Archive for the ‘VGHS’ tag
Three blazers to be worn at choir were handed over yesterday (13/11/12) to three grade 8 learners from CM Vellem Higher Primary School in Grahamstown. This donation was made by the VG High School Representative Council of Learners, and the money was raised during a third term market day. CM Vellem learners are very active awarenet users and the VSA suggested them due to their motivated participitation during awarenet sessions.
VGHS (a former Model C school) and CM Vellem HPS (an underprivileged school) established their good relationship during the past year, in which learners regularly collaborated in projects about different topics, such as music and science. The learners got to know each other in an online space called awarenet and subsequently also met in person, gave presentations to each other, went on outings together and presented to the SciFest audience. This is not just outreach, this relationship is based on mutual learning and interest in each other.
We congratulate all the learners for their motivation to learn and be engaged. The three learners from CM Vellem thanked VGHS for the donation with a song, which was recorded and published on awarenet for all other users to watch, listen and comment.
A new, exciting project was started on awareNet. Learners from VG High School were inspired by their teacher and VSA trustee Sarah Hanton, who attended the SA Basic Education Conference in April this year, where the issues of unequal education were raised. We wanted to join the Equal Education Campaign and learners decided to compose a song to promote equal education amongst young South Africans, after they had already worked on a different project about equal education, which included a ‘Low Resources Day’.
The new project outlines the inequalities between the privileged and underprivileged schools. The aim of this project is to support minimum standards and norms being added to the South African constitution. VGHS learners decided to use the instrumentals of Rihanna’s We found love song and then asked learners from other schools to make a contribution to the song and the performance by adding lyrics or suggesting edits, whereby any language is acceptable except vulgar language. CM Vellem Higher Primary School joined in quite quickly and they even met in person to practice the song for the first time. Here is a wonderful outcome:
Contact us if you or your school wants to be part of this. We are happy to get many, many different schools on board.
A dedicated group of awareNet learners at VGHS became involved in the campaign for minimum norms and standards for education under the direction of Dr Sarah Hanton (winner of the Judges Award of the Microsoft Partners in learning Forum 2012; in the picture above). The campaign is currently being waged by Equal Education, an NPO based in the Western Cape – but with the backup of the Legal Resources Centre (LRC) in Grahamstown. Dr Hanton explains: “The aim is to persuade the Government to adopt a set of legally binding minimum norms and standards for educational infrastructure. The idea of this is not to set impossible goals but to have accountability and a benchmark set to allow proper planning for systematic reform. Currently many schools do not have electricity, water, safe buildings let alone science and computer laboratories or libraries. We feel that a right to an education should infer a right to a decent educational infrastructure, otherwise the opportunities for learning are limited.”
awareNet is an official co-curricular at VGHS and perfectly suited to link schools for such a campaign. It already has linked learners at VGHS with learners from previously disadvantaged schools and served as a means to engage and exchange ideas and knowledge. Now, VGHS is taking it a step further after experiencing in a previous project that not all learners have equal access to resources. Today, almost all teachers at VGHS taught with no or very limited resources, eg. no text books, electricity (so no overheads, digital projectors computers, etc.) and no photocopied worksheets. The number of desks, chairs and blackboard sizes were reduced or not used at all, some classes of different grades and subjects were taught together in store rooms, some toilets were locked and there was no toilet paper. Nonetheless teaching had to be meaningful, so it was a great challenge for the learners as well as for the teachers. At the end of the teaching day all learners and teachers were asked to complete a questionnaire reflecting on their experiences of the day and their thoughts regarding the facility of learning / teaching with few or no resources. These data will be compiled and published on awareNet and sent to LRC and Equal Education so that they can be used.
The main aim of this project was to raise awareness of the equal education campaign and provide useful statistics to equal education and the LRC which can be used in their campaign. The questionnaire has also been published on awareNet to get data from schools that didn’t participate today, most of them in the Grahamstown township area.
Teachers, learners and facilitators were interview by Grocott’s Mail and the Daily Dispatch, articles will be published next week. Tweets with impressions of the day and opinions can be found under #FixOurSchools. Two Anthropology students, Kiarin Gillies and Louise Featherstone, were on site to document the social impact of the event.
Two teachers from VG High School in Grahamstown, Dr Hanton and Mrs McConnachie, collaborated very closely with the VSA over the last year and have now driven a combined application to the Microsoft Innovative Teacher Awards.
VGHS joined awareNet last year and its learners have since then participated in a number of different and very exciting online and collaborative projects on awareNet including creative writing and HipHop song competitions.
