Don’t wait for things to happen, and wait for someone else to make it happen. Go out yourself and make things happen, be that someone. This is an important wisdom I would like to carry with me for the rest of my life. LIASA offers an excellent platform to reach out and influence directions of the profession in many ways. When I was awarded Librarian of the Year, I took the decision to use the award money to start a business for something I believe in and am passionate about. The business is called In the Cloud, and currently in the process of being SAQA accredited. Through this business I would like to help librarians, teachers, learners and more to become digital citizens, having the necessary skills to know which tools to use when, and for which purpose. I would like to once again thank the LIASA Librarian of the Year sponsors for awarding me the title, and to the Gauteng North Branch for electing me and having me representing them.
Once one has decided to make something happen, it can only be a success if you work as part of a team and if others share the same passion. During the week of 3 to 7 July, In the Cloud, SAPNet (one of the sponsors of the LIASA Librarian of the Year award), the Blue Bus Community Ministries and Hindle High School in Delft, Western Cape, put together efforts to present a digital citizenship course to Grade 11 and 12 learners from the Hindle High School. Thank you SAPNet for your valuable sponsorship – the learners enjoyed the food (breakfast, tea, lunch) served every day so much, and thank you for renting laptops so that each learner could have a hands-on experience. The computers of the school were unfortunately stolen, and the school does not have the money to replace it at this stage. Thank you Hindle High School and staff for allowing us to present this workshop to the learners, for allowing us to use the school classroom and staff room, as well as the school Internet to do the training. Thank you Blue Bus Community Ministries for the special work you do in uplifting conditions and learners in the community, and for making this possible, together with the other stakeholders. And then – thank you to my business partner for In the Cloud and her willingness to make this dream come true. We took personal leave to conduct this training, and also paid our own flights, car rental and accommodation while in the Western Cape. All in all this intervention was extremely successful, because of the work of people who were prepared to make things happen. Not only did the learners benefit, but personally I have experienced so much determination, and eagerness among the learners to learn as much possible. They even sacrificed the first week of their school holiday to attend the workshops each day from 9:00 in the morning until 16:00 in the afternoon.
Photo & design by Monet Smith Photography
Each day started with rusks and coffee, followed with a recap of work done the previous day. This would be in the form of questions and answers, and a group quiz on Wednesday caused huge excitement! The program covered the following, which was contextualized specifically for the needs experienced by grade 11 and 12 learners:
- What is digital citizenship?
- The world of work and my options following school, incl. entrepreneurship
- Creating a business logo using Paint
- Word processing using Word, incl. typing my CV
- Using Excel to compile a budget and keep track of finances
- Creating a slideshow with PowerPoint
- Accessing the Internet using web addresses, and completing an online evaluation form
- Life skills, incl. self-confidence, presenting, self-care and more
- The power of webinars
During the week the learners worked towards coming up with a new business idea, to start their own business. A colleague from the Academy of Science of South Africa, Tsepo Majake, conducted a webinar on Thursday, during which he shared some thoughts on science as a career, Quest magazine and challenged the learners with some exciting mathematical problems. Tsepo was assisted by Nozuko Hlwatika, another great colleague of mine! Thanks so much to both of them for being willing to participate! On the Friday the learners presented their work, and the “judges” (or “funders”) (incl. a few teachers and the headmaster) were all speechless because of the quality, the level on which they delivered, and the questions they asked one another. They had to convince potential “funders” to invest money in their business, following presenting their business case. They were expected to evaluate one another, and to think critically. And did they take it seriously! They also evaluated the course through responding to 5 questions that encouraged them to do some introspection. The questionnaire was compiled with Google Forms, and the results can be viewed at https://loy2016blog.wordpress.com/
Since I had to leave for Trieste, Italy on Friday afternoon, I could not attend on Friday, but was on edge all day and thinking of them! So sorry I had to miss out, but the rest of the team made everything such a special experience for the learners!
