Archive for January, 2012
We have already given you a little impression of how the VSA has decided to change the face of awareNet by publishing our new icon. We have now adapted the whole website: it’s got a new colour scheme and changed its style slightly.
We are aware that the new colours are quite radical. But do you have any other comment? What are your associations? What do you feel when you see the awareNet project page? Give us your opinion!
We asked the same to the awareNet users for which we integrated a poll into awareNet. We will inform you about the outcome of that poll in about two weeks. Watch this space.
The VSA facilitates the use of awareNet in the Eastern Cape, South Africa, especially in Grahamstown. We mentioned in a previous blog post, that the VSA is offering a large number of new and repeated projects on awareNet this first term of the year 2012. These include science, fitness&health, creative writing&blogging, software development and music, which are all combined with the advancement of computer&Internet literacy.
We are happy to report that this offer has brought us a very positive feed-back from the schools and more schools than ever are going to work with awareNet on a regularly basis, some of them even integrated awareNet workshops as a compulsory subject or as an official co-curricular.
In Grahamstown joined six underprivileged school which are situated in the township, 2 former Model C schools and one private school. In Port Elizabeth, we were approached by the Masifunde Learner Development Center that works with 10 underrivileged schools in the Walmer township. We are going to train their teachers, so that they will be able to use awareNet independently and collaborate with Grahamstown learners. Three rural schools which are going to use mobile awareNet servers are situated in the Zithulele district in the Wild Coast, and the Lady Frere district is currently investigating how many schools would be able to join aside from their Rural Teacher Training Center.
Thank you every one of you for your interest and motivation to provide education beyond your class room for your learners.
On Monday the 23rd of January, the Village Scribe Association visited the District Office of the ECDoE at Lady Frere. We met with Chulekazi Bula (District Office Director) and several other curriculum and technical staff. We wanted to find out whether awareNet, with its co-curricular and (ICT) literacy focus, would be of interest to the leadership of such a rural district. The officials at the department were very positive about the possibilities presented by awareNet. They highlighted aspects like improving motivation, energy for learning and use of the ICT labs, while preserving security and maintinging an educational focus. We were very impressed how the team of officials each brought up alternative worries or benefits and formulated their own reasons why the programme would work in the schools of the region.
The VSA has a plan to supply these schools with training, which involves hiring additional staff living nearby. Unfortunately, the funding for this programme is unclear, although there are several possible avenues, including via the Vodacom Regional Teacher Training Centre which is being opened in 2012 at Lady Frere, as well as private funding from England. The ECDoE officials voiced their impatience at having to wait and were determined to build a “nucleus of users” in advance of any other efforts, as a pilot. Possibilities for sustainability of the project include further options – more news around this area will surely follow in the next months.
We look forward to collaborating with the ECDoE in this beautiful and mountainous part of the Eastern Cape.
We are proud to announce that the video clip for the awareNet theme song was shot last weekend by Roderich Zipp.
The learners from Mary Waters HS and winners of the HipHop song competition last Peace Day worked very well together and truly had fun, even though it was a long and tiring day, which started at sunrise and only ended long after sunset. They were all well prepared thanks to a number of preceding meetings in which they discussed the content, the style, and their ideas and opinions about peace and awareness. Mr Zipp took care to respect their ideas and inspired them to think bigger and better.
We expect the music video to be ready to publish in two or three weeks. Watch this space to find out where you can see it first!
On awareNet, you can chat with your friends, upload your photos and videos, fiddle with your profile page, write witty blogs or discuss controversial topics. If all of that becomes too boring, because you have done it on numerous other websites, you can start working on a collaborative project which will take you back to reality and make an impact on your life.
This year, learners can choose from a number of exciting projects that was never seen before on awareNet. In most of the cases, they will additionally meet and learn from professionals and/or go on fun outings.
- “Science Rocks!”: Projects about Dinosaurs, Kaolin Mining or Plant Fossils around Grahamstown; outings to the Albany Natural Science Museum, the kaolin mines or fossil sites; presentation of projects on awareNet during the SciFest Africa.
- “Run 4 Fun!”: Learners get physically fit and share their experiences on awareNet, compete with other schools against Rhodes University in a 5km Fun Run and win a medal.
- Introduction to Software Development: Learners can program their own apps for awareNet and the best ones will go life.
- “Chalk4Peace!”: Together with Sakhuluntu Cultural Group, a peace picture will be designed and chalked on a public space in Grahamstown.
- Writing Workshops: Not everyone can write, but everyone can learn it! We collaborate with great writers who are going to inspire everyone who is ready for it!
- Development of an advanced board game. More details later.
All of these projects will become educational learner-generated content and will be available to all awareNet users.
The VSA will present awareNet and it’s content during this year’s SciFest in Grahamstown, South Africa, 14.-20.3.2012. The theme of the SciFest is “Science rocks!”, so we chose the title “Rocks and Music in Social Networking” for our exhibition.
The VSA and the learners themselves, i.e. awareNet users from Grahamstown, will present their projects about all kind of rocks and of course music during the Science Festival. All projects will be previously created collaboratively on awareNet and continued during SciFest. awareNet users will interview other SciFest presenters and speakers, and Festival visitors will be able to watch the videos and submit their comments.
Festival visitors can join awareNet for free, explore it’s multimedia content and add their comments! They can create their own personal website, access learner made content about rock science and music and connect with the awareNet community. There will be a space to discuss and rate what they have seen. They can also record their own interviews about their experience at SciFest which will be uploaded onto awareNet for other users. Once registered on awareNet they can access it from where ever they want in the world and stay connected with our community.
We want to show that
- Computer literacy and understanding the Internet is important for understanding science and accessing information about science.
- Science and the Internet are both a collaborative effort.
- Everyone can be part of science and take part in collaborative projects.