Monday, January 21, 2008

OLPC In Action

by Richard Byrne

I have been following the development of the OLPC project since I first heard about it almost two years ago. Honestly, I was very excited when OLPC announced earlier this month that they are making the computers available in the United States. (Many of the ten-years-old computers being used in my district can be out performed by the OLPC machines).

The slide show I've posted was made at the Galadima Primary School in Abuja, Nigeria. The audio accompanying the slide show has a number of quotes from teachers and students regarding the OLPC laptops. I found this quote from Mr. Olayinka particularly interesting, "When the laptop came it opened the eyes of the teachers and the pupils." Mr. Olayinka's statement made me wonder how much, if any in some cases, the laptops provided by MLTI have opened the eyes of the teachers and students I work with. I know there are many ways in which MLTI laptops can help Maine teachers, but how do we go about getting everyone to embrace technology integration? Have the MLTI laptops opened the eyes of the teachers and students you work with?

Note: This is my first post on this blog. Jim Burke invited me to be an author last week, thank you Jim. Jim wrote a nice post about me, my blog, and my role in teaching teachers to integrate technology in Oxford Hills. Thank you again Jim.


Jim Burke said...

Great to have you onboard, Richard. A goal of this site is to have as many Maine educators as possible sharing their ideas and wisdom. If you know of anyone else who might like to contribute, let me know, and we'll send them an invite.

I took the liberty of adding your name at the top of the post and adding a label for the index at the bottom. The reason for the name at the top has to do with how the post is displayed on readers such as Google reader. It is simply a work-around so that the author gets credit instead of have the post attributed to me. It is not immediately obvious who the writer is in the "reader" unless his/her name is added.

Looking forward to seeing more of your posts. Thanks. :)


Mr. Byrne said...

I wondered about how the post would look in a RSS feed. In the future I'll add my name at the top and label the post.

Jim Moulton said...

Jim Moulton - Bowdoin, ME

Richard -

You ask the question, "Has it (the MLTI and the arrival of laptops) opened the eyes..." I am engaged by both the simplicity and the depth of the question.

I go to a lot of schools, not only here in Maine, but across the country, and in far too many situations, the eyes I see opening to the arrival of technology are those whose eyes would open had steam engines been delivered instead of laptops... Those are the eyes of innovators, of folks who have maintained their curiosity longer than most, and are unwilling to allow the institutional realities to shut that curiosity down.

And the same goes for kids...

But it must also be said that there are many schools that have had their "institutional eyes" opened, and this is consistently due to an effective principal who has worked with their school community and created a clear vision of doing best for all kids, and has expected and empowered teachers to achieve that vision. I have written about the importance of the principal in driving change in a couple of places:; Suggestions for a Principal Who is New to the MLTI

Edutopia's Spiral Notebook; Pressure as support for Change

Perhaps, simply speaking, it is more important to be willing to have one's eyes opened than it is to be specific about what it is someone's eyes are opened to...

Just be aware, be always aware. And constantly seek better ways to teach, and better tools to use, to do better by more kids.



Oscar Zagazeta said...

the link Suggestions for a Principal Who is New to the MLTI

does not work :(