[IAEP] [realness] RE: [realness] a school is not a building

Bernie Innocenti bernie at codewiz.org
Sun Dec 5 18:57:37 EST 2010

On Mon, 2010-12-06 at 10:04 +1100, Ian Thomson wrote:
> Personally, I think the whole approach is wrong. You will never
> convince Ministries of Education to stop their "core" activities just
> because there are laptops. 

Sure, but Tim's appeal was probably not addressed to the MoE of Haiti.

Developing countries offer great opportunities to innovate in education
by augmenting or replacing a public school system which is
under-financed and under-staffed.

Paraguay Educa, for example, could completely transform the school
district of Caacupé, in spite of political opposition from the MoE.
Parents, students and teachers were so supportive that, eventually, the
government was forced to release a small amount of funds to sustain the
project for the next year.

Things can grow to national scale at a later time, but when it comes to
proving the validity of an innovative idea on the ground, I trust small
NGOs such as Waveplace and Paraguay Educa because they're not held back
by unions, politics and bureaucracy.

> The better approach is to show how laptops can enhance education in
> schools. This should not be an "either/or" approach. We can do both.
> As a simple example, children can leave the school earlier after
> suitable teaching and complete work on the laptops at home or other
> locations.

In at least one OLPC deployment ran by the MoE, the decision makers were
reluctant to let students take their laptops home with them. What if
some laptops get damaged or stolen? The predominant mindset was to
protect these expensive machines from the children.

> This will free up the school to take a second shift of students.
> Teachers can restructure their teaching to have groups working
> together to learn, so freeing them up to take more students.

I think this is a good suggestion. I don't know what it's like in Haiti,
but in all the deployments I visited, schools already had 2 or even 3
shifts. One logistic problem is that children can't stay around to work
in groups if the classrooms are already occupied by students of the next
shift. Once they scatter to their homes, collaboration becomes harder.

   // Bernie Innocenti - http://codewiz.org/
 \X/  Sugar Labs       - http://sugarlabs.org/

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