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Township teacher takes top Apple award

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A teacher from an underprivileged township school has won the iTeacher award, the premier prize at the annual Apple in Education Awards presented by Core Group, the Value Added Distributor for Apple in Southern Africa.

Lindiwe Mawela from Gugulesizwe Primary School, based in Daveyton township, competed against tough competition from some of South Africa’s top private schools. The school received iPads 2 years ago and has proved that iPad can be an equaliser for schools with disadvantaged backgrounds and limited resources.

The annual Apple in Education Competition recognises and awards teachers and learners who have created innovative, curriculum relevant projects using Apple technology to enhance teaching and learning. The annual competition saw more than 700 entries from primary and high schools across the country and independent judges selected the winners. The iTeacher award commends a teacher who has used Apple technology for a period of time and can clearly show the impact of this tool. The finalists in the iTeacher category included Parklands College, Dainfern College, Redhill Prep School and Gugulesizwe Primary School. Lindiwe Mawela won this award through illustrating the process of how she used iPads and apps as the primary tool to shift the learners communicating in their mother tongue to English.

‚”I am so excited to receive the iTeacher award, especially with so many entries from private schools. iPads have not only changed the way I teach, but also the way our students learn. All the parents in the neighborhood want their children to come to our school to use iPad. We aren’t just another township school anymore, we are the school that everybody wants to come to,‚” says Lindiwe Mawela, iTeacher award winner.

Lindiwe started teaching at Gugulesizwe Primary School in 1992, which is a non-fee paying school in Daveytown Township where classrooms average on 45 students per class. Lindiwe competed against various private schools for the iTeacher award, and attributes the opportunity to compete in the Apple in Education Awards to the iSchoolAfrica iPad Learning Programme, which was introduced to her school in 2011. iSchoolAfrica is an education initiative developed by Core Group that reaches schools across South Africa in rural and urban settings through sponsorships and partnerships with corporates, foundations and government departments. The overall objective of the initiative is to empower teachers and students by giving them access to the world’s most advanced educational technology and classroom practices through the integration of Apple technology.

iSchoolAfrica brings to schools the iPad Learning Programme that introduces best of breed technology into difficult, rural environments. Over 20 000 learners and 450 teachers have had the opportunity to interact with the programme since inception, and have achieved remarkable results.The Gugulesizwe Primary School iSchoolAfrica iPad Learning Programme is funded by Peermont Global as part of the Peermont School Support Programme.

‚”We believe that all South African students should have access to the best technology to not only compete with local private schools, but schools all over the world. With the introduction of iPads, teachers like Lindiwe have the opportunity to transform the most underprivileged South African classrooms. By winning the iTeacher award, Lindiwe proves that iPad is a game-changer for South African education,‚” says Michelle Lissoos, iSchoolAfrica Project Director.

* Trophy image courtesy of Shutterstock.com

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