Powerful ideas in Brazil: Etoys authoring and conceptual development

Etoys is one of the most powerful tools on the XO — in terms of what it can do, how flexibly it can be used, and how it helps guide and facilitate thinking. This blog post from long-time OLPCer Sylvia Kist shows some of the research that has been done with children and Etoys on the XO.

Can programming on Squeak Etoys on the XO laptop help students develop concepts about the Big Bang theory? Or about phenomena such as the Lunar Eclipse? About breast cancer?

Working with Brazilian children and investigating their production, researchers from the Laboratory of Cognitive Studies of the Institute of Psychology of the Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul (LEC/UFRGS) have been examining the potential of programming activity on Squeak Etoys for authoring and conceptual development.

This past November, part of this investigation was presented in a paper at the XXII Brazilian Symposium on Computer in Education (SBIE) and XVII Workshop on Informatics at School (WIE) in Aracaju (SE/Brazil), awarded as one of the best papers of the event. The work context was the trial of the Brazilian federal program One Computer per Student (PROUCA) in Porto Alegre, one of the five experiments of the first phase of the project, coordinated by LEC/UFRGS, in which XO laptops were adopted.  (More details after the jump.)


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Concurso de Nickelodeon y OLPC: reglas publicadas!

The contest rules are out for the OLPC/Nickelodeon storytelling contest.   OLPC and Nick will be judging the submissions together.  All XO users in Latin America are eligible to compete by submitting a story, anination, or other multimedia clip of up to 3 minutes.  Contest ends August 29.


OLPC Association y Nickelodeon organizan y juzgan el concurso en conjunto (anuncio, reglas completas):

Hat tip to Claudia, Christoph, and Giulia.

Khan Academy videos and OLPC

Uruguay’s Plan Ceibal has a group of teachers and students that have been subtitling and using Khan Academy videos in Spanish over the past year. You can see some of the resulting videos here.

Sam Seidenburg has some suggestions about how we can improve learning with such videos: writing Activities that could be written to support math tutorial and physics tutorial work, or making similar format videos to help people get started with eToys.

Neil Dsouza at teachaclass.org has offered to help anyone who wants to start using Khan Academy videos in their classes.


Reflections on Sugar from Santa Cruz, Bolivia

Mentors from the Santa Cruz have started an ‘education alternative’ project and creativity center at a Children’s Home aiming to combine younger students with university students studying programming. They started working with 9-year olds on XOs and with Sugar, and after a few months have moved to working with 6-year olds and older students.

They offer some early feedback on using Sugar and Etoys in afterschool projects, and are working on engaging teachers and starting some programming projects. I look forward to seeing their reflections at the end of this season.