Rob Grande's blog from Nepal 2

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Talking with Sixit of Three60:

Sixit made some comments that technology in rural Nepal is much better than I was lead to believe by Christine Stone. He kept making comments that “Nepal is not sub-saharan Africa, you know.” And that even in rural communities, people have reliable electricity and internet and even many computers, and that the technology is being introduced there rapidly. He made the comment that Nepal is leap frogging in terms of technology (they never had black and white tv's, only color, they never had landline phones, only cell phones, etc.) and he believes that tablets are really the next emerging thing in Nepal. He's making a bet (his words) that tablets are going to be the next big thing in Nepal, and that everyone will have one. To support his claim, he said that in the classroom at St. Xaviers, where they are doing trials, over 60% of students own their own tablet (note. St. Xaviers is one of the premier private schools in Nepal). This information contradicts information given by Christine Stone about the state of facilities in rural areas. It's therefore paramount that I get more information regarding the state of technology so that I can assess the key requirements of Looma.

Talking with Nootan and Bobby, Tribhuvan University students:

They said that the government schools in rural areas have a really big range in terms of facilities, but generally speaking, there is one classroom with 50-70 kids, and most likely no desks or textbooks. Apparently, a lot of kids have smartphones nowadays, so if we could create a mobile website with all the content, this would solve the textbook problem (which apparently is really big in Nepal), and would be a great pitchng point.

Meeting with Rani Gurung, principal at Shuvatara School:

Summary

Lots of great stuff here. Rani is a principal at Shuvatara school (one of the nicest in Nepal) but is really passionate about bring good education to poorer government schools.

She has a lot of connections with educators, and would like to form a sort of team of good teachers who will design hand-tailored course content for the looma.

She was very curious about the state of readiness of the looma and trying to purchase one, cost, etc.

She would like me to present to a group of principals, educators, and teachers in about 2-3 weeks to help recruit interested participants in designing the courses as well as to advertise to pontential future buyers

Lot of contacts just about everywhere in education

Has quite a few videos of good teachers teaching these classes. The teachers are extremely interactive with children (a cornerstone principle of teaching at Shuvatara), so it would be great if we could use edPuzzle to annotate the videos so that the government teachers would have to do the same activities seen in the videos.


Other notes

There are many workshops run by governments and private schools on teaching. The bigger schools prefer to have the workshop onsite, whereas smaller schools make the teachers travel.

She mentioned the competitive schools are a better testing ground for developing looma than government schools, because they are more interested in technology and the latest thing

Very interested in cost level readiness oflooma

Wanted me to present to educators the week after next. Well see if I can scramble it together. Apparently, Wouter and Maria did a presentation last year as well

She mentioned that a big problem is motivating teachers. It would be good to use the technology at a sister school of Shuvatara because that way it could be easily monitored

Mahebir pun – Hot shot in education who wired up the villages and schools. He will know the state of technology very well in the villages. He will also have a lot of math and science content

There is a scarcity of teachers and text books in the villages, but there are smart phones. She was extremely excited about the prospect of a mobile app or website that kids could use in place of text books and which could be used to review content, questions, etc.

They have very good videos of very good teachers, which would be great to get hold of

She mentioned that introducing too much creativity into the classroom is bad because the teachers wont be able to handle it. Supports the multi phase development of looma strategy where the first step is simply government classes and textbooks with content support.

All these teachers want are preplanned lessons

She has a contact from Bhutan who is designing courses and trying to form a group of educators to design courses

Content

Talked about how we should use the bloom taxomy to design the courses and content in looma

Said government would be very responsive right now to something like looma because they are actively trying to integrate technology into the classroom. They just don't know what the most effective methods are for integrating the two

Again, emphasized that finding experienced experitise and educators is the mor difficult thing

Analysis:

Quality of teachers

It keeps coming up in conversations that the big problem is finding good, motivated teachers, not finding technology. Therefore, it would be great to design some hand-tailored courses that lazy, uneducated teachers could just follow step by step.