Open education – free to learn

first_imgJanine ErasmusThe Cape Town Open Education Declaration, launched on 22 January 2008, is an initiative aiming to transform education and make learning material more accessible by posting it online, for free. It is part of a growing worldwide trend in open education: there are already more than 100 000 of such sites available on the internet.These include the Learning Activity Management System (Lams), a tool for designing, managing and delivering online collaborative learning activities. Then there’s the Centre for Open Sustainable Learning; Moodle, a free open-source software package designed to help educators create effective online learning communities; and Curriki, which aims to make curriculums and learning resources available to everyone.Driven by South African entrepreneur Mark Shuttleworth’s Shuttleworth Foundation and the Open Society Institute (OSI), the Cape Town Open Education Declaration forms part of a determined effort by teachers, students, web gurus and foundations to make learning and teaching materials available to all, regardless of income or geographic location.The term “open education” in this context can take several meanings. It is related to the Montessori method of education, which places emphasis on self-directed activity on the part of the child. It also refers to freely accessible learning and teaching aids through media such as the internet, as well as openness and flexibility of education, which in turn calls for more adaptable teaching tools.Open education is particularly significant in terms of the educational capacity of developing economies, as it suggests the potential for affordable textbooks and learning materials.International call for open educationThe declaration falls in line with a growing international movement encouraging teachers and students around the world to use the internet to share, adapt and translate classroom materials.In September 2007 the OSI and the Shuttleworth Foundation called leading campaigners for open education both in South Africa and internationally to a meeting. These included Grace Baguma of Uganda’s Department of Education, Delia Browne from the Ministerial Council on Employment, Education, Training and Youth Affairs in Australia, and David Wiley from the Utah State University’s Centre for Open and Sustainable Learning, as well as representatives from the Centre for Educational Technology at the University of Cape Town (UCT).Meeting delegates identified and discussed key strategies for developing open education. Out of this arose the Cape Town Open Education Declaration, which outlines the principles and strategies laid down atthe meeting and concludes by encouraging all stakeholders to join and sign.Strategies to help spread open educationThree strategies have been emphasised to encourage the spread of open educational resources:Educators and learners are encouraged to get involved in the open education movement, so that resources may be created, adapted and improved.Educators, authors and institutions are encouraged to make their resources openly available, in formats that facilitate both use and editing.Governments and educational institutions are urged to give top priority to education.Already translated into over a dozen languages, the declaration has been signed by hundreds of people from all walks of life. These include learners, educators, trainers, authors, publishers, educational institutions, unions, professional societies, policymakers, and foundations.The growing list of signatories includes Mark Shuttleworth, musician Peter Gabriel, Sir John Daniel, president of Commonwealth of Learning, Andrey Kortunov, president of the New Eurasia Foundation (a Russian-European-American initiative to support the development of civil society in Russia), and Yehuda Elkana, rector of the Central European University, an international postgraduate institution in the field of humanities and social sciences, based in Budapest.Driven by entrepreneur Shuttleworth“Open sourcing education doesn’t just make learning more accessible, it makes it more collaborative, flexible and locally relevant,” Mark Shuttleworth said at the launch of the declaration. “Linux is succeeding exactly because of this sort of adaptability. The same kind of success is possible for open education.”Shuttleworth helped develop Debian, a member of the Linux family – open-source software. In 2004 he funded the development of Ubuntu, a Linux variant based on Debian, through his company Canonical Ltd. Both Debian and Ubuntu are available for free, with the code open to anyone who would like to modify it.“I am particularly pleased that this launch is taking place in Africa, because Africa represents both the greatest opportunity for transformation if we get this right and perhaps the greatest risk if we fail, to really open the doors of knowledge and learning to all in the world today,” added Shuttleworth.Eve Gray of the Centre for Educational Technology at UCT commented, “Countries like South Africa need to start producing and sharing educational materials built on their own diverse cultural heritage. Open education promises to make this kind of diverse publishing possible.”Useful linksCape Town Open Education DeclarationOpen EducationThe Shuttleworth FoundationCentre for Educational TechnologyLAMSThe Centre for Open Sustainable LearningMoodleCurrikilast_img read more

