This week, OLPC school École Shalom was part of a multi-school workshop by Dr. Terri Bucci to improve schools' education methods and introduce new interactive lesson plans. One of their main focuses was storytelling. By reading out loud and giving the students individual copies to review, the teachers could spark discussions in their class. There were two interactive activities with each book: putting the pages back in order, and matching the text to the illustrations.
We met at this church:
During the read-aloud of one story about a mole and a hedgehog, one of the researchers asked if the teachers knew about the animals. They hadn't. A few explanations later, we were back on the tracks. It's a good reminder that some elements of a story might not translate the way we'd like ( another example: Khan Academy's math lessons with avocados ). But does a story need to be rewritten every time it crosses national borders? There was a superb point from another researcher that stories can be a tool for us find out about other places and their cultures. Hmmm.
I also met Dr. Kranch and a student who are developing a lesson-builder for the teachers and the schools' tech people ( like Junior and Lorinord here ). They took interest in the Fedora Linux / XS school server / HTML+JS stack we were using to deliver lessons and quizzes to our students. The HTML+JS side makes it compatible with computers they are introducing in a few other schools. I need to send them a write-up of how we run it, and what parts need the most streamlining.
Today I biked south to the point where the river disappears between two mountains, something I'd only seen in the distance in my last trip. Google Maps Link Heading that way, you reach sheer cliffs and a dam where the river is diverted into irrigation canals. Here and there you see people shoveling rocks into piles. Eventually I reached a point where I could go no further without walking in the river. Soon after I took the picture above, a mining truck appeared, driving down the middle of the river. No safe passage for bikes.