Trekking home and back with XOs

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"Trekking home and back with XOs: Integrating partners from the Educational EcoSystem and other effective strategies"

(Beth Santos, Maurice McNaughton [remote], June Kleider)

Beth Santos Ministry of Education in Sao Tome was supporting the OLPC initiative under something called “extraordinary hours” program This means that teachers get paid for all out of class hours.

Waveplace Haiti Nicaragua St.Johns Sao Tome

Pablo Flores Chiarelli: Involved in the beginning with the government then later with the grass roots organizations. Pablo can talk about the steps involved in getting the computers deployed There are so many OLPCs. The issue is noty the OLPCS, uit is the Educational System that is the challenge. Two different paces (all computers deployed on two years). This was the fast part. The coordination with the educational system is the part that takes a much longer time frame. Teacher training: In half of the placements, the teachers received the computers only a few days ahead of the children (thus teacher preparation and confidence low). In the other half of the placements, the teacher received the computers much erlier along with 15 hours of training. They set up hierarchical training. Master teachers teach teachers who then teach other teachers etc. This worked well at some levels but not others, because some teachers were not trained well enough to be good at training other teachers. They moved to a model that had one expert “reference” teacher in each school that was well qualified to teach ad support all other teachers in that school. At the end, many teachers are well trained and use the computers regularly and well with the students. Other teachers are not well trained and do not use the computers with their students that much.

IN Haiti there are teachers teaching without pay in order to integrate OLPCs into school.

Need to ask any all school in the world (not just OLPC schools): How well are doing with integrating technology into our classes. Wherever you go for an OLPC implementation, the level of teacher buy-in is quite different. To ask teachers to engage the new initiatives you have to ask: Have they been given new time and training and incentives.

To expect a reference teacher to come up to speed on all hardware, OS, GUI and software is perhaps too much. Remote resource people in the specialty areas would secure success and sustainability.

How do you provide incentive to become a “reference teacher” and to keep up as one.

In India there are 9 implementations. There are hundreds of computers at each implementation. There is strong commitment to focus in teachers and teacher training. All labs converted to dual boot (windows and Sugar) to train teachers. This has really helped the acceptance. This has been a real key to success.

Another strategy is to go into school and say – what does not work here? Let’s find a way to fix that (and try to incorporate the XO into the solution in some way).

Adding to someone’s curriculum will never work. You need to improve things that they are doing

Maurice McNaughton (Jamaica) Maurice is remote, but loud and clear.

He is in the midst of receiving and implementing a large number of XOs for primary education.

There are two projects. The stakeholders are expecting to see evidence of results in educational outcomes.

One of the schools is an inner city school. Ownership of the XOs is critical. The students take them home at night. Need community involvement (eg Reggae artists)

Legislative authority has to be actively engaged, monitoring and verifying that the XOs have made an impact.

Need resource people to train the teachers.

Need to support Local Curriculum. end of Maurice McNaughton opening address

Back to general discussion.

Does Maurice have a list of things that will guarantee success Access to information Access to materials (learning resources) See/show how these support the local curriculum. See/show how the results (student achievement) improves

It is all about satisfying the sponsors.

Everyone is looking for hard data, but there are much larger issues.

For example, a principal at an implementation said, my students are now in the universe. Before the XO and the internet, they were entirely isolated from the rest of the world.

The sense of self-esteem in those kids has improved so much.

The hardest part is convincing the stakeholders that all these other positive things (other than test scores) are important to measure.

Maurice: Yes, do not lose sight of the fact that the excitement of connectivity, the engagement and the self-esteem are so important.

IN Haiti, there have been pornography issues with the students. The solution came from one female teacher. If you have seen pornography, tell us what it looks like. The kids were embarrassed and could not describe it. The teacher created a dialog in which the kids talked through and created a set of punishments. The kids had ownership and the problem is now contained. Get the community involved.

The Horizons Program (secondary school students helping primary school students). Computer literacy and use of educational software is a good focus for this kind of mentorship.

Maurice say that they do this with university students mentoring in the community.

Pablo on elements of Failure:

Can a XO deployment without internet connectivity be successful? They are still isolated. You cannot support them. It is better to build a community of support through remote connections. A very skilled teacher can do much, but other teachers can only go so far without help. A strong school server can go a long way, but connectivity to additional content and support is much better.

If there is no possibility of support, many teachers will not engage because it is too much of a risk.

At the secondary level, so much of the benefits come from the connectivity. Initially, the OLPC was focused on primary level education. Now the educators and students are realizing that connectivity and the real need for the OLPC is at the secondary level.

The younger students need application-based activities. The secondary students need content-based and access-based activities.

There is a huge opportunity for tribal elders teaching their native culture through video, possibly through internet utilities.

Ministry of Education of Peru. Rural schools needed to upgrade. NGOs got involved. Some Industries moving into the area got involved. It as very difficult for the communities to know how to proceed. They relied on major polluters for their funding for example. The OLPC initiative alleviated many issues, but the point is that there can be stakeholders with alternate agendas (and dirty money).

Certain administrations will show resistance to ideas and empowerment of youth. This can cause huge cultural damage. It must be deal with carefully.