Two of the current most active projects on awareNet that are supervised by the VSA are gladly approved by the teachers of the participating schools, because they are conveniently aligned with the curriculum and provide practical application of what is learned during school hours.
One of them is the the Semiotics Project, led by Richard Strickland, developer of awareNet. The learners at PJ Olivier Hoer School are currently in the process of creating a web page each (in notepad, hand-written HTML) about some systems of meaning hidden in the world around them (examples: printer steganography or cat territorial pheremones). After completing, each learner will paste the code into awareNet for hosting. This matches their curriculum requirements – they have to take a test on HTML and web technologies. We are aiming for them to understand CSS and subsequently to have an actual, published, handmade page of their own design to show for it. We are excited about the motivation of the learners and the great collaboration with the school and looking forward to the next term, in which we will see the first electronic outcomes!
The other project is the Health Promotion Project, led by Terri-Lynn Penney. Before the project was started, life orientation teachers from various schools were consulted and asked for their opinion, what could be a useful addition to their teaching. Terri and her assistant Rooi Rikhotso attended a few workshops about e.g. health, depression, substance abuse, sexual offences, etc. and Terri organised a few additional speakers who talked to the learners, e.g. about general ambulance duties and first aid (Netcare) or their life after turning from drugs to running and fitness. After the verbal discussions that follow the talks, learners usually blog about their own experiences and/or answer some questions in the forum discussions on awareNet, which were raised by the coordinators or their peers.
Such projects are not mainly goal orientated. The participation in and experience gained during the project are the actual value of such practicals. We get a lot of positive feed back from the teachers and principals of the schools, who are very grateful for this cost-free support and thus general enhancement of learning motivation, which leads to a higher attendance rate and happier learners at their schools. Contact us, if you are interested to join any of these projects.