16 September 2015
Tinny Molepo is a primary school teacher at Mothibedi Combined School in Limpopo and is SuperTeacher of the Year 2015, for her work using technology tools such as Skype to enhance the communication skills of her learners.
The SuperTeacher honour is awarded by the Internet Service Provider Association of South Africa (Ispa), as a way to reward and recognise teachers who use technology effectively to aid education. The competition, held annually since 2001, is acknowledged as the foremost ICT/education award in the country. Education is one of the pillars of the National Development Plan Vision 2030.
“My passion is helping others live up to their potential and I have realised that technology can play a big role in helping all of us fulfil our life goals,” Molepo said, adding that technology tools had the potential to be a major influence on education in South Africa. “It is very important for donors and sponsors to be able to see how their materials are helping learners and educators in real ways every day.”
Molepo was joined by Ispa TechTeacher of the Year, Matthew Hains of Woodlands International College, and Ispa ChampTeacher of the Year, Mabore Lekalakala of Toronto Primary in Limpopo.
— Matthew Hains (@TechTeachersZA) Septembe r 10, 2015
Molepo’s competition submission, titled “Techno reading goes viral through Skype” involved teaching her learners, who are in grades 3 to 6, how to use ICT skills to boost reading and writing. The children also learned online communication skills by using Skype to communicate in real time. Part of the project, Molepo said, involved the children communicating via Skype with the American philanthropist who had donated books to their school.
The awards were handed out in Stellenbosch on 11 September. The keynote speaker, Western Cape MEC for education Debbie Schafer, congratulated Molepo and the other winners not only on their achievements, but also for the hard work they put into guiding youth through their education. “We place great value in awards like this,” Schafer said. “The provincial education department is trying to create an entirely different ethos that is centred on IT in education, and (we) acknowledge the kind of creativity that we have seen here tonight.”
Fiona Wallace, Ispa’s chief executive and the representative of CoZa Cares Foundation, called Molepo and the other winners true heroes of education. “The three winners demonstrated that technology alone doesn’t produce winners – their perseverance and creativity helped power them right over the finish line.”
The CoZa Cares Foundation advocates ICT in education. Its educational efforts include digital content curation and delivery for open education resources using its innovative Nolwazi OER repository. The non-governmental organisation also co- ordinates teacher development through its ICT in Education capacity-building division, as well as monitoring and evaluation via mobile auditing tools.
Each year, Ispa funds the ICT training managed by CoZa Cares Foundation for teachers from under-resourced South African schools. Since the inception of the programme, training has been provided to over 4 000 teachers.
Prizes for the competition’s three winners include trophies, sponsored attendance at a national education conference in 2016 and, for their schools, an ES500 BenQ projector and an eBean classroom tool to help to continue the good work.