In September, the School of Open Africa launched with nine programs distributed across four jurisdictions: Kenya, Tanzania, Nigeria, and South Africa. Kayode from CC Nigeria announced in the launch in August, and now we want to give you an update on how the programs (some ongoing) and launch events fared! We also want to preview more events to take place during Open Access Week and tell you our plans for the future of School of Open in Africa.
School of Open Kenya
Simeon from Jamlab says, “We hosted 20 girls from Precious Blood Secondary School, Riruta for the [launch] event. The goal was to work with these students to map out education as they currently experience it in their school and figure out how best to incorporate Open Education in their learning. For most of the afternoon, the emphasis on the workshop centered on figuring out how the students could incorporate Open Education in their learning. After a brief discussion, we mapped out learning and education activities as follows:
- Lectures/Class instruction
- Private study/prep
- Group study
- Revision of past examination papers
- Student Symposiums
We asked them if we could add aspects of Open Education to this list. Very few of the students had heard about Open Education or understood its value at this point. We discussed Open Education in a little more detail: We explored the concept of the commons, copyright and copyleft and how the Creative Commons suite of licenses has enabled the Open Education movement globally.”
The future of SOO Kenya:
“One of the themes that stood out is getting school administrations and teachers to understand and make an investment in Open Education. This will be Jamlab’s focus in the coming year. While we work with administrators and teachers, we encouraged students to begin to demonstrate the value of Open Education by creating demand for it in the following ways: consume OER’s and integrate them in their learning, and pro-actively create and share OER’s with other students from other schools.”
School of Open Tanzania
Paul from CC Tanzania says, “The program officially launched at Academic International Primary School (AIPS) in Dar es Salaam whereby 15 students from grades four to seven got the opportunity to learn how to code, designing animated picture (cartoons) by using open educational resources through the web.”
The future of SOO Tanzania:
“The event also marked the launch of three other training programs around ICT empowerment training for unemployed youth, teaching persons with disabilities how to use computers, and training educators on using ICT to improve how they teach their students in Tanzania that will be coordinated by CC Tanzania and the Open University of Tanzania.”
CC Tanzania will also highlight the importance of open access to research during Open Access Week in collaboration with the Tanzania Medical Students Association (TAMSA).
School of Open Nigeria
Kayode from CC Nigeria says, “Creative Commons Nigeria with support from Nigerian Institute of Advanced Legal Studies, Linux Professional Institute (Nigerian Master Affiliate) and Mozilla Foundation hosted the School of Open. The School of Open is a five week open course that holds every Saturday between 11am till 4pm. The first week started on September 13th with participants been trained on the basics of Intellectual Property, Linux Operating System and using simple Mozilla tools to design websites.”
The future of SOO Nigeria:
The five-week programs wrapped over the weekend with a discussion on plans for sustaining the community. The next phase will be to take School of Open Nigeria online with the present participants acting as moderators. Meanwhile, people and institutions in two different states (Imo State and Obafemi Awolowo University, Osun State) have requested that Creative Commons Nigeria come replicate School of Open in their societies. The aim of School of Open Nigeria will be to have an online learning place where people can go to learn at any time without any cost or time restrictions.
School of Open South Africa
Kelsey from CC South Africa says they already ran their School of Open CC4Kids course as part of Code4CT’s Maker Party back in July, and since then have been planning the next phase of Kumusha Bus, aka Kumusha Bus 2.0, which is “a remix of Libre Bus and designed to ensure collaboration with local members of the open community to have a week of Open Movement chaos and fun that spreads the ideas behind the movement and gets more people and organisations involved in your country.” Kumusha Bus is a collaboration of WikiAfrica, Creative Commons, and School of Open.
The future of SOO South Africa:
Kelsey & co are planning to expand CC4Kids into a full course pack designed to teach kids about Wikipedia, open journalism, open data, and open/citizen science. As part of this expansion, a session will be run at the upcoming Mozilla Festival called “OpenMe – Kids Can Open”.
