You’ve edged past the midpoint — only the midpoint! — of this godforsaken season at 1-8. The difficult decision of whether to be rooting for the Raiders at this juncture is real, even if you’re a diehard among diehards.Admit it: You’ve begun sneaking a look at the college football landscape, sizing up those three first-round picks and who might look good in Silver-and-Black — and make an immediate upgrade to these sputtering units. (This mock draft has the Raiders staying at No. 1 to grab … Who does your Raiders-loving heart want to win Sunday?RaidersCardinalsOther:VoteView ResultsTake Our Poll
Janine ErasmusThe Games and Learning Indaba, organised by the Shuttleworth Foundation and held in August 2008, explored the potential that digital game-based learning holds for formal education and informal learning in South Africa, especially in improving communication and analytical thinking skills. A number of game developers, teachers, gamers, academics and other experts attended the event.In his presentation titled Social constructivism in games-based learning in the South African context, Alan Amory, an educational ICT professor in Johannesburg University’s Faculty of Education, maintained that games are useful social construction tools, and any game has an inherent educational value that is there to be exploited.“No technology is value-free,” he said. “It doesn’t matter if a game is gender-biased because we can use it to explore gender. It doesn’t matter if it is violent because we can use it to explore violence. It is not the tool itself that is important, but what you do with it. The process of deconstruction, where the game is used as a discussion starter about violence, gender bias, male dominance, etcetera, is where the real learning with games occurs.”Amory has found that games in the learning context are most effective when players are required to work together to construct solutions. He particularly noted that tertiary students, while playing a game designed for better understanding of the biological functions of photosynthesis and respiration, achieved significant results when paired, rather than playing on their own.This was because a team situation always gives rise to discussion and collaboration, and pupils developed better visualisation, logic, mathematical, reading and writing skills as well. Solo players, meanwhile, often learned to solve problems by rote – an unfortunate learning method that is far too prevalent in South African schools, said Amory.Maths on a mobileWhile online safety especially for children is a complex and important issue, according to Steve Vosloo, communication and analytical skills fellow at the Shuttleworth Foundation, the opportunities outweigh the risks although safety for pupils has to be the primary concern.One of the advances made by South African educators is the use of popular mobile communication platform Mxit for maths education. Dr Math is a pioneering educational programme developed by Laurie Butgereit of the Meraka Institute, a division of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research. Meraka investigates the role of information and communications technology in addressing South Africa’s developmental challenges.Dr Math provides maths pupils from grade 3 to grade 12 with an instant online tutor between 2pm and 8pm on weekdays, and the occasional Sunday night. There are 20 teachers available to answer maths-related queries and to date some 3 200 pupils have used the service. Pupils will readily seek assistance because of the convenience of being able to turn to a teacher whether on the bus or the sports field, or in one case, in the bath.“If you want to reach kids you have to do it using their own medium,” says Butgeriet, “and Mxit does that.”According to a January 2008 report on Moneyweb, Mxit has over 6-million users, over 90% of them in South Africa, who send a mind-boggling estimated 200-million messages every day. While the application has been known primarily as a platform for entertainment and cheap communication, and has had its share of critics and controversy because children spend so much time using it, its new-found educational function may open up the way for a series of similar initiatives. Reports say that pupils who use Dr Math are also interested in science tutoring. The service is also far more affordable than a personal tutor, with a session costing the pupil up to R1 ($0.12).However, teachers are often not as technically proficient as their pupils in this arena, a fact agreed on by Indaba delegates. In this case teachers can learn along with their pupils, and here the gaming environment may be a useful vehicle.Vosloo, an expert in the use of communication technology for socio-economic development, says that learning through a mobile platform has huge potential for South Africa, as less than 10% of the population has internet access but a whopping 70% has access to a mobile phone.The instant messaging applications developed by MTN and Vodacom, South Africa’s two major mobile service providers, hold similar educational potential. MTN’s