Tokelau planning for OLPC project

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Tokelau approach to OLPC

Malo ni from us here in Tokelau.

Thank you for your interest Ian. You have identified a major challenge and in light of our issues around language shift, language loss, etc, and the recently redeveloped language policies (following re-thinking Pacific education initiatives and PRIDE assisted subprojects), Tokelau notes concerns around

(1) the flooding of schools with English through the OLPC – should wholesale use is made without the relevant local language content and development; and

(2) that OLPC becomes just another tool while the pedagogy of narrow representations of content and teacher centredness remains unchanged. These challenges are not unsolvable.

Following our participation in the workshop and in preparation for our OLPC pilot, we are committed to some very specific strategies to maximise the use of OLPC for learning and learning through Tokelau language. These we intend to place on the server for access by students and teachers

(1) OLPC is used according to the language policy distribution of time and languages, and in the early years where it is Tokelau immersion – OLPC is not used (unless of course the content is available in Tokelau language)

(2) Develop curriculum content in Tokelau language consistent with our bilingual policy on how the two languages are used for instruction. We envisage this content will be in the form of teaching units of work, student resources, teachers’ guides

(3) Identify existing relevant student and teacher resources that can be placed on the server or accessed through the internet – many of the literacy materials for example in Tokelau language, we’d like to explore how they can be made available digitally as well

(4) Identify, collect, record, and make available on the server Tokelau language and culture material – this includes our songs, stories (some of which we have on cds at the moment), other materials or reference materials already in hard copy – how these can be available digitally eg our language dictionaries

(5) Adapt, translate some of the activities in Tokelau language

The implications of these 5 (there are others which are around information literacy development that includes library refurbishment, librarian training and resource procurement) are huge in terms of:

1. the Departments commitment of budget – which is part of our next 6 year plan.

2. Capacity building – training of translators, writers, illustrators, teachers, school leadership – involves much needed input from community (costs of these in terms of transport between atolls, opportunity costs), having people available

3. School level cultural changes – in terms of a focus on learning, collaboration in teaching, planning, assessment

4. Partnerships with overseas communities of Tokelau speakers where there are resources available

5. Partnerships with organizations that hold Tokelau language material

6. Tokelau language development and issues around standardization of forms, word creation, etc. We hav.e a parallel strategy regarding this

7. Putting in place very specific M&E system from the outset

We have seen how computer technology has been made use of in the development and enrichment of Maori. We see OLPC as offering opportunities to strengthen our language providing the content is made available; as well offsetting the challenges of remote islands, making available resources that are difficult to access in hard copies etc. It is a tool we intend to use to influence the quality of teaching and learning .

Anyway – we are excited by the possibilities and are embarking on some major preparatory work and will keep you all posted.

Together however, in the region – we can learn on the hows, the do-ables and the avoidable – all you pilots for example, tell us what you are doing

Tofa ni