OLPC Keynote from SITE 2008

Sorry that it took so long, but getting back to another crazy week finds me now, on the Friday might before MRA 2008, catching up on SITE.

That said, I have one final set of notes and reflections, and this keynote was a good one. Dr. Antonio Battro, the Chief Education Officer for One Laptop Per Child delivered an excellent keynote address and post-keynote discussion. Highlights from both are here, followed by my reflections.

Also, FYI, I have update my presentation post from a few days ago, and it now includes a podcast of my session.

Here are the notes from the keynote, followed by notes from the post-keynote discussion, and, finally, my reflections:

The Cognitive Challenges of the One Laptop Per Child Program
Antonio Battro, Chief Education Officer One Laptop Per Child

  • OLPC (and per teacher)
    • Sharing knowledge is a dialogue, and this is the essence of OLPC
    • The machines may change, but education must evolve
  • History
    • Nicholas Negroponte
      • 1960’s architecture of the machine
      • In Paris, Battro spent some time with him and in the early 80’s began thinking about deploying machines in remote countries
  • Five OLPC Principles
    • Child ownership
      • This is the key, as the child and the teacher own the computers and they are given to them as a gift
      • It is difficult to understand for many ministers of education, because they want the school to own the computer — not the child or teacher
      • When we go to the highest levels of the governments that we work with, this is the first obstacle that we have to overcome
      • Uruguay is the first country to adopt OLPC for the entire country, and the machine was produced in Shanghai
        • The machines arrived during the last week of classes in November and there was discussion about what to do
          • One group said that we should give the machines to the teachers with a workshop and when classes start again in March, the kids can get them
          • Another group said that this is not the OLPC idea — we should give the machines to the children tomorrow (and this is what happened)
          • 10,000 students received the machine
          • Doing research on children and teachers who get the machine with no formal training (this is the last time that this will happen since all the children will have machines next year)
    • Low ages
      • In many countries, the idea of having digital skills is meant for adolescents and older students
      • For OLPC, kindergarten is too late and we have designed a machine that is for early ages
      • The interface is adapted very well for a child even before they learn how to read and write
      • Uruguay is starting in kindergarten because they have seen so much success with the 5 and 6 year old children
      • This motivation to start early came from Jean Piaget and Seymour Papert
        • In about 1960, Seymour Papert said that all children will eventually have a computer
        • This was a crazy idea, but he was a prophet (he developed Logo)
      • Piaget
        • Constructionism (how the child constructs reality)
          • Learning to learn
          • Children teach — this was a very profound idea, too
            • At five years old, children are very good teachers and OLPC will have millions of teachers around the world
      • Howard Gardner
        • Multiple Intelligences for the 21st Century
          • The human mind has evolved a number of separate organs/information-processing devices
          • Taking human differences seriously lies at the heart of the multiple intelligences perspective
            • We do a different kind of construction for each intelligence
              • Digital intelligence (“the click option”)
                • Everything boils down to a simple question: to click or not to click
              • What happens when a child makes a mental calculation (Hideaki Koizumi, 2006)
                • The frontal lobe is activated by mental arithmetic
                • The frontal lobe is not activated when using a calculator
                  • So, what could it being doing instead?
                  • His dream is to write a book with Hideaki Koizumi about the activation of the human brain when teaching
                  • Knowing that someone else doesn’t know something and then teaching it — this is an amazing human capacity, and children can do this
    • Saturation
      • Every child has a machine and it is like a vaccination
        • Once you have good trials, you have the obligation to vaccinate everyone or else the vaccine will not work
          • This idea was presented by Jonah Salk (correct name?)
        • We prefer to have a whole town or region saturated
          • One example: in a setting with all the ministers of a country where he took at picture
    • Connection
      • Ability to connect with other users
      • The computer is not a tool, it is an environment
    • Free and open source
      • Multiple languages for the machine
      • 100 books for the machine
  • Conclusion
    • Our approach has moved from education for the few and privileged (image of Greek forum) to one computer for all the children (image of a girl with the machine balanced on her head)
    • This is hope, justice, and peace
  • Questions and Answers
    • How might this affect countries that are not democratic?
      • OLPC is non-profit and incorporated in the USA
      • OLPC will go everywhere and try to join the education efforts in the country that we work with
        • Some places need an extra push
        • We are teachers without borders and many of our people are volunteers
      • Peru — putting machines in the most remote areas of the country
    • Bill Gates idea that technology will not solve the problems — we need teachers and electricity. How do you respond to this?
      • Battro discussed his experience as a medical doctor and the eradication of disease (saturation)
      • Also, OLPC is not about machines; instead it is about education (we must have water AND education — education today is about having a computer)
        • If you introduce the computer as a technical, colonial invention, then you are reducing education
        • Education has a value in and of itself, not just as a tool
        • In many difficult places today, there are lots of struggles but the governments are willing to give the computers out

