Published on Brock University (http://brocku.ca)
Brock University’s Tecumseh Centre for Aboriginal Research and Education recently played host to students from their Northern Ontario teacher education program in Sioux Lookout as well as members of the Belinda Stronach Foundation’s One Laptop per Child initiative.
Jennifer Martino, Director of the One Laptop per Child program, facilitated the first of two in-services that are being delivered to 11 Aboriginal Bachelor of Education students.
After brief introductions from instructor and students, Martino began outlining the purposes and goals of the program, identifying the ways in which these uniquely designed lap tops can enhance education.
“The whole point of the program is to look at different ways of educating,” she said. “With these laptops, the child feels like they own something and their self-esteem rises when they show their classmates or parents what they know and what they are able to do on these laptops.”
Martino noted that these laptops, which come preloaded with certain programs and materials are not meant as replacements for books or instructors, but rather as tools to encourage different ways of teaching as well as a tool to extract students’ individual skills.
The laptops are also unique in the sense that they do not require internet access in order to fulfill their primary functions, although they are still capable of connecting to the internet when available.
As part of their curriculum, the 11 Aboriginal Bachelor of Education students are on Brock’s campus during the month of July and the initial demonstration by Martino was to familiarize the students with the laptops and their capabilities, as well as inform them about the program’s core values and visions.
The second in-service is slated to happen near the end of July where the goal is to have the students create a sample teaching program using the OLPC laptop.
By introducing future teachers to the OLPC laptop and its capabilities now, a main goal of the partnership is to allow these students the ability to familiarize themselves with the laptop and how they can immediately integrate into their classroom.
For more information on the OLPC program please visit their web site OLPCCanada.com