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IT Hub connecting classrooms across the globe

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The date, 30 June, might have passed without much significance to Zimbabweans in particular and the world in general but for the social media users it was significant.

Social media day is growing and 93 countries organized meetings to celebrate this day showing the influence of internet networking and the impact on their lives.

Mashable, a respected website that covers technology related content and stated humbly as a blog in the US, conceived the idea of this day.

Mashable’s Founder and CEO Pete Cashmore said of the day: “This is a day that honors the technological and societal advancements that have allowed us to have a dialogue, to connect and to engage not only the creators of media, but perhaps more importantly, one another.

“It’s a day to celebrate the changes in media that have empowered us to stay connected to information in real time, the tools that have enabled us to communicate from miles apart, and the platforms that have given a voice to the voiceless and victims of protest injustice.”

While Zimbabwe was not part to this Social media day, the British Council on the eve on 29 June commissioned an IT Hub in Gweru at Stanley Primary School hailed as a breakthrough in allowing intercommunication between Zimbabwean and global schools.

The IT Hub is providing a good opportunity for teachers and pupils to connect with others globally through their website in a world that is becoming smaller every day.

The schools pledged commitment to working with some schools in the Gweru district which are not on Connecting Classrooms in the area of ICT training of teachers and students.

The Hub is loosely modeled on the same Hub that created Facebook that started as a college communication tool for mainly Harvard University and other US universities.

The hub is the parent to the project “Connecting Classrooms” and it is a British Council global project that establishes and develops long-term, sustainable partnerships between education authorities and schools in the UK and the rest of the world with a view to creating global citizens through intercultural dialogue.

A science teacher who gave his name as Enviolata said: “As a science teacher the hub has made my teaching easier, more exciting and fun with a dose of the latest developments and information in every topic.

My students enjoy every lesson and I do not have to constantly refer to the outdated information in the library text books. I have to express my appreciation to the British Council for making this possible.”

One student remarked as she sang praises at Stanley Primary: “I cannot afford to go to UK but my brains are connected through Connecting Classrooms.”

The schools involved in the Connecting classroom programme comprises Stanley, Airforce and Muunga Primaries, Thornhill, Fletcher and Mkoba 3 High schools partnered with schools in Kimberley, South Africa and Southampton, UK.

In attendance at the commissioning were the government representatives from Ministry of Education, Public Works, and City of Gweru as well as corporate representatives including Stanbic, OK and Mesfin.

“Social networking is making education better in Zimbabwe and we appreciate this,” another teacher said.

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