I arrived at a very misty, drizzly St Anne’s and was quickly transported back in time to the atmosphere the thick, refreshing mist used to create around the school, no matter the time of day. I hadn’t quite realised it was also the last day of school for the Matrics, but soon saw the evidence of the celebrations lying at the entrance to the foyer and paraphernalia dotted around elsewhere!
Today I had the opportunity to go on a excursion to Vusisizwe Secondary School in Worcester, a town about 120 km from Cape Town. The school is one sponsored by Vodacom and as such, they have access to our adaptive, online tool for learning Maths and Science. At Siyavula, we have an in-house team responsible for the “Vodacom project” in terms of managing, training and supporting the schools and teachers who have been sponsored access to Intelligent Practice.
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.
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.
Since I have been involved in the open movement, I have come to realise the crucial role of creating awareness of open education in an easily understandable way, contextual way. Most people do not know what we mean by the term “open”, and often only associate the word “free” with the content. But, there are many more benefits to being open, than something just being free. And, it’s up to us to promote this.
As 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!