Constructing Learning through Technology
All, potential global partners, potential virtual peer mentors and global classrooms.
Short Session Description (one line): We will discuss the challenges and opportunities of establishing IT enabled learning centers in marginalized communities in a developing world mostly,urban environment. Specifically the challenges pertaining to creating Learner centered learning which are modelled upon Seymour Papert's 8 BIG Ideas and other constructionist heritage such as Gary Stager, David Cavallo, Claudia Urrea, to mention a few.
Inspired by the Hole in the Wall and by the methodology outlined by Seymour Papert's "Eight Big Ideas" Constructing Learning through Technology has been developing a growing series of IT enabled learning labs in marginalized communities in Manila.
Other inspirations have been the White Paper "Learning form the Extremes" by Leadbeater which prioritizes the role of social enterprise agents, volunteers and non-institutional elements to drive change in the areas where global and national educational institutions has failed to supply quality learning possibilities.
The focus of the presentation can be broad and be focused by a dialog with participants.
We are looking for partners as our learning centers become more online. Currently we have 5 mobile access points for 11 learning centers which have served served hundreds of learners.
We are interested in dialog with potential virtual peer mentors and global classrooms who wish to exchange and mature the respective roles and discuss the opportunities and challenges faced in past experiences of such relationships.
Our learners vary from as young as 6 years old to mid teens. They are from informal settlements and have a variety of ability in English. Most of the learners know basic English. The life experience of the learners is described as "marginalized". They do not describe themselves in such as way. They have an exciting life, with characters, friends, games and a local environment which they see as entirely normal; but which middle America would see as destitute. It is in this context I see interesting learning opportunties for both learners and virtual mentors and peer learners in the global learning context.
I n the presentation we would wish to present possibilities of sharing by learners and dialog around the possibilities and challenges therein.
One area of research we can discuss in detail are the challenges of mentors who volunteer to provide an "older more knowledgeable person" somewhat akin to Sujata Mitra's Granny.
There seems to be an interesting struggle for mentors to practice their role in a way complimentary to the 8 Big Ideas of Papert. Varying struggles of resources and imagination, lead to a use of teacher and school structures and discourse to maintain and develop the learning.
Ironically this mirrors the learners behaviors in that many learners wish to focus on tools and learning that they have already mastered. Mentors also wish to stay in a zone of comfort, and find it difficult to take the time necessary ( see 8 Big Ideas) to build their artifact (the culture of the learning center) in the proposed Constructionist way.
There is a Big Idea of learning from the Mentors as much as the Learners. Much of our struggles to be brave and be able to dialog and readjust are centered around this.
We can focus on this or on other areas as the dialog develops.
I tried to edit and I hope that is reflected in the proposal.
Let me try and confirm that is so.