Some interesting feedback from teachers at Bashuki

In his comprehensive overview of our experience so far, Rabi had mentioned that Bashuki’s School Management (SMC) Committee and teachers had jointly decided to wait for one week after the project launch before allowing students to take the laptops home even though our preference was to let the chidren take the laptops home right away. Their decision was apparently based on the following assumptions:

1. In the past, quite a few students who showed up on the first day of school disappeared within the first week. So it would take at least a week to find out who would be coming to school for sure.

2. Given the socio-economic conditions of the community, protection of laptops at home and during the kids’ daily commute to and from school would be a big problem. So it would be best to first give the children a week to get fully familiar with the machines in the school itself.

It turns out that the teachers  and SMC members had indeed made the right decision in waiting for a week before letting the kids take the lapotps home. In particular, their first assumption turned out to be quite consistent with reality. Needless to say, far fewer grade 2 and 6 students (i.e., grades receiving laptops), dropped out in the first week this year compared to last year; but nevertheless, around 9 students might not show up in the coming months. 

Interestingly, however, the teachers told us that their experience during the past three weeks has led them to completely drop their second assumption.  According to their observation, there have been absolutely no problems related to the protection of laptops. The children and their families are taking very good care of them. And there have been no instances of laptops getting lost, stolen, pawned, or forcibly taken (even if temporarily) by others–these were the potential dangers the SMC members and teachers were quite concerned about. 

Another interesting observation from the teachers relates to attendance. Even though it might a bit too early to tell how attendance is going to be impacted over the long haul, this is what the teachers conveyed to us:

1. Compared to last year, there has beeen a distinct decrease in the % of dropouts during the first three weeks. While 253 students appeared on the first day of school last year, the number dwindled to 190 by the end of the 3rd week. On the other hand, of the 225 students who came to school the first day, 200 have been attending school regularly even at the end of the 3rd week. The teachers feel that the introduction of Epaati is the main reason behind this positive change.

2. Compared to last year, the number of students disappearing from school in the middle of the school day has also drecreased significantly. Apparently, this is generally a notable problem in the school. But now, at least in grades 2 and 6, no one leaves school before the end of the school day. 

3.  There also seems to be some spillover effect on the other grades (perhaps because they have siblings in grade 2 and 6)–the attendance in the other grades has also improved.

It is relevant to note that these are general impressions on the part of the teachers (not the outcome of systematic research!).  Nevertheless, these are encouraging outcomes.

One final intersting comment from the teachers realtes to the unavailability of power adapters for charging at home.  Currently, the kids charge the laptops in school and take them home. There is enough charge for them to do Epaati activities and a little bit more at home; but by the time they are done, it is time for recharging. The teachers strongly recommended that we keep it this way–i.e., not make charging facilities avaiable at home. The reason? To give the kids motivation to come to school regularly! This is indeed an interesting point.

Saurav Dev Bhatta, Education Director

Teacher Preparation Program for the OLPC Project—Part II

We have just completed Part II of our teacher preparation program. The complete teacher training consisted of two segments:

Part I) A 4 day intensive residential, out-of-school training that focuses on integrating digitial educational materials and ICT-based teaching approaches in the regular classroom instruction process. This was completed on April 1, 2008. An earlier blog post has details about this segment of the training.

Part II) A 4 day training in the teachers’ regular classrooms where they get hand-on experience in developing, implementing, and fine-tuning child-centric, interactive, ICT-integrated lesson plans. This was completed on Friday, May 2, 2008. The current post is about this segment only.

Training location

For Bashuki teachers, the training was held at Bashuki Lower Secondary School itself. Similarly, for Bishwamitra teachers, it was held at Bishwamitra Lower Secondary School.

Why in-school training?

Important fact: TEACHING THE KIDS HOW TO USE THE LAPTOPS IS A RELATIVELY EASY TASK. THEY PICK IT UP IN NO TIME (within a few hours!!).

