26 educators translated 2 books into 13 different languages in just 2 hours

Earlier this week I hosted a workshop together with LIFE Academy in Karlstad Sweden. At LIFE academy they are running a unique program focused on the training of decision makers on the topic of ICT for pedagogical development, and this week LIFE had 26 educators speaking 13 different languages gathered in Karlstad Sweden.

This was a fantastic opportunity for us to test methodology around reuse and translation of early grade reading materials into Mother tongue languages, and the workshop this week gave some great results.

During the workshop did the following:

  • I talked about Open education resources and the work that we have done at NDLA.
  • We worked in groups to translate early grade reading books
  • The participants gave feedback on both on the methodology and the tools that we used.

The main part of the workshop was a practical session where we used a platform called StoryWeaver to find early grade reading books that could be relevant for use in different contexts and cultures. The participants then translated from English and into their own languages.

We had participants speaking 13 different languages from Europe, South-America, Asia and Africa. (Bangla, Kubsabiny, Runyankole, Rukiiga, Luganda, Quechua, Khmer, Lusoga, Albanian, Kinyarwanda, Ndebele Shona, Amharic, Kiswahili)

All the participants successfully translated at least one book during our session. This shows the magic of open licenses and crowdsourcing.  2 books into 13 different languages in just 2 hours.

One of the books we translated was “Fat king Thin dog”:

 

I asked some of the participants to give feedback on their experience during the workshop and here are some of their comments:
This has been a very interesting session. Never knew I could be a good translator. – Marie Gyaviira from Uganda
This tool was awesome i really enjoyed it, I work with elementary students and I am sure they will enjoy using it. – Doruntina Sejdiu from Kosovo

About Storyweaver

StoryWeaver (www.storyweaver.org.in), an open source digital repository of multilingual stories for children and Donate – a – Book (www.donateabook.org.in), a unique crowd-funding platform that bridges the gap between those who need books and those who want to help provide books for children. The stories at on the Storyweaver platform are licensed under a creative commons license.

Storyweaver offers a simple user interface to translate any book.

About Life Academy

LIFE Academy is a global actor in capacity development with a presence in more than 80 developing and transitional countries. One of their focus areas is training of decision makers on ICT for pedagogical development. The foundation for LIFE Academy´s work is knowledge exchange between industrialised and developing countries.

 

Podcast with Jamie Alexandre from Learning Equality

In this podcast, I talk with Jamie Alexandre from Learning Equality. Learning Equality focuses on technology solutions which are optimized to work in areas where Internet access is lacking or costly. Their project KA Lite is an offline version of Khan Academy, used in over 170 countries. Based on feedback from KA Lite users, the Learning Equality team is actively developing Kolibri, their next generation platform which allows for curriculum alignment of a broader set of content.

Learning Equality builds educational technology solutions that leverage open-licensed content and low-cost hardware to enable a broad range of NGOs, schools, governments, and individuals to implement programs that improve educational outcomes in their communities.

 

Creative Commons explained in 3 minutes

There are many good resources about Creative Commons on the web. I have used a film from Creative Commons New Zealand whenever someone have asked me to explain CC Licences. The short video is a really good introduction with great drawings and examples.

To make it even more suitable to be used as part of my standard OER talk I have re-mixed it and made a version that is just over 3 minutes.

In this short version I have stripped it down and focus only on the core elements and the explanation of these.

European Commission lacks vision for copyright in the digital age

The copyright reform proposal presented by the European Commission in september 2016 fails to meet the needs of citizens, educators, and researchers across Europe. Instead of strengthening the information economy, the proposal preserves a status quo defined in the analog age.

The Link Tax

This includes unprecedented new Link Tax powers for publishing giants, as well as requirements for websites to monitor and filter content. This will hurt your right to access and share content.

The European Commission has proposed, as part of the Copyright Directive on the Digital Single Market to allow news publishers to claim an additional copyright over the snippets of text which automatically appear alongside most links.

As a result linking to online news content would therefore require a license and explicit permission from the publisher.

It would give press publishers the right to charge fees for websites operating any form of business using snippets of text when they link to content from press publishers.

The European Commission promised to modernise copyright, but instead of creating a well-functioning legal framework addressing the concerns of creators and end-users it proposes to protect old business models by creating what it claims to be a “well-functioning marketplace”.

A disaster for educators, non-profits and individuals

The European Commission is also demanding that companies create or buy expensive new technologies to monitor and filter the content we create. This means every website or service that allows users to upload content will have to build expensive robot programs to spy for material that rightsholders want to block. What’s worse is that these bots won’t be able to make exceptions for parody, public interest, fair use, and many other legal forms of expression.

Because the draft of the Copyright Directive does not limit the implementation of this proposal to aggregators and search engines, it may also allow press publishers to charge non-profits, social media websites, or even individuals who communicate online using hyperlinks. The proposed educational exception, despite having some good elements, will overall worsen the legal environment for educators.

And it likely will introduce major costs for public educational systems around Europe.