NokNok and Vodacom’s Meep, both of which allow users to chat in real time, share picture files, and other useful functions, are touted as competitors for Mxit.Educational gamesWhile the educational game sector in South Africa still has a way to go to catch up to the international standard, developers are not sitting back.There are several interesting locally developed applications already available, among them Mathstermind, a mobile puzzle game developed to teach maths to grade 10 pupils; Fashion Empire, a mobile game designed to teach business skills and maths to grade 10 pupils; OpenSpell, which addresses spelling skills and is available in all 11 official South African languages; and Cartesian Chaos, which helps pupils to understand the Cartesian plane.Elsewhere in the world, many games are being developed with a specific social or educational purpose in mind. America’s Army was created by the US Army, which spent R49-million ($6-million) on its development before it handed the game over to specialists for adaptation to consoles, as a recruitment tool. The game gives players a realistic taste of life in the army, but it has been widely criticised because it targets children under 17.The conclusion reached at the 2008 Games and Learning Indaba was that there is still a lot of work to be done in researching the potential of educational gaming. “Most educators need to be convinced that you can learn from playing video games,” said Vosloo. He added that the Shuttleworth Foundation supports the concept of game-based learning working alongside more conventional forms of learning – not supplanting them.Do you have queries or comments about this article? Email Janine Erasmus at [email protected] articlesA toast to educational successMozilla funds translate.org.zaSoweto through a high-tech lensAfrican inventions site honoured Education in South AfricaUseful linksMerakaGames and Learning Google GroupSteve Vosloo’s blogShuttleworth Foundation
Brand South Africa’s CEO Miller MatolaThe Global African Diaspora Summit is currently in session in Johannesburg, with top-level gatherings taking place ahead of the main event on Africa Day on 25 May.The event is an initiative of the Addis Ababa-based African Union (AU) and the South African government. It takes place under the theme Towards the Realisation of a United and Integrated Africa and its Diaspora.The summit’s main aim, according to the AU, is to discuss how best to harness skills and energies within the continent and abroad to boost socio-economic development in Africa, and to facilitate innovation and entrepreneurship through sustainable partnerships with the African Diaspora.At a pre-summit gathering held on 23 May to welcome delegates, South Africa’s international relations minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane said that setting up partnerships with African citizens living off the continent would be a priority outcome for the summit.The strengthening of pan-African solidarity is another important goal that will result in a better life for the continent’s people, said Nkoana-Mashabane.“This is Africa’s effort to reach out to its sons and daughters out there in other parts of the world, to affirm our collective identity and marshal our forces for a better Africa and a better world.”Brand South Africa’s CEO Miller Matola too addressed the delegates and reflected on the significance of the event.This summit should be just one of the mechanisms adopted in efforts aimed at fostering a dialogue that will create lasting and more sustainable solutions for the continent, said Jerry Matjila, director-general of the Department of International Relations and Cooperation, in his closing speech.“For our part as South Africa, we recommit ourselves to working with all whose ideals and vision is part of what we espouse for the future of this continent, and its diaspora.”Harnessing the energy of AfricaAccording to official reports, 64 leaders from African countries, AU organs, and organisations working within the diaspora, will attend the Johannesburg summit. About 500 representatives of government, academia, business and civil society are expected.The date of the event was decided upon at the 18th ordinary session of the AU, held in January 2012, although the endorsement of South Africa as host happened back in 2006, at the organisation’s eighth ordinary session in 2006.AU leaders wish to mobilise African citizens within the continent and in the diaspora, to support the acceleration of the agenda of African integration and development.The decision marked the culmination of a long process of consultations and meetings between the African continent and its diaspora counterparts.In 2003, at the first extraordinary session of AU heads of state, a decision was taken to integrate the African diaspora into the policy framework of the AU.This was done by amending the Constitutive Act, to provide a new article that invites and provides full participation of the African Diaspora as an important part of the continent – although this amendment has not yet come into force.
