Archive for April 2008
Remoteness correlates with decreasing quality of primary education.
- Why? No other factors correlated except
- “Would you rather work somewhere else?”
Business process outsourcing industry – a belt c. 100km outside Delhi
- satellite townships outside Delhi
- land costs more than manhattan, costs are like the developing world – because salaries have been driven up by competition
- need to keep prices down forced the outsourcing industries further outside Delhi.
At 200km, every teacher wants to be elsewhere
- correlates with poor standard of primary education
But there are also bad schools in the city
- prompted a redefinition of ‘remoteness’ as ‘areas where people don’t want to work’
- Confirmed by studies from the US
- Training aggravates the problem, enabling a brain drain to the cities
Alternatives are needed
- where shcools don’t exist, aren’t good, where teachers are not available or good enough.
- Improving the teachers is not going to help
- developed for markets
- should be developed for the underprivileged first
Hole in the wall – Kalkaji
- New Delhi sprawling urban slum outside the boundary wall of an IT Training company
- SM put a whole in the wal, embedded a touchpad, monitor, internet connection
- 3 ft off the ground – attracted 8-13yo children. He wasn’t watching – visited every 4 hours
- does lang matter, did anyone teaching, will the computer last, is this real?
Repeat in Shivpuri
- assured that nobody had taught anybody there anything for a long time
- staked out in a car with a long zoom lens. Film
- 43 deg, 2.32.
- 13 yo school dropout – never seen a TV where you can do something. Accidentally clicked. 8 minutes later he was intentionally browsing. He described the pages as channels.
- By evening about 70 children were browsing
- boss said that $50 of instruction had happened and looked very grim
Big question was English. To what extent was the foreign lang implicated in progress
Madantusi repeat (near Lucknow, sheep reaering)
- no internet – lots of CD material
- More girls used the compute rthan in the city. None of the adults. Women at a distance and watched
- After 3 months, SM returned. THey asked him for a faster processor and a better
- He asked how they knew they replied you have given us a machine that works only english, so in order to use it we learnt the language. This is typical until 13. They were using 100 Eng words with each other, pronouncing them in a southern american drawl from an American Anatomy CD.
SM got funding to prove that this was universal. 5 years. 23 repeats across socioeconomic, ethnicities, geographies
- asking whether the educational effects were the same
- reengineer a computer to withstand outdoors, high temperatures, low temparatures. Hardware to sense a hang and reboot. A rollback for the desktop
Repeat Himalayas, 19k feet dry cold,; Almora, deciduous and cool; Rjastan desert, hot and sand; Kisanghat; Sankhda; central India – Banda corrosive open air, humid; Kalse, Talawde etc. Control and experimental groups, computer literacy test
- Groups of children can learn to use computers and the internet on their own irrespective of who or where they are.
- At 14 the children say “we are poor” we’re from a developing country” “how can we possibly do anything”
- They have to be in a safe public place that they associate with free time and play. If they’re in shcool the girls say their mothers tell them not to go into a closed room at all
- 200-300 children share on computer effectively to become computer literate in 3 months – one operator, 3 advisers, 12 discussants and erring advisers. At 8 learning by watching is as good as learning by doing – maybe because 8 year olds are told not to do as many things as they are told to do things.
- Costs 1.5p per child per day.
- Poor children go to private schools to learn ENglish, but the teachers speak with strong south indian accent and cannot be understood
- struck sm as a direct case for tech intervention (why didn’t he intervene with the teachers?)
- Trained dragon dictate for RP pronunciation
There must be a limit to the self-organised education
Kalikuppam – southern india, tsunami’d – clean slate. No school, nothing. Parents mostly illiterate
- Can Tamil-speaking children learn biotechnology in English on their own?
- 2 months later sm returned. The children said they learnt nothing. He asked How many times did you look at the material? Every day. He then asked again if they understood “Apart from the fact that defects in the reporduction in the DNA molecule can cause genetic disease, we understood nothing”
- in one school every child has a laptop. 8 year olds
- children asked to divide selves up into any size group, each group to use only one laptop. they worked through 6 gcse questions using google
- they chose each group of 4. only one group couldn’t solve it – this was because 3 boys absented themselves
- teacher queried whether learning had happened
- Changes in aspiration. Prospective fisherwoman who is now studying aeronautical engineering and attributes this to hole in the wall
- inclusion in educational curricula – self-organising
- many remote locations
- Rose Luckin’s “one laptop per village” project in Kenya.
