Promoting multilingualism with the XO – Armenia

Original by – Newsletter

Dear Friends,

International Mother Language Day has been celebrated every year since February 21st 2000 to promote linguistic and cultural diversity and multilingualism.

Languages are the most powerful instruments to preserve and develop our tangible and intangible heritage. All moves to promote the dissemination of mother tongues will serve not only to encourage linguistic diversity and multilingual education but also to develop fuller awareness of linguistic and cultural traditions throughout the world and to inspire solidarity based on understanding, tolerance and dialogue.

General Conference of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) in November 1999

 We encouraged our students to honor the Armenian language and his creator Mesrop Mashtots through their work in the XO.  Below we share some of their excellent work.

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Best regards,

NUR team

Little Pim to provide language learning on XOs

Little Pim the Panda has a series of videos that are part of an ‘Entertainment Immersion Method’  which uses animation to help children learn new vocabulary, and improve analytical, memory and concentration skills in 11 languages.  Children can learn over 360 words and phrases using all of the Little Pim lessons.  Now OLPC is partnering with them to bring language learning to millions of students with XOs around the world.

Rodrigo said of the partnership,  “We are delighted to join forces with Little Pim to make learning language more fun for children. OLPC and Little Pim share a common philosophy that learning should be a joyous experience and that children learn best when learning and play are seamless activities.”  Julia Pimsleur Levine, CEO of Little Pim, said: “We are thrilled to partner with OLPC and help bring Little Pim content to millions of bright young minds around the world.”

Read the press release.

Delaware student builds English-to-Creole translator in Scratch for XOs

Eric McGinnis, a senior at U. Delaware, took part in a visit to Haiti earlier this month coordinated by his school, UNC Charlotte,  Waveplace, and Mothering Across Continents.  After taking a course in game development, he built an English-to-Creole translator in Scratch which he distributed to students at the Waveplace school.

The UDaily covered the trip and his project.

Young brains and computers: facts and myths

A post by new contributor Antonio Battro, OLPC’s Chief Education Officer

Recently, there has been much debate about whether computers, video games and electronic gadgets are helpful or harmful to the cognitive development of children. Some naysayers point to a study that says that multi-tasking degrades cognitive performance. The proponents assert that new digital technologies provide new opportunities for creativity and collaboration. This debate is also being played out in ministries of education, universities and classrooms all around the world. The outcome will have a major impact on the education and development of our children.

New disciplines coming from the neurocognitive sciences are changing our theory and practice of education and shaping the new field of neuroeducation. At the same time, new communication and information technologies are changing the way we teach and learn. Millions of children and teachers of the world are sharing and shaping a new neurocognitive digital environment. This formidable transformation has opened a debate that often mixes facts with myths. One of the most disruptive “neuromyths” is that early introduction of computing can harm the brain development of a young child and cause “attention damage.” Some even argue that computing in schools should be introduced only to older children. These are myths that we must replace with facts.

One of the amazing facts is that first and second languages are processed in the same cortical regions of the brain when the second language is learned early in life. Otherwise, the second language is shifted to different circuits of the cortex. In a sense, when humans use a computer and share the same digital environment they are using a second language, or “digitalese.” Postponing the new linguistic skills needed in a digital world contradicts scientific findings in neurolinguistics.
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