In the beginnig of March 2019 I went to South Africa to teach coding and micro:bit on schools in Johannesburg and Polokwana. These contacts I had allready made in Singapore last year at the big E2 meeting from Microsoft.
Johannesburg (link to full blog)
The first days where in Johannesburg with Amanda Calitz. She arranged for me tho start at the Future Nation School with Xoliswa Zinzile Mahlangu. On this school there was a beautiful computer room with 20 computers with internet. The kids loved the micro:bit and they where very involved to try everything. They made music and turned on a LED light.
One of the girls, was in love with my cat-ears and later on she sad to me: “Please can you be my mom, you are doing all those cool things then I can always learn from you”.
The next session was on the WITS university in the eLearning lab for the School of Therapeutic Sciences eLearning. Students and teachers where there for a two hour session. We did the micro:bit and also some theory about Computational Thinking.
Then Amanda drove me to the soup kitchen of Fred and Martie where we gave the first session in that Computer Club and we left 10 micro:bits for their next sessions.
I also drove from Johannesburg to Polokwana (4 hours) to meet with Phuti Ragophala she arranged for me two full days full of teaching in the rural areas of South Africa.
On Monday we drove for more then an hour to the Kgetsa Primary school in Ga-Maja. When we arrived there were two small boys who opened the gate. The looked at me and said “lekgowa”, Phuti laughed and said, they say you are a white person. We met with Jonas Letsoala (he also went to E2). I started off with the students and more and more students came in from seven different schools. We did the basics of the micro:bit with the students and later on I also gave tips to the teachers and all the schools received a micro:bit. Offcourse we took a picture with all the students and teachers. Then we drove back to Polokwana. In the afternoon I gave a really nice lesson with the Community Children of Phuti. When we drove up to her house, 20 children where waiting outside her house. We did lots of unplugged activitys and they made the merge cube and the quiver drawings. The children also had a present for me with songs and dances. That was really touching.
On Tuesday Phuti picked me up a 6 o’clock. We had to drive for almost two hours (half of the time on a bumpy road). On that road I saw lots of children walking to school in nice school uniforms. Then we arrived at the Dithotwaneng school in Mphanama. A secondary school with more than 600 students. We first met Mokolwane Eric Masweneng . I started with all the teachers I gave them 10 tips how they can implement Computational Thinking in their “normal” lessons. Then it was time for the students. More then 600 studends wanted to learn, so I had to improvise what to do. A really nice experience. We did some unplugged activities and they downloaded some coding apps. The school received some micro:bits and I had trouble getting in the car, because they all wanted to take selfies with me. 😉
Then Phuti drove back to Polokwana. Luckily there was still time to give Phuti some private lessons with the micro:bit so she could spread this knowledge.
After this rollercoaster we drove back to Johannesburg. What an adventure and I am sure I want to come back and give more lessons. And I am sure that all the schools have involved in coding and computational thinking when I come back. And offoucrse I will come much more prepared with more apps for coding. That will be much easier for the students.