14 - 21 June 2021
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The air temperature of the Antarctic Peninsula has increased by 3°C since the 1950s, 5 times that of the mean rate of global warming. The impact of rising air temperature has resulted in the loss of ~25 000 km² of ice shelf, an area larger than Gauteng, directly impacting both local land and marine wildlife whilst also resulting in the rise in sea levels across the globe. (https://bit.ly/3fV3hix)
On Sunday, 1 August 2021, a consortium of South African organisations will be the first, globally, to celebrate a day dedicated to the conservation of critical ocean areas which allow marine life...Read More
Stephen Reid, Senior Customer Engagement PM at Microsoft discussing the game with the Curro and Fresno learners on Microsoft Teams. In a first for South African esports, a local group of learners battled it out against an American school district in the world of Minecraft. The Minecraft Esports International Battle on Friday, 4 June 2021, saw a team composed of Curro learners be crowned as champions over a group of learners from the Fresno Unified School District in California, USA, after constructing a winning 3D world.The two teams met online for a Minecraft: Education Edition build-battle for the ages. This event flowed from the highly successful Inter-Curro Esports Challenge in 2020, when the independent school group became the first academic institution to officially use Minecraft: Education Edition as an esports arena. Curro piloted the project for Microsoft, who owns Minecraft: Education Edition, to great acclaim.When the Fresno Unified School District heard about this, they asked Microsoft to facilitate an introduction which has led to an ongoing collaboration between the Curro group and Fresno, which has guided the global implementation of Minecraft esports.How the Minecraft match workedEach team partaking in the friendly battle consisted of eight learners, with the Minecraft match divided in two parts.The first part was a quick-build round of 20 minutes, where teams were tasked with building 3D objects in Minecraft around a topic announced at the start of the event. The topic was ‘Fantasy Castle’, which meant learners had to think on their feet, neatly plan their best stronghold and construct it as quickly as possible.The second part saw the teams engaging the world of Harry Potter and spending 35 minutes constructing anything from the Hogwarts Wizarding World. This topic was shared with the teams two weeks ago, so they knew exactly what had to be built and which team members would be responsible for each aspect of the 3D construction.Curro comes out topsScoring for the event took place according to a rubric, with points awarded for, amongst others, the likeness of their build, productive teamwork, added aesthetics and environment, and the manipulation of the team’s 3D space through size and scale. Curro was crowned the champions by outscoring their opponents 8-7, 8-7.While both teams managed to create inspirational 3D objects, it was Curro’s use of ‘Redstone’ (Minecraft’s equivalent of electricity) to help make objects moveable, which sealed their victory.International coordinationWith its league completed, the Fresno Unified School District’s team was composed of the winners of its local competition. Because Curro’s league is still ongoing, the Curro team consisted of eight invitational learners, four from Curro Krugersdorp and four from Curro Aurora in Randburg, all in either Grade 6 or Grade 7. Isabella Little from Curro Aurora excelled as team captain, inspiring her team by leading from the front, with Bertus Liebenberg, teacher at Curro Aurora, responsible for coaching the team.Magdeleen de Kock, an teacher at Curro Krugersdorp who is actively involved in driving Minecraft as an esport not just at Curro but also internationally, notes how neither loadshedding nor software problems could stop the event. “It was amazing to see how the learners were so open to learning and experimenting with new methods during the match. This match between Curro and the Fresno School District will definitely become a regular occurrence. Plans are already afoot to make the Curro/Fresno match an annual affair,” De Kock notes.De Kock also helped shoutcast (commentate) the event alongside Julie Mavrogeorge, Fresno Tech Support Specialist and Stephen Reid, Senior Customer Engagement PM at Microsoft, who was responsible for creating the esports platform within Minecraft: Education Edition.Curro has many Minecraft events scheduled over the next few months, including the Inter-Curro Esports Challenge, its local league and speedrun games. ...
GLOBAL SOUTH AFRICANS 🇿🇦SA-born professional skateboarder and passionate stem cell donor Jean-Marc Johannes will actively be encouraging youth this month to join the SA Bone Marrow Registry in its ongoing fight to save lives.Currently, youth between the ages of 16 and 25 only account for 6.8% of registered SABMR donors, which according to Nadia Chalkley, Head of Donor Recruitment for the SABMR, should be at 13%.“With many of the SABMR donors approaching 60 years and then no longer eligible for donation, we need the younger generation to fill their shoes.”She says possible reasons for young people’s reluctance to sign up could be the fear of being called upon to donate, especially if they are not aware of what it entails.“So many myths continue to hamper our efforts. While we refer to the procedure as a bone marrow transplant, it’s not actual bone marrow that is needed, but stem cells that are removed from the bloodstream rather than the marrow itself.“Making a stem cell donation isn’t difficult or painful. In fact, it is very similar to donating blood platelets. The only difference is that donors are asked to take an injection a few days prior to donation, which helps to stimulate the bone marrow to produce more blood-forming stem cells. Blood is then taken from one arm which goes through a machine that removes the stem cells and then returns the blood to the other arm. The entire process takes about three to four hours and can be done at a nearby hospital or blood donor clinic.“There’s also no hassle involved in signing up. It can all be done online within minutes and a swab kit will then be dispatched to the donor’s home. All that is required, is wiping a cotton swab on the inside of your cheek, sealing it and notifying the registry that it is ready for collection.”She says younger people are preferred donors as they are associated with better survival rates for patients following a stem cell transplant. “Our aim is to recruit at least 10 000 more youth before the end of the year.“Signing Johannes as the SABMR’s youth ambassador is sure to create increased awareness among youth and will help the registry to chip away at the myths that abound.“He is enthusiastic about the cause, and we hope that his passion becomes contagious. We know he is going to be a powerful motivator for youth to get involved and make a difference.”Having just returned from the renowned Dew Tour in the United States, Johannes will kick off his duties as youth ambassador starting this June. He will be involved in educational outreaches throughout the year, which includes school and on-campus activations to rally the growing skateboarding community and youth behind the cause.Johannes – a four-time world recordholder, who has broken seven Guinness Book of World Records, is SA’s top skateboarder and will be hoping to compete in the Olympic Games this July. He has also been inducted in the World Records Academy for breaking a 13-year streak set by professional skateboarder, Rob Dyrdek.He says the partnership with the SABMR is a natural fit.“This cause is close to my heart as I’ve had to come to terms with and deal with the challenges of having asthma since childhood. Due to the severity of my asthma, I was advised by doctors not to participate in any sport. However, my passion for athletics and realising my dreams, put me on a path of recovery and helped me to better manage the condition. My grandmother, who died of cancer, was my beacon of motivation in life and always told me that anything was possible, and I believed her. I hope that through my efforts, more youth will help to realise the dreams of others that deserve a second chance at life through the simple act of stem cell donation,” he encourages.In October last year, the SABMR became the second country in the world after the UK, to allow 16 and 17-year-olds to become stem cell donors. Previously teenagers had to wait until they turn 18 to join the registry.Chalkley says in addition to Johannes being an ambassador for the SABMR, it has launched a volunteer drive called #50Squad aimed at 16 to 35-year-olds to become “youth ambassadors”, in order to help drive awareness and recruit peers of various ethnicities in their respective communities.If you’d like to sign up for the #50Squad programme, you can do so here: sabmr.co.za/become-a-volunteer/. The SABMR can be followed on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram @sabonemreg. ...