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  • Mark Guay

    Enjoyed reading your discussion Mariangel and Jelena (Nice pic BTW) and am curious if you all have learned of Sugata Mitra's work with a School in the Cloud. It's not one laptop per child, but an interesting experiment nonetheless when you give a disadvantaged student access to the internet and a critical thinking problem to solve.

    Continue to do amazing things :)

  • Mariangel

    Hello, I'ma a Uruguyan teacher who works at Secondary schools. I think the OLPC project in my country hasn't been well-developed since the professional development of secondary teachers in the use of technology has been deficient and sporadic. A project which lacks the support and the right preparation of teachers has very few opportunities of becoming successful.

    • Jelena Woehr

      I'd love to hear more about your experiences in this area. What kind of training would help teachers in Uruguay be successful with the OLPC project? I'm also curious to know if there's something that people outside Uruguay could do to help. We're collecting some ideas on the concept of being a better global neighbor -- more info here: http://magazine.good.is/articles/a-good-experiment -- and I think helping to make OLPC effective through teacher preparation might be an opportunity to get global neighbors working together for children.

      • Mariangel

        Hi Jelena,
        First of all, I think that the worst problem with regards to teacher training was that teachers were given the machine too late. Nowadays most teachers have the kind of laptops students received, but that happened after many years. So, students had the machines but their teachers didn't. About what kind of training would helps us, it is difficult to mention just one or two kinds, as the level of teachers' knowledge in computers, software and online resources is varied. I'm very interested in virtual education and I've been taking many courses on the subject on my own (including MOOCs and private courses), but I know that many teachers only know how to work with a Power Point presentation in their classes.
        The courses delivered by Plan Ceibal in Uruguay (a project which is responsible for the organization of the OLPC project) has been focusing on primary schools only and any efforts made in secondary education to integrate technologies have been made by individual teachers.
        In secondary classes you can face with many difficulties when you want to integrate teachnologies in to the teaching and learning processes: for example, most students at this level have quitted using XO machines a long time ago, their machines are broken or they have no idea where they are, also the internet connection in secondary schools is pretty bad.
        Apart from that, I think that some students can learn to use internet and software on their own, but this is not the case for many of them. They need to be taught how to make a critical use of web resources, they don't learn that on their own and as teachers aren't prepared to teach it, you can observe that most students use internet resources just to 'copy and paste' information they don't understand.
        In my opinion, a good idea would be to deliver training courses according to the teachers' needs and also to provide the opportunities for teachers to do so. Courses where teachers have to attend classes is not a good option, time is a problem which teachers face, because most of them work in different places, teaching different groups.
        I really hope that some decisions take place regarding these topics, otherwise the investment in teachnology is pretty useless.
        I appreciate your interest in the topic and I'm looking forward to receiving ideas and suggestions about it.