[OLPC library] Lieutenant Governor Pat Quinn on HB5000

Jameson "Chema" Quinn jquinn at cs.oberlin.edu
Tue Apr 8 22:59:19 EDT 2008

This is fascinating. I would say that the first triaging you should do to
make this a reality for September is to reduce the number of grade levels
you target to an absolute minimum. More than 3 would be crazy, two is
better. Possibilities:
6/7: pros: 2/3 of the students in a junior high, yet you can count on having
most of them there for 2 or 3 years. cons: late grade = lots of testing;
jealous 8th graders.

3/4 or 4/5 : good ages, but not good saturation.

3/6 : good variety, more logistics.

Once you decide this, a lot more will follow.

Also I had a link for you: http://www.ck12.org/ <-- just starting up but has
some funding and possibly an inside track to getting more, trying to make
open-source textbooks attractive to public schools, worth giving them a call
to see if they are interested in (ready to) collaborating with you. Illinois
would definitely be a feather in their cap. You need all the help you can
get with can get with content.

Good luck!


On Tue, Apr 8, 2008 at 4:49 PM, Edward Cherlin <echerlin at gmail.com> wrote:

> I talked with Ryan Croke of Illinois Lieutenant Governor Pat Quinn's
> office today. They are keen on this project, and would like to arrange
> for us to assist in getting the program designed for the best possible
> outcome. HB5000 is moving rapidly through the House, and will then go
> to the Senate, which is likely to turn it over to the Education
> Committee for public hearings. We should organize to bring our XOs and
> our children to Springfield for the hearings.
> Among the questions:
> Schools will be allowed to choose from among the available laptops.
> The program should capture the differences in outcomes between schools
> using different hardware and software, using appropriate measures LG
> Quinn's office agrees. Nicholas Negroponte is strongly opposed to
> "bake-offs", but the world doesn't work the way he wants.
> We need to work with the legislature, the Education authority, and
> with schools on appropriate integration of laptops into curricula, and
> provide at least draft versions of electronic textbooks on all
> requested subjects. Much of what we want to do has yet to be designed.
> In fact, the software that we want to build the textbooks on has in
> some major cases yet to be designed. How much can we promise for the
> start of the next school year in September? That depends very strongly
> on who steps up to do it.
> It is very important in pilot projects to do good experimental design
> before hand so that the results contain usable information, not merely
> data. We need to talk to people who know something about these issues,
> who also understand what we are trying to measure.
> What training can be put together for the summer before? We need to
> demonstrate the meaning and value of learning by doing through
> collaborative discovery, aka Constructionism. Then we need to provide
> the toolkit for teachers to apply it, and provide feedback mechanisms
> so that their experience and insights steadily improve the process.
> This program requires dedicated resources, and management, on our side
> and several others. That means that we need to look for funding.
> Anybody know a good grant writer?
> No Child Left Behind creates perverse incentives that can interfere
> with the program. Can we get waivers from the Federal Government for
> the trials?
> --
> Edward Cherlin
> End Poverty at a Profit by teaching children business
> http://www.EarthTreasury.org/
> "The best way to predict the future is to invent it."--Alan Kay
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