[IAEP] [squeakland] Plan Ceibal y/and General Electric
alan.nemo at yahoo.com
Sun Feb 6 09:43:55 EST 2011
I don't think of "teachers" or "teaching" as dirty words. And I don't separate
them by age group, profession, or whether parents or not. (Do I have to say that
good teachers facilitate learning ....?)
There are lots of poor teachers in the world (for many different reasons), but
it's important to understand that no child ever invented Calculus, nor did any
adult until very recently in our 200,000 years on the planet. Good teachers are
vital, and most especially for the powerful invented ideas and knowledge that is
less strongly built into our genetically and culturally fashioned brain/minds.
So we need good teachers from our peers, our parents, our schooling systems, our
vocations, our delights, etc.
From: K. K. Subramaniam <kksubbu.ml at gmail.com>
To: squeakland at squeakland.org
Cc: Alan Kay <alan.nemo at yahoo.com>; Chunka Mui
<chunka.mui at devilsadvocategroup.com>; voluntarios y administradores OLPC para
usuarios docentes <olpc-sur at lists.laptop.org>; "america-latina at squeakland.org"
<america-latina at squeakland.org>; Carlos Rabassa <carnen at mac.com>; Maho 2010
<maho at realness.org>; olpc bolivia <olpc-bolivia at lists.laptop.org>; IAEP
SugarLabs <iaep at lists.sugarlabs.org>; OLPC Puno <olpcpuno at gmail.com>
Sent: Sun, February 6, 2011 6:36:38 AM
Subject: Re: [squeakland] [IAEP] Plan Ceibal y/and General Electric
A lot of thought provoking ideas listed in one mail. Wow!
On Sunday 06 Feb 2011 5:20:15 am Alan Kay wrote:
> For the US, it has been calculated that it is not possible to create enough
> knowledgeable K-8 teachers for math and science over the next 25 years,
> even for the 30:1 student teacher ratios we have today. It has been
> estimated that this problem is much worse in the developing world.
Student-Teacher ratio is about teaching not learning. I learnt the hard way
that a different mind-set is needed to work with learning.
Parents and Family seems to have done a fairly good job in the 0-6 year range.
When we get into the next stage (6-12), the learning environment breaks down.
Mothers don't go around with a growth chart and taunt their babies with "You
should have been crawling by six months. You will get a C for your crawling.
Sit facing the wall for the next five minutes!" ;-). In India at least,
families are held responsible for their children's development. In the next
stage, why not hold teachers responsible for outcomes but facilitate them to
achieve their goals using whatever they find appropriate?
In one exercise, we worked with teachers across 120 rural schools near
Bangalore to attain one specific goal, 'get every student to read Kannada and
Division by 7th grade' using whatever means at their disposal, even if they
have to take assistance from locals who are not teachers but like being with
children. Teachers took the help of external evaluators to detect non-learners
in June to create a target set. When the eval was repeated six months later,
the number dropped to near zero in 102 schools. Other schools are now catching
up. The effect of empowerment spilled over into other topics and boosted the
overall morale of students. The marginal funding required for this exercise
> Computers can represent books and all other media, and they should be able
> to actively help us learn to read them (even if we start off not being
> able to read at all).
Children will learn to read only when they have to read to learn. The thirst
for knowledge has to go beyond what they can get from their family or school.
This is a challenge in countries like India with dense population and an oral
tradition. The chasm between pre-literate to semi-literate is quite large.
A teacher in a rural public school narrated a case of a 6th grade student who
wouldn't write or read and was at the bottom grade. When we introduced
computers into the school, he was attracted to TeX morph in Etoys that typeset
multilingual texts. He played with this morph sporadically over four months to
generate various letter shapes and words (including misspellings) and then
broke into fluent writing and reading. He had stumbled on a strong reason to
read. Once he crossed the chasm, he stopped using the computer and switched
over to books. Computer became a complex device. This incident had a big
impact on the teacher who was, at that time, in her third trimester of her
> The great funding in the 60s was done mostly by the government, and for
> personal computing and pervasive networks was spread over more than 15
> universities and research companies who formed a cooperative research
> community. (The story of this is told in "The Dream Machine" by Mitchel
Given the scale and scope of education, public funding and social
participation is the only solution. Private funding comes with too many
strings attached :-(.
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