The Case of SchoolNet Namibia/Operations/Activities/Educational Resources

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Educational Resources

When the OER movement was in its infancy, SchoolNet Namibia was busy with the OpenLab Resource Table, a list of educational features and other resources which could be included in the distribution[1]. When Wikipedia caught the imagination of progressive educators in the connected world, SchoolNet Namibia recognised the potential and the opportunity presented by libre knowledge for the learners in Namibia. A first step was the creation of WikiLite, a localised low bandwidth (text only) edition of Wikipedia suitable for schools.

One of the most impressive shareable learning resources produced was Hai Ti![2]'[3], a comic strip with a story line around a remote rural school in Namibia highlighting the activities of SchoolNet Namibia and how computers and the internet can transform the lives of learners and teachers. The comic also served to allay fears and dispel doubts about the efficacy of free software by describing user scenarios. Young, Namibian techies helped with the narrative based on their own experiences. SchoolNet collaborated with Netday Namibia, Direq International[4], Strika Entertainment[5] and The Namibian Youth Paper[6] to produce and distribute Hai Ti!.

Hai Ti! was published under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 2.5 License[7] (a first in Namibia) on the SchoolNet web site and page by page in successive editions of The Namibian Youth Paper.

The strip made quite an impact. Not only on awareness of free software and SchoolNet's activities in Namibia, but also internationally. In 2005 it achieved third place at the World Summit Awards in the Community Engagement category[8].

Hai Ti! has had very positive feedback in Namibia since its launch in April 2005. The idea was to develop story boards for ICT integration in education: identify simple and visually stimulating training messages providing ICT foundation and integration skills, civic and democratising lessons, overcoming existing language, cultural and economic barriers, using a central female cult-hero teaching Mathematics in an entertaining, educationally relevant and hopefully addictive way. The lessons were aimed at encouraging personal control over the ICT environment, comfort in the use of ICT services, trust in a professional SchoolNet service, and above all, build respect for the intelligence and ability of educators to use ICTs creatively!

SchoolNet's hope was to see ICTs help uplift the social status of the teaching profession (a universal problem not limited to Namibia). While champion teachers as well as inspired administrators are out there driving quality education in disadvantaged communities, solutions are needed that provide incentives to such champions for their performance in improving educational outcomes.

At the coal face
Director's take[3]:
It is also high time that we pay closer attention to the fact that women are the purchasers of virtually everything; that women dominate education - in attendance, employment and graduation results - and the fact that more women than men are using the internet today. Hence our emphasis on control, comfort, trust and respect, rather than male-oriented gimmickry!

As indicated elsewhere in this document, SchoolNet was always very aware of the need for localisation and the production of locally relevant and appropriate learning resources, and urges more effort in this direction (on the part of the public sector and in terms of support from donor organisations). In addition to Hai ti!, a couple of courses on local languages (for English speakers) were available. These have since found their way onto WikiEducator[9].

Additional learning resources in the SchoolNet collection include:

  • Material produced by the SchoolNet community including a Beginner's Guide to Computers[10], a course on Information Communication Technology (ICT)[11], some lesson plans and worksheets uploaded by teachers at their own initiative. Some of these resources have restrictions on use (e.g. no derivatives and/or non-commercial use only) and others don't specify (regarded as all rights reserved in most jurisdictions).
  • Literacy and numeracy applications.
  • An educational playground which provides an interactive resource base for teachers and learners from Grade 1-12.
  • A typing tutor.
  • The latest EDSNET resources (produced by Namibia's National Institute for Educational Development, NIED) has been integrated to provide teachers with local curricular guidelines and syllabus resources.
  • The teacher-oriented self-guided IT-literacy training modules (EDN) work without the need to go on the internet.
  • Best practices guidelines, activity worksheets and lesson plans, developed by local Peace Corps volunteers and others, are available on the SchoolNet Namibia web site[12] inclusive of materials for HIV-AIDS awareness.

  1. Appendix 2: OpenLab/DireqLearn solutions in 2005 presents an indication of resources included.
  2. (22/9/10). Hai Ti! means “listen up!” in Oshiwambo.
  3. 3.0 3.1 Sources include: Komen, J. 2005. At the ICT development work face - SchoolNet Namibia realities. Paper presented at the 2005 Open Education Conference, Logan, Utah. Available via:
  7. See also:
  8. (22/9/10)
  9. See and
  12. See for links to these and other materials.