JBittencourt's Blog


Tá na hora da gente fazer diferente!

by on Feb.24, 2011, under Educação, English, OLPC, Português, Reflexões, Tecnologia

It is quite well known that Brazil is going through a great period of economic growth. After 16 years of political stability and successive good governments, it looks like we are finally overcoming some of our big historical challenges and building something new over the ashes of the military dictatorship. Our growth, differently from other developing countries, is happening by making smaller the social gap between poor and rich, meaning that many of the ones whom in the past didn’t have access to anything, now form a growing new middle class.

This scenario is allowing this generation of Brazilians to do something that doesn’t happen very often in the human history: to discuss which country do we want for the future generations and us. Who do we want to become as people?

I say this generation, because it looks like that we have a deadline to do so, and it is the 2016 Olympics Games in Rio. Of course, this is a simplification of a larger historical movement, which won’t stop in 2016 (might not even have started until there). However, the upcoming date puts in our society a sense of urgency. All over the country people are discussing which kind of Olympics Games are we willing to do, how we make it happen, and which legacy do we want to leave to our society after it.

This is the context where TEDx Rio happened last Tuesday, February 15, in a sunny day in Rio de Janeiro. As many people already know, TED is all about “Ideas worth spreading” . Well, TEDx Rio (where the x stands for independently organized) was about that, and much much more.


All 18 minutes talks were fantastic, each one in its own way: inspiring, challenging, thoughtful and emotional. They drove the public through mixed feelings and ideas about who brazilians are, as a people, and how we become more!

I’m sure that each person among the 800 attendants has his own list of favorite talks and moments. After all, each person is touched differently by the same words. But in my list, I would include Ricardo Guimarães, Jaílson de Souza, Alex Silva and Oskar Metsa-Vaht. By the event follow up on Twitter, I think my list is very different from most attendants, so it might need some explanation. I think that the people in this list discussed one way or another, who is the Brazilian people, how we are different, and who we can become. Using Mesa-Vaht’s words, our “brazilian soul” and “lifestyle”. In general, all talks orbited these themes, but these ones were “for me” special.

I also must point out that the event organization was, to say the least, perfect! Everything went smooth, on time and extremely organized. However, the adjective that translates the organization of the event and the event itself is light. In the backstage area and among the audience everything was light. Everybody was smiling and happy, getting satisfaction from what they were doing. It was an amazing place just to hang out and find someone to talk with.

I think that the way the event was organized is a perfect representation of the ideas discussed by the speakers. During the event, a group leaded by Rique Nitzsche and Paulo Reis collected words sent by the public through twitter and sms. At the end, a phrase was created using these words, which roughly translated says “It’s time for us to do differently”. Well, I think TEDx Rio has done differently. It was a TED event after all, with all the ideas worth spreading and the professionalism necessary to organize one. But it also had its “x Rio” part, of an event done in our own way, or like Oskar might say, an event embedded in our lifestyle.

Because my work with Prof. David Cavallo, I don’t believe any big cultural shift happens because of a single determinant action. It happens though thousands, maybe millions, of micro-actions which given the proper time and energy, forge new ways of thinking and being. TEDx Rio definitively was one important action that is contributing to this new country that we are living and building.

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The Challenges of OLPC Scale Implementation in Rwanda

by on Jul.16, 2010, under Educação, English, featured, Formações, OLPC, Reflexões

This week Silvia and I ran in Kigali a training for 300 teachers and principals of 150 school. It was a very nice 5 days workshop where we mixed some talks with lots of hands on with the XOs. The methodology was slightly different from what we usually do. Yet we continue to work under the principle of “practicing what we preach”, this time we introduced the XO to the teachers through some classroom simulations. Our trainers acted as teachers giving a lesson from the curriculum and taught the activities at the same time. The objective was to create a mindset among teachers that the XO is being introduced as a tool to learning and not as a “tool to teach about”. We also tried to introduced some  ideas of “simultaneous dramaturgy” from Augusto Boal in order to foster some discussion about normal classrooms situations teachers will face in their classrooms with the XOs. In a first impression, it was a very nice training, for sure the best we did in Rwanda for far (see more in http://www.gc4ll.org ). However, when I was reflecting regarding the training, some inevitable reflections about our overall strategy in Rwanda came to my mind.

Rwanda has about 43.000 teachers in primary schools.  If we decided to replicate this training with the remaining teachers of the country, also in batches of 300, it would took us a little bit more than 2.9 years without a single stop week.

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by on Feb.10, 2009, under English

After my last blog passed away because one server at LEC just burned, I decided to create my own domain and setup this WordPress. Slowly I will try to republish my old posts and to recover some interesting stuff I have there. I put a lot of effort and thinking on those texts, so I think they need to be online. The main problem is that most of them are in portuguese. Anyway, I think the effort is worthwhile.

From now over, I will try to publish in english, principally when talking about my work at OLPC.

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Reflexões em e sobre Cambridge

by on Jan.18, 2008, under English, Reflexões, Uncategorized

Uma das coisas que acho interessante sobre postar em Blogs é essa capacidade de “guspir” um texto totalmente de forma não elaborada, sem muita reflexão e sem múltiplas interações de reescrita. A reflexão e construção ocorrem depois da idéia parida, na interação com as outras pessoas. Primeiro se compartilha, depois se escreve. Tá, tudo bem que não é exatamente assim, mas é bem diferente da escrita acadêmica: cheira a idéia nova.

Entretanto, eu sou um imigrante nessa comunidade dos bloggeiros, e evidência disso é esse meu senso de auto-crítica que muitas vezes me impede de escrever as idéias que orbitam meu pensamento. Tenho pilhas grande de posts salvos como rascunho e tantos outros no pensamento. Provavelmente nenhum deles será publico. Por isso decidi compartilhar hoje alguns pensamentos que estão passando pela minha mente e ignorar temporáriamente minha auto-crítica.

Como muitos sabem, vim a Cambridge para um Workshop sobre apredizagem na OLPC. Meu papel nesses workshops é compartilhar com outros países e cidades aquilo que aprendemos no piloto de Porto Alegre. Como nós no LEC somos pioneiros no uso dos XOs, todos os nossos acertos e falhas são aprendizagens importantes. A primeira vez que estive aqui em Novembro, tudo foi um tanto quando corrido. Desta vez foi tudo muito diferente. Não sei se foi a neve ou o fato de estar sozinho sem outro brasileiro para conversar, mas essa foi uma viagem muito mais introspectiva. Tive oportunidade de caminhar bastante. Na realidade tentei ao máximo caminhar na rua, para sentir o frio e curtir a neve.

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