[Its.an.education.project] Constructionism (was Re: XP on OLPC - a contrarian view)

Alex Belits abelits at phobos.illtel.denver.co.us
Tue May 20 10:22:51 EDT 2008

Walter Bender wrote:
> The week culminated with an open-house where each teacher
> presented a project they developed that integrated national curriculum
> goals into an XO activity.

I think, this illustrated another, probably less fundamental but 
practically important point -- if a country has national curriculum, the 
whole educational system treats it as the foundation of their work, and 
whatever tools or methods are introduced are judged by their suitability 
  to fit in it, or at least by being compatible with it. No one would 
dare to remove a chunk of curriculum to replace it with some other 
content -- it will break all kinds of dependencies, so both teachers and 
education officials will be seriously unimpressed.

What, BTW, gives you the greatest argument against Windows that can be 
ever made when introducing any new tools to educators. Unless the 
country is slated to become the next giant outsourced tech support farm, 
Windows user training is a microscopic part of the curriculum, and 
existing computer classes with desktops cover it completely. No one 
would buy a laptop per child just to enhance a small, unimportant piece 
of a large curriculum that as a whole has nearly nothing to do with 
computers in general and Windows in particular. However presenting a 
laptop as a tool that supports better methods for studying things that 
are already in the curriculum, a tool that is easy to adapt, that is not 
tied to some predefined commercial "educational" software made for a 
foreign school system, you can score major points on suitability when 
faced with education officials in countries that strongly support 
national curriculum.


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