I’ve been working on an investigation, that is looking to find out more about the ideas and concepts teachers, parents, school directors and students have about technology. This is being held in Lima, in private and public schools, and in Cajamarca (in the Andes), in public schools.
The thing that has impressed me the most, is how some parents, teachers and students in those schools in Cajamarca, had almost no ability to create.
It sounds awful, but in many of the interviews, teachers who were asked to create something new that could help them solve some problem they had as teachers, answered with three words: ‘I don’t know’. Usually, the interviewer helped them identify some problems that could be easily solved, and still the answer remained ‘I don’t know’ or, they answered by repeating an object that already existed.
With some parents the situation was even worse, the entire interview was answered with those three words. Even when the questions were about their thoughts on something, no effort was made, no thinking ocurred.
Children answered differently. They were asked to create a new invention that could help them learn anything they wanted. In one of the focus groups, the first kid said his invention was a dinosaur that tought him about places, with sign language. Once he said dinosaur, every other kid repeated that, and also said they invented a dinosaur that teaches with sign language.
My theory, is that children, and adults in this part of the country, are not developing the ability to create, because they have no information. Having information, gives them the opportunity to ask more questions, learn more, think more, and create.
With no information at all, or very little information, they have no questions to ask. If no questions are being made, no answers are being looked for, and we all assume ‘we know enough’.
I saw the difference, whith the teachers and students that had access to more technology, and more information. They had more complex and creative answers.
Gladly, the results of the investigation will have enough information to help future projects that look to insert technology in schools all over the country.
What I hope is that these interviews, help teachers and parents think, and wonder more about what they were asked. I just hope they can start asking themselves the questions.