Who is Siyavula
Siyavula works with volunteers to collaboratively author openly-licensed educational content. This means we grant educators the freedom to copy, edit, print and distribute the resources. Currently available titles include Mathematics and Physical Science for Grades 10, 11 and 12. In 2011 the Department of Basic Education (D.B.E.) approached Siyavula to curriculum-align these textbooks and in 2012 the D.B.E. printed and began distributing these books to all government schools across South Africa. Siyavula will soon expand the list to include Life Science and Maths Literacy titles.
In addition, Siyavula offers an intelligent practice service which helps learners to assess their understanding of concepts in the books.
A key concern for Siyavula is the integration of technology into the classroom and therefore the use of technology is supported throughout Siyavula’s products and services.
Technology integration into the classrooms
Technology can play a valuable role in the education process, and it’s potential impact cannot be ignored. Yet, when it comes to education in South Africa, technology is seldom integrated into the learning experience but rather used perfunctorily.
Whether a teaching environment has the privilege of using laptops or tablets in class, or learners simply share hardcopy textbooks and have a few cell phones, there are tools available to educators that transform the learning and teaching experience. Furthermore no tool should be used in isolation. Rather, they should be incorporated in such a way as to enhance learner understanding and experience and increase the effectiveness of teaching.
Engaging learners through mobile learning
Mobile learning in the classroom is the easiest way to incorporate technology into one’s teaching; there is no need to set up equipment, it is always available and most learners will have phones on them, making this the most easily accessible technology tool for educators. Cell phones can be used to facilitate communication and collaboration among educators and learners. Learners can also use cell phones to source additional material, alternative definitions and explanations, and to test their content knowledge.
The Siyavula textbooks for mobile
Educators across South Africa use the Siyavula Everything Maths and Everything Science mobile textbooks as they are easily accessible, being free to read and requiring little data to view. The mobile textbook may be used to look up a definition or research a section of the textbook, thereby helping learners to engage with the work via an alternative medium, source and context. To ensure learners are being constructive on their phones it is advisable to set them a task, such as completing an in-chapter exercise from the Siyavula textbooks. When they are done, the class can view and engage with fully worked solutions for the exercise, available in the online version of the books. Here is an example of an educator incorporating cell phones and mobile textbooks into her classroom: http://vimeo.com/42929082
Integrating rich-media with the curriculum content
Use of rich-media in conjunction with class-notes and textbooks can enhance learning. Unfortunately sourcing the relevant rich-media can be a painful task. Educators can spend days on the internet searching for appropriate content to show in class-content that learners will be able to relate to, and that will bring to life the concept being taught. In addition to this, educators need to ensure that they are legally allowed to use and share the content they find. One solution is for educators to share openly-licensed resources. As they create their own class-notes, and source appropriate rich-media for inclusion. Educators can share this content with their peers by uploading it to online platforms such as Dropbox, Google Docs and Slideshare.
The Siyavula webbooks
The Siyavula textbooks are filled with curriculum-aligned rich-media such as videos, simulations and slideshow presentations. This means that using the books online becomes a completely interactive experience. The printed textbooks indicate where there is rich-media available for a particular section. If an educator has access to a projector in class, the web-based books can be used as a powerful teaching aid. The interactive book is also available in an offline version, so no internet connection is needed to access that material.
The Siyavula online practice service
Siyavula has also developed an online practice service which is well integrated with the textbooks. Learners are able to assess whether they have understood the concepts covered throughout the curriculum-aligned Siyavula textbooks. The practice service is linked to the corresponding chapters, thus a learner can monitor their progress as they work through the textbook. The questions are similar to those found in tests and exam papers and progress is measured in terms of how well a learner does and how often they are practising. All answers are given as step-by-step worked solutions and are modelled on the worked examples in the textbooks.
This is an example of the practice service for Maths. Your answer is required to be filled in rather than multiple choice:
When you submit your answer you are given the fully worked solution:
The Siyavula textbooks are openly-licensed and freely available for reading or download from http://everythingscience.co.za/ and http://www.everythingmaths.co.za/, Over mobile at http://m.everythingscience.co.za/ and http://m.everythingmaths.co.za/. As well as though MXit reach under: everythingmaths and everythingscience.