Share Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest I hear the neighbor’s combine running and the semi rolling past the house so it’s a good night to harvest late. Hopefully as everyone harvested their soybeans they were observing what weeds are out there. We did have an open canopy for an extended period into the year due to the cool, wet growing conditions. This often leads to an increased number of weeds. Our county educators have been observing soybean fields across the state this fall to see what is out there for our annual fall soybean weed survey. See table 1 for our results.Table 1. The table below show the number of fields observed in each region, the percent of fields without weeds and weeds observed ranked by appearance.Region of OhioNumber of fields observed% of fields without weedsAppearance by weed; ranked in orderNortheast29626Marestail; grasses; Common lambsquarters; Volunteer corn; and pigweedsEast central7135Marestail; Giant ragweed; Common ragweed; and Redroot pigweedCentral20645Giant ragweed; MarestailNorthwest75546Marestail; Giant ragweed; Common ragweed; grasses; pigweedsWest central71622Giant ragweed; Marestail; Tall waterhemp; Volunteer corn; grassesSouthwest27033Marestail; Giant ragweed; Volunteer corn; common ragweed; pigweeds We do have a number of fields across the state that are weed free – a rough estimate from these number is about one third. So that means that we can manage our weed problems in soybeans, but it takes paying attention and being a good manager.No area is without some weed resistant to our major herbicide program – Roundup Ready technology. We have seen for a number of years now that Marestail is a major concern almost everywhere in the state. Few growers today can get away with ignoring this weed. Giant ragweed in some areas is now the dominant weed in soybean fields, and volunteer corn still is a problem – even though there are easy solutions for control of this lingering glyphosate tolerant volunteer. The pigweeds also appear in the surveys almost everywhere in the state – with a big appearance in west central Ohio. We must manage the pigweeds in general, and Waterhemp in particular much better than we do now.So who conducts the Fall Soybean Weed Survey by driving 80 miles on the road in each county? In Table 2, is a listing of the counties in the survey, the Extension educator, the number of fields and the acres they checked on.Table 2. County, educator, acres and field number by county in the 2017 Fall Soybean Weed Survey.CountyOSU Extension AgNR educatorAcres surveyedTotal number fieldsAshtabulaDavid Marrison4947110AuglaizeJeff Stachler5198108ButlerCindy Meyer3749100ChampaignAmanda Douridas284592Coshocton & MuskingumEmily Adams & Clifton Martin371554DarkeSam Custer5332110DefianceBruce Clevenger5740103FayetteKen Ford1473095FultonEric Richer302555GeaugaLes Ober1919100HancockEd Lentz8725144HardinMark Badertscher4970105HenryGarth Ruff353681LickingDean Kreager35017MadisonMary Griffith1110696MercerDenny Riethman4255110MiamiAmanda Bennett332682MontgomerySuzanne Mills-Wasniak589576PauldingSarah Noggle874891PickawayMike Estadt11177110PutnamBeth ScheckelhoffNA185ShelbyDebbie Brown6718110TrumbullLee Beers357186WilliamsJohn Schoenhals754596That is over 2,000 soybean fields and 130,000 acres they sampled to make these observations. You can see in the list we had a significant number of counties and fields surveyed by our county Extension folks. Enough that we have a good idea of what is happening in each region of the state. They will report on local results by weed as we have our winter programs. What works?As I toured Ohio soybean growing areas over the summer, I checked with growers on what worked well for them. They reported the efforts they have gone to that reduced their weed problems in soybeans. Many found good yielding Liberty varieties and are happy they went all LibertyLink. And many of the OSU weed survey folks noted RRXtend signs on fields that had no weeds. This is the list that works — and sounds an awful lot like the recommendations of Mark Loux our Ohio State University Weeds Specialist.Apply a fall burndown that includes 2,4-D.. plus dicamba, plus glyphosate, or whatever – just don’t spend the money now on a residual. Especially for Marestail control.Increase use of metribuzin. Always a residual in the spring, even on worked ground.A switch to LibertyLink varieties, and due diligence on these other suggestions.Use of full rate of pre-emergent herbicide at planting in the spring. Even on worked ground.I add number 5 for 2018. Consider dicamba resistant soybean varieties.But a couple of items have come up on this option – the formulations labeled for soybeans are now restricted use herbicides. Because we had some movement of this herbicide.This means you need to have a pesticide applicators license, and take continuing education classes on managing drift, volatility and the environment.And your likely target weeds – Marestail and Giant ragweed have already shown a great genetic capacity for evading control.To learn more about managing weeds in Ohio. Attend your local county Ohio State University plant health recertification program – it was the Pesticide Recertification program but now includes fertilizer as part of the updates so I am calling it plant health recertification. Also recertification is now a four-hour program, up from three hours we had in the past.