Even more important fact: THE REAL CHALLENGE IS INTEGRATING THE LAPTOP AND THE AVAILABLE DIGITAL CONTENT IN THE REGULAR CLASSROOM INSTRUCTION PROCESS.

The residential portion of the training did give the teachers some experience in integrating E-Paati in the classroom process (apart from making them completely familiar with the use of the laptop). But the simulated classroom environment in any residential training is a far cry from the actual setting in their own schools. Furthermore, since each school is very different in terms of physical infrastructure, student composition, community involvement and other resources, there are unique practical challenges associated with each school. So we felt that it would be very useful to give teachers hands-on experience in integrating E-Paati in their regular classrooms.

There is another important reason why in-school training is important in this case. In most teacher training programs, it is possible for teachers to learn about new approaches to teaching outside their school (for example, through practice teaching in another school) and they can take this knowledge to their own classrooms later. But in the present context, successful implementation in the classroom also requires the students themselves to learn about the new approach to learning and teaching. And this can only happen in the school where the laptop program is being implemented.

Structure of the training

Each day of the training was divided into four major segments:

1. Lesson plan review and revision

  • Content: group review of lesson plan for the day.
  • Participants: all the teachers in the schools + facilitators from OLE Nepal
  • Time allocated: 1 hour (before the start of classes)

2. Classroom instruction and observation

  • Content: classroom teaching according to the lesson plan
  • Participants: teachers (one teacher teaches the students; the rest are observers) + OLE Nepal observers + students
  • Time allocated: 3 to 4 full class periods (one period = 45 minutes in Bashuki; one period = 40 minutes in Bishwamitra)

3. Feedback

  • Content: discussion on the day’s experience (strengths, weaknesses, recommendations for improvement)
  • Participants: all teachers + OLE Nepal facilitators
  • Time allocated: 1-1.5 hours

4. Lesson planning for the next day

  • Content: development of a detailed lesson plans for each class
  • Participants: teachers delivering the lectures in these classes
  • Time allocated: 1 hour

On the first day of the training (Saturday, April 26), the teachers focused on teaching the students how to use the laptop and the E-Paati activities in the laptop. This was done in two 1.5 hour long sessions.

During the remaining four days, the teachers conducted regular math and English classes in grades two and six according to the ICT-integrated lesson plans they developed. At Bishwamitra the ICT-integrated classes were held on Sunday (April 27) , Monday (April 28), Tuesday (April 29) and Wednesday (April 30). Bashuki conducted similar classes starting Monday (April 29). But since they had decided to keep the laptops in school for this first week of classes, they set aside Wednesday (April 30) for giving students more practice on how to use the laptops. They had a break on Thursday and completed the training program on Friday (May 2).

Overview of content covered in the training

Lesson planning: Integrating ICT-based educational materials in the classroom requires teachers to carefully plan their lessons. We wanted to give the teachers a very simple framework for developing lesson plans so that they would continue to use it even after the training. If they were to use it throughout the year, they would have to see that planning the lessons would not really take up too much of their time—and that it would help them in their other classes as well.

Each lesson plan in this training consisted of the following: a) listing of the learning objectives of the class, b) listing and brief descriptions of the topics or activities to be covered in the class, and c) listing of time allocated for each topic or activity. E-Paati activites were integrated in each lesson plan as one of the many activities covered to meet the learning objectives of the class. We emphasized that the goal should be to integrate E-paati in the classroom lesson plan; not devise a lesson plan around the E-Paati activities. As a rule of thumb, we emphasized that E-Paati use should not take up more than 40% of the total time allocated for the class.

Lesson plan review and revision: The lesson plans developed were critically reviewed and revised by all the teachers together to make sure that a) the learning objectives of lesson were properly clarified, b) the topics covered—including E-Patti topics—were consistent with the stated learning objectives, and c) the time allocated for each topic/activity was appropriate.

