The changing role of the publisher in the age of plenty

By way of some background, I am currently the digital publishing manager at the African branch of Cambridge University Press (CUP), the publishing business of the University of Cambridge. Prior to joining CUP, I worked as a consultant conceptualising and implementing innovative digital solutions for academic and local government initiatives in South Africa. During this period I launched The Ulwazi Programme with colleagues from the eThekwini Municipality. This collaborative digital library project collated user-generated, local-language, indigenous knowledge content and published it openly under a Creative Commons license. Based on this experience, as well as my desire to explore how a traditional publishing business could engage with with the open movement and the plethora of freely-available content online, I applied to attend the Institute of Open Leadership (IOL) workshops. The week-long sessions were intense; a bootcamp in open licensing and open education. More importantly, the workshop brought together some of the top minds currently working on open ideas. In formal and informal discussions, these mentors shared their thinking with me on open business models, providing examples of successful and sustainable open initiatives. Continue reading

EdTech World Tour Project Report

Earlier this year I met with Svenia Busonia who was involved in a global research project looking at edtech clusters and the adoptions of various initiatives in diverse regions. Together with her partner Audrey Jarre, she visited India, New Zealand, South Korea, France, New Zealand, Australia, the USA and South Africa. While in Cape Town we discussed the work Cambridge University Press (CUP) is doing in the digital education arena, in South Africa and Nigeria. They also met with local edtech startups Greenshoots, Siyavula, Code X and Rethink Education.

To read more on the project visit their website at www.edtechworldtour.com or download the project report here.

How augmented reality is revolutionizing EdTech

The global buzz unleashed by the release of the Pokémon Go game for smartphones in 2016 exemplifies how augmented reality technology is growing. Educational institutions and app developers are already finding ways to incorporate the exciting, perception-bending capabilities of augmented reality design into lesson and textbook design. Read more about how augmented reality is revolutionizing EdTech:

First: What is augmented reality? Continue reading

Pioneering home-language learning of mathematics in a digital environment in South Africa

Learning mathematics in a second language has been identified as a major barrier to understanding mathematical concepts and terms for South African learners. The Cambridge Maths Dictionary App (English and isiXhosa) is an easy to use, helpful mobile reference tool for South African learners aged between 10 and 15 years old (Grades 4 to 9). Written in a language that is easily accessible to non-­mother tongue speakers of English, the app  contains over 900 Maths terms and definitions in both English and isiXhosa. Words are explained using examples relevant to the South African context and entries are supported with compelling visual content  to further enhance the explanations and to reinforce the concepts.

Continue reading

Why teaching 21st Century skills using educational technology is essential

Today’s learner needs a rounded skillset appropriate for a job market where digital savvy and the ability to work within multiple disciplines are both crucial. In a world that is hyper-connected through a diverse range of communication technologies, it’s important for learners to acquire adaptable ways of working with others. Educational technology can address these needs, helping learners acquire learning, literacy and life skills.

What are 21st Century Skills? The Three ‘Ls’ Continue reading