Patukae College/OER Reef and Rainforest wiki in Marovo Language

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Contents

Background

This is a project located in Marovo Lagoon in the Western Province of Solomon Islands.

An environmental encyclopedia in Marovo Language (2005)

In 2005, Professor Edvard Hviding[1] of the University of Bergen, Norway, collaborated with UNESCO (SC/CI sectors) and the Solomon Islands Ministry of Education and Human Resource Development (MEHRD) to create an environmental encyclopedia in Marovo language with accompanying teachers guides and lesson plans aligned with the national curriculum. Patukae and several other schools in the Marovo Lagoon area have participated in this project.

The Marovo project is unique because of its association of an exceptional resource in support of Pacific Islander language and knowledge (the Marovo Encyclopaedia) and a creative delivery mechanism for remote rural schools that fosters indigenous knowledge as a living and dynamic resource owned by the communities themselves (the proposed Marovo wiki and OER). The original pilot project and the new extension are therefore of considerable significance not only for Solomon Islands, but also for countries and sites across the Pacific where there is a demand for quality education that reinforces vernacular languages and local content.

The project links to a pilot project of One Laptop Per Child (OLPC). One weakness in the series of OLPC projects in the Pacific has been an inability to show clear curriculum linkages. Related to this (with “catch-22” characteristics) is the need to train teachers to incorporate the ICT into daily class work, when there is no official guidance given on such matters. The Marovo wiki project demonstrates one approach to this issue, content-focused and project-based and aligned strongly with the national curriculum and education strategy.

ICT networking in Marovo Lagoon - the Marovo Learning Network

diagram showing the Marovo Learning network
the OLPC XS school server min-PC at Patukae, with routers

The ICT networks and facilities established in Marovo from 2008 [2], [3]), provide the infrastructure basis for the project. Patukae school hosts a VSAT broadband Internet dish, under SPC's PACRICS project, extended to a large area of the Lagoon by a Wi-Fi access point on a nearby island peak, extending coverage to over 11 schools. Two additional schools and an area clinic have been connected using donated equipment by Uepi Resort and partner company Marovo Sustainable Timbers. These companies have joined with the communities to form a working public-private partnership that fully shares all the costs. Patukae Primary School is also hosting a One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) pilot with all children and teachers having laptops.

In 2010, an Australian institute Scots College donated several high quality PC laptops and an additional server with many more resources to Patukae school, providing additional computer lab facilities.

To the existing ICT, the current project has added a school server computer using the OLPC XS School Server software, using a low power mini-PC which runs 24 hours per day on solar power. Not only can the contents be accessed by all the OLPC laptops and PC laptops in Patukae, but also by the connected schools and villages over the main RICS/Wi-Fi network (see net diagram below).

The server machine, pictured right, runs the OLPC XS Moodle installation and is loaded with 14GB of open educational resources. On this machine we have now added the MediaWiki software and imported the UNESCO Marovo wiki.

An online OER Reef and Rainforest wiki with supporting lesson plans

The original 2005 project provided a model for indigenous knowledge management with accompanying guidance for teachers to support the country’s vernacular education policy.

The new project phase aims to leverage the existing ICT networking in Marovo to add a new dimension to this resource – the ability for schools and communities to add to and improve the resource dynamically and hence engender real ownership of the process as well as the resource. It also aims to empower the teachers to collaborate with each other and the Ministry, to develop accompanying lesson plans that are aligned with specified educational objectives, along with mentoring, monitoring and quality assurance.

The Marovo wiki

An wiki platform has been developed by UNESCO, designed as an online OER (open educational resource) complement to the Reef and Rainforest encyclopedia, with the intention of enabling schools and communities in the Marovo area (and disapora) to access and contribute online OER content in Marovo language through this wiki, with a particular emphasis on education. Lesson plans are being developed collaboratively using these pages on the WikiEducator to guide teachers and to align the plans with the curriculum. For instance, a special Lesson Plan Template tool has been developed and teachers are already using it to create high quality lesson plans. In this way, the process will be taken forward sustainably by the participating teachers following the initial training.

Quality assurance procedures are also being developed, with the online process allowing monitoring and mentoring by the MEHRD and project partners. Inter-mediation will be essential to ensure technology is not a barrier to participation. As multimedia content and audio in particular will be important, training is given in community media methodologies and techniques.

Teachers and students will work with the local wiki and upload contributions to it (in Marovo language) in a variety of formats, for instance multimedia content produced by students using the XO laptops in lessons, following the specially developed lesson plans. The QA team will them evaluate contributions against the agreed criteria (see below) and upload the moderated content to the online wiki.

Network schematic































Quality Assurance

Before content is uploaded to the specially created Reef and Rainforest wiki, quality assurance procedures will be applied to both the lesson plans and the wiki contributions following a prescribed procedure. For instance:

  • Marovo language correct, names of objects and other text is accurate
  • Formats suitably processed
  • compliant with identified objectives of the current Solomon Islands National Education Action Plan (NEAP) and SIG Strategic Development Plan;
  • Strongly integrated with the current Solomon Islands Ministry of Education curricula for science, technology, environment, mathematics and other related subjects;
  • Spread over an agreed Year range
  • Encouraging respectful group work between the girl and boy students to encourage Gender Equality
  • Highlight the unique role of women to encourage Gender Equality
  • Encourage group work between students and community
  • Conforming with traditional practices of restricted information, as some information may not be shared

References

  • Hviding, 2005. Reef and Rainforest: An Environmental Encyclopedia of Marovo Lagoon, Solomon Islands / Kiladi oro vivineidi ria tingitonga pa idere oro pa goana pa Marovo. Knowledges of Nature Series, No. 1. Paris: UNESCO. 252pp. ISBN 92-990041-0-2
  • Western Solomons Research Database
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