Posted on September 8, 2010 · Posted in SF Fellow

Update 3 (21:15 – 22/09/2010):
Maggie Verster asked me to pop the other mathematics documents up so here you go:

Mathematics ( SP / 7-9)
Mathematics ( IP / 4-6)
Mathematics ( FP / 1-3)

Update 2 (15:30 – 16/09/2010):
I was informed that the Life Sciences FET document was changed during the commentary process so have uploaded the updated one. I do not know the scope of changes unfortunately but hope people will comment on the new one:

Life Sciences (Updated) (FET / 10-12)

Update (10:00 – 09/09/2010): I just spoke to Henre Benson from the Centre for the Advancement of Science and Mathematics Education (CASME) at UKZN. CASME will be submitting feedback and will use the comments included on the a.nnotate.com files in their submission as well as supporting documentation. They won’t really do Maths Literacy but asked me to add Life Sciences – so here we go:

Life Sciences (FET / 10-12)

I’ve found another nail, well my tool of the moment is a.nnotate.com and it looks like I’ve found something else to hammer with it. I’d feel a bit unimaginative if this weren’t another ideal opportunity for collaborative commentary en-mass. On Friday last week, the South African Government Gazette called for public input on the Curriculum and Assessment Policy Statements.

The Minister of Basic Education invites stakeholder bodies and members of the public to comment on the newly developed National Curriculum and Assessment Policy Statements by means of Government Notice No. 784 in Government Gazette No. 33528 of 3 September 2010.

The National Curriculum and Assessment Statements are single, comprehensive, and concise policy documents to replace the current Subject and Learning Area Statements, Learning Programme Guidelines and Subject Assessment Guidelines for all subjects listed in the National Curriculum Statement Grades R – 12.

For every subject in every phase (3 grades batched together i.e. 1-3, 4-6, 7-9, 10-12) there is a document that is available for comment. This feels to me like the perfect opportunity to use a tool like a.nnotate.com (as we did for FHSST recently – detailed blog on that experience still coming) where a multitude of people can comment simultaneously and even generate discussion threads within the document. I feel that the commentary will go much further and be of a higher standard when people can see other comments and build on what has already been done rather than each person starting from scratch.

So, as an experiment I have uploaded 3 of the CAPS documents to a.nnotate.com and anyone with access to the link can annotate but it records their email address. Different people can comment on each others’ annotations but not delete them so it is possible to have a discussion in the document. Annotations can also be categorised (including typos, corrections, suggestions etc.). I am hoping that a number of teachers might take a look and see if there is anything they’d like to comment on and also let other science, maths or maths lit teachers know about it.

The process is very very easy – just follow the link, enter a password and then browse the book and anywhere you want to make a comment highlight the text and an annotation window will pop up. That’s it. If you see a comment you agree or disagree with post a reply. I will rely on participants to comment on each others notes if they think there are issues with them, or if they agree with them.

I will only delete annotations if they are abusive.

The documents are available at:

Physical Science (FET / 10-12)

Mathematical Literacy (FET / 10-12)

Mathematics (FET / 10-12)

Who knows, if the process goes well maybe we’ll try some of the other subjects as well but I definitely feel that this is pretty open and collaborative with a focus on school and I am the Open and Collaborative Resources Fellow at the Shuttleworth Foundation after all.

About the Author

Mark Horner is the CEO of Siyavula Education, a social enterprise working in the school sector in South Africa. While working as the Shuttleworth Foundation Fellow for Open and Collaborative Resources, Mark was able to transform the Free High School Science Texts (FHSST) project, which he co-founded, into Siyavula Education. In this process, openly-licensed, collaboratively authored textbooks have been printed and distributed nationally in South Africa. Working at the intersection of community, openness and technology; Mark intends to leverage this success to make Siyavula an innovative, technology provider in education that works effectively as part of the education community to ensure better learning opportunities for all. A recent notable event being the delivery of Siyavula's textbooks over Mxit, the most popular mobile chat solution in South Africa. Mark has a PhD in physics from the University of Cape Town and conducted his research at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in California on the results from the STAR experiment at Brookhaven National Laboratory in New York. His work is carried out in the belief that the liberation of information and support of education in South Africa will lead to a peaceful and prosperous future for all South Africans.