More about the future
School of Open Africa is hosting another event next week, 22 October, to launch its entrance into the higher education space. Four courses will be developed in collaboration with the C4DLab, the University of Nairobi’s innovation hub, and will be licensed CC BY. The project is a response to ICT playing a critical role in expanding the knowledge economy of Africa; the OER will be developed by and for Africans; and the hope is to replicate the process in other universities. In addition, certificates will be awarded to participants of CC Kenya’s CopyrightX satellite from earlier this year, a panel discussion on OER will be featured, and SOO Kenya will present its work to date. The event and C4DLab OER project is made possible with technical support from UNESCO and generous support from the Hewlett Foundation. Stay tuned for a more detailed announcement of this event next week!
At its core, School of Open is about equipping communities with the tools to help them do what they already do better. Creative Commons licenses and the open resources they enable empowers users around the world to, as Simeon of SOO Kenya says, “build on what we already know.” He says,
I think one thing we often forget to highlight when it comes to education is how we learn… We learn by building on what we already know. We believe Open Education is one sure way of building on what we already know to advance ourselves.
We are seeking to expand School of Open to other regions, in and beyond Africa. The upcoming Mozilla Festival will feature a session on mapping School of Open programs from around the world and hone in on areas with maximum potential for impact — where we can “train the trainers” or otherwise empower student and educator communities to start up programs for themselves. Find out how you can get involved!
About the School of Open
The School of Open is a global community of volunteers that provides free education opportunities on the meaning, application, and impact of “openness” in the digital age and its benefit to creative endeavors, education, and research. Volunteers develop and run courses, workshops, and training programs on topics such as Creative Commons licenses, open educational resources, and sharing creative works. The School of Open is coordinated by Creative Commons and P2PU, a nonprofit that builds and supports learning communities on the web.Comments Off
Today and tomorrow the School of Open launches in Tanzania and Nigeria in conjunction with Mozilla Maker Party!
In Tanzania, CC Tanzania is hosting a creative event for kids at the Open University of Tanzania, the first university in the region to offer open and distant learning programs. Kids will use the Internet and open educational resources to create animations. This event occurs today: see the Maker Party page for details. It marks the launch of three training programs around ICT empowerment training for unemployed youth, teaching persons with disabilities how to use computers, and training educators on using ICT to improve how they teach their students.
—> Update: Read CC Tanzania’s download of the event.
In Nigeria, CC Nigeria is hosting a web building skills event for the public at the Nigerian Institute for Advanced Legal Studies at the University of Lagos. Anyone may join to learn how to build the web and share creative works through Mozilla and CC tools. The opening ceremony and maker party are tomorrow, see the Maker Party page for details. The event also marks the launch of a five-week training program around Nigerian copyright and Linux Operating System. During the opening ceremony, SOO Nigeria’s facilitators, partners and supporters will meet and set expectations for program participants. See the School of Open Nigeria page for more details. You can follow SOO Nigeria on Facebook and Twitter, using the hashtags #SOOAfrica and #MakerParty.
School of Open launch events are also set to occur in Kenya and South Africa — stay tuned! (Read more about their plans here.)
About Maker Party
School of Open and Creative Commons is excited to be partnering with Mozilla to celebrate teaching and learning the web with Maker Party. Through thousands of community-run events around the world, Maker Party unites educators, organizations and enthusiastic Internet users of all ages and skill levels.
We share Mozilla’s belief that the web is a global public resource that’s integral to modern life: it shapes how we learn, how we connect and how we communicate. But many of us don’t understand its basic mechanics or what it means to be a citizen of the web. That’s why we’re supporting this global effort to teach web literacy through hands-on learning and making with Maker Party.