Classroom instruction and observation: This segment of the daily training was designed to (i) give subject teachers hands-on experience in teaching according to the integrated lesson plans and (ii) enable other teachers to critically examine the teaching-learning process in the regular classroom. Hence, while the subject teacher was conducting the lesson, the other teachers noted down their critical observations in the following areas:

a) Classroom structure (including appropriateness of seating arrangement, placement of charging racks, seat assignment schemes etc.)

b) Correspondence between lesson plan and practice

c) Time on task (effective use of time from the perspective of student learning)

d) Interaction (student—student; student—teacher) and participation of students in the learning process

e) Instruction delivery (clarity, adequacy of explanations, …)

f) Time and classroom management (including tackling disruptive behavior on the part of students)

Feedback session: Feedback sessions were held at the end of each day to critically review the classroom process. The teachers delivering the lectures worked with the observers to analyze the strengths and weaknesses of the classes held that day focusing on the six areas listed above. Through these discussions, the participants were able to identify areas that needed improvement and develop strategies for tackling problems.

Grade 2 students at Bishwamitra (English class)–totally into it!

Bishwamitra grade 2 students working away

Grade 6 students at Bishwamitra (math class)

Bishwamitra grade 6 students working intesnsely-1

Staff involved in the training

Facilitators/observers:

  • Saurav Dev Bhatta and Rabi Karmacharya (all five days)
  • Kamana Regmi (three days); Bipul Gautam (one day).

Most interesting outcomes

  • Grade 6 students in both schools took just one day to become familiar with using the laptops!
  • The children at Bishwamitra were allowed to take the laptops home immediately after receiving them. The children at Bashuki, however, did not take the computers home this first week. This decision was made by the respective school administrations. Not surprisingly, we observed that the Bishwamitra kids were much more familiar with the machines by the second day of the training. The difference was more pronounced in the case of grade 2 children—it took two days for the Bashuki grade 2 students to get the hang of things, while it took the Bishwamitra kids only one day.
  • In both schools, the teachers had no experience in designing and using systematic lesson plans. They were very appreciative of the experience they gained during this training period.
  • One of the main challenges teachers initially faced when designing ICT-integrated lessons was in focusing on the learning objectives rather than on the E-Paati activities.
  • The biggest difficulties faced by the teachers in the classroom were a) getting the attention of students and b) managing the time. Once the students had the laptops in front of them, they were generally oblivious to what the teacher was saying. It was, therefore, very difficult for the teacher to cover all the material that needed to be covered in that class period. For example, on the second day of the training, the classes ran up to 30 minutes overtime on the second day of the training.
  • It was much more challenging for the teachers to get the attention of the grade 2 students. In fact, on the first day, there was chaos in the grade 2 classes in both schools!
  • Initially, just the process of getting the laptops from the charging racks and putting them back after use took up a significant amount of time.
  • The most effective ways of getting the attention of students were as follows: asking all the students to close the laptops; asking them to clap together, or stand up and stretch together; producing an alien sound that would grab their attention (for example, rattling a can of marbles).
  • In the case of grade 6, by the end of the training, the teachers had completely figured out how to efficiently and effectively conduct E-Paati integrated classes within the time period allocated for the class. But they felt that it would perhaps take another week for them to fine tune the classroom process in grade 2.
  • Bishwamitra teachers Manoj (who teachers grade 6 math) and Bhim (who teaches grade 2 math) were naturals at designing and implementing E-Paati integrated classes. Very impressive!
  • The teachers in both schools felt that the most useful parts of the training were the feedback sessions at the end of the day and the lesson planning sessions.
  • The biggest technical problem during this period was the jumpy cursor. The problem was particularly bad at Bashuki. This is something we have to fix!!

Grade 2 students at Bashuki–a different seating arrangement!

