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21 May 2019 | Story Igno van Niekerk | Photo Stephen Collett
Digital storytelling
Collaborating for the common good are from left: Willem Ellis, Karen Venter, Dr Deidre van Rooyen, Prof Hendri Kroukamp, Bishop Billyboy Ramahlele, and Dr Johan van Zyl.

Prof Hendri Kroukamp, Dean of the Faculty of Management Sciences quoted the Cat Stevens song I can’t keep it in, to capture the excitement surrounding the opening of a Digital Storytelling Lab on the Bloemfontein Campus on 10 May 2019.

After months of hard work by Dr Deidre van Rooyen, Willem Ellis, Karen Venter, as well as the staff of the University of the Free State’s (UFS) Centre for Development Support, the Common Good First lab was completed just in time for the launch attended by about 50 delegates from other South African universities, as well as private and public institutions.

Stories meet technology

In a message, from Prof Puleng LenkaBula, Vice-Rector: Institutional Change, Student Affairs, and Community Engagement, informed the audience that the launch heralded the joining of the old world of stories with the new world of digital technology. Julie Adair, Director of Digital Collaboration at Glasgow Caledonian University, Scotland, welcomed the UFS as a partner to this international social innovation collaborative project in a video message. 

Dr Van Rooyen, the project manager for the UFS, explained how she got involved in the Common Good First project, what the benefits of digital storytelling are, as well as what opportunities the lab creates for cooperation between role players involved in social innovation projects. 

Why the Common Good First lab?

The purpose of the lab is to create a digital network to identify, showcase and connect social innovation projects in South Africa to one another and to universities around the world for research, student engagement and learning and teaching. The lab has been fitted with state-of-the-art equipment for recording and digitising the stories that result from social innovation projects.

In a live Skype session with Dr Il-Haam Petersen, Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC), and some of the recent successes of the digital stories in Philippi in the Western Cape were shared.

Bishop Billyboy Ramahlele, UFS Director Community Engagement did the final honours by cutting the ribbon, declaring the lab open, and sharing the dream that the work done in this lab will contribute to positive relationships and cooperation between the university and the community, in making not only the university, but the country and the world a better place.


News Archive

National Science Week – today's science, tomorrow's world
2014-07-30

 
For the 2014 National Science Week, the university – in partnership with the Department of Science and Technology – celebrate this country-wide event at our South Campus. For one week each year, universities, schools and science centres across South Africa highlight the role that science plays in everyday life. The theme of this year’s celebration is ‘Today’s Science, Tomorrow’s World.’

Over 4 000 learners, educators, parents and dignitaries converged at the campus on Saturday 2 August 2014 to experience science at work. The day featured an array of exciting science activities, including a sky-viewing opportunity at the nearby Boyden Observatory.

“Every aspect of life is touched by science. And with more vibrancy in the approach to teaching maths and science, great potential can be unlocked among young people – impacting on quality of life in the future,” said Dr Choice Makhetha, the Vice-Rector of the University of the Free State.

The Minister of Science and Technology, Naledi Pandor, also spoke at the event. "Our success depends on whether our country is ready to harness the advantage of large numbers of young people who are able and willing to work. This is where the provision of education becomes an important resource in ensuring that our young people are well prepared and equipped with knowledge and skills to handle life."

Events such as the National Science Week, Minister Pandor said, were aimed at boosting interest in scientific and technological development and innovation. This, in turn, helps the country transform into a knowledge-based economy. 


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