Twitter has great potential as a creative and collaborative learning and teaching tool in the classroom. It has been chosen as the number 1 learning & teaching tool for the last 4 (going on 5) years globally, which shows that it is tool that has to be taken seriously.

Some of the reasons for using twitter as a teacher and in your classroom:

  • You can create a personal learning network on the fly
  • You can learn from others and get instant support
  • You can use this tool to teach your learners how to use social media responsibly
  • You can share resources, events, thoughts, lesson ideas… quick as lightning!
  • You can have discussions on topical issues in your classroom and in education in general.
  • You can use it to connect your class to other global classrooms and experts
  • ……………..

Obviously it is just a tool and learning and teaching only takes place if we use a tool effectively! My mission is to get at least 500 South African teachers to do just that! So this online un-workshop will guide newbie twitter teachers or those wanting to learn about how to use twitter for teaching and learning through some of the steps- from getting started, to creating a learning networks- to using the tool more effectively- to using it as a classroom tool- to sharing resources- to embedding it your school website, LMS, or your blog- to managing it -to using it as an on demand assessment and feedback tool-to……

The (…..) parts is where the UN part of the un-workshop comes in. Even though I, and hopefully others, will be providing structure as far as making sure that everybody will be getting some of the basic information and providing learning objects and references along the way, this workshop will be dependent on the input, direction and needs of all who participate. I will also invite my learning network to interact, support and share best practices with you and I am sure we will ALL be able to add value and direction to this unworkshop. So if you are part of my amazing twitter PLN, please let me know if you will be able to mentor a few new teacher twits and get them to understand why we are a-twitter about twitter!
It will also entail some online ad hoc webinars (which will be hosted by Schoolnet) to help you connect and we even may want to meet face to face and have edu-tweetups all around the country?!!

The whole workshop will be run via Facebook ( and my blog ( for those without faces ;-). So, you can either RSVP as a comment on the event blogpost here, or on my Facebook events page.

Looking forward to interacting with you all! If you are a South African teacher please add #sateachers to your tweet. Our hashtag for this unworkshop is #ict4champions.


Storytelling conferenceWednesday 19 – Friday 21 August 2009
University of South Africa Main Campus, Pretoria

Presented by the Department of Information Science and the Children’s Literature Research Unit of the Department of Information Science of the University of South Africa

The conference will address particular issues regarding reading promotion for children and storytelling to children. Although storytelling can also be seen as a means to promote reading, the two issues will be addressed on two consecutive days. The sessions will consist of both theoretical papers and practical presentations on specific projects. Participants from different countries will address the various issues from their perspectives.

The purpose of the conference is to share and exchange experiences; and to determine how institutions and organisations involved in children’s reading can support one other.

Pre-conference workshops on reading promotion and storytelling will be presented on Wednesday 19 August. On the evening of 19th a gala function, “An Evening of Stories from Indonesia” will be held to commemorate the 15 years of diplomatic ties between South Africa and Indonesia. The Balinese storyteller, Made Taro, will perform and his performance will be complimented by an exhibition of Indonesian children’s books. Mr Taro will be joined by storytellers from Argentina, Cameroon and South Africa on Thursday evening for another evening of storytelling.

More information, programme and registration form are available at: For more information e-mail: or phone (012) 4296520 or 4296071.

childreadingYou are invited to join prominent writers, singers and human rights activists to commemorate June 16th and to launch the Big Read in South Africa on Youth day (16th of June). Time: 10.30am – 12.30pm at Xarra Books, Jeppe Street, Newtown, Johannesburg. Authors of the Big Read will speak out about education in South Africa and introduce their stories in PPEN’s Big Read.

