A new initiative: Siyavula

I recently (Oct 2007) changed jobs and am now working for the Shuttleworth Foundation managing an initiative called Siyavula. Siyavula is the Nguni word meaning we are opening.

The objective is to make Open and Collaborative Resources (OCRs) a firm and sustainable reality in the South African education system and, in the process, make a massive contribution to improving the current crisis (just one short article but many exist). We will make contributions which cover the entire curriculum, from grades 1 through 12, for all learning areas in grades 1 through 9 and the majority of subjects in grades 10 through 12.

A somewhat ambitious project you might think, I like to call it "Mission Impossible: The African Chapter" but that's just for a little drama, if I wasn't 100% confident of success I wouldn't be involved.

The project does not have a website yet but when the time comes it will be at www.siyavula.org.za. We've do have a logo though as shown on the right (the first public display of the logo, although my readership is zero so maybe this doesn't count ;) ).

The world has changed significantly; technology is becoming more of a social tool and openness and community are coming to the forefront. All we have to do for Siyavula to be a success is deploy the right technology and work to expand and develop the many education-related communities and we'll achieve the desired results. It is going to take a while but it is definitely worth it.

What does this all actually mean?

We will work to create a comprehensive set of Open Education Resources (OERs) that :

  • are openly licenced, giving anyone the right to legally:
    • copy
    • distribute
    • adapt
  • are curriculum-aligned
  • are available online and in print format
  • and cover the entire South African curriculum.

These resources will be on a website that has functionality which allows the authoring of material, vetting and rating of that material as well as community and group tools and features.

Despite the desire to make the material freely available we need to protect that freedom and the copyright licence we have chosen to do so using a licence developed by Creative Commons, the
Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.5 South Africa License, which DOES allow the activities mentioned above.

This is just the seed blog for numerous more on Siyavula which will discuss, and open for discussion, points around the copyright, technical, community-building, and educational aspects of the project.

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