SDN Startups That Could Become Acquisition Targets In 2013

first_imgIT + Project Management: A Love Affair antone gonsalves Cognitive Automation is the Immediate Future of… Related Posts Tags:#networking center_img Software-defined networks (SDNs) are poised to move from market hype to real technology in 2013. International Data Corp. predicts the market size of this disruptive technology will soar from barely existent this year to $3.7 billion by 2016. When a market is expected to grow that much in so little time, big technology players take notice and start shopping for what they won’t have time to build for themselves. IDC is marking five startups that will be high on shopping lists: Big Switch Networks, Embrane, Plexxi, Vello Systems and Midokura.To get an idea of why this market is so hot, let’s review SDNs and why they are so potentially disruptive. Software-defined networking places control of network resources within a software layer that sits on top of routers, switches and other physical and virtual network devices. This solves the problem of having to use a control panel for each individual device in order to configure, program or perform other management tasks for the network. Making significant changes to a network today can take one to two weeks using the standard tweak-each-router method, but an SDN holds the promise of reducing the time to a few hours. For an enterprise market where server elasticity is becoming a hot commodity, imagine what a enterprise infrastructure could do if the network were elastic, as well.A key enabler of SDNs is the OpenFlow protocol created at Stanford University and the University of California at Berkeley, a standard now under the control of the Open Networking Foundation. Board members of the foundation include Cisco, Juniper Networks, Brocade, Citrix, Hewlett-Packard, Dell and IBM. Not coincidentally, these are the same companies that IDC believes could go on an SDN shopping spree next year.Here’s a look at each of the company’s that IDC believes could be on the short list of some of these vendors:Big Switch NetworksIn November, Mountain View, Calif.-based, Big Switch Networks released its product suite called Open SDN. The suite includes a controller that can sit on top of roughly 1,000 switches to handle programming and set policy-based functions. Other suite components include a network monitoring application and data center network virtualization software for automated network provisioning.Since March 2011, the company has raised $39 million from investors, including Redpoint Ventures, Index Ventures and Khosla Ventures. Its founders are Guido Appenzeller, who worked on the OpenFlow standard at Stanford, and Kyle Forster, who was the vice president of product management at Joost before starting Big Switch. They founded Big Switch in 2010.EmbraneFounded in 2009, Santa Clara, Calif.-based, Embranereleased its “heleos” software platform a year ago. The product can be used to control a variety of network services, including load balancers, firewalls and virtual private networks. Heleos, which also provides wide-area network optimization, is targeted at cloud environments, whether public, private or hybrid.Former Cisco executives Dante Malagrino and Marco Di Benedetto founded the company, which has raised $27 million in funding. Investors include venture capital firms Lightspeed Venture Partners, New Enterprise Associates and North Bridge Venture Partners.PlexxiCambridge, MA-based, Plexxi introduced its product strategy this month. The company has built switches that can communicate directly with each other over high-speed fiber optic interconnections. This is meant to replace traditional network architectures that have an access switch communicating with other switches in order to connect two computers, according to MIT Technology Review. The use of access switches can create bottlenecks and unnecessary overhead; something Plexxi is seeking to work around.Plexxi Chief Executive David Husak founded the company in 2010. Before Plexxi, Husak co-founded Reva Systems and founded C-Port Corp. and Synernetics. Plexxi investors include North Bridge Venture Partners, Matrix Partners and Lightspeed Venture Partners. As of June, the company had raised nearly $48.5 million.Vello SystemsFounded in 2009, Menlo Park, Calif.-based Vello Systems has been profitable from the start. In each of its first two years, it had roughly $10 million in sales, according to Dow Jones & Company. Vello’s first and only round of funding was for $25 million in 2011. The money came from financial institutions that were also Vello customers.Vello focuses on using SDN technology for internetworking between cloud data centers. Essentially, the company provides cloud-switching software that optimizes latency sensitive applications, such as content delivery, storage replication, big data connections and cloud services. The company first focused on carrier networking and later expanded into corporate data centers and cloud service providers.MidokuraMidokura is a Japanese startup that entered the U.S. market this year. Company Chief Executive Tatsuya Kato and Chief Technology Officer Dan Mihai founded the company in 2010.Midokura’s flagship product is called MidoNet, which is an intelligent software abstraction layer that manages the internetworking between the hardware infrastructure in an enterprise and the OpenStack cloud-computing platform used in public and private clouds. The company claims its technology reduces complexity, improves fault tolerance, optimizes network traffic and delivers higher availability of servers and services.Consolidation in the SDN market has already started. In 2012, VMWare bought Nicira for $1.26 billion. In October, Cisco bought SDN startup vCider, which has technology similar to Nicira.But this is just the beginning. If IDC’s predictions are right, then major tech vendors will be moving a lot faster this year to see who can grab the biggest share of this fast-growing market.Image courtesy of Shutterstock. Massive Non-Desk Workforce is an Opportunity fo… 3 Areas of Your Business that Need Tech Nowlast_img read more

Publish first NRC draft for Assam by December 31: SC

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Gary Kirsten, Eric Simons on CSA panel to choose new South Africa coach

first_imgCricket South Africa (CSA) on Thursday nominated a five-member panel, including two former national coaches Gary Kirsten and Eric Simons, to recommend a suitable candidate for the position of Proteas head coach, which it aims to fill by the beginning of September.Incumbent Russell Domingo, who has been in charge since after the Champions Trophy in mid-2013 has had his contract renewed three times and his current contract expires at the end of the England tour in August.Besides Kirsten and Simons, the other members of the screening committee include CSA’s lead independent director Norman Arendse, board member Rihan Richards, transformation and cricket pipeline committee member Oupa Nkagisang.CSA also reposed faith in the current crop of selectors, whose tenure began after the 2015 World Cup to continue until the end of the ICC World Cup in 2019.The only other notable change to the structure is the appointment of Robin Peterson as the eminent past-player representative on the cricket committee. Peterson replaces Ashwell Prince, who took over as the head coach of the Cape Cobras.last_img read more