First week with the OERRH in the IET at the OU in the UK

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I arrived in the chilly UK on 18 January and after a lightning tour of London, I headed out to Milton Keynes, a new town/city by British standards, made obvious by its abundant use of traffic circles! Milton Keynes is home to the Open University (OU) where I will be spending 2 and a half weeks as part of my open fellowship with the OER Research Hub (OERRH), housed within the Institute of Education Technology (IET). (Only when I arrived here did I start to figure out how all these abbreviations fit together!)

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Natural Sciences Gr 7-9 Brainstorming Workshop

Note: This is a repost from our old Siyavula blog in order to document the brainstorming workshop we held in 2013. I will soon be writing a follow up post about what I learned in 2013 in the creation of OER.

This last weekend’s brainstorming workshop certainly kick started the process to produce workbooks for Natural Sciences! Following the production, and success, of the Gr 4-6 workbooks last year (you can read about that here and download the books here), we at Siyavula embarked on the next phase with the Sasol Inzalo Foundation to continue our collaboration and work to produce workbooks for Gr 7-9.

As we are a fairly new organization and also approaching the production of openly licensed textbooks in an innovative, pioneering way, we need to constantly reflect on what we have learned from past experiences to inform and evolve our model going forward. With the start of this project, we did just that, and looked back before looking forwards.

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Creation of Gr4-6 Natural Sciences and Technology workbooks

Note: I have reposted this from our old Siyavula blog from November 2012.

Siyavula is probably most well know for our openly-licensed Everything Science and Everything Maths titles. But, at Siyavula, we like to extend our boundaries, and what better way to extend ourselves than to reach into primary school!

There is much focus on the later grades in high school where learners are grappling with science and maths concepts. But, many of the misconceptions and problems that are evident at this level, often have their roots in the primary school phase. To attempt to improve the STEM subjects in South Africa, we actually need to start at the beginning and secure a strong foundation on which learners can build their future Science and Technology careers.

This is something that we at Siyavula and the Sasol Inzalo Foundation believe strongly in. Not only this, but both organizations recognize the power and potential of open educational resources to make a difference to education in South Africa. This set the stage for a strong partnership to produce resources for Natural Sciences and Technology for Grades 4-6 to be printed by the Department of Basic Education for every child in a government school in 2013.

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