Friday, July 16, 2010

Project Update

Monday, we charged all of the laptops.

Tuesday and Wednesday, I participated in laptop classes on WikiBrowse. One part of my project is to see how the classes use the laptops. The laptops need to have their settings changed so that Frame does not pop up and frustrate the students. WikiBrowse can be made to work better, and articles interesting to the students, such as 'Barack Obama' are outdated. I will be getting text for this article and some others from simple.wikipedia.org so the students will be able to understand the articles better.

Moses's literacy circle was reading Sadako so I talked to them about the book, Japanese culture, and Hiroshima. I showed them pictures and photos on the laptops. For some reason, 7A was much more talkative than the second class, 7B - it might have something to do with how I told 7A more about my own difficulty speaking Japanese. A teacher who has been to Kasiisi several times, and started the library last year, was happy to see the students in an American-style reading group AND using laptops for supporting content. It's the library of the future, here in Uganda!

Wednesday I re-pitched my plan to have a smaller class of at most 32 students - and that it would be more of a "science class" then a laptop class. We will be working "outside of the box" - both in terms of thinking, and in terms of connecting the laptops with things outside of this computer 'box'. The teachers hadn't heard this metaphor before and they LOVE it. I used the Wright Brothers as an example.

Thursday, Primate Handshake showed up with around 20 people and their cameras in a giant yellow safari truck. We were concerned about trying the sensors for the first time in front of them... but we trusted P5 and it worked great! The students were able to connect the sensors to the 5 Senses which they've already memorized and the 3/5 that the laptop already does (I also mentioned that some computers CAN taste and smell, that was a O_O ). We had some time at the end for the Primate Handshake people and the kids to play with the activities, mostly Record and Scratch.

Side note: when it rains just a little, the metal roof sounds like a torrential downpour. I couldn't believe it when I went outside and it was only dripping. The sound drowns out thunder, even. Need to contact Architecture for Humanity about how their sound-dampening projects.

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