Post-Keynote Discussion

  • Security — some people are worried that the laptops will be stolen and used for illicit purposes
    • Response — the machine isn’t “on the market,” so it doesn’t have a price
    • Also, if it is lost, it can be permanently disabled from afar
    • Finally, the communities that have these laptops know that they are for the children. If adults have them, and they are are not teachers, then it is likely stolen
  • Maintenance — worries about fixing the machines in remote spots
    • Response — easy to open and repair, if it can’t be done at school it can be mailed
    • Eventually, it would be great if people could just take their laptops to any post office and, like other items like keys, they would automatically be sent in for repair and then back to the child
  • Student Use — what is happening for teachers training to support student use?
    • Rapid deployment of laptops and teachers are changing pedagogy quickly, too
    • Teachers are moving from classroom to classroom to see new practices
  • School Architecture — how do the laptops affect this?
    • Changing from desks and rows to tables and chairs in South America

    Printers — why can’t they print easily?

    • Printers are disruptive, ink is expensive, and it encourages old ways of production and transmission of information (worksheets)
  • Support — how can educators help?
    • Need more than just money from big corporations. Family, teachers, and students can use the machines for authentic purposes (USB plug in monitors and probes)
  • Education — there is a consensus that we need to change, but we are working with public funds. Also, many governments see teachers as obstacles, but we see them learning with the students. Teachers are our best collaborators. If all kids have the machine, then they are going to use it all the time. Saturation of laptops is the medical equivalent of vaccination.
  • Concluding comments — this is a project not about laptops, but about students and teachers.

Reflections

The juxtaposition of us, as educators concerned about social justice and equitable access, sitting in the cavernous conference hall of a casino on the strip in Las Vegas did not elude me. Here we were, with our $1000 (or $2000 or $3000 laptops), writing from America’s heart of conspicuous consumption about how “little green machines” are working around the world to empower youth as producers of knowledge, media, and culture. In a town where one is inundated by only a few views of what counts as culture, we had to buy into that part of the illusion to be able to sit in the room with an educator who is, literally, changing the world from a grassroots level.

Dr. Battro, as both an MD and PhD, shared a unique perspective with us on why the laptops have to be in the hands of every child. What public health officials understand about vaccinations are that they are not helpful at all unless everyone gets them. In that sense, it would not serve to only give laptops to some children, or to stop after this initial roll out is complete. This program is designed to be sustainable, a educational inoculation for generations to come.

My question for him was about the imminent release of Windows XP for the laptop. His response: it doesn’t matter to me. In other words, it really is about the literacies enable by the machine, not the particular tools. I will be interested in seeing how that plays out, especially if XP goes open source.

Well, there was a lot of information from that session. Even as I reread it a week later and half a continent away, on the cusp of another conference, I am still intrigued by the core message that this is not a laptop initiative, it is an educational initiative. This can not be underestimated and gives me pause to think about the ways that I continue to frame discussions of technology and literacy, and reminds me that I need to play with my own children as they teach me about their laptops.

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Three More SITE Presentations: Pre-Service Teachers and Technology

These are the final three sessions that I will attend at SITE before heading home. I have notes on the keynote and follow-up conversation from this morning that I still need to clean-up and process (as well as a podcast for my presentation from a few days ago). I will get that all done later, as I need to catch a plane. So long, Las Vegas!
Technology Use Among Pre-Service Teachers: Implications for Instructions
Stephen Jenkins, Elizabeth Downs, and Terry Diamanduros, Georgia Southern University

