Last week I got back from the US after attending OpenCon in Washington DC from 12-14 Nov. Arriving the day after the US election results came out, the mood in the capital was very somber as people were trying to grapple with what just happened. Even walking down the streets, I caught fragments of many conversations discussing the recent events. I also arrived on Veteran’s Day, and as I had some time to do a bit of sight seeing, I decided to walk along the Mall, and also to the end where most of the war memorials are located.
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.