March of the digital native
Joan – Coalition for Networked Info
Physical library doesn’t fit with the lifestyle of younger users – worrying for academic librarians
- AND grew up with the stuff
- aka (Pew Internet and American Life) DotNets, Gen Y etc
- always connected, multi-tasking, group orientated, experiential, visual, producers and consumers, visual rather than textual.
- social, active, contextual, engaging, student-owned (Carmean and Haefner, Mind Over Matter, Educause)
Students are connected
- ECAR Study (2007) of Undergrad Students and INformation Technology.
- 18-24 are only group who would give up tv and radio before the internet (stunning ignorance of other groups)
- Lee Rainie ‘Digital Natives Invade the Workplace’ – Pew
Mixed about social aspects
- 18-25 yo 67% say it makes you more isolated, 64% say it makes you closer to friends and family
Multitasking to REM and Van Morrison involves doing nothing but watching their gig.
Erika something ‘The Personal Media Revolution’
- but tutors are more interesting in “instilling in students the art of a flow of argment”
- Gutenberg-e project – “needed editorial and technical help at every stage” (Chronicle of Higher Education)
Henry Jenkins of MIT on what it is important to teach to students
- simulation – to create dynamic models
- appropriation to remix etc.
Rethinking teaching services and environments
- PRS – CLicker Pilot (look at this more)
- Dartmouth Centre for Research, Writing and IT
- George Mason – tools for digital scholarship in History
- Pennsylvania – IT social bookmarking service
- UMass – Learning / Information Commons – group work areas
- U Stanford – Teamspot
- Georgia Tech – practice presentation room
Philip Bray – Politics, English and Physics
Maths, Engl Lit, Latin Hist
Sophie – Medical Undergrad
Dan – Chemistry Year 3
Sixth formers use gmail and chat a lot. They don’t know what RSS.
Sophie – mostly books and talking. Next year will need to use online journals.
Yuen – Google search, ERIC for study. Social life – gmail. Blogging and facebook. MSN for chatting with friends.
Dan needs textbooks because there is not enough specific chemistry stuff online. Agrees with the social / education split. He uses webmail to keep it all in one place. Another student advised him to sent it through to gmail. Homepage is BBC, nobody using RSS.
Dan: a lot of our tutors are postgrads. We drink with them.
Sixth formers: students and teachers don’t mix. “It seems a little odd to facebook teachers at this stage”.
Philip says his syllabuses are “really wide and narrow” depending on the subject.
Other sixth former notes that the textbooks are very clearly exam-based
Other observations – there’s a lot of ageism around today.
Dan: science and maths does not have to be restricted. Good teachers will understand that what you have to know is quite limited.
Yuen notes that there needs to be a balance of teaching facts (making sure people understand) and then exploring with them
Librarian mentioned quality of information
- dan and philip talk about taking a range of sources
Most memorable experience
- when something striking happens and you understand the principles behind it (Dan)
- having the chance to express yourself (Yuen)
- Sophie – buzzing teachers
- x – debates about Hamlet
- philip – year 7 & 8 history making a model of a motte and bailey castle. Knows intricacies of the defense features.
- Stuart – reward for teachers is “seeing students change”
the reliability of wikipedia
- general defence
Interesting reluctance to interrupt the lecture with questions, even text ones?
What about technology in schools?
- x – better than my old school in Germany
- Philip – worse than my school in Kingston which had whiteboards and computer in every room
- Dan – the college insisted that we buy a laptop – you have to pay for it yourself
- Sophie doesn’t have a laptop
- Yuen – it’s easy to find a desktop to check your email
- Stuart – it’s mixed across disciplines – some depts are pretty woeful
If computers were removed could you still do well in your exams?
- if you’re really into a subj you don’t need exams to keep you going (Philip). But I’m weak at physics and if I didn’t have the exam to keep me going then I probably wouldn’t do as weel.
- Yuen – exams as benchmarking, students understand their own progress
- Dan – something to work towards
- Stuart: “Great, lectures are good and they want exams”.
- “unwritten rule that you don’t quote from Wikipedia”
- Dan nobody is using laptops because you can’t draw diagrams
- Stuart (fantastic – lectures, exams, pen&paper)
Warwick bloke – trend catching on record lecture in advance and then go and discuss
- Students are turning up
- Sophie – you might be tempted not to go
- Dan – excellent idea. You can skive and still learn what the lecturer is coming
Training or warning – what do the schools do?
- Philip – they block the sites. It’s really frustrating – it’s just common sense. It’s that simple.
- Dan – when I was in the 6th form nobody really mentioned web safety.
Online study group, Ryerson, nearly expelled
- Dan: never been in an online group
- students don’t perceive difference between online and offline study group
What should be anticipating next?