JBittencourt's Blog

OLPC

Laptops e Educação de Qualidade no Brasil

by on Jul.05, 2011, under Educação, featured, OLPC, Português, Reflexões

A mais nova onda em tecnologias para as escolas é a ideia de uma laptop/tablet por criança ou, como usualmente tem se chamado, 1:1 (um pra um). O conceito é relativamente simples: cada criança e professor de uma escola recebe um laptop de baixo custo, o qual mantém consigo todo o tempo, inclusive levando-o para casa.

Essa ideia já esta sendo adotada em alguns países do mundo, como no Uruguai, aonde 100% das crianças do ensino fundamental possuem laptops. No Brasil o projeto ainda esta engatinhando, pois em um país com cerca de 50 milhões de alunos existem pouco menos de 200 mil laptops distribuídos nas escolas, muitas vezes ainda utilizados como laboratórios de informática móveis.

Entretanto, toda vez que se fala de um laptop por criança, a pergunta que a maioria das pessoas faz é porquê. Por que investir tanto dinheiro em uma iniciativa como essa quando existem tantas outras necessidades nas escolas públicas brasileiras?

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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.

TEDx RIO

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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