Bashuki grade 2 students-1Bashuki grade 2 students-2

Grade 6 students at Bashuki

Bashuki grade 6 students-1

Our main “mantras” for the training

  • The learning objectives should determine when and how E-Paati is used in class, not the other way round
  • E-paati should be viewed as one of the many tools and activities used to achieve the learning objectives
  • The goal is to integrate E-paati in the classroom lesson plan; not devise a lesson plan around the E-Paati activities
  • Effective classroom management can make the class; ineffective classroom management can break the class
  • Proper lesson planning is the key to successful integration of E-Paati in the classroom
  • End-of-the day group review of lessons is the key to improvement

Saurav Dev Bhatta, Education Director

Orientation Program for Parents and Other Stakeholders

Saurav Dev Bhatta

Introduction

We just completed an orientation program for parents and stakeholders at Bishwamitra Ganesh Lower Secondary School  yesterday (April 21).  A similar program was held at Bashuki Lower Secondary School last Thursday (April 17).  The objective of these programs was to give the parents and other stakeholders in these test schools an overview of the project and discuss the importance of their role in making it a success.  We strongly believe that the success of the project hinges crucially on the enthusiastic participation of parents and the larger community. Needless to say, the protection of the laptop is not possible without developing a sense of ownership of the project  on the part of the parents whose children are getting laptops . At the same time, it is equally important to bring the rest of the community also on board.

The programs were organized and conducted by the teachers themselves.  As respected members of the local community, teachers are far more capable of garnering community support for this new idea than outside “experts”.  Furthermore, this approach helps to drive home the idea that the project belongs to the local community.

Structure and  content of the orientation program

The program was designed to last for two hours from 11:00 am to 1:00 pm.  Because of delays in participant arrivals and continuation of discussions, the program went on till 2:00 pm in both schools.

The following topics were covered during the program:

  1. Round of introductions
  2. Brief introduction to the project
  3. Discussion of the basic physical, emotional and social characteristics of 2nd grade and 6th grade students and how this relates to the use and protection of the laptop
  4. Overview of the laptop (which was named E-Paati by the teachers themselves) and its functions
  5. Brief example of how the E-Paati is used in the classroom
  6. Educational benefits to students thorough the use of E-Paati in class and beyond
  7. Discussion session:  role parents and guardians in the education of their children and in getting students to effectively use E-Paati
  8. Discussion session:  usefulness of the E-paati to the rest of the family
  9. Discussion session: how to protect the laptop at home, in the school, and when commuting to and from school

 Participants in the programs

    Number attended 
  Invitee category Bishwamitra Bashuki
1 Teachers, headmaster 12 9
2 School management committee members 6 5
3 Parent teacher association (PTA) members 13 11
5 Ward representatives 0 1
6 District resource person 1 0
7 Class 2 parents 22 35
8 Class 6 parents 40 38
  Total (approximate)—there is an overlap among some of the categories 85 80

Rabi and I attended the orientation session as observers.  Dev Mohanty and Sulochan Acharya were also present though most of their time was spent working on the school network.

Photographs from the orientation program at Bishwamitra

Bisshwamitra Grade 6

Bishwamitra Grade 2

Bishwamitra grade 6

Photographs from the orientation program at Bashuki

Bashuki I

Bashuki II

What we observed

Here, I will only list some general observations.   

