ETAS learning technologies

ETAS learning technologies blog

Archive for June, 2008

Thinking ahead

Posted by Illya on 24 June 2008

Holidays are coming up soon, and with it the summer has finally arrived.

I’ll be posting a few ideas of things to do shortly, but in the meanwhile you can leave a message if you have any wishes or ideas for workshops f2f or distant. I’ll be around, so if there are interested people out there, maybe there will be a spontaneous workshop! Stay tuned.

You also get a preview of what’s coming up after the summer holidays:

The next SIG day!

It will be in Baden on the 20th September and can be signed up for already at the etas website

There will also be a workshop at the same venue the day before.


September 19, 2008 15.15 — 17.30

Regional/SIG Workshop — Baden Region — Learning Technologies SIG

Registration Deadline: 12 September, 2008

Social networking seems to be all around us nowadays. Our learners
are likely to be doing it, so can we tap into their enthusiasm for
this phenomenon to facilitate their language learning? This session
will offer an overview of a number of social networking facilities
including facebook, diigo, flickr and rateitall. During this
hands-on session we will be looking at ways in which these sites can
be used within a networked environment such as a computer lab or by
students outside of the classroom.  If circumstances prevent you
from attending, please inform registrar by 15 September, 2008.
(Otherwise it will be necessary to charge you in order to cover our

Berufsfachschule BBB
Gebäude Martinsberg
Wiesenstrasse 32
5400 Baden

Cost / Payment:

Members: CHF 50.00

Guests:  CHF 70.00

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The challenge of going that extra mile

Posted by Illya on 20 June 2008

What can a frank buy in Zimbabwe? Probably not much. After contemplating this question, I decided to see what a frank can buy here (see How much is 100 Franks? ) I then showed this pile of material to my group of young learners and told them about the kids at the Matopo Primary School.

They were so moved by what I told them that they immediately began a drive to collect school materials of all sorts. Now the whole school is involved. They are doing it of their own free will and without any returns. One of the girls told me the other day that what impressed her most is the fact that they aren’t collecting money. It’s all new or nearly new materials, and she liked this idea.

It also got me translating the fact sheet for the school.

Now the first call for the 21 day challenge is coming to an end, yet there are still 2 more weeks of school.

Is anyone else there willing to go that extra mile and begin collecting? It’s much easier than it seems.

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Fill a schoolbag

Posted by Illya on 15 June 2008

If you haven’t joined in the 21-day challenge yet, there’s still time! Namely, there are exactly 3 weeks of school left.

When I was a kid in primary school, we used to have food drives. We would plunder our pantries and go from door to door collecting canned goods for needy families (can’t remember anymore where it all went). We would pile the food in a huge mountain in the classroom and see try to makes ours the biggest in the school.

The same principle is possible here too. My son gave me the idea to fill his school bag and send it along full of school materials. I don’t imagine that many kids have a school bag at Matopo Primary School, so if there were many classes doing the same, donating their schoolbags if they are going to get a new one next year anyway, there would be many very happy children.

I ask you, can you and your class fill a school bag to send to Zimbabwe? You don’t even have to have an English class to do this. And you are providing a good role model to the kids at the same time (it obviously worked with me!)

And if you happen to work with adults, then maybe they’d also be willing to help out.

It may be just a drop, but those kids need all the help they can get.

Thank you for your help!

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Posted by Illya on 10 June 2008

  • Matopo Primary School is located 50 kilometers south of Bulawayo, Zimbabwe’s second largest city. The school is in a remote rural area with only sporadic electricity supply, on a rutted dirt road.
  • The school has about 400 pupils, aged 4 to 13. Nearly half of these pupils are orphans and many live in child-headed families.
  • There are 10 teachers, including the Headmaster, Mr. Newman Ncube, and the Deputy Headmaster, Mr Patson Mpofu.
  • Resources and infrastructure at the school include 10 classrooms, an almost empty library, school garden and orchard.
  • The home language is Ndebele, with English as the primary second language.
  • The school is not funded by the government. It is a church school (Brethren in Christ) but the church cannot provide any funds. Pupils’ families cannot raise enough cash to build classroooms, houses for the teachers, toilets, or textbooks.
  • Even before the sky-rocketing inflation which has hit Zimbabwe, the school was struggling to provide food, uniforms, text books and infrastructure for the pupils and teachers.

There has been some response to this challenge so far (thank you sooo much to those of you who have contributed with your comments, suggestions and motivating ideas) but I must say it falls short of what was expected. Maybe the challenge needs to be lengthened. Maybe just a bit more time is needed. Maybe I was naive.  In any case, I hope to hear from you.

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Day 5 of the 21-day Challenge

Posted by Illya on 5 June 2008

The ETAS Teacher-to-Teacher Project

Cindy Hauert, the initiator and co-ordinator of the current ETAS Teacher-to-Teacher project, became interested in helping Matopo Primary School on a visit to Zimbabwe in 2003. Through friends in the region, the first steps were taken to make contact with the Headmaster, Mr Newman Ncube, and the Deputy Headmaster, Mr Patson Mpofu.

Cindy proposed the project to ETAS in 2006, and after its acceptance, she began organizing funding and donations of materials to the school. In October of 2007, she led a Teachers’ Day Workshop at the school, which 35 teachers from the region attended. It was a glorious success, one which she hopes to repeat this year.

Through the help of ETAS, uniforms have been provided for about 160 pupils, text books have been bought, and even basic food supplies have been given. It has all been a big help and the morale amongst the teachers has been raised tremendously.

With the rapidly deteriorating conditions in Zimbabwe the need has become more acute than ever. Hardly anything is available in Zimbabwe, even if the school had the money to make purchases.

This challenge has been set up by Cindy and Illya to address these needs. We hope you will be moved to assist—400 children at Matopo Primary School, and their teachers, will be so grateful.

The best thing about this project is that all donations and proceeds go directly where they are most needed—there’s no middleman taking a cut!

If you’d like to make a cash donation or collect materials for the school, please leave a comment here and we’ll get back to you immediately.

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The challenge has begun!

Posted by Illya on 2 June 2008

Swiss teachers, the challenge has begun. Below you will find my personal aims.

For teachers from other countries, feel free to join in and share what you are doing in your own area!

To begin the challenge I went out and spend 20 Franks on school materials in a 1Frank shop. It’s amazing what all can be had for so little!

I also know that there are unused erasers, colored pencils and rulers lying around the house. My next step will be to collect them.

So my aim during these 21 days is to motivate at least 10 people to spend 20.- Franks on materials or put that much money towards shipping. And to gather together 21 kg. material between us. Can these 10 people also find 10 more people to do the same???

If you are willing to be one of these 10 people, please leave a comment saying this.

If you have a different aim, then leave a message saying what this aim is.

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