Wednesday, May 25, 2022

Mandela Day Coding Tournament

 The Mpumalanga ICT CLUB will bring excitement and the much needed skills of the future to the grade 7 learners who will be joining the  "The Mandela Day Coding Tournament" on the 18th July 2022 at Witbank High School,  eMalahleni in Mpumalanga. 

Participating schools will bring about 2 to 4 teams of 5 members to this Coding Tournament.  All schools hosted  TANKS Coding workshop recently in preparation for the Mandela Day Coding Tournament.  We are excited that this Tournament will be happening in 9 provinces of the country in various venues including some African countries like Kenya, Tanzania,  Namibia.

The main coordinator of this event is Prof. Jean Greyling in partnership with Leva Foundation and other supporting organizations . The Tournament will give our learners an opportunity to interact with one another, celebrate the Mandela Day and the winning teams will walk away with undisclosed prizes. We encourage teachers to prepare their teams for this day.

Coding is an essential skills for the Fourth Industrial Revolution, and with this tournament we are hoping to excite learners to be future coders and above all, we want them to have fun. Coding makes learners to enjoy coming to school and prepare for their future.

Phopolo Primary School 

We take this opportunity to thank all participating teams, our Facilitators and Prof Jean Greyling of Nelson Mandela University Computing Sciences for this opportunity.  We are ready and we want to enjoy the day with more fun games from Rangers and TANKS Coding Apps. 

Saturday, April 2, 2022

Nomusa Keninda is a Trailblazer Award Winner of the 19TH Public Sector Innovation Awards

 Nomusa Keninda has made eMalahleni and Mpumalanga Department of Education proud again. On the 25th February 2022 at Birchwood Hotel, she was announced as one of the TRAILBLAZER Award Winner coming from Mpumalanga Province for her contribution to digital literacy within education. The ceremony was organized by the Centre for Public Service Innovation (CPSI).

Keninda is well known for her zeal and commitment to the ICT in Education. She is the Founder and the CEO of the Mpumalanga ICT CLUB, the club that she established in 2014 to empower teachers, learners and the youth with digital technologies.

 “My highlights for getting is through my persistence in the promotion of STEM, especially in girls' education: The DigiGirlz initiative is close to my heart and I am grateful that I made some remarkable impact in digital literacy in Mpumalanga and other provinces,” said Keninda

Keninda was also invited to share her journey of innovation with other finalists from various government departments during the two days of the Design Thinking Methodology Workshop before the award ceremony at Birchwood Hotel in Ekurhuleni. Design thinking seeks to unlock innovative solutions in a process that involves empathizing, defining, ideating, prototyping and testing. 

“The workshop was excellently presented, it came at the right time where there are challenges in many workplaces ranging from lack of change management, digital transformation phobia and many more that need creativity and innovation. I learnt a lot from other finalists where they are also confronted with resistance to change from the traditional way of doing things in order to accelerate service delivery,” said Keninda.

Nomusa on the stage with the Deputy Minister of Public Service and Administration, Executive Mayor of Ekurhuleni Local Municipality and other Trailblazers Award Winners

Friday, March 11, 2022

Bawokuhle Primary School Kids are on the 4IR PATH...

Many of us may have some questions about this giant step taken by Bawokuhle Primary School. Where is this school and what is happening?

Grade 2s
Bawokuhle is an isiNdebele name meaning "Ask for Greatness" and can be corrected by those who named the school. The school is one of the hard to reach schools in  Mpumalanga, in the Thembisile Hani Municipality, well known as KwaNdebele in a rural village called Gemsbokspruit. The school is a Feeder to Vumabesala Secondary School in the same vicinity. 

On the 09 March 2022, one of the Mpumalanga ICT CLUB member, Florence Sibiya volunteered her time and shared her skills to bring more than 100 grade 2 learners closer to the path of  the long awaited Fourth Industrial Revolution in education through TANKS Coding. 

"I had a great time with the little ones here, they enjoyed the Coding activities" said Florence.  She mentioned how teachers and management of the school supported her with coordinating the kids to listen and follow the instructions from the start of the lesson. She moved from one class to another introducing Coding to the kids.

