[Localization] [Educators] Empowering teachers
clytie at riverland.net.au
Sun Jun 22 04:55:00 EDT 2008
On 20/06/2008, at 3:03 AM, Yama Ploskonka wrote (very much in part):
> Also, teachers learn that there is a different way of doing things
> in a
> One Laptop Per Person environment: not everyone needs to be doing the
> same exact thing, friends can band together in a circumstantial group,
> even collaborate using the machine, among themselves, and with others
> connected to the network, in the same school or thousands of miles
Everything Yama was saying in that post was very much to the point,
but I wanted to emphasize one aspect. I was involved in the earliest
practical tests of teaching via computer in different locations
(before the Net: establishing a dial-up conference call between
computers, plus an audio line), and one thing became very obvious to me.
Governments and institutions in particular see computer-based
education as a cheap alternative. It's a way to reduce staff numbers,
teach more students with fewer teachers etc.
Now, computer-based education _can_ reduce some costs and some staff-
placements, e.g. by teaching 15 students simultaneously in three
locations, instead of 5 at each location, as I was doing some classes
of this pilot program. However, setting up such a program needs _more_
To do it properly, you need extra time to learn about the process, to
experiment, to create your own lessons based on the new tools, and to
support students new to the experience. You need extra time to follow-
up on the process, to get more training, and to build on what you have
learnt. (To achieve lasting change, you have to put enough energy into
This increase in resource-allocation at the beginning of the program
is more than compensated once the program is established effectively.
Funders need to understand this: that you need time, support and
follow-up evaluation in order to learn with new tools. Compare it to
learning to drive a car, for example, and ask them how well they think
they might have done in their licence test if they had just had been
shown a presentation on how to drive a car, or been given a manual,
and been told, "OK, so drive it!"
Training drivers means we have better drivers. Training teachers, and
thus students, to use computers means we have people who really know
how to drive their machine, not just how to wax it and take photos.
Vietnamese Free Software Translation Team
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