Natural Sciences training: Evaluating content knowledge (Part 3)

As part of conducting the Natural Sciences training, we were asked to conduct a performance analysis, both before and after the workshops, to assess the subject advisors’ content knowledge. I think one of the main reasons for wanting this was to have some way of assessing the “impact of the intervention”, and a data-based performance analysis is often what is looked to as the easiest measure of impact. However, we were at first opposed to doing this right at the start as I felt that it would not be the most welcoming approach to administer a test as everyone first walks in the door. I also felt it would not set the right tone for the rest of the training.

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Natural Sciences training: Workshop structure and resources (Part 2)

In this post I want to outline some of the details of how we structured the workshops, the different sessions we ran and the content we decided to focus on. We also created and used a number of openly licensed resources, which have all been made available online for anyone else to build upon and adapt for their own use. You can read more on the project goals and design in the first post here.

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Natural Sciences training: Project goals and design (Part 1)

At the end of 2014, Siyavula was involved in planning, designing and conducting training workshops for the Gr 4-9 Natural Sciences subject advisors in all 9 provinces in South Africa. I coordinated the training project from our side and learned an enormous amount, from designing training workshops, to working with different stakeholders in the education system, to delivering training and teaching concepts, to working with a diverse team, and importantly, interacting with the subject advisors and building relationships across the country.

This blog post, and the few to follow, are reflections on the training, including how it was designed and conducted, our experiences, challenges we faced and recommendations for going forward with future, similar training programmes.

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“Sweet” treats in a beat

In pursuit of sugar-free happiness, I have been experimenting with some concoctions for “sweet” treats. They have proven to be quite successful (especially at our Tasty Tuesday evenings!). So, I thought I’d share these unrefined “recipes”, which definitely require and allow for a spoonful of creativity here and there.

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Open Education South Africa

Note: This post was originally published on the OKFN Open Education Working Group blog.

Statue of Nelson Mandela
(Credit: Photocrusher CC-BY-NC-SA)

South Africa is a beautiful country. We have much to celebrate and be thankful for, such as our 5th democratic elections since the end of Apartheid, which took place in May this year.

But, as most people are acutely aware, both locally and internationally, although our government has one of the highest spends on education in the world, our state of education is in a crisis, and  we are failing the majority of our learners, especially in rural areas.

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One textbook for the country? A step backwards for SA education

This is a whirlwind week in South Africa’s parliament as they line up budget vote debates one after the other, following our 5th democratic general election since the end of Apartheid in 1994. I found the Daily Maverick’s pieces covering “the bits you need to know” from Day 1 and Day 2 very helpful, especially for one like me who just wants an overview.

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Siyavula Educator Survey Results: Impact of Using Siyavula (Part IV)

This is the final part of a four-part series of blog posts co-authored by Beck Pitt (OER Research Hub researcher) and Megan Beckett (Siyavula). You can read our posts on the Siyavula educator sample and background to the study here, more on education in South Africa here and more on educators’ attitudes and behaviours toward OER here. This post features some of the findings relating to questions specifically about Siyavula open textbooks and their impact on educators and students.

As a recap, the following research findings relate to 89 educators who have used or currently use Siyavula open textbooks. You can read more about the sample group and background to the study here.

Siyavula display (Photo Credit: Megan Beckett CC-BY) Siyavula display (Photo Credit: Megan Beckett CC-BY)

Siyavula Open Textbooks

We asked educators how they first became aware of Siyavula textbooks, as this is of particular interest to Siyavula. Respondents could give more than…

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