Sharing the flame of inspiration

This past weekend, we had a country meeting in Cambridge – the sort of gathering of national project leads, and honest sharing of lessons and challenges, that I love best about OLPC.  It ranged from the familiar to the unexpected.  It is fascinating to observe the  with Gaza and Afghanistan providing useful perspectives on what is easy and what is hard in very dense and very sparse regions, under economic and military pressure.

It left me with a lot to think about regarding how we scale passion, awareness, and the practicalities of deployment — we saw a few different successful models for scaling to hundreds of thousands of children and teachers, and discussed social and political pitfalls to avoid.

At the same time, Juliano wrote up a very personal reflection on the recent teacher training sessions he has helped organize in Rwanda.  He comments that last week’s work felt more effective than any he had done so far, but that it made him think about the challenges of scaling training to an entire country.

He mentions that a “cascade” model of training exercise loses effectiveness the farther you move away from the initial training session.  That model can also miss passing on the seeds of understanding.  The best ideas and discoveries that later inspire others do not always come from instructors, but from collaboration and context.

I hope we will see this sort of detailed reflection and feedback from workshops around the world, as well as nuanced discussion around them, and raw data from them, where possible.  And we should share our own inspiration with one another – a regular topic of discussion around OLPC a few years ago, a practice I would welcome more of.

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