Talk:Literacy Programs

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I think that the OLPC solution is meant to work for children in refuge situations. The sugar UI is about as simple as you can get. Please create an account and help us all figure out how to keep things simple but effective for these children. -Jeff 17:05, 7 March 2007 (EST)
Thinking about this, I think you've identified a real need for an activity which reads text to a child, highlighting words as they are spoken, and then lets the child pick stories to be told. -Jeff 17:08, 7 March 2007 (EST)

I am the original author. I feel your last point somewhat missed the point of what my article was attempting to address. I think there is a fundamental area of the OLPC software spectrum that is being missed, based on how I imagine OLPC distribution will occur.

I recently taught my kids to read, and there are definitely proven techniques. In English, these include practicing letters, sounds of letters, sounds of letter combinations, rules of pronunciation, learning unfamilar words from context, re-reading clauses that don't make sense, etc, as you know.

Nowhere within laptop.org, or this wiki is there any mention for the need of moving children autonomously through the very earliest stages of reading and writing (not typing) their local language without literate people nearby. Software should be created that orchestrates audio, microphone, visual, tactile and keyboard to explain sentence construction, pronunciation rules, exceptions, reviews texts, uses speech and character recognition to recursively practise and feedback reading/writing of simple texts.

In developed societies, we are great at offering the latest cool gadget to the less fortunate. Should we really be talking about 3D rendering software, GPS, and e-books when most of the target users can't even read? More to the point, I hope that OLPC will saturate needy areas i.e. areas where most kids are orphans since AIDS killed off their parents, or refugee camps where kids will never find or connect with any literate adult who gives a darn. I also assume that nether educational network hubs or even other OLPC's are ever nearby (either by theft, local investment, etc)

Because of these stark realities, I really believe that OLPC must be self-contained self-learning literacy environment, where an abandoned 6 year old in a distressed area without any educational facilities or literate adults nearby can effectively teach himself how to read and write his own language, to a functional level.

'Typing Tutor', and many of the other ideas for promoting literacy within laptop.org seem to be based on western experience. There is a whole trove of pre-school educational software avaiable, but it all is based on the assumption that its users could depend on literate care-givers to initially get them literate. These typical programs also focus on keyboard entry, not handwriting. I expect that with a lack of any PC's in the child's area over his lifetime that handwriting will always be fundamentally more important to him than typing.

I belive this is the fatal flaw of the current laptop.org literacy approach. We must also create activities that can 'stand-in' for those absent literate care-givers, and provide self-sufficient cradle-to-grave literacy services. Otherwise the appeal, target community, and mission of OLPC is substantially reduced.

I hope you would concur...

Partially. What follows is all personal views/ideas :)
First of all, imho, the actual (initial) deployment environments in the initial green (OLPC pilot) countries will probably not be those you describe. Note that I'm talking about the initial of the initial—as know-how is developed, things will most likely change. So probably, the deployment will be carried out following the current local 'school base'. The other point is that (afaik) the OLPC is not committed to developing the educational content itself—as that is a national prerogative of the buying country, who has its own culture, education system, philosophy, and idiosyncrasy.
I think that although OECD countries may have some of the most 'advanced' (novel?) pedagogical ideas, those ideas need to be implemented by local people, in a local way, else you find yourself destroying whatever local culture is left, or creating a cultural gap.
As for making the laptop, a self-contained, instant, wind-up, teacher replacement... I don't know. First, it's a tall order (but some thrive on those kind of challenges ;) and secondly, you have to factor in the cultural nature and needs of the local people. So maybe in some areas you still need the 'old way' of doing things... for example, in OLPC Argentina, as far as I can tell, the currently planned pilot runs will cover 2nd-5th grades. So reading and writing basics will already have been handled (I assume), while staying within the school environment if extra attention is needed.
Content wise, I think the OLPC should do the most in providing something like a catalog of best practices (and maybe supporting software) where countries could chose from, and then each should either insert their local content to the software, or adapt/develop it to their local needs. Currently, this is all new territory for everybody, and you don't want the OLPC to be seen as the cultural bully... the real burden, from my PoV, is on the country to make it work for them; the OLPC's help and advise will be most welcomed! :) --Xavi 07:44, 8 March 2007 (EST)
It's not big enough for 2nd-5th grades. Now, I'll grant that an American kid of mostly German ancestry (skinny though!) is likely to be bigger than a Argintinian kid, but this is too small for my 7-year-old. His fingers would rub together if he could type. The laptop nicely fits my 3-year-old. AlbertCahalan 08:58, 8 March 2007 (EST)
"whoops, wrong country"? I'd say "whoops, wrong stereotypes"...
I would assume that OLPC and/or Quanta has actually studied the issue of keyboard sizes... if they haven't (or your stereotypes apply generally) then it should be stated in the Talk:Hardware or Talk:Keyboard. BTW, according to the CIA factbook it's argentine... although I've seen it also as argentinean.
If skinny or underweight (or overweight) is a subject matter of yours, take a look at underweight statistics. The site has tons of other data compiled (like Education spending as % of GDP) - not complete, but quite interesting :) --Xavi 12:43, 8 March 2007 (EST)

Different person here...I don't think a self-contained literacy model would be all that difficult to build given the tools in the XO system.But I don't think it's needed in all circumstances and since a child who doesn't know how a computer works is not going to understand that an SD card needs to be loaded for his "teacher" to appear anyway,all such self-directed resources will have to be downloaded and proactively opened by the XO.

We still have to assume some sort of server/mesh/internet access will be provided in all situations (even if its only an XO with an external USB harddrive connected to it. But it's a good assumption given the saturation model OLPC is using.

Sugar could be programmed to bootstrap the RSS on loadup and download a locally created and served podcast. This audio podcast can be a simple explanation in the local language of what the computer is, does, and what a visual tutorial is and why the computer is suddenly going to start blinking and opening windows at them. Then the system could automatically load an interactive combined audio/visual index-also in the local language. It could have simple instructions such as"press the button with the same image as the one currently blinking on the screen when you hear the option you want". Children who can read can select out of the audio index. Children who can't will be led to teaching tutorials that can be created by the local school, government, refugee camp relief organization,OLPC volunteer etc.

It would then be up to the community to decide what is needed and create it, not OLPC. Then, it would become the responsibility of whoever is buying/providing the computers to make certain the bootstrap command is loaded and pointed to the right file. Templates could be provided by volunteers for those communities who just want to provide a language translation.

To be honest, if you know what you are doing, interactive media is dead easy to create-it's the size of the files that might be the problem.

So we would need: someone to organize the project, someone who knows what material is needed to teach literacy and in what order it needs to be taught, someone to maintain a wikipage of templates, and an audio/visual content creator.

As for the material we'd need: an interactive audio index, interactive audio/visual tutorials on the following: creating an audio index, how to create a podcast using the XO, how to point the bootstrap option of the XO to the right file, and the various modules/templates for learning how to read,write, and use a computer. Oh, and the code to force Sugar to bootstrap the RSS and/or the audio index on load up until told otherwise.

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