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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OER14: What does openness mean to you and me?

At the end of April I attended the OER14 conference in Newcastle in the UK to present on our work at Siyavula within the context of building communities of open practice. This was the first time anyone at Siyavula had attended this specific conference, and I found it really insightful into what is happening in open education in the UK and in Europe. Although the focus was mostly on higher education and developed countries, I found that I could add a crucial dynamic to the discussions and themes due to our work at Siyavula within the school (K-12) space and in a developing country. I feel it is really important that we at Siyavula continue to connect with people and developments in open education around the world, not only to learn from others, but also to share what we are doing. I am always encouraged by the enthusiasm with which people want to know about and learn from our work within South Africa.

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Scratching away – Meet the Thunderbolt Kids

scratchAs part of the Learning Creative Learning course that I am doing, run by the Lifelong Kindergarten group at MIT Media Lab, we were introduced to Scratch. We were encouraged to create our own project to introduce ourselves. Scratch was developed by the Lifelong Kindergarten group (love that name!), as it is their mission to develop new technologies, looking back to kids for inspiration, thus expanding the range of what people can design, create and learn. And Scratch certainly achieves this!

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