Access to most audio-visual content will continue to be hampered by geo-blocking (which the Commission had earlier committed to end), and online platforms might be forced to collaborate with rights holders on censoring content that is shared by users on these platforms. The whole package lacks forward-looking, innovation-friendly measures that embrace digitization as an opportunity for users, creators, businesses, and public institutions in Europe.

We have to act now

Despite opposition from over 120,000 Internet users and dozens of civil society groups, the European Commission charged ahead with its wrong-headed plan. But now that it has reached the European Parliament, we have a real chance to stop it in its tracks. This will have the same impact in Norway as in any if we were full members of EU.

The European community is joining forces to send a clear message to the EU Parliament. We urge everyone that think the web is a wonderful thing to fill out this petition at OpenMedia.

Alek Tarkowsky, Director, Centrum Cyfrowe and Christer Gundersen are co-authors of this text.

Resources used in this text:

CC-BY is the ideal license for OER

cc-by

I believe that the CC-BY license is the ideal Creative Commons license for open textbooks and other open educational resources. If you are part of a project funded with money from a donor trying to get the most out of every invested dollar the more restricted licenses would create unwanted barriers.

The CC-BY license drives innovation and creativity – including commercial use. It also increases the overall goal of sharing, translation and re-contextualization of open textbooks and OER.

Sometimes there could be good reasons for adding restrictions but more often the not, CC-BY is the best way to go.

Why? Here are some of the most obvious reasons:

  • The CC-BY license drives innovation and creativity – including commercial use.
  • The CC-BY license increases the overall goal of sharing, translation and re-contextualization of open textbooks and OER.
  • The CC-BY license is easy to understand and follow, requiring simply that attribution be provided to an open textbook author(s).
  • Content with a CC-BY license can be remixed** with all non-ND CC licenses, making it easier to remix others’ OER into an open textbook.
  • I believe an ND (no-derivatives) licensed textbook is not an open textbook because ND licenses do not allow two of the five Rs: revising and remixing.
  • The NC license also reduces remix options.
  • The SA license reduces remix options.
  • The NC license often causes confusion and limits the spread, adoption and use of OER. Creators should consider carefully whether their reasons for using an NC license justify the limitations it will impose on users.
    • NC license has been used to claim that OER cannot be printed by a commercial print shop for use in classrooms.
    • Some Colleges have assumed that because they charge tuition, they can’t use NC-licensed OER. Others worry about printing and selling (cost recovery only) NC-licensed open textbooks.

This article is a derivative of “Open Textbook Community Advocates CC BY License for Open Textbooks” by Mary Burgess, David Ernst, Hugh McGuire, David Wiley used under CC-BY 4.0 International License. This article is licensed under CC-BY 4.0 International License by Christer Gundersen.

Podcast with Purvi Shah talking about Storyweaver

StoryWeaver is an open source platform by Pratham Books for multilingual children’s stories. It addresses all the issues around the lack of content by using an open access framework and technology as force multipliers combined with a platform that supports translation and re-mixing av stories.

I had the great pleasure of co-organizing a workshop at the mEducation Alliance Symposium in Washington on Oct 18–20 with Jennryn Wetzler as the main organizer. After the workshop I sat down with Purvi Shah for a talk about Pratham Books and their latest project StoryWeaver.

Bonus track

Jennryn Wetzler is the Senior Program Designer at U.S. Department of State Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs’ Collaboratory. She organised a great workshop at the mEducation Alliance Symposium on OER and in this short podcast she talks about why education is important.

Free culture is winning

The idea behind Creative Commons is to make it easy to distinguish between the different licenses, and the license selector also makes it easy for those who are completely inexperienced users of CC to determine the correct license. Some licences are more open, also called free culture licenses, others are more restrictive. Statistics from 2015 shows that most of us choose the free culture licenses, and that is great news for all that love to re-use and re-mix.

I get many questions on how many limitations you should choose to associate with a picture, video or text. There is an axis between more open licenses with few limitations and the most restrictive ones that have limitation on derivatives and commercial use.

The License CC-BY and CC-BY-SA (includes CC0) is often defined in a separate category licenses that support the “free culture.” This is a good thing because it provides even greater freedom for those who want to reuse, even for those who engaged in commercial activities.

My advice is that you should use free culture licenses as often as you can. The anual statistics from Creative Commons shows a clear trend that these “free culture” licenses are the most popular ones.

The most popular license is CC Attribution-Share Alike (BY-SA).  37% of all work published are released under this license. By comparison, only 14% have chosen to use CC Attribution-Noncommercial-No processing (CC BY-NC-ND). One of the most restrictive licenses.

 

Plateselskapene eier ikke SKAM!

De internasjonale plateselskapene eier ikke NRK serien SKAM men de styrer rettighetene til musikken som brukes i serien. Dette gjør at de nå kan tvinge frem geoblokkering av serien slik at den bare kan vises i Norge.