I am still struggling to find words to describe this experience. Maybe it can be captured in one word – proud. I am so proud of these learners for not being the victims of their circumstances. They all have dreams for a better future, and where there is a will, there is a way. And they have already made the choice ….
I was sad saying goodbye to all, but thankful for being able to play a very small role in helping them to discover new talents and passions using technology as a tool. I wish them well, and think of them every day. I hope to one day learn about the positive direction their life’s took because of people not keeping a blind eye, but people who wants to make a difference and understand that these inequalities need to be addressed in a tangible way. Thank you to my business partner and In the Cloud, SAPNet, Hindle High School, Tsepo Majake, and Blue Bus Community Ministries. Thank you also to Monet Smith Photography for sponsoring a photo shoot to each of the members of the winning team, and thank you to the sponsor of the Woolworths gift vouchers.
The poster to be presented at the LIASA Conference in October will be dedicated to the learners and donated to Hindle High School, in memory of this life-changing event.
The photos were taken by Mr David Martin, Blue Bus Photographer.
View the photo album.
Read the Blue Bus Community Ministries newsletter in which this event was featured.
Feedback from the learners after they have completed the evaluation form:
What is the most valuable thing you learned about yourself during the past
- I can remember things slow when the laptop is not in front of me. I can do things on the laptop better. I can get confused when I need to say the words of the tools.
- I learnt that I can work well in a group.
- I learnt that I can work under pressure.
- That I am able to work on the computer and on Microsoft.
- That I am capable of doing anything if I just put my mind to it and also that I’m a very competitive person and that pushes me to always do my best.
- I adapt quick, and I am a fast learner.
- That I can do anything that is required of me with the necessary help.
- That I can communicate well with people and that I actually feel an attachment to computers.
- That I am able to do more digital work than what I could do before.
- I’m a hard worker and I’m good when I’m working with other people.
- I can work with others and I am a fast learner.
- I work well in silent & I can manage my own space.
- That I’m a very quick learner.
- I can work with people and I can work under pressure.
- I learned of my artistic side through Paint and I enjoy computers.
- The most valuable thing that I have learned about myself is that I am a fast learner and that I can apply what I have learned.
- I learnt how to use a computer quickly and easier. I learnt a lot of things that I knew that they existed but didn’t know how to use them for example Power Point, Excel and Paint.
- I learned that I am a fast learner and I am good in computers.
- I actually learned to let go of my fears to like communicate to people. The most valuable I learned was when we worked on the computers with all these different programs like Excel, PowerPoint, Word etc.
- I can communicate with someone overseas through Skype, do budget on Excel, search on Google.
- I learnt that technology is actually very easy to use.
- I learnt that technology is very much fast and it makes life easier.
- Technology is able to do many things on only one click and it provides shortcuts.
- It makes our lives easier and faster.
- It helps a lot and its the most valuable thing.
- That it can be managed if you know how.
- That you can communicate with people around the world while you are at one place (it feels like you are there with them).
- That it is not a bad thing, as long as you are able to use it correctly.
- Is that technology does almost everything by itself and by doing that it makes our lives much easier.
- How you can hyperlink your work and how smart a laptop is. You can edit your images and cut and paste it, you can also copy and past your stuff. I learned how to work on Excel with numbers and it gave me the correct answer without thinking.
- Technology is exciting and can help you save much time and energy.
- It makes life so much easier and saves me a lot of time.
- Technology makes life easier than I thought and it’s not that difficult to actually use a computer.
- How to prepare a business plan.
- That with technology everything is easier.
- That it makes difficult things much easier and quick.
- I learned that technology is so clever these days and it makes everything easier and makes life easier.
- The most valuable thing I learned about technology was when a person from Pretoria video called one of my colleagues right here in Cape Town.
- Doing a business plan even though I have no idea of it using Power Point.
- The most difficult thing I learnt is creating a business logo.
- Excel budgets.
- How to create a budget.
- How to manage Microsoft Excel.
- How to set up a PowerPoint in the correct way.
- Preparing for the presentation.
- Microsoft Excel.
