Timothy Falconer of the Waveplace Foundation continues to impress me. Recently, he broke down what the Foundation is doing in its efforts like this:
Waveplace basically does three things: train new mentors, support laptop projects, and create courseware. Nearly all of our time is spent on the first two, mostly because those are the easiest tasks to fundraise for. Courseware always seems to be an "also ran", mostly due to lack of time & money.
Don't we all know it! In fact, I am surprised that Timothy actually thinks that mentors and training are easy to fundraise for. Usually, its only hardware that donors think about. Anyway, he makes a great point about content:
The courseware we've created has either been self-funded or done by volunteers. The volunteer work tends to be infrequent and unfocused, without much connection to teaching in actual classrooms in the field. This was one of the central insights from our last St John workshop. The courseware we created while working with the kids was considerably better than courseware created back at home. There's just no substitute for trying things out directly with the children who will be using it.
That's one of the key differentiators of OLE Nepal's efforts. They have classroom teachers from the target schools sit with them in their headquarters to oversea content development. That way, everything OLE Nepal does is tightly aligned with the real teaching and learning experience.
I am glad to see that Waveplace Foundation is quickly gravitating to a similar model. Kudos to them.