[IAEP] [Sugar-devel] unique activities . . . for Oceania XO's, or other regions.

Edward Cherlin echerlin at gmail.com
Sun Feb 6 02:15:27 EST 2011

I am all for eroding some aspects of traditional cultures. I have had
a conversation with a Maasai chief about the possibility of using XOs
in his campaign against female genital mutilation. The report on
Ethiopia talked about replacing the pure rote teaching style, where
asking questions was an insult, with an exploratory, collaborative
style, where teachers of their own volition scheduled question time
for the whole class.

On a larger scale, I am all for destroying cultures of slavery, of
oppression, of corruption, and of a multitude of other ills.

When we talk about preserving cultures, however, I am all for showing
students how to use their XOs to preserve local languages, oral
history, music, knowledge of the environment...and to create jobs
based on their traditional cultures, whether in arts and crafts, in
tourism, in harnessing local resources, or in other ways. There is no
reason for XOs to threaten cultures.

But we must accept that every culture changes as the climate changes,
or technology, or the available foods, or their neighbors, or a
multitude of other things. The most resilient cultures are not
dependent on keeping everything just as it was, but are able to adapt
what is essential to them to new circumstances without being swallowed

On Thu, Feb 3, 2011 at 21:19, Frederick Grose <fgrose at gmail.com> wrote:
> On Thu, Feb 3, 2011 at 8:23 PM, Sean Linton <sean at lpnz.org> wrote:
>> Hi
>> I will look into creating a ticket. Thanks for your help most
>> appreciated,
>> As far as Sugar/OLPC is world wide, and the places the computers go to
>> have their own pedagogies, have people encountered issues regarding the
>> embedded pedagogy within this technology. The thing to remember maybe that
>> OLPC also contains a learning environment which has its own consequences,
>> which on one level is a neutral learning environment -  that assumes
>> universal recognition of symbols and on screen aids.
>> Even if the embedded pedagogy of OLPC is an experiential
>> learning environment in itself this doesn't mean that an
>> inherited pedagogy will begin to disappear (that 'social missions' are
>> competing) maybe just that it is a sign of what can be expected, and needed
>> to prepare children for growing into adults in the 21st century.
>> One way these two backgrounds (or pedagogies) may complement each other,
>> and I think OLPC and Sugar are already on the way to doing this is by trying
>> to  balance creating a neutral learning platform and encouraging virtual
>> learning environments. Virtual learning environments are powerful because
>> they may contain cultural metaphors, however they can also feel limiting
>> where the user is bound by what is already familiar. The strengths of a
>> neutral learning environment include a sense that what is possible is not
>> already defined. How broad do people think the metaphors contained with the
>> activities should be? Can anyone relate to the metaphor as an effective way
>> of making sense of a new experience, perhaps with a specific activity?
>> Sean
>>  On 4 February 2011 00:21, Aleksey Lim <alsroot at activitycentral.org>
>> wrote:
>>> On Thu, Feb 03, 2011 at 10:32:28PM +1300, Sean Linton wrote:
>>> > Hi:
>>> >
>>> > One of the things I would like to know is that even at the current
>>> > level of
>>> > deployment the OLPC project doesn't get attacked for eroding the
>>> > indigenous
>>> > cultures of places when with some careful planning and insight it could
>>> > contribute to the opposite. The sort of thing I am thinking about is
>>> > for
>>> > example where you have the TamTam activities, which have a pretty good
>>> > representation of instruments from around the world built in to the
>>> > activity
>>> > already, but at this stage are not tailored to different regional
>>> > environments. I am thinking about the difference in using that program
>>> > for a
>>> > child whose local music culture is represented by the program, and a
>>> > child
>>> > whose musical instruments are not included in that program.
>>> >
>>> > At one level the activity is useful for either child - the first can
>>> > see
>>> > that his or her culture is part of this world wide project and that is
>>> > really neat, and the second child is at least given the opportunity to
>>> > see
>>> > what other instruments from around the world are like. So either way it
>>> > is
>>> > an education for who ever is using it, but with out that renewal of the
>>> > traditional instruments and the unique backgrounds (culture) being
>>> > brought
>>> > into the light of this empowering technology I feel there is a danger
>>> > that
>>> > the result is a monoculture. To counter this one other thing that I can
>>> > see
>>> > being accomplished with the OLPC project is the ability to create audio
>>> > content, and distribute it locally. In this situation although we don't
>>> > have
>>> > 'place specific instruments' loaded as a part of the music iconography
>>> > of
>>> > the OLPC, we at least have the ability to couple with community radio,
>>> > or
>>> > other audio frameworks to promote locally generated content.
>>> >
>>> > One thing I have heard is that OLPC, in a way, creates this situation
>>> > of the
>>> > 'haves' and the 'have nots'. Maybe you have heard this too? I think as
>>> > long
>>> > as a focus of the project is making a contribution to building
>>> > communities
>>> > through learning and networking the technology itself is less like a
>>> > piece
>>> > of the pie and more like mixing dish.
>>> >
>>> >
>>> > It would be great to see the Canadian
>>> > 'drumbeats<http://www.olpccanada.com/content.php?id=12>'
>>> > activity ported to all the places where the computers are, and that all
>>> > of
>>> > those places could create their own version of that interface, drawing
>>> > on
>>> > indigenous knowledge and experience of sound. However if for example
>>> > 'drumbeats' is what makes OLPC in Canada unique, and that unique
>>> > identity is
>>> > being expressed through this activity then it makes less sense to try
>>> > and do
>>> > it in other places because that would be back to creating a sameness
>>> > which
>>> > is contrary to the aim of renewal of indigenous music. My feeling is
>>> > that
>>> > the identity created by 'drumbeats' is in the content and not in the
>>> > fact
>>> > that it is unique to Canadian machines, and for that reason think it
>>> > would
>>> > be great to see some more discussion on how to better equip this
>>> > technology
>>> > to provide insights into more specific / less generic backgrounds.
>>> > It would be good to establish some more contacts who are on the same
>>> > page
>>> > with this, I have also heard similar thoughts expressed by someone in
>>> > Nepal.
>>> In case of TamTam and Nepal, people provided images and sounds of some
>>> Nepalese instruments, and they are in TamTam :)
>>> The only step is needed - creating request on
>>> http://bugs.sugarlabs.org/newticket?component=TamTam
>>> >
>>> > all the best,
>>> >
>>> > Sean
>>> Aleksey
> Reposting to  "It's an Education Project" (IAEP), where there might be
> additional engagement on your questions.
>                            --Fred
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Edward Mokurai (默雷/धर्ममेघशब्दगर्ज/دھرممیگھشبدگر ج) Cherlin
Silent Thunder is my name, and Children are my nation.
The Cosmos is my dwelling place, the Truth my destination.

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