Laptops for kids

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

content of Fluency with IT for Teachers

I have always been unhappy with the concept of computer literacy, which in my part of the world is identified with certain narrow skills in manipulating certain standard software packages. Those skills are likely to be obsolete pretty quickly, and don't come close to capturing what the average citizen needs to deal the IT and put it to work for themselves and their communities. So I was happy to discover this framework of Fluency with IT. There is even a free online course about it at U of Washington. Apparently, a committee of the US National Science Foundation was charged to look at raising standards for computer literacy, and they decided that the concept of literacy was inadequate and suggested a broader concept of Fluency with IT or FITness. They identified 30 elements organized into Fundamental Concepts, Contemporary Skills (i.e., ephemeral, in danger of being superseded soon) and Intellectual Capabilities (the IT version of certain long-term soft skills, that need to be learned independently in the context of IT). At Cebu Educational Development Foundation for IT (CEDF-IT) we have been using this framework in some of our trainings. I think it could be adapted to meet the needs of teachers who would need to lead the change of introducting One Laptop per Child. The content of the target curriculum that I have in mind is something like this: 1. Introduction to the coming information society 2. Fundamental concepts for knowledge workers 3. Contemporary skills for life-long learners 4. Intellectual capabilities for facilitators 5. Teaching simple fluency for children 6. Leading for transformation I believe that it could be covered in a staggered schedule of 5-7 full days, with additional out-of-class work (supervised over the Internet and cell phones) in between sessions. The target participants are HS teachers in all subjects, who will be responsible for introducing IT across the curriculum. This training is separate from, and preparatory to, discipline-specific training modules which address curriculum development and teaching-learning methods. I have started to work with CEDF-IT and DOST SEIto put together some curriculum development and teacher's training for this. Dr. Gregg Gabison, Dean at University of San Jose-Recoletos (USJ-R), who also heads the multi-institution IT Teacher's Academy that CEDF-IT established in Cebu City, has indicated he is willing to take the lead in this effort. If we can train 30 trainors this summer, and add a hundred more next summer, we are in a position to train 4,000 HS teachers who would be guiding 50,000 laptop-carrying students in a June 2007 pilot. Then we could scale to a million students over the next two years. I am planning to tap college IT faculty to be the trainors, CEDF-IT has been working with a pool of 70 (including industry-based resource speakers). Although some of them are more used to teaching programming and software development, some college IT faculty could be the best people to bring Fluency with IT to teachers and their classrooms. I plan to discuss details of the trainors training in a separate post (I will hurry is somebody leaves a comment asking for it).


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