Mariëtte Vorster formerly of Touwsranten Primary School, Hoekvil, near George, is South Africa’s top eLearning teacher.
Ms Vorster received the National Teaching Award for Excellence in Technology-enhanced Teaching and Learning at a glittering awards ceremony at Nasrec, Gauteng, on Saturday, 17 February.
She won the Western Cape’s Award for Excellence in this category in November 2017.
This is the second time that a Western Cape Teacher has won the National Award for eLearning teaching in the past three years.
Ms Vorster played a leading role in preparing Touwsranten Primary School for eLearning when the Western Cape Education Department selected the school as a Model School for the province’s eLearning Game Changer programme.
The motivation for the Western Cape award described her as a “vibrant, dynamic and very innovative teacher” who transformed her traditional classroom into one in which technology was the order of the day.
She did the same in the school as a whole, despite daunting challenges. “Ms Vorster’s vision was to take the learners, teachers and parents of the school ‘to new heights in the use of technology’ as she put it.”
“She aspired to become the best role model and mentor she could possibly be. She opened her home to help anybody wanting to learn more about ICT in the classroom,” the motivation said.
“Through the use of ICT in class she addressed the social justice issues of the school and community, and taught the fundamental principles as encapsulated in the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa. “
She contributed to empowering staff members to prepare for eLearning, because she recognised the importance of teacher development for introducing eLearning successfully.
She created a variety of digital resources to teach her subject, Home Language, using different software.
“This way she created different formats of lessons. This ensured that she reached learners with different barriers to learning on different levels.”
In so doing, she integrated the principles of inclusivity and differentiation in her teaching, especially to empower anxious learners with low self-esteem. They now engage more spontaneously during lessons.
She teaches and demonstrates the techniques of how to create lessons using ICT to all stakeholders.
Ms Vorster involves parents in the learning process by sharing her lessons with them and by providing Mathematics and Home Language analysis reports.
She moved away from the traditional method of homework, and lessons are now repeated at home, thereby strengthening the skills of the learners.
She believes that her learners must be prepared for the 21st century. She therefore teaches them to use all technology equipment and software applications.
Part of their involvement in using technology in the classroom includes opening software to change the whiteboard in class to an interactive surface; they also complete the attendance register on MS Excel.
She has used technology to reduce time spent on administration, which leaves more time for preparing and creating eLessons for learners.
“The use of ICT tools has given the teachers at the school the opportunity to communicate and collaborate with a moral purpose,” the motivation says.
“Ms Vorster has shared her ICT teaching skills with the general public on radio; she addressed school managers in her district on the use and advantages of ICT in the class and assists schools in her district with technical and adaptive challenges.”
“She is involved with the sanitary pads project of the school and helps to raise funds for school uniforms for learners.”
“She believes that using ICT as a tool to transform pedagogy, is without doubt the future of education.
“In her view, passive learning is something of the past. She provides real time feedback to parents on assessment.
“She transformed the Department of Basic Education (DBE) workbooks, created a one-drive format for the Integrated Quality Management System (IQMS) of the school, and uses eFormats for monitoring and evaluating the phase curriculum and created collaborative term performance reports in Google format. “
Ms Vorster has since joined the Eden Karoo Education District office as an eLearning advisor.
Three Western Cape teachers also received awards for achieving third place for Excellence in their categories at the national awards on Saturday.
They are Jane Hampton, Little Bosch, Grade R teaching; Xolani William, Bernadino Heights High School, Natural Sciences (General Education and Training); and Anthony Ryan, Rondebosch Boy’s Preparatory School, for the Nelson Mandela Lifetime Achievement Award. A hearty congratulations.
I would like to thank Ms Vorster as well as Ms Hampton, Mr William and Mr Ryan, for their contribution towards excellence in our schools. Education is fundamental in any society, and whether our learners receive a good education or a bad education can determine the rest of their lives.
I hope that they will always continue to have the passion, commitment and resilience that you have shown thus far and that together we can make a huge impact on our province and our country.