  • Overall, the teachers in both schools did a good job in conducting the orientation program even though they had either very limited or no experience in conducting interaction programs with parents and other stakeholders.  
  • We now have no doubt that these types of orientation sessions must be conducted by the teachers  themselves rather than by outsiders.  The teachers clearly had a good rapport with the parents and stakeholders. In the case of Bishwamitra,  the teachers belong to the local community itself—and this a big strength of the school.
  • All the children in Bashuki come from the Tamang community. We observed that the parents and stakeholders were more forthcoming in the discussions when they had the opportunity to talk in their native Tamang language rather  than in Nepali.  In the case of Bashuki, only one of the teachers—Neema—is from the local community.   His active participation in the program was clearly very useful in getting the participants to actively engage in discussions.   
  • Bishwamitra did not have large enough rooms for conducting the orientation program in a single room.  Furthermore, since the different classrooms were not sealed off from one another (due to lack of solid partitions), sound from one orientation room often drowned the conversation in the other room.  This is typical of poor rural schools in Nepal.  And it shows how difficult it is to conduct classes in such schools.
  • The participants of Bishwamitra in particular were quite excited by the doors opened by this project.  
  • As might be expected, stakeholders whose children were not in grades 2 and 6 (only these students are getting laptops in this test phase) were curious about when, if at all, their children would also receive laptops.  There was some resentment as well.  The teachers clarified that the program would encompass other grades as well in the future if the test phase proved to be a success.
  • The parents were quite concerned about the safety of the laptops particularly during the students’ commute to and from school since children have to walk through isolated forested areas (sometimes up to an hour) to get to school. 
  • At Bashuki, the parents discussed the possibility of “guardian-pooling” where the guardians would form groups based on home location and take turns taking their children to school in groups.
  • In addition to guardian-pooling, the teachers at Bishwamitra also discussed implementing a strict rule that would require students to go home only in groups.
  •  In Bishwamitra,  the parents were also curious about whether or not it was wise for the rest of the family –in particular siblings not in class 2 and 6—to use the laptops.  The teachers responded by clarifying that we want to encourage maximum use of the laptop and that the family should see it as a family asset.  

Interactive digital content development principles

During the teacher training, the participants spent a lot of time familiarizing themselves with our E-Paati interactive activities. As they were going through the activities, we clarified to them the basic principles we have adhered to in designing these activities. Here is a overview of what we discussed.Types of digital content

The digital content (teaching-learning materials) under development at OLE Nepal fall under three categories:

1) Interactive educational content: These are subject and grade specific interactive activities (software modules) that follow the national curriculum. The teachers and students will use these software modules as part of the regular instruction process. Using these activities, the students can learn new concepts, do practice exercises, and self-assess their progress. In short, these learning activities enhance the possibility of self-learning.

2) Electronic library (e-library): This is a digital library containing full-text materials that can be accessed by students, teachers and families. It contains six major sections: literature, course-related materials, reference materials, teaching support materials, general educational materials and newspapers/magaizines. Our E-Paati interactive materials will also be included in the course-related materials section.

3) Student/teacher creations: These are writings, interactive activites, and or creative works by prepared and uploaded by the students and teachers themselves.

Overview of the concepts behind interactive content

The development of activities at ;femf lzIff O{–kf6L is guided by a set up principles that are based on the assumption that children can learn a lot of things on their own if they are provided with an opportunity to interactively explore new concepts and review old ones in a fun way. The interaction in this context is primarily with the computer though some activities might also require interactions with other people. It is expected that the interactive activities being developed will help the teaching-learning approach in Nepal to move in the direction shown by the arrow in Figure 1 below.

teaching fig

A key ingredient in any interactive educational activity is the “fun” element. If students do not see any fun in doing these activities, then they will probably view the computer activities as nothing more than digitized versions of routine textbooks. Hence a core principle of activity design is that learning can and should be fun. “Fun”, of course, is a relative concept. We would be hard pressed to claim that any of our activities are more fun than say playing in the rain, rolling in the mud, or jumping around in puddles. When we say fun, we mean fun compared to some of the traditional approaches to teaching and learning. We should, therefore, try to inject a healthy dose of the fun element in all activities.

Before detailing the principles of activity design, it is worth clarifying the general teaching-learning objectives of these activities. Broadly speaking all interactive activities aim to do one or more of the following:

(1) teaching new concepts,

(2) providing practice to help absorb learned concepts,

(3) providing opportunities for evaluating one’s understanding of a concept, and

(4) providing opportunities for correcting errors in understanding.

So when designing activities, it is also important to clarify which of these goals are being met by each activity. This clarification will be crucial in conceptualizing how an activity will be used in the classroom by teachers and students, and at home by students.

