Friday, 27 September 2013

Have you tried Obami - an internationally recognised, award-winning, social learning management system?

This is a guest post from Ennis Jones from Obami. Obami is a local social learning management system and has won several international awards. Recently Obami digitized the Anas for teachers. Obami is free and well worth trying out in your classroom - with good local support available.

What is Obami?
Obami is an internationally recognised, award-winning, social learning management system. It is local, contextual, customisable and free.

What does Obami do?
Obami helps people to create or join learning communities. It is available on web and mobile and brings everyone within the education space together... learners, teachers and parents; as well as governing bodies, NGO's, small businesses, corporates-doing-good, and other passionate people.
By applying social media technologies to the virtual learning environment, Obami provides a powerful solution for individuals or schools to tap into or support existing learning communities. This gives everyone the opportunity to connect, create, share and learn.  Obami is free for primary and secondary schools.

General Overview
http://www.obami.com/portals/obami/about_obami

Obami supports and enhances all aspects of the teaching and learning experience. I
t provides a platform that...

- Facilitates the sharing of great educational resources
- Encourages social engagement between educators and learners
- Offers academic and personal development through assessment


Obami ensures the most appropriate experience for everyone. Schools can manage the safety, privacy and sharing settings - relevant to different ages, grades and social circles - within the context of their own school, the wider Obami community and the world-wide-web.

Obami also provides school and other learning community administrators with cyber-bully and profanity monitoring tools, ensuring that the environment is kept enjoyable for all.


Obami in Action
Content:  


Projects: 

Assessment: 

More about ObamiObami is a web and mobile based platform that allows anyone to create, manage & access digital content, share resources, create mini-websites and even undertake exams - it brings social learning into the classroom.
Because some schools have been slow to manage change and adopt new technologies, Obami accommodates requests from independent learners (individuals under and over 13 years of age) via the “Obami School”. The platform doesn’t aim to replicate Facebook but rather to focus on developing and nurturing creative skills - as a result, the learning platform has been recognised for these efforts:
Obami supports learning beyond the classroom involving peers, parents, on the street and even on the bus.
Obami features
- Obami Portals can be created by anyone. By focusing on learning by ‘doing’, portals allow for communities to be created around user generated content. Portals are easy to set up with simple “add item” and “drag & drop” functionality. 
The add item tool accommodates anything from formatted text and extended math symbols and equations, to embeddable widgets, images, RSS feeds and even entire websites. Obami automatically resizes elements to fit within a number of pre-defined page templates but also offers tools which allow for tooltips, external hyperlinks and the bespoke resizing of images. All this allows for educator facilitated, as well as self organised, learning.
- Obami has an assignments application which can be used for pop-quizzes, tests, surveys or as feedback forms, questionnaires and permissions slips. Obami recently crowd-sourced 168 NSC past papers through UCT students, across 33 different subject areas and made them Obami style ‘sit & submit’ revision papers for Matrics: http://www.obami.com/portals/Obami/NSC_past_papers/   ... They also digitised the ANAs across Grade 4/5/6 & 9 themselves:  http://www.obami.com/portals/Obami/Welcome_to_Obami/ANAs
- Obami has resource and media applications to facilitate the storage of items in the cloud (docs, spreadsheets, PDFs, audio, video...). Alongside offering free cloud hosting, it can also facilitate the embedding of widgets, YouTube videos, OER, Slideshare presentations and other web based technologies throughout the platform and within its other applications.
- Obami has a blogging application. It can be used across different subjects and organised into specific subject folders.
- Obami has powerful communication tools including a messaging system, online chat and a calendar for event tracking (which automatically sync with parental accounts so that upcoming school work, impending tests and homework is easily communicated to parents).
It is worth noting that every application on Obami allows for commenting so that discussion can be facilitated. Pages can be printed for easy reading and any page can be set as one’s homepage. This allows for easy and rapid access to one’s most used application. 
Using Obami in the classroom, support and feedback
Obami FAQs, Tutorials etc: http://www.obami.com/portals/obami/faqs
Obami prides itself on offering full site page specific helper text along with unlimited access to online support which is offered via the platform’s feedback tab (responses are usually made within 2 hours)
Summary
Obami has focused on the South African market, even though it is being increasingly adopted in the US, Europe and other African countries like Ghana, Namibia, Botswana and Kenya.
Most recent unpublicized successesObami supports the DBE and will be working together to bring quality educational resources and support the cloud
·       Obami has been asked to consult the Nigerian Government
·       Obami was selected as one of Africa’s Top 40 Start-up companies, and will be presenting at DEMO Africa in Nairobi
·       Obami has partnered with the University of Cape Town, and is part of the curricula for its Teaching with Technology moduleA
·       Obami has partnered with Creative Commons and will be delivering a digital course on licensing creative works across Africa

The Obami Team Story 
Watch the Obami Team story on YouTube
The Obami Team story...  http://www.youtube.com/user/ObamiSocialLearning

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