Promoting open in an open textbook | Megan Beckett
"Since I have been involved in the open movement, I have come to realise the crucial role of creating awareness of open education in an easily understandable way, contextual way. Most people do not know what we mean by the term 'open', and often only associate the word 'free' with the content. But, there are many more benefits to being open, than something just being free. And, it’s up to us to promote this. At Siyavula, we engage with the community through our work, whether it is when we are collaboratively producing our open textbooks with volunteers, running workshops with teachers, holding evening events, or through our online communication and social media. This direct contact presents lots of opportunities to discuss open education and open licenses. But, what about those who we do not have direct contact with? Our textbooks have been printed by the Department of Basic Education for the whole country. So far, they have printed and distributed about 10 million books. Our content is also available online, on mobile and on a very popular chat room service called Mxit. This mass distribution and access to the content, enabled by the open license, also presents a unique opportunity to actually start to create awareness about open education. In producing the Gr 7-9 Natural Sciences textbooks in 2013, I was keenly aware of this. I wanted to try and integrate the messaging around open education and open licenses into the content so that educators and learners actually saw it as they were going through the textbooks. We do include information in the front of the textbooks about the open license. The image below shows an excerpt from the front of the Teacher’s Guide where I have started to explain what an open license is ..."