Fundamental principles of E-Paati interactive activity design

The following principles guide the development of all activities. In order to maximize the teaching-learning effectiveness of this project, each activity must be:

1. Consistent with CDC curriculum objectives:

· The activity must be designed to meet specific learning objectives laid out by the curriculum development center.

2. Interactive:

· The activity should be designed to maximize student interaction with the computer.

· In some cases, there might also be interaction with other students and teachers

3. Child-centric:

· Children should be able to relate to the activity.

4. Localized:

· The activity should be consistent with the Nepal context. In particular, the images, text, audio, and “story” should be “Nepali” in the broad sense of the term.

· The activities should try to reflect the diversity present in the Nepali context.

5. Multimedia oriented:

· To the extent possible, the material should stimulate the different senses of the learner. This will make the material more interesting and understandable.

· So the activity should be designed to integrate text, images, audio, and animation where relevant and possible.

6. Self-learning/self-assessment oriented:

· The activity should enable the user to learn the material on her own.

· Where relevant, the activity should allow the learner to correct mistakes as she proceeds.

· Where relevant, the activity should also enable the user to evaluate how well she has performed. For example, most of the match activities display the total number of question and the total number of correct answers.

7. FUN:

· The fun dimension is extremely important. The goal is to capture the interest of the student even when the teacher is not there to prod her.

· There are, however, different degrees of fun. Enhancing the fun dimension can be thought of as

i. Moving from simple academic exercises è to games.

ii. Moving from isolated exercises è to stories or challenges that will take the student to an exciting “finish-line” (e.g., reaching the top of a mountain, or discovering a hidden treasure).

iii. Moving from less multimedia è to more multimedia.

About our teacher preparation program

We at Sajha Sikchya E-Paati (OLE Nepal) firmly believe that one of the most important steps in implementing any ICT-based educational approach is teacher preparation. Unless the teachers are fully comfortable with this new approach to teaching, providing students with computers and educational content alone will have limited impact on the teaching learning process.

Basic structure of the training

Driven by the above belief, we have designed a teacher training package that aims to empower teachers to integrate ICT-based educational materials in the teaching-learning process so that they can independently design and implement lesson plans incorporating ICT-based materials.

The taining consists of two major segments: a) a 4 day intensive residential, out-of-school training that focuses on giving the teachers hands on experience in integrating digitial educationals materials and ICT-based teaching approaches in the regular classroom instruction process and b) a 3 day training in the teachers’ regular classrooms where they get to implement the integrated lesson plans they developed during the 4 day residential training.

As the second segment starts at the beginning of the school year, there a gap between the two segments. During this gap, the teachers play with the computers on their own and become even more familiar with the laptop and the avaialbe digitial educational materials. Then, a couple of days before the 3-day in-class training, the teachers themselves organize and lead interaction programs with parents/guardians and other stakeholders in their communities to introduce this new concept and generate commnity support. Since teachers are highly respected members of the local community, they are far more capable of garnering community support for this new idea than outside “experts”.

We completed our 4-day intensive residential training on April 1, 2008. The second segment—in-class training—will take place in the third week of April.

Content covered in the training

Effective teacher preparation in ICT-based education requires adequate training in three areas:

1) Information technology literacy

2) Child-centric interactive teaching

3) Integration of ICT-based instruction in child-centric interactive teaching.

This training covered all three areas. However, it must be emphasized that integration of ICT-based instruction in child-centric interactive teaching was the focus of this training.

