Archive for June, 2011
This year’s South African National Schools Festival takes place directly after the National Arts Festival in Grahamstown, from 10.-14.07.11. The Grahamstown Foundation sponsors 4 awareNet users and one supervisor to attend the Festival for free including meals. The VSA is very grateful and excited about this opportunity. Thank you very much!
The trick is that only grade 12 learners are allowed. The VSA usually does not work with grade 12 learners, because we do not want to distract them from their exams. But we found 7 awareNet alumni who are interested to do more work and have more fun on awareNet. 7 learners means that they will have to compete for the 4 available tickets. They will be given the task to report about the National Arts Festival in their own way, but regularly and somehow interesting and catchy on awareNet for the other learners to read and comment.
At the last day of the Arts Festival the 4 best learners will be selected – perhaps we let the other awareNet users vote which reporter they liked best – and then they can go straight into the next Festival. Look out for progress on this exciting project on awareNet!
The VSA organised a Movie Day on Youth Day screening “Alive with Possibility” by Symphonia at Mary Waters High School in Grahamstown followed by an extraordinary awareNet session. We are proud to report that the event went very well and left the awareNet users very enthusiastic and motivated.
They enjoyed the spirit and spontaneously started singing an Alive-with-Possibility-Song followed by the pop song “We are the world…”. One learner gave a short speech all of which was recorded and is currently being uploaded onto YouTube. From there we will transfer them onto awareNet, along with the original documentary, so that all awareNet users can watch and comment them.
We further took pictures that we linked to the awareNet project. The learners were rewarded with a badge on their awareNet profile page and will continue working on that project once next term has started. At the moment they are writing exams. Term will start after the Grahamstown Arts Festival in July.
We were very proud to be invited to the celebration of a new publishing house in South Africa called exPressive imPressions. Erika Wertlen invited a group of creative minds to network, talk about ideas, watch exhibitions and performances.
A quick blurb about exPressive imPressions:
Their goal is to encourage writers and artists of a variety of disciplines, as well as the public, to become actively involved in writing, reading, and other forms of artistic expression through web-presence, event-hosting, and web and print publishing.
They envision a future in which Southern Africans from all walks of life will have a platform to tell, hear, read or see their stories in such a way that is accessible to them, without being restricted by the divides of the past.
Their values are Freedom of Expression, Creativity, Collaboration, Artistic Freedom, Promoting Unity in Diversity through Shared Experience, Poetry, Prose, Art, Music, Soul. The true heart of South Africa!
We are very much looking forward to a stimulating partnership. We hope to use each other’s strength, network, content and creativity to promote education, literacy and freedom.
Ron Wertlen travelled to Dar-Es-Salaam, Tanzania, to present awareNet to an audience of educators, government employees and industry practitioners at the 6th e-Learning Africa Conference on ICT for Development, Education and Training at the Mlimani Conference Centre. The Friday morning slot, French interpreter and large venue ensured that there was a large mixed audience. Afterwards there was a lot of positive feedback on the topics of the talk: what we achieved, philosophy of awareNet and way forward. The conference was a great success in terms of the amount of African presence and interest, and we are sure this is going to help awareNet adoption across the continent.
As individual projects initiated at ELA11 begin to be realised, and two are expected in June 2011 already, we’ll be reporting on them here.
Movie night on Youth Day: “Alive with Possibility” for awareNet users – Call for donations! 1 comment
The VSA has recently started a partnership with Symphonia, an Organisational Change practice. They have sent us this most exciting documentary called “Alive with Possibility” featuring world renowned leadership experts Ben & Roz Zander, endorsed by Desmond Tutu and Wendy Ackerman. We are going to make this documentary available for all awareNet users, introducing it during a movie night, followed by an awareNet session.
“The purpose of this documentary is to remind South Africans that this is indeed a country that is alive with possibility. We sometimes forget this, as we are bombarded by downward spiral stories wherever we go. The documentary reminds us that it is the people of South Africa that makes this such a special place. We can choose moment by moment whether we are going to continue to focus on what is NOT working (and get more depressed and disillusioned) or we can focus on what is working and enroll others in a conversation of possibility.” (Symphonia)
We think that this documentary is indeed very special and will help motivating young people in finding their way of life with a positive spin. We are currently organising a movie night on Youth Day (16/06/11) at Mary Waters High School in Grahamstown, followed by an awareNet session, during which all spectators will document their thoughts and emotions that arose during the show in a collaborative project. The documentary and the project will be available online for all other users afterwards for comments and possible further activities.
Symphonia generously provides the documentary for free and the VSA provides equipment and assistance during the show. The Mary Waters High School opens its doors of the show room and the computer lab during a public holiday. Now, we call on you to make a small donation to finance transport and snacks&cool drinks for 30 learners on the day. Altogether, we don’t need more than about R1000. Please, help us and contact us now (leave a comment or send an email or make an anonymous donation).
Thank you very much!