Tinny Molepo of Mothibedi Combined School has been named ISPA SuperTeacher of the Year 2015.

The long-running ISPA SuperTeacher Competition is acknowledged as the foremost ICT in education competition for South African teachers and has been held annually since 2001. Joining Ms Molepo on the winner’s podium on Thursday evening (11 Sept.) were the ISPA TechTeacher of the Year, Matthew Hains of Woodlands International College, and ISPA ChampTeacher of the Year, Mabore Lekalakala of Toronto Primary In Limpopo.

Congratulating the winners, Debbie Schäfer, Western Cape Provincial Minister of Education, said: “We place great value in awards like this as the provincial education department is trying to create an entirely different ethos that is centred around IT in education, and also acknowledges the kind of creativity that we have seen here tonight.”

According to Fiona Wallace, CEO of organisers and ICT in education advocates, CoZa Cares Foundation, Ms Molepo continues the proud tradition of Limpopo teachers featuring strongly in one of South Africa’s leading ICT in education awards. “Tinny, as the well-deserved ISPA SuperTeacher of the Year, and her ISPA TechTeacher and ChampTeacher colleagues, are an inspiration to the national teaching community. The three winners demonstrated that technology alone doesn’t produce winners – their perseverance and creativity helped power them right over the finish line,” said Ms Wallace.

Ms Molepo was one of ten previously announced finalists in the ISPA SuperTeacher of the Year Awards 2015 which took place at Vredenheim Estate in Stellenbosch, Western Cape, last night following the conclusion of the annual ISPA and ZACR-sponsored iWeek annual Internet industry conference.

From projects submitted by all finalists, she was judged the teacher who had used newly-acquired ICT knowledge in a way that had made the most positive impact on learners, her colleagues, and her community.

Ms Molepo’s project that so impressed this year’s judges was called ‘Techno reading goes viral through Skype’ and was about teaching Grades 3 to 6 learners how to use ICT skills to boost their command of the basic but key skills of reading and writing. The project was especially worthwhile in that it enabled learners to communicate in real time with an American philanthropist who had previously donated books to Mothibedi Combined School.

Each year, South Africa’s Internet Service Providers’ Association (ISPA) funds some of the ICT training managed by CoZa Cares Foundation for teachers from under-resourced South African schools. Since the inception of the programme, training has been provided to over 4 000 teachers thanks to continued support from ISPA’s members.

Prizes for the competition’s three winners include trophies, sponsored attendance at a national education conference in 2016 and Mustek’s donation of an ES500 BenQ projector and an eBeam classroom tool. Teraco and the Foundation for Internet Development sponsored the awards evening in Stellenbosch last night.

The Awards evening was followed on Friday by a workshop for all the teacher finalists at Spier Wine Estate. The workshop was titled ‘A Digital makeover:  creating and managing your digital identity’.

CoZa Cares Foundation’s work includes digital content curation and delivery, particularly Open Education Resources (OERs), via their pioneering Nolwazi OER repository; teacher professional development via their ICT in Education capacity-building arm and monitoring and evaluation via their innovative mobile auditing tools.