The specific content covered in the training included the following:

  1. Using the XO: introduction to the different components of the XO according to the most frequent tasks the user would have to perform. Main goal: help participants overcome their fear of computers and technology.
  2. Classroom arrangement/management: arrangement of the classroom furniture to maximize XO protection and maximize interaction (both between students and betweenstudents and teachers); formulating classroom rules and job lists.
  3. Education theory: Piaget’s theory of cognitive development, Vigotsky’s theory on scaffholding, Papert’s ephasis on interactive learning; experiment’s to illustrate some of these theories.
  4. Overview of digital content avaialble: E-paati interactive actictivities and e-library.
  5. Exercises with E-Paati interactive activities: how these activities enable students to learn new concepts, provide practice exercises, and give opportuties for self-evaluation while emphizing the “fun” element in learning.
  6. Exercises with the OLE electronic library: exploration of the different sections of this full-text library and introduction to how the user can browse the library sections, search for specific items, and read books on the XO.
  7. Model lesson: demostration of a full grade 2 class period to show how E-paati activities can be integrated into the regular classroom teaching-learning process (included non-computer pre-activities, E-patti interactive activits, and post-activities).
  8. Practice teaching: volunteers among the trainees designed and conducted a full class that fully integrated E-paati interactive activities.
  9. Making integrated lesson plans: participants worked in pairs to design lesson plans integrating E-paati activties in their regular classes.
  10. Planning for interaction sessions with parents/guardians and other stakeholders in the community

Participants in the training

There were a total of 27 participants, including teachers, government officials, and members of the school management committee of the two schools—Bashuki Lower Secondary School and Bishwamitra Ganesh Lower Secondary School.

Total teachers from Biswamitra: 11

Total teachers from Bashuki: 10

Staff involved in the training

Trainers: Bipul Gautam (co-ordinator and lead trainer), Saurav Dev Bhatta, and Kamana Regmi.

Engineers/System admins: Bryan Berry and Sulochan Acharya

Supporters behind the scene: Rabi Karmacharya, Rajeev Adhikari, and Upaya Sharma.

Venue: Malip International School, Panauti (around 35 km from Kathmandu)—thanks to Malpi principal and Sajha Sikchya E-Paati Board Member Mr. Jyoti Man Sherchan.

Day-by –day activities: brief overview

Length of typical training day: 8:30 am to 6:00pm; plus pot-dinner activities (homework + optional activities)

Day 0 (March 28): arrival at Malpi International School; training room setup; introductions

Day 1 (March 29): official inaguration ceremony, discussion of participants’ expectations, overview of the OLPC pilot project being launched by OLE Nepal and Department of Education, using the XO (focus of Day 1) , overview of digitial content available, exercises with E-Paati activities.

Day 2 (March 30): quiz, classroom arrangement/management, education theory (Piaget), model lesson, more practice with E-Paati activities

Day 3 (March 31): quiz, education theory (Vigotsky), introduction to E-library, lesson planning, more exercises with E-Paati activities, video of a government school using child-centric teaching-learning approach, disassembling the computer and putting it back together.

Day 4 (April 1): quiz, practice teaching, planning for interactions with parents/guardians and other stakeholders, feedback.

Most interesting outcomes

  • Even teachers with absolutely no familiary with computers became very comfortable with the machine within 3 hours!
  • Most participants had to be ushered out of the training hall at 10pm against their will. Some of them wanted to continue till midnight. Their enthusiasm and interest went beyond our wildest expectations.
  • Two of the teachers (Manoj and Neema) were able to completely disassemble and reassemble the XOs within 3 hours.
  • The most effective way of teaching the participants how to use the XO was through peer interaction.
  • The teachers themselves developed new and appropriate vocabulary for certain specific functions of the computer.
  • Once it was clear that the machine would not replace them, they were much more receptive—and they easily picked up the concept of integrating ICT-based educational materials in their daily classroom instruction process. The practice teaching session (conducted by Bashuki teacher Neema and Biswamitra teacher Bhim) was simply superb!
  • The teachers were able to figure out new uses of the interactive E-Paati activites—uses we had not thought of before—on their own.
  • The pace of learning was similar for both older and younger teachers—older teachers were not slower (contrary to expectations).
  • Lady teachers were quicker learners.
  • When the participants were using the XOs, the most effective way (or perhaps the only effective way) to turn their attention towards the trainer was by asking them to close the XO. This is a technique they will have to use regularly in their own classrooms if they want their students to pay attention to what they are saying.