The Big Read is a campaign produced by the Global Campaign for Education and South Africa’s Public Participation in Education Network (PPEN). The movement aims to encourage public participation in education in creative ways, including The Big Read book, which is an exciting book specifically designed to campaign for education and literacy.
The Big Read book is a special collection of short stories and poems that contains an amazing array of stories from inspiring people and since April this year has been read by more than 13 million people around the world.  The short stories tell remarkable tales of education and the struggles overcome to learn, from authors including Nelson Mandela, Desmond Tutu, Queen Rania of Jordan, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Alice Walker, Natalie Portman, Lebo Mashile, Gcina Mhlope, Basetsana Kumalo, Simphiwe Dana and many others.

The Big Read authors, along with PPEN members, will come together on June 16 at Newtown’s popular Xarra Books, to launch the campaign and to speak out about the specific needs of education in South Africa today.

“Those who have signed up to PPEN’s recent call to action firmly believe in taking forward the struggle for literacy and quality public education. A struggle so many of our compatriots sacrificed their lives for during the 1976 Uprising”, says Salim Vally from the Education Rights Project.

The Public Participation in Education Network was formed in December last year to bring together numerous organisations and individuals with the aim to re-vitalise the campaign for quality public education. PPEN’s ‘Call to Action’ states: “South Africans face an important moment in our history.  Almost fifteen years after our first democratic elections, our education system is in crisis.  It is not a technical problem to be solved by experts but a national disaster requiring our collective efforts. The majority of children in South Africa are not learning to read and write with any confidence.  Too many schools are bleak and uninspiring places for our children and teachers.  If we do not act decisively now, we run the risk as a nation of ‘getting used to this’”.
“South Africa is a one of the countries that is awfully stricken by illiteracy. This initiative by PPEN is a worthwhile contribution towards alleviating the scourge. It is a campaign that should be supported by all South Africans in all their structures from government to civil society,” said the recent winner of Commonwealth Writers Prize for the Africa Region, Mandla Langa.

In support of the Big Read and PPEN Basetsana Kumalo said, “I’ve always been inspired by education because I believe it can change your destiny.  Education is a value, the one thing that nobody can ever take away from you. It’s something that opens doors. It is something that creates a platform for greater opportunities. Through education you can be able to debate issues and challenge government and legislation.”

The Big Read book is available to everyone via the website  Readers are encouraged to add their name to the call to action at the back of the book, and share the book with others.  Only with everyone’s engagement can we bring about relevant, quality education for everyone in South Africa and a genuinely transformed society. We come together to revitalise the  vision that the youth of 1976 understood and were prepared to die for, but a goal that we have not yet achieved.

For more information, contact Alex Kent (  or Thokozani Ndaba  at

Public Participation in Education Network (PPEN) is a collection of individuals and organisations in South Africa who believe that South Africa needs to urgently redress the education situation in South Africa and provide everyone, no matter their income or background, with a good quality, corruption‐free education. Anyone can add their name to PPEN’s call to action on

The Global Campaign for Education, founded in 1999, brings together major non‐governmental organizations (NGOs) and teachers’ unions across the world. GCE promotes access to education as a basic human right and raises public awareness to create the political will for governments and other leaders in the international community to fulfill their promises to provide at least a free, public basic education for all children.  Over 13 million people have already take part in the Big Read in over 120 countries

The Big Read is a compilation of short stories about education.  The book has something for everyone and is designed to inspire and motivate the reader to campaign for education.  After reading the story the reader can sign up to the PPEN call to action, and set up reading clubs.  The Big Read has stories from Nelson Mandela, Desmond Tutu, Natalie Portman, Gcina Mhlope, Basetsana Kumalo, George Bizos, Queen Rania or Jordan, Chimananda Ngozi Adichie, Paulo Coelho, Ishmael Beah, Angelique Kidjo, Simphiwe Dana, Mary Robinson, Devli Kumari, Dakota Blue Richards, Michael Morporgo, Rowan Williams, Beverley Naidoo, Eric Miyeni, Karabo Kgomotso Kgoleng, Nomsa Mazwai, Lebo Mashile, Xoliswa Sithole, Karen Press, Siphokazi Maraqana, Rosie Motene and Mandla Langa