About the School of Open
The School of Open is a global community of volunteers focused on providing free education opportunities on the meaning, application, and impact of “openness” in the digital age and its benefit to creative endeavors, education, and research. Volunteers develop and run courses, workshops, and real world training programs on topics such as Creative Commons licenses, open educational resources, and sharing creative works. The School of Open is coordinated by Creative Commons and P2PU.Comments Off
I’m delighted to introduce Andrew Rens, one of our exceptional CC Superheroes, who will tell you in his own words why he supports Creative Commons and why you should too. Rens, the founding legal lead of Creative Commons South Africa – a volunteer position he held from 2003 to 2009 – possesses particularly adept superpowers when it comes to facing tough issues around intellectual property and education in Africa. Here is his story. Join Rens and become a CC superhero – donate today.
“Since its inception Creative Commons has been instrumental in enabling so much diverse creativity, from music to design, from science to education, from business to philanthropy that I won’t attempt to refer to it all. Instead I’ll reflect on my personal experience of supporting CC, and why I think that you should seriously consider joining me in supporting Creative Commons.
From the day I first heard about Creative Commons I believed that it would be immensely helpful to two things which I am passionate about: Africa and education. Shortly thereafter I became the first legal lead for the Creative Commons South Africa project. I worked as legal lead, a volunteer position, from 2003 until 2009. What motivates someone to keep working as a volunteer for six years? What motivated me was the immense privilege of contributing to the work of others, of playing a part, however small, in some of the most inspiring initiatives I’ve ever seen.
One of those is Free High School Science Texts which offers curriculum compliant peer produced CC licensed school textbooks in math, physics, chemistry and biology. Another great project is Siyavula, a platform which enables teachers to co-create lesson materials. Then there is Full Marks, another teacher friendly site that enables teachers to co-create math and science quizzes. Astonishingly these three projects were all begun by one very smart and determined guy: Mark Horner. Yet another great project is Yoza, a self publishing platform that enables mobile access to novels and short stories, and so encourages literacy in a generation of Africans who have no ready access and whose only computers are mobile phones.
These are all good examples of the creativity of the open educational resources (OER) movement. The OER movement draws its inspiration from the Cape Town Open Education Declaration which speaks of “developing a vast pool of educational resources on the Internet, open and free for all to use.” Enabling sharing eliminates one barrier to education: highly priced learning materials. It also begins something else, described in the Cape Town Declaration as “planting the seeds of a new pedagogy where educators and learners create, shape and evolve knowledge together, deepening their skills and understanding as they go.”
One of the first seeds to sprout is Peer to Peer University (P2PU), a volunteer driven project to create a peer to peer driven learning community. P2PU bills itself as the “social wrapper around open educational resources.” Peer learning may well be the key innovation that helps resolve the crisis which tertiary education is experiencing worldwide.
Each new development is only possible because of the development before it; peer learning is only possible with open educational resources; open educational resources are only possible with open licences such as the Creative Commons licences. Each layer relies on the continuing viability of the layer which it builds on. That is one important reason that I support the ongoing work of Creative Commons, because the fundamentals of easily understood, easily used, open copyright licences need to be maintained.
Another reason I support the ongoing work of Creative Commons is the urgent need for work on patents and databases to enable people to research collaboratively and share their results. Yet another reason is because Creative Commons is committed to expanding the network of Creative Commons projects in Africa, supporting Africans not just to port Creative Commons licences to their jurisdictions but also to provide trusted local expertise to their educational communities.
I’ve had the satisfaction of seeing that the time sacrificed as a volunteer to port the Creative Commons licences has been more than repaid; the South African CC licences have been used vastly more times than any other technical legal document I’ve drafted. This is typical of how Creative Commons has worked; for every license ported there have been thousands if not millions of works using that license. The outpouring of human expression and ingenuity enabled by Creative Commons has been a huge return on every hour of volunteer time and every dollar spent on the staff who support the volunteers and keep the website working. These investments of time and money are small only relative to the creativity they’ve enabled. Every dollar donated, every hour spent could have been used to another end, and yet without them the return would not have been as great.
