Developing XO Best Practices Within a Rural School Community

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Session Description

Cut and paste

Stacey Kertsman - eduWeavers.org, Director

Remi – Rochester, NY - education games for the XO; engaging students (panel speaker for “Making Your Dreams Come Trudie” Aaron Gordon – Software Engineer Share software, tech aspects, but wants to know about how it is actually being deployed

Ted – visit to Thailand inspired him to want to help students in rural area of Thailand. Fact-finding mission.

Kevin Gordon – Toronto; deployment in rural community in Northern Kenya. Extremely successful deployment. 40 PC’s, 200 kids. High School, advanced science and geography curriculum.

Anna Schoefield – Birmingham, AL deployment. Sloth of destruction. How many are left? Things did not go well. What went wrong? Linux expert in Birmingham.

Jessie Wild – Wikimedia, Global Development Team. How can we get content to people in off-line communities. How do we track how people use the computers? How do we encourage people to use it effectively.

Jon – Ed Outreach for Sugar Labs; Sugar projects embedded into Univ. programs. Sudan deployment/books and e-Toys; Fargo deployment – Sugar on a Stick – all afraid of Linux. How do we get Fargo deployment to work with Univ. of North Dakota.

Hilary – Interested in how to deal with damaged or broken or stolen laptops.

Jessica Curtis – Programming; OLPC NYC Twitter Feed. Edu. And Tech. _________________________________________________________ Tom Schmidt – eduWeavers

- Rolling out an XO deployment has challenges: o Communication is key - Program status: 80 XOs for 800 students o 2 out of 30 teachers/staff had used XOs in their classrooms; XOs were stored and not utilized. • Why – didn’t want the computers dirty; teachers did not know enough and felt like they should know more than students; afraid that students would break them.. o No internet service at current location o XOs shipped with US adapters instead of South African compatible adapters o No available training materials o Lecture-driven teaching style does not promote innovative, empowering use of the XO computers - Game Plan to meet challenges: o Small group training sessions (language barriers?) o Hands-on training – on XO available for each teacher o Activities covered were fun and/or useful for their students o Teachers encouraged to help each other and explain what they did during each exercise. - Cherry “ Sharing does not come naturally; collaboration equates to cheating.” - Fernanda “Students are scared to ask questions; break the cycle – teach children how to ask questions.” - Zach – “Culture is to please. They’ll say they like it and get it.”

- Lessons Learned:

o Teachers found XO classes overwhelming and the XOs too complicated. o Teachers felt they could only use the XOs if they were using them with students. - Suggestions: o Teachers encouraged to use XOs on their own time to become more comfortable. o Introduce easy step-by-step screen shot training tutorials (have visuals). Don’t take terminology for granted. o (Anyone interested in making screen-shot tutorials?) • Questions: Key points in interface should be part of the tutorials. • Photos of kids touching the computers in the tutorial. • Language is secondary for kids…but what about the adults. Develop opportunities for teachers to learn collaboratively using the Xos.

Comment – Ted – How can we have XO benefit little kid to get access to computer to be creative. Adults are too rigid and tidy.

Cherry – Pedagogy shift. Kids take cues from teacher; so we have to shift teachers’ expectations.

Anna – Work around for Flash; created filter for students using XOs in Alabama. But then terminology stops kids from finding certain sites. WE need to support teaching initiatives.

Kevin – Did a slow roll-out. Principal with vision; key leader. Students at his high school are 20 yrs old or so; they walk 2 hrs a day to get to school; get water at school. Problems then of school becoming a “destination” school. How do train students with other students? Paradigm shift in the power hierarchy.

Cherry Winters: eToys; eKindling “Cups of Tea”

eKindling – primarily Philipino; teach from within; avoid perpetuating the myth of colonialism – make it homegrown (as opposed to the last years of Philipino history) - Get political support, but you need to choose the “right” politician. Sometimes the question is, “What’s in it for me?” Talk to the people to really understand who will be the best supporter. - Introduce and get Buy-In. Community meetings – health dept., dept. of environment, hold group conversations - Select Champion Teachers. A survey is one way to select teachers. Set a goal with teachers – in this case it is a goal of 5% curriculum shift so that teachers are asked to be “open.”

My First Cup of Tea: Identifying THEIR need; not yours. Know that culture matters Did you ask them, “What do you need?” And then know that asking that question is like asking Superman what his weakness is. Classroom management concerns come out of these deployments; pedagogy training is essential. - Make laptops a tool – don’t let them rule. Cut numbers use in half, etc. if that helps you manage the classroom. Vernacular is spectacular -Create a culture of curiosity and inquiry within the local cultural context. Don’t be a Diva – share the stage…. - Model students as “Tech support.” - Don’t underestimate the power of modeling classroom management/teaching using the XOs. - Figure out ways to help the community realize that there are local members who can support the project. It needs to become their project.

Little Kernels of Success: Teachers were able to come up with 10 min. drill lessons on the their own at the end of the 5-day training. Group of parents and teachers initiated a “Parent Info” meeting on their own without eKindling’s intervention. Teachers did not want to wait for the 100 laptops to arrive, they are using the 12 that we left them for classroom instruction. They wanted to learn more eToys.

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