- There was nothing difficult, because we had assistance when we didn’t understand what to do.
- It was to cut and paste my photo from Paint to Word document.
- Nothing – our facilitators made learning so easy for me.
- It was the business proposal part because I did not know anything about business but it was not very difficult because I got guidelines from the educators.
- How to prepare a business budget.
- Microsoft Excel.
- Using Excel was a bit tricky for me.
- The most difficult thing I learned during the past week was Excel but then at the end I did understand it.
- Was when I could not work with the Word program.
- Doing CV, Paint, insert picture. Because I can remember it better.
- Excel, I found my way around it much quicker than in the other parts.
- Word, because my computer teachers gave me nice compliments on my curriculum vitae.
- Word processing, I was able to complete many activities without the instructors help.
- The PowerPoint presentations, because its easy and something I like doing.
- Microsoft Word, it was easy and very useful.
- Word was something that I think I excelled at because I found it very easy to learn and manage correctly thereafter.
- The painting and typing part, it was nice. More like playing around. It was fun.
- I excelled at copying and pasting.
- Its when we were doing PowerPoint because I’m a very creative person.
- The part where we did our CV’s. It was fun in a way.
- Excel. Because I managed doing what was expected of us at my first try.
- Everything. I might just not be competitive in all, but I can work through what I’ve been taught.
- Using Word document, because it was something I did before.
- Paint. I draw very good and I don’t get stuck.
- Being able to create my own PowerPoint presentation and CV, because I haven’t struggled a lot.
- Paint because it is fun, you play with shapes, colour them and that was super fun.
- The part of the learning I excel at was at PowerPoint.
- I only excelled at the questions that was asked. The actual reason I say is because the questions that was asked we revised over.
Which other training do you think is needed for school learners?
- How to use Internet and Google search.
- Public speaking.
- Connecting to a projector.
- Computer training.
- Music lessons. I think our school needs a band.
- Cooking Courses/training.
- They should definitely start training the learners in nets training because our country is one of the weak countries in terms of that.
- Lots more visual and practical learning.
- How to use social media wisely.
- Its teaching about Gmail because it is the most common communicating thing these days.
- I do not know at this moment, but i think we need more skills. This was only the basics.
- Sport admin.
- Many learners finds it difficult to present, because of their shyness. So public speaking skills.
- It is to train the learners on how to build their career choices and help to choose their careers correctly.
- How to type faster.
- A training that would give learners pre-training of the careers that they would like to pursue.
- The training I think is needed for school learners is computer training.
- Computer Applications Technology.
- I can do things on the laptop when I see it, I can do a CV and other few things.
- It was a life changing experience.
- I have learnt a lot of new skills and learnt how to apply some of the skills.
- It was very fun and educational. I’ve learned so much computer skills that I can apply in my school work. The ability to work with computers is really going to make my life and school work a lot easier and manageable.
- Its an awesome experience, valuable and you learn a lot.
- I would tell them that I had the opportunity to experience how to actually work on a computer in the correct way and I could gain lots of knowledge that I can share with other people.
- GREAT and LIFE CHANGING, because I learned a lot about the computer.
- I’ve learned a lot of things about technology and it was so easy and fun but also tricky.
- It was a great experience because I have learned a lot during this week and a person can learn quick when you pay attention in class.
- I had fun, I enjoyed observing new knowledge and experiencing much easier ways to get things done using a PC.
- My experience was a great one because I did not only get to learn about computer skills but I also got to interact with different people from different backgrounds and that gave me knowledge to accept people from where ever they come from.
- I can now work on Microsoft apps rather than I was a week ago.
- It was a remarkable experience, because I had the privilege to get computer classes for free and I learned things which people are still struggling with.
- It was phenomenal. I enjoyed waking up every morning and meeting blessed people, Annamarie, Ina and my colleagues.
- I would say I experienced so much about computer skills such as Excel, PowerPoint, Word, Internet.
- I would tell the person everything I learned afterwords. I would advise them to also get the training.