Obami, a locally-developed social networking site and learning management system for schools, was one of 10 companies from around the world selected to attend the 2011 Netexplorateur Forum, which took place during February, to receive an award and present their business concept to an audience of 1 600 politicians and businessmen at the UNESCO headquarters in Paris.
“We are so proud of being selected as a top 10 Netexplorateur 2011 company. We are extremely excited about what the future holds for Obami following these accolades and new partnerships, and expect the Obami social network to make a huge impact on the quality and effectiveness of education across the globe,” says Obami founder Barbara Mallinson.
“For many years now, Internet Solutions has supported Obami having selected it as one of the ISLabs incubation projects, which continues to bolster our development capabilities through the backing of South Africa's most experienced ISP,” Mallinson adds.
“ISLabs was launched to create an ideas incubator to identify great projects that need to be supported either with money or resources to improve the state of the South African internet. We are very pleased to hear about Obami's achievement. This award vindicates our support of entrepreneurs like Ms Mallinson who are improving the value of the internet to South Africans,” says ISLabs co-founder Greg de Chasteauneuf.
Obami was initially launched as a generic social networking site but, with the growth of Facebook, Mallinson chose to change its focus to serve the education sector. Obami is now a social networking site that has been developed specifically for schools, to facilitate communication and collaboration amongst school communities and sub-communities, including teachers, pupils and parents, while also providing an extensive learning management system to satisfy the content distribution, pedagogical and assessment needs of learners and educators.
The system is a walled garden, which means that only registered schools are able to join the community, ensuring a safe environment for all members. It is provided free to schools, enabled by relevant and approved advertising, as well as the sharing of sponsored educational content with the Obami audience.
“Obami currently has 35 registered schools in South Africa, with more schools from the UK, France and Greece scheduled to come online in the near future,” says Mallinson. “With the rapid proliferation and widespread adoption of technology and social networking services, especially amongst the youth, integrating these types of services into education curriculum and teaching techniques will continue to gain traction and popularity, as children can easily relate to this online environment.”