Grade 2s
TANKS Coding is known as an unplugged Coding, meaning that the code can be written without using a computer but an accessible smartphone app called TANKS powered by Tangible together with cardboard tokens to help the kids to write the code and be photographed by the camera used by the TANKS app. TANKS was developed by Byron Batteson at Nelson Mandela University Computing Sciences under the supervision of Profesor Jean Greyling

"I am grateful to be trained as a facilitator for TANKS by the Mpumalanga ICT CLUB Founder Ms. Nomusa Keninda, and all her support towards the success of the project" said Florence. 

Florence joined the club in 2017 as a volunteer facilitator and IT technician. Like all the Volunteer Facilitators of the club, she is passionate and excellent in her work. Although the club is not paying her any anything,  she enjoys her work and gained a lot of knowledge and skills that will one day change her life for better.

Monday, October 25, 2021

Pick a Spot and Sparkle


Those who walked the journey before us have a lot to say from their experiences.  In 2014, a new journey in my career started shortly after returning from the Science Centre World Summit in Belgium. I was there to share my experiences about the management and coordination of Science Centre activities. I happened to learn more than sharing. 

I came back and pick my spot in the ICT lab where I started training teachers on digital tools for learning.  My spot was finally made when I conceptualized the establishment of the Mpumalanga ICT CLUB through the Google Education Groups that I already initiated for teachers to learn some Google tools integration in the classroom. 

Together with Karabo Mashabela who was the Admin Clerk at the Centre at that time. We put together and presented the concept document to teachers to join Mpumalanga ICT CLUB, a Professional Learning Community to learn and share new classroom technologies. 

Our first initiative which attracted more than 150 teachers was "Microsoft Networking Session" where teachers learn more about Microsoft programmes in the classroom. The sessions were then followed by 60 teacher seminars were teachers themselves would share their best ICT practices in the classroom. 

The journey continued until I finally got to be introduced to Microsoft Youthspark where I had to learn how to Code on Minecraft Hour of Code. In 2016, shortly  after the schools closes for December holidays, we hosted grade 4 to 7 girls to celebrate the global initiative called Hour of Code.

In 2017, we officially launched the DigiGirlz initiative. The initiative is aimed at empowering young girls in Positive Personal Branding through career guidance towards STEM careers, connect girls with successful female in STEM careers and do hands on activities such as Coding on Scratch and Minecraft. We continue to empower these young girls in the club. Little did I know that one day I would again represent South Africa internationally,  that was in 2019 in France, Paris.

Yes, I picked a spot not to sparkle but to make others to continue to sparkle in every corner of the classroom.  When this happens,  all our schools will sparkle towards quality education.  This message was shared during the UJ Teacher Librarian Seminar held on the 20th October 2021 virtually on Zoom.

Monday, July 19, 2021

She is pioneering Coding and Robotics subject in Mpumalanga

“My moment came alive when I stood side by side with the upper echelon of the department officials before my work was officially recognized in the Mpumalanga Provincial Legislature during the Policy and Budget speech delivered by the MEC of Education in Mpumalanga on Tuesday, 08th June 2021.”

She stood in the middle of the Head of Department Mrs. Lucy Moyane and the MEC for Education in Mpumalanga, Hon. Bonakele Majuba posing to the photographers.  Keninda was so excited when the exact words of her recognition filled the assembly which was quarter full due to the COVID-19 pandemic strict regulations on the number of people allowed to attend the session. The proceeding was at least broadcasted on the Mpumalanga Provincial Legislature's Facebook page and various community radio stations and would later be heard on the DSTV 408 Parliamentary channel. 

Keninda is a well-known seasoned educator in the integration of technology in education. She served as an e-Learning Specialist in the Mpumalanga Department of Education charged with a responsibility of training and coaching teachers in ICT skills in line with Technological Pedagogical Content Knowledge (TPACK) Framework. She is also a founder of the Mpumalanga ICT Club. The club is well-known of motivating young girls to stay in Science, Technology Engineering and Mathematics(STEM) subjects for girls to pursue Information Technology Careers under the initiative called DigiGirlz. 

Keninda started training kids in Coding and Robotics shortly after she came from Belgium in 2014. She was identified by the international Organising Committee in Belguim to attend a Science Centre World Summit. “The science centre summit exposed and empowered me with digital skills and I ended up picking Coding” I was then later trained by Microsoft South Africa to become confident on Minecraft Education and later acquired other Coding skills from various coding languages.

