Preliminary evaluation results from Peru's "Una laptop por niño"

   
   
   
   
   

A consortium consisting of the Inter-American Development Bank, the Peruvian Ministry of Education, and GRADE (a Peruvian NGO) are currently working on an extensive multi-year evaluation of Peru's Una laptop por niño program. Recently the first preliminary report from that evaluation was published: English version / Spanish version.


The preliminary IADB report

Even though I've been accused of cherry picking data from this report, overall, the findings documented in the report align quite well with my own observations while I visited Una laptop por niño in mid-August as I reported in the OLPC in Peru: A Problematic Una Laptop Por Niño Program article over on EduTechDebate that generated almost 150 comments.

My one sentence summary would be: These first results aren't particularly great. Secondly, from an implementation point of view I think this paragraph from page 11 is a good summary of some key findings:

Relevant aspects to be considered in the implementation include:
  1. the demand for greater preparation by the teachers
  2. the low percentage of students that can take the laptops home
  3. the low connectivity to the Internet and to the local network
  4. the lack of technical and pedagogical support in the schools and locations

The one aspect that I personally find quite worrying is that the use of the XOs in schools drops of significantly after some months, which according to the report

...could be a reflection of the need for more technical and pedagogical support for the teachers, as well as of the lack of planning sessions, activities and digital resources appropriate for educational use.

Another issue is that only slightly more than 50% of the pupils are allowed to take the XOs home thereby significantly reducing the potential amount of time that they can use them.

Last but not least the report reveals that only 95.2% of the schools have electricity at the moment (a fact which the Peruvian Ministry of Education is currently addressing by distributing 40,000 solar panels) and that Internet access is limited to 1,4% of the schools.

On the more positive side of things teachers and parents demonstrate a very high level of enthusiasm for Una laptop por niño:

...it is noted that more than 95% of the teachers in schools that received the laptops think that these contribute in improving the children's education and learning, and that this motivates them to attend school. Furthermore, between 90 and 94% of the teachers reported that laptops improve and facilitate the quality of teaching. Additionally, they facilitate the use of active learning strategies.

In terms of impact on the pupils it is noted that in case they use the XOs three or more days per week their abilities to use computers increased compared to their peers in the control group (which didn't receive XOs). Those children who can use the computers outside of school also do that quite a bit as the report mentions that home use averages between one and two hours per day.

Overall this report is certainly a very interesting read and provides an excellent overview of Una laptop por niño's status quo.

Aside from the ongoing work on Uruguay's Plan Ceibal this is certainly the most extensive evaluation effort around OLPC that I'm currently aware of. These efforts are continuing as we speak and I'm already looking forward to the next report which will contain insights about the program's medium term impacts (12 to 18 months) after it first reached Peru's schools.

Particularly given the fact that Peru recently announced the expansion of Una laptop por niño to 810,000 XOs by July 2011 - which would make it the world's largest OLPC project - it will be interesting to see how the country's Ministry of Education manages to address the significant issues and challenges the report uncovered in the coming months and years.

In the end I still believe that Montevideo will be the OLPC capital of the world however I think that an increasing number of people are also looking at Una laptop por niño to learn what to do - and what not to do - when implementing large scale 1-to-1 computing in education projects.

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2 Comments

Have just submitted a very long and heartfelt comment and was told that it was wrong for no reason.
I shall summariase it because unfortunately if did not occur to me to copy it before I sent it, as I normally do and have totallY lost it.
I again agree with Mr. Dendorfer´s comments except for the grand title he gives Uruguay. I does not deserve it.
And the CAPITAL OF OLPC should not be
MONTEVIDEO but URUGUAY as a whole country.
I am Uruguayan and very close to the project and I can assure it is not working, it is just a political ploy.
Will write the rest again when I have the energy.

COULD ANYBODY PLEASE TELL ME WHAT WAS "WRONG" WITH MY POSTING BEFORE? I find it very irritating to get judgements with no reason.

Maria,

I have no clue why your comment was not accepted by the blog software. Rest assured that OLPC News has a very clear track record of accepting all relevant comments. Its our core mission to facilitate discussion on the OLPC program.

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