Skam er en nettbasert dramaserie som handler om livet til en rekke ungdommer på Hartvig Nissens skole i Oslo. Det har hittil kommet ut tre sesonger i serien som nå også har økende popularitet i utlandet. Den første episoden av Skam er en av de mest sette enkeltepisodene på NRK TV (nett-tv) noensinne og i gjennomsnitt har nettsiden 1,2 millioner unike brukere per uke og mer enn en million personer strømmer de ukentlige episodene.

Serien bruker musikk fra flere norske artister med den konsekvens at disse artistene får en helt unik profilering – også i utlandet. Et eksempel er låten «5 fine frøkner» som gjorde et voldsomt byks på Youtube etter den ble brukt i serien, låten passert også 10 millioner avspillinger på Spotify i desember 2016. Artisten Gabrielle Leithaug jublet selvsagt og hennes manager, Lars Kåre Hustoft, omtalte dette som hyggelig julegave i så sent som desember 2016. IFPI Norge og plateselskapene på sin side klarer ikke helt å se fordelen med at deres artister får denne typen gratis reklame.

Musikkrettigheter skaper problemer

Det første tegnet til problemer kom allerede i november 2016 da NRK ble tvunget til å nekte teksting av serien til engelsk på grunn av musikkrettigheter. Dette skapte en storm på Twitter som endte i et opprop som fikk 2500 underskrifter. Serien kunne altså vises i utlandet via nettet, men ikke tekstes.

Sist uke tok saken en ny vending når NRK mottok krav fra IFPI Norge om umiddelbar geoblokkering av serien slik at den bare kan vises i Norge. IFPI er foreningen for de internasjonale plateselskapene og deres datterselskap i Norge. IFPI skal jobbe på vegne av artistene, men man kan virkelig spørre seg om de gjør det i denne saken.

Dette har selvsagt skapt engasjement hos mange som elsker serien og som mener det er viktig at den vises utenfor Norge. Med den enorme oppslutningen SKAM har fått i utlandet er det vanskelig å unngå å tenke på serien som en god eksportartikkel. Jeg synes denne Facebook kommentaren til Anne Siri Koksrud Bekkelund oppsummerer dette fortreffelig.

Skam er jo vår beste eksportartikkel siden trelast, og bygger relasjoner med Kina bedre enn offentlig pisking av Dalai Lama ville gjort. Samtidig sprer serien solide norske verdier som likestilling, girl power, homo-rettigheter og ungdomsfylla! Noen. Må. Gjøre. Noe. Nå. – Anne Siri Koksrud Bekkelund

Creative Commons løser problemet

Den gode nyheten er at det finnes en løsning på dette problemet når NRK nå jobber med en ny sesong av SKAM. Den digitale delingskulturen er i dag godt utviklet. Denne delingskulturen bygger på at musikk og andre kilder blir underlagt det som kalles en fri lisens. Den mest brukte av disse er Creative Commons. Denne lisensen gir alle som ønsker det lov til å gjenbruke musikk, bilder, film og tekst uten å spørre om lov, men under gitte forutsetninger. Tillatelsen for å gjenbruke har opphavsmannen gitt på forhånd ved å bruke denne lisensen. Flere av de mest brukte CC lisensene tillater også kommersiell gjenbruk.  

Creative Commons lisens på Urørt?

NRK P3, som produserer SKAM, driver også nettstedet Urørt.no. Urørt er et nettsted hvor uetablerte norske artister og band kan promotere musikken sin, de beste blir også spilt på NRK radio. Ved å gi artistene mulighet til å lisensiere musikken med Creative Commons på Urørt.no kan NRK skape en unik mulighet for de artistene som ønsker å bidra til den globale delingskulturen. Samtidig vil NRK på sin side få mulighet til å bruke musikken med den forutsetning at opphavsmannen blir kreditert. Artister som ønsker det burde selvsagt få lov å legge ut musikk på en lukket lisens.

NRK som tross alt er finansiert med lisenspenger fra fellesskapet burde her tørre å tenke nytt. Målet må være at SKAM skal nå så mange som mulig og når musikkrettigheter står i veien for dette må man ganske enkelt komme opp med en løsning som gir maksimal eksponering av serier som produseres med midler fra fellesskapet.

More than 40% of the global population does not have access to an education in a language they speak or understand

Quality education should be delivered in the language spoken at home. However, this minimum standard is not met for hundreds of millions, limiting their ability to develop foundations for learning. By one estimate, as much as 40% of the global population does not have access to an education in a language they speak or understand (Walter and Benson, 2012).

A great part of the world’s learning content is written in English or in major languages in the industrial world. We don’t know the exact shares for the most-used languages when it comes to learning related content in particular, but it’s reasonable to assume this to be proximately equal to the most-used languages on the Internet as a whole.

As of 2015, 55.5 percent of all web content was in English, followed by the next four most-used world languages Russian, German, Japanese and Spanish, adding up to an additional 21.5 percent. Compared to this, the lack of digital resources is striking for languages like Swahili, Bangla or Hindi which are mother tongue or commonly spoken languages for an estimated 60+, 200+ and 500+ million respectively.