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.

 

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.

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.

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.

Crowdsourcing and OER to help solve the educational crises among refugees in Europe

Many of the refugees that are entering Europa right now are stranded in a situation without any access to  normal education. This is a large problem that is getting more urgent every day. The high number of new people will make it impossible to solve this educational crisis by thinking «teacher and students in a classroom» as would be the normal way of solving this in the old «Gutenberg paradigm». In this situation there are noe available teacher, there are no available learning resources and no way of closing the gap without using new methods.

I attended a conference in Berlin this week and one of the speakers at the conference talked about how it would be impossible for Germany to meet the needs of the large number of refugees in terms of education. He talked about how the government in Germany have made predictions that they need another 25.000 teachers to meet the increase in refugees and this is of course a demand that is impossible to meet.

Germany needs another 25.000 teachers to meet the increasing number of refugees

The Norwegian government and several international partners are launching an innovation competition to develop a mobile-based learning application for Syrian children. This is a great initiative but in general the problem for European public sector is that they are not built to move fast and during the first part of this crises right now they are all just working to meet the basic needs like housing and food.

At the same time we have thousands of highly skilled teachers that if given the opportunity would be a tremendous resource for these refugees. Highly educated refugees from countries like Syria are also an untapped resource that should be able to play a role in bridging this gap.

I have no quick fix to end this crises but I have som thoughts on where to start. I truly belive that a strong community of teacher across Europe working to crowdsource learning resources would make a big difference in this situation. Every singel teacher would not have to put up many ours with quality time to make this into a movement that really could make a contribution.

To organize this we would have to focus on:

  • local communities with bout teachers and refugees
  • develop learning resources that is made for learning without a teacher
  • global learning resources in a locally setting
  • reuse an re-contextualization
  • reuse across European countries
  • Work in booksprints and hackathons instead of setting op large projects

We have to make a community of communities, not another EU-funded project moving at glacial speed

I am thinking that this should NOT be ONE project with ONE plattform trying to gather all the good stuff in one place but rather a community of communities with one common goal and that is to create simple and light weight learning resources to be used in an «out of school setting».

This is one of those times when it is better to do something than nothing, and I am simply saying that starting a movement based on crowdsourcing and open educational resources would be something.