  • Not much information know about pre-service teachers and use of technology
    • Lots of info on teen use from Pew Internet
  • Research Question
    • What is technology use for undergraduate pre-service teachers? for daily use, technology vs. F2F, and for communication
  • Tech Ownership
    • Computer: 96%
    • Cell phone: 99%
    • Landline: 28%
    • iPod/MP3: 60%
  • Daily Use
    • Cell phone talking: about 2 hours
    • Texting: about an hour
    • Academics: about an hour
    • Facebook: about an hour
    • Internet searching: about an hour
    • iPod: 45 minutes
    • Email: 45 minutes
  • Face-to-Face
    • Family: One hour
    • Friends: Fours hours
    • Classmates: About two hours
    • Work: About two hours
  • Audiences:
    • Generally prefer phone
  • Purposes:
    • Phone primarily used for quick and serious conversations
    • Private conversations happen F2F
  • Discussion
    • Course development
      • Even though they are familiar with many technologies, they may not be ready to integrate them into assignments

Evaluating the Implementation of the ISTE NETS and Performance Indicators in Teacher Education
Andrew Hunt and Jennifer Hune, University of Arkansas at Little Rock

  • Research Questions
    • How do faculty perceptions of their intended curriculum compare with student perceptions of their received curriculum on integration of technology into restructured courses?
  • Findings
    • We discovered that students were doing most of the things we were expecting them to do, but may not have realized that they were doing it
    • We as instructors have a different interpretation of what it means to have a computer problem
    • With intentional focus, we are able to make sure that we cover all the technologies and that the pre-service teachers understand that we are doing so

Teachers’ Belief Change in a Pedagogical Laboratory
Yuxin Ma, University of Louisiana at Lafayette

  • Motivation of the Study
    • How do we affect teachers’ beliefs about the use of technology in teaching
    • Our focus: A combination of vicarious learning experiences and hands-on technology integration field experiences
    • Beliefs will change after exposure and field experience using technology; have a defining moment
  • Research Questions
    • Does the pedagogical lab experience affect their beliefs about technology use?
    • What and how does it change their beliefs?
  • Pedagogical Laboratory Experience
    • 4 week experience, mostly in university classroom
    • Watch video case study, experience model lesson
    • Look at a model lesson plan to modify
    • On two consecutive Saturdays, we bring in kids and have two pre-service teachers work with two children for a total of six hours
    • Critical incident technique to focus on an “aha” moment
  • Data Sources
    • Teachers’ Beliefs Regarding Technology Use Survey (TBTUS)
      • Student centered learning
      • Self-efficacy for technology integration
      • Perceived value of computers
    • Teacher perception survey
    • Reflective journals
    • Follow-up interviews
  • Results
    • Does the pedagogical lab use affect teacher candidates’ beliefs regarding technology use?
      • Reinforced non-learner centered belief — why?
    • Why and how does the pedagogical lab experience affect change?
      • Insignificant findings in TBTUS
      • Beliefs did change, but not measured by TBTUS
        • Value of technology in engaging students
        • Challenges in technology integration
        • Issues involved in student-centered learning — teacher wanting to keep control
        • Classroom management
        • Understanding learners
  • Conclusion
    • TBTUS may not be sensitive to the changes in our program (22 hours of experience with only six hours of teaching)
    • The belief changes are different
  • Future Directions
    • Provide longer treatment
    • Develop more sensitive measures
    • Train candidates on how to address various issues in student-centered learning

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Three More SITE Presentations: Pre-Service Teachers, Wikis, and Social Networking

Reflective Digital Media in Teacher Education
Timo Portimojarvi, University of Tampere, Finland

