Well, there’s our first week of classes already done. This week’s goal was just to show the kids a few easily-grasped activities. For example, Fototoon was a big success:
It was also interesting to see how the teachers approached everything. We have a 1:2 teacher student ratio, which means that it’s possible for them to be very involved, peering over the shoulder of each student and giving them step-by-step instructions. Lots of helicopter teachers, hovering around with all the answers…
Teaching this way, by telling each kid exactly what to do, is easy and comfortable for both the students and the teachers, but that’s not what we’re looking for with these classes. So now we have a new policy of letting the kids play with every activity for about ten minutes before stepping in with suggestions and inviting questions.
We’ve had different results with this “discovery” method. Some kids immediately begin experimenting with all the different menu options. Others need a bit more prompting even to attempt changing colors, but once you show them something they’ll find some different applications for them. And then there’s some who still need a lot of guidance, maybe because the computers are still so new.
There’s also been activities that we’ve tried that haven’t worked well. For example, I was initially excited about Words, which can translate English to Spanish and French among others. But it can be kind of slow and doesn’t seem to have entries for many words. Plus, the kids don’t see the value of it. One day they’ll want to be able to express themselves in English, but I guess first they need to learn to express themselves in Kreyol.