XP on OLPC - a contrarian view

info at olpc-peru.info info at olpc-peru.info
Sun May 18 15:19:47 EDT 2008

Albert Cahalan wrote:
> >From what I can tell, constructionism (c13m) is a buzzword that
> vaguely refers to an age-old teaching practice: learning by doing.
> The idea appears to be extremely old, though not the norm. Ditching
> the buzzword would be appreciated; it only serves to obfuscate.
> >From what I can tell, c13m is an awful lot like unschooling.
> Perhaps you can explain the difference.
> FYI, what happens _without the teacher around_ is probably not
> what the adults would like. Kids play games, fight, view porn,
> vandalize things...
> It's been 28 years since the Mindstorms book. If the idea still
> hasn't caught on, there must be a reason. The teachers have decided.
> Normal teachers will thwart any effort to change teaching.
> Tying the success of a laptop program to massive changes in
> teacher behavior is not right.
Just to tell you (I did it before... I think so...)... I have talk with 
2 teachers here in Peru (one my sister in law and other one a friend).  
Both inform me that almost all peruvian teachers (from the coast area) 
know about construccionism and use it in everyday classromm and 
lessons.  That is because around year 2000 there was an order that need 
to follow IF they want to keep in the public system: they need to assist 
to a set of training days to learn about the new method that the 
Minister of Education will applies to the whole peruvian education: 
construccionism.  So... if someone needs to do a statistical serious 
study about what has happen after this experience then there are 
hundreds of peruvian teachers and schools that have develop some kind of 
actual experience (firts hand experience) in construccionism applied to 

My sister in law teachs in one of the most exclusive and expensive 
schools (for kids that belongs to the upper top class and sons/daughters 
of diplomatics, politics, etc.) and the other teacher that I have speak 
teach in a public school.  And they have told me at the same time that 
they use construccionism in every day but in a mix (with instruccionism) 
and adapting it to their own daily needs (very peruvian way to do it, we 
are survivors all the way).  So the impression that I got from the 
meeting with this teachers is that they use it at the same time than 
other methods according to the circumstances and according to the kid or 
the school enviroment.  But... they are just 2 teachers and it was a ver 
long and relaxed conversation, not a statistical study.

By the way, according to what I have been told... they went to get the 
training in construccionism because a written notice were given to them: 
do it or you will be out of the educational system.  A very 
prussian/instruccionist way to teach construccionism!   :-[    But that 
is normal... no big deal... just a funny situation... sometimes you need 
to lead, sometimes you need to participate, and sometimes you need to 
obey.  That is life from the very born of the human race.

Javier Rodriguez
Lima, Peru

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