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Tuesday, October 25 • 4:45pm - 5:15pm
OERs: walking the walk!

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OERs can walk the walk, not just talk the talk! Integrating OERs into "old" education systems by building an OER publishing company in RSA.


Siyavula is a Shuttleworth Foundation seeded project that has developed a comprehensive set of K-9 OERs as well as the Free High School Science Texts Grade 10-12 Maths and Science textbooks, all of which are available on the Connexions platform. These resources have built on many other OER projects by integrating rich media OERs like the Khan Academy and PhET Simulations and more. In addition, an open-source, openly-licensed assessment bank has been developed to support these products and allow educators to quickly and easily share assessment items, set tests and analyse results. Much of this work has relied on volunteer contributions and to date Siyavula has been funded by sponsorship.

However, these products suffer from relatively poor uptake in an environment where IT-literacy is low and no processes exist for OERs to be officially adopted by schools or even for them to easily be recognised by the Department of Basic Education.

In order to rectify this and to ensure that volunteers contributions have the maximum impact; that schools can realise the benefits collaborative content development, remixing and reuse of content, cost savings associated with aggregated printing, increased technology integration; and that the Department of Basic Education realises the potential and cost-saving benefits of OERs we have turned Siyavula into an OER publishing company. A revenue model has been developed to make Siyavula sustainable.

Siyavula is now a registered publisher and is marketing OERs as traditional, proprietary resources are marketed, as well as submitting texts for the official government approved lists. This allows schools to use their official textbook budgets to buy them at a significantly reduced price over competitors products. In addition, Siyavula has rolled out a series training courses to enhance online collaboration around the development of resources, the awareness of OERs and potential opportunities for technology integration into the classroom. All workshops and courses are focused on openly-licensed products.

The details of developing the Siyavula business model of how to add effective value and interfacing with the official processes will be presented as well as the disconnects between the OER products and expectations based on proprietary products that do not feature rich media. In addition, the delicate balance of revenue generation coupled to volunteer contributions will be discussed.



Tuesday October 25, 2011 4:45pm - 5:15pm MDT
White Pine

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