Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Bryan Berry's Nepal XO notes

Notes from Nepal’s OLPC Deployments

Bryan Berry raises some important points and conjectures. It is best to read his original, (I left a comment there)

1) Manual dexterity block point
"While the teachers learned how to use the XO very quickly, I miscalculated how difficult certain actions would be for them. Specifically, it took them a while to learn “dragging and dropping” with the touchpad. Many of the best activities on the XO require serious dexterity with the touchpad such as TurtleArt, Etoys, and Scratch. For this reason we couldn’t cover these activities during training. I recommend starting teacher training with activities that do not require a lot of dexterity with the touchpad"
2) What the curriculum demands
In OLPC-land we like to talk about lofty concepts such as constructionism, co-learning, collaboration, etc. Meanwhile, teachers at Bashuki and Vishwamitra have more pressing concerns. The Nepali system does not practice social promotion. Children have to pass year-end examinations to move on to the next grade. Nepali teachers are interested in constructionism, co-learning, and collaboration as long as they don’t hinder their students progress through the educational system. Our teachers are quite happy with the E-Paath suite of educational activities that OLE Nepal developed in accordance with the national curriculum. The real attraction of OLPC for teachers is that in class they can task students with a problem on the XO and then spend much of the period working with students that need help
3) Top Requests from Teachers and Kids
  • Easier way to play music and video
  • A better E-Book reader
  • A lot more activities for learning English
  • All the Nepali textbooks in digital format
  • A comprehensive digital library with lots of Nepali-language reading materials
  • A Typing Tutor program for learning English and Nepali
  • Interactive learning activities that match the Nepali curriculum
  • A car racing game (the kids)
and other very interesting points in his article as well:
  • amazing enthusiasm from teachers
  • ability of XO to diagnose if any particular hardware component has failed (“test-all” command in the XO’s OpenFirmware)
  • it is feasible to train teachers how to fix hardware problems but more difficult to teach them how to fix software problems in the linux kernel or within Sugar
  • The XS (school server) has improved under the leadership of XS architect Martin Langhoff
  • XO project in Nepal expanding to 15-20 schools in 5-6 districts in April 2009

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

[Off topic]