[Educators] Any reports / conclusions available ?

Edward Cherlin echerlin at gmail.com
Sun Jun 22 01:00:00 EDT 2008

On Sat, Jun 21, 2008 at 6:38 PM, Seth Woodworth <seth at isforinsects.com> wrote:
> You can try this page on our wiki:
> http://wiki.laptop.org/go/Reported_Results which links to a 3rd party
> external report.

The report cites

#  Hartel, H (2008). Low-cost devices in educational systems: The use
of the XO laptop in the Ethiopian educational system. Eschborn, GTZ.
# Kort, B & Reilly R (2008). Evolving educational pedagogy in
developing nations. MIT Media Laboratory.
# Richardson, V., 2003. Constructivist Pedagogy. Teachers College
Record, 105, (9), 1623-1640

I haven't Googled them yet, so I don't know whether any of them are
online. My summary of this report:

There are a few paragraphs of advertising, claiming that their
software is better suited than the Sugar Activities for Ethiopian
teaching methods. The reported test results mostly concerned
Eduvision's Melopo activities, rather than Sugar Activities. Since
Melopo is also somewhat collaborative, the results should transfer.

The most important observation is that teaching with the laptops, even
under the constraints of the prevailing system, changed teacher
behavior toward more effective methods. Instead of reciting
instructions without a chance to try them out, students began to be
encouraged to work on the computers, following instructions as they
are given.

Teachers began to use structured group activities and competitions,
and to ask students to present material to the class. The structured
techniques that the teachers put into their XO lesson plans then
spilled over into their non-computer classes. Where before any
question from a student was seen as an insult to the teacher, teachers
began to offer individual instruction while other students were
occupied on the computers. Students were encouraged to work in small
groups, and began to help each other. After a time, teachers began to
allow questions generally, and to set aside time for them.

Student motivation was observed to be higher because they could mark
up their electronic texts with notes and highlighting. This is a
critical software function. Document readers alone are not sufficient.
Eduvision recommends adding hyperlinks and some software functions to
electronic texts. (I recommend adding way more software functions.)

The trial was quite successful in spite of many obstacles, such as XOs
getting stuck in customs and delays in localizing texts to Amharic,
and the somewhat unrealistic setting, with lots of professional help
for teachers every day, and classes half the usual size. Eduvision
sees how several components of teacher training can be automated, and
recommends providing sample lesson plans. A larger trial with 5000 XOs
was planned for April 2008. (I don't know what is actually happening
with that.)

We are not talking about a complete changeover to Constructionism on
the part of teachers, but the basic premise of the program is
verified: Opportunity to do things better because of appropriate
technology leads naturally to doing things better, in spite of
seemingly intractable cultural obstacles. We can get through to the
teachers, to the great advantage of students. There is more to come,
but let us be grateful that the XO is accepted as an agent of change
in addition to its more obvious benefits to schools.

> Also you should get in touch with the OLPC Learning Team here at MIT and see
> how much input they have had.  Hopefully someone on this list has their
> contact info?  I don't have it handy.

I'm collecting materials at
http://wiki.sugarlabs.org/go/Education_Biblographies, with links to
bibliographies and individual works. I could use help adding material,
adding links, and cleaning up the references.

> Seth
> On Mon, Jun 16, 2008 at 5:08 PM, Daniel Caissy
> <daniel.caissy at bibliothequeglobale.org> wrote:
>> Hello,
>> I'm looking for any XO documentation build on real experience in South
>> countries. I'm looking information on issues and stakes in teaching
>> approach as well as technical consideration like battery use duration ,
>> etc..
>> Thanks to everyone that could help me,
>> Best regards,
>> Daniel Caissy
>> Président
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Edward Cherlin
End Poverty at a Profit by teaching children business
"The best way to predict the future is to invent it."--Alan Kay

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