The recent project included music and science sub-projects and has lead to learner presentations at SciFest and peer teaching between VGHS and CM Vellem Higher Primary School. awareNet usage was integrated into co-curricular and mainstream teaching, facilitated by school teachers as well as the VSA.
We are very happy about this fantastic collaboration and quite confident that our project will be outstanding enough to bring the proposal into the second round of the Teacher Awards during which teachers have to present their projects personally in Durban. Watch this space for further developments.
The VSA published a short film about the music event on Peace Day. Have a look at the outcome of our wonderful project, in which learners from 5 schools in Grahamstown learned how to use computers and the Internet, how to write HipHop lyrics and perform them on stage in only 2 months.
Please, watch this video on YouTube.
All of this could not have been possible without our partners: eKhaya ICT, Sonic Art Studio, Inyaniso and Peace One Day. Thank you for the fantastic collaboration!
We had a fantastic music event at Peace Day yesterday, here in Grahamstown-South Africa! We celebrated Peace and awareNet with great HipHop music that was composed especially for this event. It took us only 2 months to get five groups together and train them to perform their own song in the contest while they learned how to use computers and the Internet in a productive and creative manner.
In the beginning, we showed Jeremy Gilley’s short movie about Peace One Day to give everyone the background about our cooperation. Then, there was a motivational message from Sakhile Moleshe, a musician who also grew up in the Eastern Cape and is now an international celebrity. We had great guest artists: Inyaniso, the Boys in Motion, Keegan Too Chilled Prince and Roddy Zipp. The judges, Erika Wertlen from Left2Write, Jared Lang and the latter two guest artists who all took their duty very seriously. And last but not least the prizes for the best song (Mary Waters High School: professional music video), best rapper (Benjamin Mahlasela SS: head phones and an Inyaniso CD) and best singers (also MWHS: Inyaniso CDs), sponsored by SonicArtStudio, the Makana Municipality, well and us. We even had to quickly hand out an additional certificate for the best group who showed us true heart and peaceful awareness: Victoria Girls High School. Thank you all for putting so much energy, money and passion into the training, songs and judging! You were fantastic!
We loved all the songs so much that we decided that they will all be recorded. We will make an awareNet Peace Day album and turn this into a new tradition here in Grahamstown. Watch out for more next year on Peace Day, 21/09/12, the Day of Global Truce!
What an excitement again!
The Grahamstown Foundation awarded 4 awareNet users with free tickets for the National Schools Festival in Grahamstown (10.-14.7.11) after they had successfully proven that they are good reporters by documenting their experiences at the National Arts Festival on awareNet. Faith du Plessies, Krista du Plooy, Ayanda Twani and Siyamtanda Tokwe went out and thoroughly enjoyed the Festival. They were very grateful for this opportunity to learn so much while having a lot of fun!
In return, the 4 learners started a project on awareNet in which they reported about their experiences at the Schools Festival for other awareNet users to read, take part and leave comments. Other awareNet users actually became so interested in the project that they joined and also added their experiences. So, thank you very much to: Hannah Godlonton, Motolani Adesina, Jessica Wentworth, Neliswa Mamani, Tamani Chithambo and Siyanda Makunga. You collaborated in a great way! (Non users can also read the project, but will not able to leave comments or read personal information. The awareNet project can be found here.)
I would like to add a heartwarming message (sms) that I received from Ayanda after the Festival: “I would just like to thank you for allowing me to experience what is now the best zenith of my matric year. All the memories and the powerful productions are ones that I will treasure forever. Thank you and I hope that next year more girls can have the same upliftment as I.”
awareNet learners in Grahamstown were awarded with free tickets to the show ‘Vagina Monologues’ on Thursday 11/08/11 at Rhodes’ Nun’s Chapel. The ‘Vagina Monologues’ is a play written by Eve Ensler, performed every year worldwide. In Grahamstown is was performed by a variety of Rhodes students which proved to be very skilled and presented an excellent and moving performance.
9 learners from Victoria Girls High School attended the show and reflected their experience, thoughts and feelings about the show and it’s different topics afterwards on awareNet. They discussed it in a forum and will start a project about their own women’s monologues.
The VSA is very grateful to Amy Caroline Goodenough for establishing this cooperation and attending one of the awareNet sessions at VGHS to answer questions and give some background about the show. She also provided her own literature for awareNet’s data base, which can be read and commented by all awareNet users now. Thank you very much, Amy!