Although I have been privileged to participate in these exciting developments, I don’t believe that my experience is exceptional. Everyone who contributes to Creative Commons has the opportunity to be involved with a plethora of fascinating individuals and world changing projects. Please join me in supporting Creative Commons today.”Comments Off
Mobile phones are the most popular means of communication among young adults in South Africa, as South Africans send 250 million text messages a day. This may be true for many parts of the world, where Internet connections are still in dial-up mode or even nonexistent. Through mobile phones, youth carry daily conversations via text messaging, as in some areas it is cheaper to send a text than to call.
Leveraging the popularity of mobile phones, the m4Lit project has launched the first mobile novel of its kind, or m-novel, in South Africa. Kontax, which follows the adventures of a group of teenage graffiti artists, is made specifically for mobile phones, and is available in both English and isiXhosa. It is being released chapter by chapter on a daily basis, with the first chapter already out. From the press release:
“The m4Lit pilot project aims to explore whether teens are interested in reading stories on their cellphones, whether and how they write using their cellphones, and whether cellphones might be used to develop literacy skills and a love of reading. Enter Kontax, an m-novel written on commission from the Shuttleworth Foundation by prize winning ‘mobilist’ Sam Wilson. Kontax is an m-novel made for mobile – and from 30 September readers will be able to access the dynamic teen narrative from their WAP-enabled cellphones, or from their computers. Every day another exciting chapter in the mystery plot will be told, with 21 chapters rolling out over 21 days. Teen readers will be invited to interact with Kontax as it unfolds on their cellphones: they can vote on and discuss the progressing plot, leave comments, download wallpapers and finally submit a written piece as part of a competition, with airtime prizes available for winning submissions.
…As part of the research component of this project, interviews with teens in Cape Town before and after the publishing of Kontax will establish to what extent this project changes South African learners’ attitudes to reading and writing, what learners think about m-novels, and whether the mobile medium as a literacy tool interests or excites them.
In inviting interaction from and discussion amongst its teenage readers, Kontax is aligned with leading global trends, and follows the success of audience participation in story writing found in Japan, where teens have been reading and writing novels on their cellphones in this way for a number of years. The popularity of the m-novel is clearly evident in Japan, where six out of the top 10 fiction best sellers in 2008 were m-novels that had later been printed in book form. The evolution of digital media has had a profound impact on the literacy practices of teenagers from east to west – in the USA, research has shown that through their computers today’s teens are reading and writing more than ever, not formally but on blogs, MySpace pages and via instant messages. Increasingly, SMSes and chats on their cellphones also form part of the “reading” and “writing” of digital literacy.”
Read the press release for more information. And if you happen to be in South Africa, you may want to attend the book launch at “the Book Lounge in Cape Town on Wednesday 30 September at 18h00. All are welcome, but should please RSVP to either firstname.lastname@example.org or 021 462 2425.”
All Kontax content and story images are licensed CC BY-SA. Kontax is written by Sam Wilson and the m4Lit project is spearheaded by Steve Vosloo, 21st Century Learning Fellow for the Shuttleworth Foundation.3 Comments »
If I hadn’t interned for Clarity Films one summer, I would never have learned most of what I know now about the apartheid, Nelson Mandela, and Desmond Tutu. I spent hours transcribing interviews and condensing documentary footage into some type of digital package that I don’t recall the name of (nor do I remember the outdated technology I used). What I do remember: the world’s reactions to the tumult that surrounded South Africa within the past fifty some odd years.
Now, anyone can learn about South Africa and its rich heritage with the recent launch of OpenSA, “a pilot project to make South African heritage more accessible for remixing and re-publishing by online creators.” From the announcement at The African Commons Project:
“In collaboration with SA Rocks and the African Commons Project, OpenSA! is collecting, tagging and managing donations from people who are willing to make their material freely available online. OpenSA! will also be helping to coordinate outreach to South Africa’s young creators to enable them to learn more about how to find open content that they are free to remix and share.
As access to the Internet grows in South Africa, so too does the range of creative activity by a new generation of active online citizens. Internet publishing in the form of blogging and citizen journalism, online publishing of photographic, video and music publishing are all part of a wide range of democratic speech that we as a young nation are trying to encourage and nurture.”Comments Off