Shannon Bishop, LitWorld Ambassador in South Africa
I was compelled to apply for funding, and applied to the Davis Project for Peace, through the graduate residence I stay in, International House, New York. I was awarded a $10 000 grant by the Davis Project for Peace to implement teacher training using technology in South Africa, and incorporated LitWorld as a partner into the project. I completed the project over three and a half weeks in Athlone in the Western Cape.
The incentive for the project stems from an article I read in the New York Times in September, 2009. The article discussed the situation in some South African schools today regarding lack of motivation in teachers, especially using technology in the classroom. The article was based on a school identified by the Khanya Project as being desperately in need of motivation and support to instill a culture of learning, especially through technology.
I proposed a Teacher Training initiative that uses teacher's personal narratives as a motivational tool to write personal stories using computers, to allow teachers to access and use technology in the classroom. The Teacher training project involves getting teachers fully motivated and on board by developing and implementing a technology curriculum for teachers that integrates literacy skills and social networking, and by giving teachers an incentive -to create their own digital story using technology.
I approached the NGO, LitWorld, based in New York, and the Founder and Executive Director, Pam Allyn, a Teachers College Alumnus, generously agreed to pilot a curriculum that integrates the digital resources that are quickly becoming the primary mode for literacy development and (LitWorld’s) core philosophy of transformational literacy in a way that would significantly impact teachers and students in South Africa. LitWorld generously supplied a suitcase full of books for children which will became the parting gift to Bridgeville Primary School to be added to their library for every learner (and teacher) to access. What makes these specific books beneficial is that all these books are being read and integrated into the literacy-using-technology teacher workshop.