School ups their tech game

Fish Hoek Primary School Grade 7 pupils Simi Mbano, Mia Pasqualli, Karabo Kqoebane and computer teacher, Keri Ascott-Evans in the computer room.

Technology is everywhere and an integral part of our daily lives.

From online shopping to online medical consultations, the possibilities are endless and for Fish Hoek Primary, it made perfect sense to integrate the advantages that technology affords into its schooling system.

Keri Ascott-Evans, a Google certified educator and computer teacher at Fish Hoek Primary, says the school recently decided to switch from Microsoft Office to Google’s G Suite for Education where pupils can create, share and edit their work from any device, at any time, simultaneously.

Google for Education is a variety of digital tools from Google designed to host and distribute digital documents, communication, and collaboration through cloud-based technology.

Ms Ascott-Evans said Google is an ideal solution for schools as it affords the most up-to-date technology at no cost.

She says the G Suite for Education offers unlimited cloud storage, and can be accessed by teachers from anywhere.

“This allows teachers to better integrate the use of technology into their teaching, with 24-hour access to their work without the need to carry around flash drives. It also reduces the amount of paper wastage, improves workflow and productivity,” said Ms Ascott-Evans.

The school currently has 35 workstations (desktops) in its computer room and offers computer classes for Grades R to 7 on a weekly basis.

Ms Ascott-Evans says in addition, each classroom has a smartboard or projector, through which teachers can display content they have prepared for their class. This gives teachers the opportunity to integrate multimedia into their daily lessons, which in turn gets students more engaged in learning as teachers are able to include real-life examples such as video clips and current events in their teaching.

And in addition, says Ms Ascott-Evans, the online behaviour of the pupils can be monitored. In the past two years, the school has educated pupils about the responsibilities of being a responsible online user with its digital citizenship classes.

Ms Ascott-Evans explains that pupils from Grade R to Grade 7 are educated about the dangers associated with being online and are taught how to handle various situations including what to do when you see something upsetting online or if someone unknown to you starts chatting to you, online.

She says the switch-over from Microsoft Office to Google has been a smooth one and some pupils take full advantage of the system, accessing it at home and completing tasks and commenting on projects.

“As admin I can see when they access the system and post comments. It is a completely safe environment for them to work in,” she said.

She says by equipping pupils with 21st Century skills, they learn to demonstrate honesty, integrity, ethical behaviour, how to stay safe and secure online, and to be mindful of their digital footprint.