Looking for Pedagogical Information on OLPC Pilots

   
   
   
   
   

I am Roxana Bassi, an ICT Specialist at the Global e-Schools and Communities Initiative. GeSCI provides strategic advice to Ministries of Education in developing countries on the effective use of Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) for education and community development.

Recently we have started receiving several requests for assistance in advising regarding 1-to-1 computing solutions similar to OLPC's. We are working on a series of tools that can be used by any government planning the piloting or deployment of any such project, like the low-cost computing devices toolkit published last year.

One of the documents we are working on is an analysis of the educational/pedagogical considerations for these particular types of projects, which are quite many. We are having trouble, however, in finding relevant information about the pilots that have been executed around the world.

The only thing we can find are nice pictures and videos, blogs and content created by students, but we have not been able to find specific pilot planning documentation about any of the projects being executed, or any educational experiences-based analysis of 1-to-1 solutions and its challenges and opportunities in real-world use in our countries.

We would like to ask all of you in the OLPC News community for this information, if you have it available for public distribution, to share the links with the rest as I believe this is invaluable data we have to have to help in designing sustainable solutions for education.

Thanks in advance

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17 Comments

Roxana, OLE Nepal has a fair amount of information about the pedagogical considerations for Nepal's pilots.

See these links:
http://wiki.laptop.org/go/Nepal:_Teacher_Training
http://wiki.laptop.org/go/Nepal:_Content_Development

and all of Dr Saurav Dev Bhatta's posts to the OLE Nepal blog, which are quite detailed.

http://blog.olenepal.org

The appropriate way to get infomation on the olpc pilots is to contact the people runing each pilot and ask for the information. Why are you instead taking the less comprehensive and curiously indirect approach of asking people in the olpcnews communitity what they happen to know?

Eduardo is correct however it is not a straightforward process to get in contact w/ those running the pilots if not downright difficult. It took me quite a bit of effort to get in contact w/ the folks working on the Uruguay pilots.

Roxana, Wayan can give you my personal e-mail address. E-mail me and I will put you in contact w/ the folks working on pilot implementations that I have contact w/.

Eduardo,

Roxana was looking for educational and pedagogical considerations for as many OLPC pilots as possible, from ones as large and well organized as OLE Nepal to smaller, less well know pilots, but was having trouble reaching them all. OLPC News is the perfect platform to get the attention of the pilots and skip the rather unresponsive OLPC organization.

I am SO curious about this! Good you brought it up, thank you, Roxana. BTW, Eduardo, we _all_ would wish information about the pilots were published already, at least contact info, _as_it_should_be_ in something like OLPC that depends so much on cooperation, but, alas, few deployments publish much besides Nepal. None seem to be having any difficulties - or results either, again excepting Nepal.
Check
http://planet.laptop.org for some more detailed information about what is actually going on in the trenches, again coming from blogs and such less official sources.

Maybe Constructionism, when actually put to use, doesn't believe in sharing information? (gratuitous snipe courtesy of yours truly :-))

Brian: "Eduardo is correct however it is not a straightforward process to get in contact w/ those running the pilots if not downright difficult. It took me quite a bit of effort to get in contact w/ the folks working on the Uruguay pilots."

Well maybe you are right Roxana tried, or maybe you are wrong. We don't know because she didn't tell us that.

Wayan: "Roxana was looking for educational and pedagogical considerations for as many OLPC pilots as possible, from ones as large and well organized as OLE Nepal to smaller, less well know pilots, but was having trouble reaching them all. OLPC News is the perfect platform to get the attention of the pilots and skip the rather unresponsive OLPC organization."

Same answer as to Brian. You seem to be implying that she told you personally she had tried and failed, but decided, for some unexplained reason, to leave that out of her post.

And why isn't she answering my comment, instead of leaving it to others?

For all I know, Roxana is just lazy, or has some other agenda that the one she presents. Or maybe I am completely off track here, and she really did make an effort to get through but couldn't contact even a single pilot project. But I won't begin to believe it unless she says so herself, and explains why she decided to leave out any mention of the contact efforts she made.

Hi everyone
Thanks for the debate and thanks Wayan for publishing this post. Wayan is right, Eduardo, I decided to post this message after months of looking for information and finding almost none (and I am proficient in english, french, spanish and portuguese).

The Brazilians answered saying they will publish some data by midyear. I have been unable to find any other info about the execution of pilots, at least no public reports. Even Nepal has info about the teacher training and content but we are not learning what is really happening in the classrooms, how is the classrooms dynamics changing, management issues, curricula issues, cost issues (specially TCO), how are many practical issues solved.

Ive never seen a pilot project plan with expected outcomes and Monitoring and evaluation criteria.
For example Uruguay did a great job during the period they were evaluating the devices through a public BID, and BID documents were available.

