[Olpc-Haiti] Waveplace pilot update

Allison Bland bland.allison at gmail.com
Tue Feb 2 19:10:48 EST 2010

---I've been sending this to the wrong listserve all day, my apologies! I
have been so scatter brained... It won't happen again! (I'll try) ---

Carmina, I love your recent article, it is fantastic.
Geraldine, the book list is so exciting.
Adam, the wiki is turning out great and is much more appealing.

Everyone doing translating work -- THANK YOU!

I want to share a piece of yesterday with you this morning, because I think
it really serves the cause well. So yesterday we introduced the pilot to two
classes at two different schools. I will talk more in depth about both
later, but wanted to tell you all about what I learned in the afternoon
session right away.

In the afternoon we visit with 8 Haitian-American students at Graham & Park
Alternative Public School. The students range from ages 10 - 13. There are 5
girls and 3 boys. They all primarily speak Creole at home and also in the
classroom with their friends - they speak english with varying proficiency,
though most are quite good. (Their teacher, Chris Low, translated as Tim
spoke so there was not a comprehension problem.) Of course they were all
thrilled when we introduced them to bright XOs and even more excited when we
told them they could bring them home. Most importantly, they love the idea
that the very same machines they are using will be used by students in

Tim said, "So you have to take good care of them..."
"Sure, sure, of course," said one girl finishing his statement.
"We touch them, and they touch them," said another.

But the most interesting part of the session came when we realized one boy,
Johnson, and one girl, Rose-Claire, were silently getting frustrated
following the lesson on their actual computers. These were the two students
who had most recently come from Haiti.. and I don't know if it was
coincidence or not, but they were the quietest kids in the room. Their
friends were very protective though, discretely helping them through the
instructions in a way so they did not fall behind. However, when we noticed
pretty quickly anyway, and Tim suggested that they switch the language on
the computers to Creole. This is where I realized more than ever the
usefulness of the tasks of the translation team, and why going through line
after line of somewhat benign text is actually so important.

It made an immediate difference to see Johnson's control panel changed into
Creole. Before there were icons that he could kind of guess at their
meanings, but now everything was identified clearly for him. Every simple
english command and directive seemed to be translated into Creole. He could
comfortably change the color on his avatar and join in the "neighborhood" of
the other kids in the classroom and also get involved in the "friend
requests" each student was making of the others in the room. He didn't have
to miss out on that fun connection process, or move through it with
confusion. His eyes really did light up.  But later as we progressed through
the lesson I saw with my own eyes the limitations of the current
translations. When we asked them to open up Etoys, his screen was again in
english, and the formatting was a little off. "Make a Project," "Gallery of
Projects, "Tutorials and Demos," were displayed instead of the translated
equivalents. So although we continued to pay close attention to the learning
experience Johnson and Rose-Claire were having, it was inevitable that they
were really having half, or at least lesser, of the experience of their
peers. This isn't fair to them, and I am so happy to be connected with you
all who are working to be sure this discrepancy ends here. We will be with
the group for the next three weeks, so there is no fear that Johnson and
Rose-Claire will catch up and no, they won't fall through the cracks.. but
let's make sure no child in Haiti falls through the cracks either.

Thank you again!

I encourage everyone to check for news (and soon video) at
 And you can follow on Twitter @waveplace (spread the word!)

Have a great day,
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