Mpumalanga Department of education has already started with the training of teachers in Coding and Robotics and Keninda has been part of the team. She continuously supports teachers physically and online for teachers to attain their Coding and Robotics National Certificates.  Keninda is a true pioneer of ICT in education, she holds a BA degree, a Higher Diploma in Education and Public Management, Post Graduate Degree in Online Journalism, she is about to complete her Master of Education ICT (Information and Communication Technology).


Wednesday, May 20, 2020

Six years of Patience, Resilience and Networking to keep Mpumalanga ICT CLUB Standing

"It’s not what you achieve that defines your success in your career, but what you overcome” said Ms Nomusa Keninda during the interview. She and her members of the Mpumalanga ICT Club  celebrated the six years anniversary of the club on the 12 May 2020. The celebration was hosted on the Online Zoom Cloud for the first time because of the lockdown period regulated to combat the spread of Coronavirus in the country.

Mpumalanga ICT Club started in 2014, when Ms Keninda was attached to Anglo American Science Centre at Landau in eMalahleni. She was a Career Guidance Coordinator appointed by the Mpumalanga Department of Education. Her hard work at the centre at that time earned her trip to Belgium to attend and present an international paper in the Science Centre World Summit in 2014. The paper was co-authored by Prof. Collence T Chisita of Zimbabwe who unfortunately couldn’t go to Belgium, titled ‘Revitalizing Science Centres in Africa in the Age of ICT: Case of Zimbabwe and South Africa’

Shortly after the trip, she conceptualised the birth of Mpumalanga ICT Club. The club was formally launched on the 18 October 2014, at Edward Matyeka Primary School. She became the founder and the chairperson of the club. Alongside were the executive members of the club, Karabo Mashabela, Bheki Mbatha, Phumzile Ndhlovu, and Ntombizodwa Gininda. “It wasn’t easy as that but it was worthier when I look back from today” Keninda said.

Under her stewardship, the club hosted numerous initiatives that introduced teachers, learners and youth of eMalahleni into ICT skills. “Our remarkable appearance was in 2016 on the SABC 404 channel, Network News when SABC broadcasted our training event at Maloma Primary School. Again, last year when I was in Paris, France attending the Microsoft Education Exchange Global Summit, SABC MorningLive news interviewed me” said Nomusa.

Nomusa presented workshops in and outside the country putting the club on the international map. “Yes, last year, in Pretoria, during the Africa Play Conference, I presented a paper based on the initiative adopted by the club ‘DigiGirlz are everywhere’ aimed at empowering young girls into Coding skills and Career Guidance”. Africa Play Conference was the first conference to be hosted in Africa and she did it with passion. “I had an opportunity to meet the father and the founder of Scratch Team Mitchel Resnick. Scratch is a programming software that the club is using to introduce learners into Coding skills.

“I was also called to present a motivational speech and Coding training to teachers in the 365Edu Events Conference under the theme ‘Mpumalanga ICT Club on Spotlight’ by the founder of the 365Edu Event organisation, the late Mark Duncan based in Dubai in 2018 in Durban and Cape Town” Keninda related.

The club couldn’t have survived without the strong network that Nomusa has built. She has been a member of the South African Association of Science and Technology Centres and SchoolnetSA where she met mentors who helped her to grow the club’s brand. Like she says, “It’s what you overcome that defines your success”.

The impact of the club has gone unnoticed as many teachers and learners in Nkangala district who continue to attend ICT trainings offered by the club are using the skills personally and in their classrooms. Last year Bheki Mbatha of Zacheus Malaza Secondary competed provincially after scooping a District Award for using technology in the classroom from the National Teaching Award Scheme.

“My wishes are to see the club standing the test of times from the shift presented by the Covid-19 pandemic, and seeing it tapping from the online remote trainings agenda”. I know, it would demand lot of creativity, innovations, collaboration and funding to keep the club for the next generation. The club offers digital learning skills for teachers, learners and the youth in and around Mpumalanga province. When asked about future initiatives and collaborations, Nomusa has this to say, “We want to support students studying online and to take away fears from those who have intentions to study online in future. Definitely, the Covid-19 has stretched our thinking and we see universities and other institutions offering dual programmes (offline or online remote courses) as open options for students.

Nomusa Keninda is the Founder of the Mpumalanga ICT Club, e-Learning Specialist, Motivational Speaker and a Master of Education in ICT student at University of Johannesburg.