Even though coronavirus has disrupted teaching and learning across the country, one the critical issues it highlighted was the significance of technology as an effective curriculum delivery tool. At the peak of the Covid-19 pandemic, most private schools and the tertiary education sector opted to deliver their content remotely and deployed a range of various digital and latest technologies.
But most public schools still lag behind when it comes to the use of technology as part of the curriculum. Although there are policies in place which outline and guide public schools on how they can harness technology as an educational resource, indications are that very few teachers are embracing it as part of their everyday teaching practice.
But there is a critical mass of teachers who are ahead of their peers in using technology and other latest digital devices to enhance and enrich their learners’ classroom experience. Mokhudu Machaba is among a handful of those teachers who got off the starting block to adopt technology.
Machaba’s teaching career dates back to 2003 when she first presented her first lesson as a temporary teacher. Two years later she was permanently employed and has since become an accomplished and a dedicated teacher who can teach different subjects from Grade R-12. She currently teaches Foundation Phase teacher at Ngwanamago Primary School in Ga-Mothiba, Limpopo.
She said she took interest in ICT while she was studying her teachers’ diploma at the Soweto College of Education in 1997. When she could not find a job after completing her studies, Machaba assisted the local church with clerical and administrative duties using a personal computer, popularly known as PC. She got hooked since then and went on to improve her knowledge and understanding on how to optimise the use ICT to perform various tasks.
And this became handy when she became a teacher as she continued tapping into the ICTs. She became very instrumental in introducing it at her schools; inspiring and training her colleagues to use it daily as they discharge their teaching responsibilities.
Machaba also helped her school to save thousands of rands in producing items such as academic reports and farewell certificates especially for Grade R because she designed and produced them internally.
Machaba appeals to her fellow teachers to adopt the latest teaching techniques that are suited for the techno-savvy and 21st Century learners. She believes technology is vital in helping teachers to connect effectively with the learners; energises and creates conducive learning environment and can also significantly improve learners’ participation and concentrations levels.
In 2016, thanks to her pioneering ICT prowess, Machaba’s school was awarded a Special Ministerial Award for introducing E-Learning at a Quintile 2 rural school by the then minister of public service and administration. The prize money was used to install the Interactive Whiteboard at her school.
To date Machaba has trained well over 600 teachers across the country through various platforms such as SchoolNetSA, E-schools Network, Microsoft conferences and events as well as the EDTech Teams summits.
Her trainings did not only benefit the school fraternity but she expanded them to include community members, particularly the youth and women, on basic computer literacy with more than 200 having been through it.
Machaba is probably among few of teachers who have managed to win the number of awards and accolades she has under her belt. A full list of her achievements includes:
- Being a Microsoft Certified Educator until 2018.
- In 2013 she was nominated and later won the Internet Service Provider Association (ISPA) Super Teacher, ISPA Super Champ Teacher in 2016 and ISPA Mobile Tech Teacher in 2017.
- In 2014 she received recognition as a Microsoft Innovative Educator Expert and represented South Africa at the Microsoft Campus in USA in 2015.
- From 2015 to 2018 Machaba was also a Microsoft Master Trainer.
- She received nominations globally for Global Education Suppliers Solution (GESS) Awards for Innovation in Education in 2016.
- She won the “Hack the classroom” contest at the Microsoft Regional Conference in 2016.
- In 2017 she was one of the 50 most Inspiring women in Technology.
- Machaba also won in various categories of the National Teaching Awards (NTA). In 2015 she was the provincial winner in the ‘Excellence Technology Enhanced Teaching’ category.
- In 2018 she was the national winner of the ‘Excellence in Primary school teaching’ category of the NTA.
To top it all, early this year, Machaba was selected amongst 12 000 applicants from around 140 countries to be in the Top 50 teachers in the Global Teacher Prize Award. She is now in the Top 10 finalists and it is hoped she will walk away with this one as well.