I believe pilot documents should be available as well, not for us researchers, but for citizens to know what is going on and if their government is going to spend A LOT of money on learning devices, to make sure that a due process has been followed to make sure these are the right solutions for their problems and they are deployed sustainably.

It is in this direction that we are working to produce public reports analyzing the possibilities and offering advice, and where on-the-field experience is very useful. I assure you there is no hidden agenda.

Many Thanks

Excellent questions, Roxanna.

Unfortunately, when it comes to the XO, the official position by most people trying to provide an answer is that the benefits of this program "can't be measured by conventional means". You know what that means...

If you keep up with your research, you'll soon discover that Constructivism is being used by Negroponte to obfuscate the fact that there is no plan to integrate the XO into a kid's education (unless handing them one without further instructions amounts to an "implementation plan") or to measure the suppossed educational benefits this initiative.

The whole concept behind Negroponte's "strategy" is (in his own words) "kids will learn learning". Any educated, rational person knows that's just a silly phrase, at best.

Good luck with your research!

Eduardo!

oh my. In the part of the world I come from we don't call a lady 'lazy'. Sorry to try to teach you manners in such a public way, but the fact that you do not provide a means to contact you gives me no chance to do it in private. Google gives me 53,900,000 results for eduardo.

Now, that was not just an idle exercise, but the very proof that you cannot just pretend to say "the information is out there" when you do not really put it where people can find it.

I do not think that OLPC is, yet, "hiding" information purposefully, except maybe of course what internet sites the XOs are accessing, about which I agree it is better not to say a word if someone wants to still think access to the internet is a good idea. It's just that, let's use a better word, people are too "overworked" to report.

Now, that obviously clashes with the fact that the one guy who is the most overworked of them all is the one who does most of the real from-the-field reporting. Go figure.

Bottom line: Silence is no good. We report little, thus seems like little is being done.

And, eduardo, if you have access to that information, be a gentleman and share it, will you?

Roxana:

I'll answer more fully privately. I'm e-mailing to GESCI's contact address, [email protected]

Thank you for your efforts. Many in the OLPC community have been wishing for this. Some of us have been talking about how to create a more general bibliography on the effects of Constructivist and Constructionist education practices, with and without computers.

I know of some current pilots, and of more to come, and will invite you to join some of our discussions. I know that for some earlier pilots, the information you seek exists but has not been published. We can discuss that further.

Eduardo:

It is in fact extremely difficult to find the pilot projects. Nicholas Negroponte's complete lack of an information policy is part of the problem. Even when we know that a project exists, we often have no contact information. Some projects have never been publicly announced.

Irvin:

Nicholas has talked that way, but not the rest of us. Nicholas hates bake-offs between the XO and other low-cost computers, but the state of Illinois is planning to have one, with the support of OLPC Chicago. HB5000, the Children's Low-Cost Laptop Act, calls for placing low-cost computers (XO or other) in up to 300 schools, and studying the outcomes.

See http://wiki.laptop.org/go/Competition for a rundown on the dozens of ultra-low-cost laptops entering this market. It is notable that there are as many Linux as Windows offerings, making this the first market segment where Linux has achieved parity. We shall see which versions sell better, but note that Sugar will be ported to all of the versions of Linux on these machines, while nobody has announced any work on porting Sugar to Windows. Nicholas shooting his mouth off (http://lists.laptop.org/pipermail/devel/2008-April/thread.html#13140) doesn't count.

Ed,
"the information you seek exists but has not been published".
Well, those ARE the droids we're looking for.

"Nicholas Negroponte's complete lack of an information policy is part of the problem"
The other part is ourselves not publishing early and often! I don't think NN's responsibility was to keep us informed. That depends on us.

Any _good_ reason there is this withdrawal of information that can be shared? It's kind of you to offer to help Ms. Brassi, but I am sure we all want to hear what's going on in the field.

Don't worry, we all already know about the contents of those Journals, no news there.

Caribbean Island Pilot:

http://waveplace.com/

Roxana,

Thank your for explaining that you did make previous efforts. Good luck in what you are trying to do. I agree it would be very helpful to have all this information out in public.

Yama,

Please re-read my comments. I did not say the information is out there. I also did not say I had access to any information.

To those who were upset with me for raising the issue of whether Roxana made previous efforts, please note that it has lead to a useful discussion of how olpc is fouling up in getting the information out.

If you haven't already seen it, Teaching Matters is running a nifty pilot in NYC. http://olpcnyc.wordpress.com/

Also (if you haven't already) Mark Warschauer's book on 1:1 computing in the US is a worthwhile academic view of the (general lack of) results from 1:1 pilot projects, see my review here: http://www.olpcnews.com/commentary/academia/laptop_programs_in_america.html

Thank you for the links and resurces.
You can access our work in progress
"1:1 Technologies/Computing in the Developing World - Challenging the Digital Divide" by M. Hooker, GeSCI at http://www.gesci.org/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=35&Itemid=41
Thank you

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