[IAEP] EduJAM day 2.5 Tour of Uruguay

David Farning dfarning at activitycentral.com
Mon May 2 21:45:12 EDT 2011

The afternoon and evening sessions of the tour were a great complement to
the morning session.  Yes, you heard correctly, afternoon _and_ evening
sessions:) Pablo has us hopping. Tomorrow morning starts a 600am.

The afternoon session was again at public school 286. Rather than observe
and interact with the kids in the class room, the teachers asked us to take
a step back and look at the larger picture of how the laptop project affect
the school and how the school affects the project. One interesting note was
the emphasis they had that the laptops were educational tools. They were
part of a larger tool box consisting of textbooks and other activities.

While kids usually receive their laptop at 6, when they start school, it is
common for kids to begin using and becoming familiar with the laptop and
sugar when they are 4 years old. By the time kids enter high school they
have had several years of experience. This presents a challenge for teachers
as they try to catch up and keep up with the kids :)

The primary technical requests were that social-calc works and that there is
timeline activity.

In terms of education theory, it was interesting to listen to a discussion
the evolved from the timeline request.  Several teachers commented that the
timeline was a very valuable tool because it would give the students a place
to consolidate the information they had learned over several week.  Maybe it
was my poor Spanish. But the conversation seemed to reflect concepts very
similar to portfolios and the act of refection the journal affords.

The evening session was with Flordeceibo. (http://www.flordeceibo.edu.uy/ )
We started the evening off with a video providing an overview of project. It
is just over 2.5G so I hope that someone with some bandwidth uploads it and
links to it in a blog post.

Sadly, the university and Flordeceibo are not directly involved in teacher
training.  Teacher education happens in a parallel system similar to normal

The real meat of the session (for software developers) happened after the
break during a feedback session. Several of the Flordeceibo members had
lists of bugs they have encountered during the last few years. At that point
the passion became palpable.

Because of the sheer amount of feedback we invited everyone to share
'headlines' of their concerns at this session. Then, follow up Sunday
morning at the first day of the hack feast.

Over the last couple of months one on the most important lessons we have
learn while working with ParaguayEduca is the importance of one on one and
face to face sessions between developers and educators. The normal tools
that open source developers use for feedback are too 'unfamiliar' to most

Instead the feedback, at least initially, requires a personal relationship
which builds trust and helps the developer and educator learn how to
effectively communicate. As a result, we invited everyone to join the sugar
camp on Sunday morning.  I would like to encourage all developers to spend
time talking one on one with the Flordeceibo members to turn their feedback
into a format which is can be submitted as bug reports.


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