Two systems are not the sameIt’s not clear whether it will make any practical difference to builders whether the windows they select are certified by PHIUS or its European counterpart, PHI. But there are fundamental differences in how these two organizations have approached window certification.Technical requirements for PHI are published on its web site, along with a list of companies whose products have been approved. Anyone can visit the site and go to the list of certified windows, which includes the product name, the manufacturer and what the window is made from.Each entry also includes a link showing results for a specific window, such as the Synergist made by Casagrande Woodworks. The listing includes U-factors plus a graphic showing how well the window performed for a particular climate zone, from an “A” rating as an “advanced component” to “not suitable for Passive Houses.” In this particular example for Casagrande, the rating is for a window frame to be used in a cool, temperate climate.PHIUS launched its Certified Data for Window Performance Program last November. In announcing it, PHIUS chief scientist Graham Wright wrote a blog describing the need for a North American certification system.One key difference: A manufacturer’s window can flunk the European test, but there’s no such thing as a failing grade in the U.S. program.“We’ve set no pass/fail criteria on U-values,” Wright wrote, “only guidelines as to the thermal performance levels appropriate to various North American climate regions.”PHIUS described the program as a means of “certifying the accuracy and appropriateness of custom energy performance data for windows and their components needed to accurately model passive house energy balances.”At least for now, PHIUS does not publish a list of certified windows on its web site, nor are there any recommendations matching particular climate zones to window performance.But Wright said in a telephone interview that information could be added to the web site as early as August and certainly no later than October, when the North American Passive House conference takes place.Long range, Wright said the PHIUS goal is to combine the best features of the European and National Fenestration Rating Council testing protocols.“The European methods do a better job of handling windows of different sizes and they’re also climate specific,” he said. “The NFRC methods to a better job of handling a lot of different glass options and they appear to have more sophisticated fundamental algorithms.“The main goal is we want to enable our Passive House consultants to do accurate energy modeling, or at least you might say accurate enough without trying to simulate every photon that’s bouncing around in the window,” he added. “We want to find the right compromise between complexity and accuracy.” Builders hoping to meet the Passivhaus energy efficiency standard can now choose between five window manufacturers in North American, four in the U.S. and one in Canada.Three of the manufacturers have had windows certified by the Passivhaus Institut (PHI) in Germany, the other two by the rival U.S. organization, Passive House Institute U.S. (PHIUS).Passivhaus designers are free to use any windows they like, but using a certified window allows them to plug established values into energy modeling software. Houses certified under the Passivhaus standard must meet stringent guidelines on energy consumption, so the thermal performance of windows is crucial.Europe has many certified window makers, but lead times for North American builders can be lengthy, and the windows are pricey. With four, and likely five, manufacturers now in North America, builders on this side of the Atlantic shouldn’t have to wait as long for delivery, and they may find it easier to shop on the basis of price.Companies whose windows have won certification, and the certifying agency, are:Alpen High Performance Products of Longmont, Colo. (PHIUS).Northwin of Vancouver, Canada (PHI).Marvin Windows and Doors of Warroad, Minn. (PHIUS)Casagrande Woodworks of Paso Robles, Calif. (PHI).Wooden Window Inc. of Oakland, Calif. (PHI). RELATED ARTICLES Passivhaus WindowsGBA Product Guide: WindowsMarvin to Offer Passivhaus WindowsNew Green Building Products — June 2013New Green Building Products — September 2011New Green Building Products — March 2011Looking Through Windows — Part 1Choosing Triple-Glazed WindowsAll About Glazing Options [Author’s note: This article was updated on July 17, 2013, to reflect the fact that Wooden Window’s CaliPassiv window has been certified by the PHI.] The European standard is ‘very stringent,’ while the U.S. program is more adaptableCasagrande Woodworks Vice President Craig Bower said he understood testing criteria in U.S. and European certification programs are a little different, and that one reason for choosing to go with the PHI program was that it was known to be “very stringent.”“If you get European certification, you’ve covered all your bases,” he said.Alison Ray, senior sales representative for Alpen, said the company studied the two certification programs at length before electing to go with PHIUS. Investing in the PHIUS program, she said, was a way of making testing easier for North American window manufacturers. And a certification process developed on this side of the Atlantic would be more compatible with performance data published by the NFRC.“The Passivhaus European process uses a different calculation metric than we use here in the United States and it does favor, in terms of performance, the windows that are made in Europe,” she said. “So if I could take that same window and measure it to NFRC standards the European window would actually look worse than it does in Passivhaus standards. By that same token, if I take my window that looks great in NFRC and I go to the European standard it looks a lot worse than it actually is.”The PHIUS certification program also acknowledges that there’s more than one climate zone here, and that a simple pass-fail threshold may not be as useful in North America as one that can be adapted to different regions, Ray said.“PHIUS recognizes that not all passive houses in the United States are going to be in a climate like Germany’s,” she added. “So why have a pass-fail threshold based on Germany that’s not applicable here? Instead of saying pass-fail, they say we’re going to certify your data, get a third-party verification that this is real information and you can use that data in passive houses all over the United States.”In the end, Ray said, what really matters is getting the numbers to work in energy modeling, not whether a window has been certified by anyone.