available on MS Teams and Google for education logins

  • Here is the “TechIUse It would be great if you could share a video or two :)

  • Teachers creating audio recordings to share with learners

  • Text Instructions of paper work tasks for learners to use complete in their workbooks and textbooks

  • Pointing children to online DBE resources

Responses from and engagement with learners

  • Teachers using interactive digital platforms are able to see learners’ progress work, mark and reply (for example: Google Classroom, MS Teams, PurpleMash)

  • Learners sharing answers via whatsapp is also working. Learners take photos of completed work and share with teachers, or send voice messages.

  • Learners sending sms messages to reply.

  • Regularity of Communicating Learners

  • Limiting communication, considering some families may only have one device which has to be shared by many family members, including the parent who may be trying to work.

  • Realist expectations for what learners can do under these circumstances.


  • Not all children have the same access to technology.

  • How are we going to reach our learners who don’t have access to technology?

  • Costs of Bulk SMSing, teachers costs of own data, phone calls, SMS costs in keeping all learners informed and connected

  • Schools sending out work, but not engaging with learners via video or voice - learners feeling isolated

  • Schools not creating spaces for learners to engage and chat to each other in a space online space, children feeling fearful, isolated, unsure and alone!

  • Creating a space where learners can chat and play is very important

  • Schools who are sending out school work in large amounts, and expecting children to run a “normal” school day, is adding stress to parents and homes.

  • Data access, how does “datafree” work? Explore see Moyo Messenger. Find out about: What is datafree? (on Android and Google play)

  • How do we do effective assessment? Can we use Google forms for assessment? How do we know our assessments are valid?

  • Where tech is available - host small groups on video conferencing and observe them while writing.

  • If using managed chromebooks, devices can be locked down into an assessment mode, and can also apply a timeframe into the mode.

  • Speeches could be done via video or audio recordings, or live videos

  • Project based learning tasks, to reduce amount of work, across subject assessment, teachers working collaboratively and reducing preparation load, as well as the amount of work learners need to complete.

Creativity Tools:

- Canvas (on Chrome) Various drawings tools, draw using layers. and building up a beautiful picture

- Workbench Range of lessons and ideas to use or create your own, also great for programming tasks, links to a range of devices:

- a mind-mapping tool. Keep 3 free maps at a time, build collaborative, mind maps.

- Neal Fun website (range of activities), for example: Deep Sea dive

- Pearl Trees - Pearl Trees Education (support documentation is in French),

Pearl Trees register Great tool for organising things ( such as collections) and making connections to other collections.

Free Educational Resources

- Cambridge University Press, free resources:

- SMART Learning Suite Integration and G Suite for Education:

Create, organize, deliver and share SMART Learning Suite Online lessons directly from G Suite.

2Simple - a range of educational resources for Grade R - 9

With the outbreak of Coronavirus (Covid-19)affecting several educational institutions around the world, 2Simple is offering free access to both Purple Mash and Serial Mash for schools and home users. Request free access

- Purple Mash: Wide variety of Tools: writing tools, publishing tools, mindmapping, art creation a, games, coding (structured skill development, range of tools - Logo, blocky, etc.), internet safety resources.

Resources already created and aligned to CAPS

Collaboration tools, upload of documents (Ms and Google)

Structure learning, by setting: 2Dos, mark, report back and customise all tools There is an Afrikaans version of the platform.

- Mini-Mash A preschool platform for learning, engagement and creation. Teachers can create videos, and place them in student trays (the place where the little children find their work). Direct access into Mini_mash for little children, so ease of use.

- Serial Mash A reading and comprehensive, more than 300 books

Another 2Simple product: Python in Pieces, teaches python, also offered to schools and home users an extended free trial during Covid

Another 2Simple product: Evidence Me, an assessment, record keeping and reporting app.

To learn more about these products, for free training or to learn more about the tools, register here

Thought.Africa/care Initiative

While poverty is not foreign knowledge to us, we have noticed that millions of children are now without education. The private sector has come to the rescue for their children, we have come to the rescue for these children. Help us, help them.

- share what your community is doing for those around you?

Department of Basic Education Information and Resources

- Guidelines for ECD facilities and schools

I felt privileged to be asked to share on CAPS radio with regards to communicating with learners and teachers.

CAPS video channel

Thanks again for your time. For sharing your ideas.

Let’s chat next week again. If you want to invite friends or colleagues here is the link to register for the chat:

Be well! Stay Safe! Stay Home!

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