  • Developing curriculum of teacher education
    • Cultural view of curriculum and profession
      • Historical, cultural, and political objectives
      • Teachers are social and cultural actors
      • The development of the curriculum is a practice-based research process
    • Three-level curriculum model
      • Personal level – autobiographical and individual process of developing a personal and professional identity
        • Experiential life world
          • Streams of situations, feelings, actions and ideas
          • In Te, experiences in teaching practices, studies, and personal life
        • Rich multimodal documentation
          • Record of situations, experiences, and moods collected easily and quickly without critical selection
          • Basis for reflection on action (or already reflection in action)
        • Personal mobile devices
          • cellular phones for imaging, recording, and making notes (“lifeblog”)
          • Blog-based digital portfolio
      • Group level – social processes of becoming a member of the profession
        • Conceptual and practical life world
          • Practices, requirements, and cultures of the community
        • Combining and considering information
          • Dialog with peers and proportioning individual and shared new conceptions with formal requirements and personal prior knowledge
        • Shared virtual spaces
          • Group blogs and an aggregated entity of the personal blog
          • Wiki-based collaborative document creation
      • Public level – skills and attitiudes in participating in public discourses
        • Discourse of teacher profession
          • Developing curriculum and the working culture of the school
          • Connection to larger networks of colleagues, parents, and other partners
        • Producing, reproducing, and publishing formal information
          • Outlines, plans, and statements for the future
          • Reflection for action, done for preparation of future moments in various contexts, based on re-interpretation of earlier reflections
        • Public forums of participation
          • Open forums, blogs, wikis, and other environments
          • Skills for participating and the use of tools learned in teacher education
  • Reflective learning in teacher profession and education
    • Teacher as reflective practitioner
      • inquiry-based approach to his or her own work
      • critical reflection as a tool for ongoing personal and professional development (revising curriculum, improving their work environmenent, professionalizing teaching, developing policy)
    • Teacher education (reflective action in 3×3 levels)
      • Refection on, in, and for action
      • Reflection about content, process, and permises
  • Enhancing documentation and reflections with digital media
    • Student journals or portfolios
      • Often used in higher education context
      • Can promote reflection in many ways through varying strategies and devices
    • Digital media supporting learning and reflection — new tools for:
      • Recognition and awareness
      • Documentation
      • Sharing
      • Discussion and dialog
      • Presenting
  • Framework for reflective media in teacher education
    • Aspects of the study
      • Type of media
      • Forms of activity
      • Focus of reflection
      • Digital media skills
      • Relation with information
    • Levels of study
      • Individual
      • Group
      • Public
  • Results of implementing this framework will be shared in the future

Technology-rich Teacher Education: Faculty Concerns During Involvement in a Technology-Rich Cohort of Teacher Candidates
Loretta Donovan and Tim Green, Cal State-Fullerton, USA

Can We Model Wiki Use in Technology Courses to Help Teachers Use Wikis in Their Classrooms
Swapna Kumar, Boston University

  • Project Steps
    • Began by looking at wikis — invited them to find three wikis used in education
    • Looked at good and bad wiki designs using Wikispaces or PBWiki
    • Dicussion on the challenges, questions, usefulness
      • Activities that the wiki is useful for
        • Reconsidered projects that they had students do in collaboration previously
          • Brainstorming
      • Instructions for using it
      • Grading of wiki work
      • Boundaries for students
    • Individual use of wikis
      • Teachers developed an activity for an element of their curriculum
        • Teachers say that students are writing better: more explicit in detail and more careful in language
  • Follow-Up Study
    • Gather data from how teachers used wikis in thier classrooms and student reactions

The Mash-Up of Web 2.0 Technologies: The Future of Podcasting and Social Networking
Brad Reamsbottom and Calvin Toth, University of Lethbridge, Canada

  • Podcasting: Subscription-based audio and video available for students
  • Where are students accessing podcasts?
  • Students prefer social networks
    • We went there, and they don’t want us there
  • Why did we forget about other places besides social networks
    • It takes more time to create a blog, podcast, vidcast
    • It needs to be entertaining (not just a lecture on YouTube)
    • News has to entertain and make minds inquire
    • iTunes U requires lots of setup
  • Podcast Problem Solving
    • Create synamic content — students don’t want to hear more lecture
    • Make it available using the tools that they use
      • Viddler
        • Video-based website that allows dynamic commenting and blog integration
        • Acts as an informant and supporting resource
      • JumpCut
        • Online video editing tool; import video, photos, and audio and edit them into a creative and fun presentation
      • TokBox
        • Web-based video conferencing
        • Send video email and make video calls
        • Video emails can be embedded on blogs
        • Blogs can hold extra resources to support the podcast
      • YouTube
    • Let your students make it viral
      • If it is attractive to them, they will repurpose it and repost it in their blogs
  • Remember the Rules
    • Keep it fun and creative
    • Don’t lecture
    • Don’t limit yourself
    • Share it, don’t force it
    • Create inquiring minds
    • Imagery and sound
    • Tag it