[IAEP] Computer as a tool
K. K. Subramaniam
subbukk at gmail.com
Mon Jul 13 11:41:10 EDT 2009
On Monday 13 Jul 2009 7:02:33 pm Caroline Meeks wrote:
> What sort of results do you have so far?
The new academic year has just started. In the prev one, around 75% of the
kids learnt to handle the computer well enough to create at least one project
in Etoys in a space of about four calendar months (which included holidays and
term exams). Around 25% of the children were yet to record their projects.
Schools closed (Apr/May) before we could dig deeper into the causes.
> Technologically: How many USB sticks failed? How many were lost/stollen?
None reported so far. For students, the chip is their most precious
> Did the kids find any places to use the sticks outside of school?
Yes. Some kids do, when they visit their relatives in the city. BTW, computers
are not tied to the school. With personal data separated from the 'machine',
many teachers chose to 'issue' computers to children like books, so that they
could 'work' during evenings and holidays or participate in science contests.
> Do you have any measure of how much content was created? Is there much
> sharing between schools? Do you have any advice on how to facilitate sharing
> of created content?
Our intention was to equip students with 'infinite supplies' so that they could
jot down their personal ideas and stories not for creating content for the
classroom. Teachers did not venture to 'correct' mistakes in the projects nor
use it towards grades so students could 'tinker' with their pet ideas withour
fear or stress. We used the number of projects recorded on the chip as a proxy
for the effort. See
Mentors from our foundation visited schools twice a week and helped them stay
abreast of developments in other schools.
I remain vary of 'content'. I have seen too many cases of content of dubious
value. The teachers and students are quite capable of creating their own
content. If they need help, they contact us. That is why I stick to software
like Stellarium, Etoys, LaTeX and Inkscape.
While early results are positive enough to spur us to cover all 120 schools
this year, I remain cautious and vigilant. A program like this has to be run
for many years before we can establish an enduring change in the learning
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