Proceedings of CSCL '99

Proceedings of CSCL '99

Proceedings of CSCL '99

Proceedings of CSCL '99

Excerpt

Abstract: We describe a web-based collaborative educational project in an under-served rural community in Northern Thailand. The rural community enjoyed high internet connectivity via a satellite internet link installed as part of a larger research endeavor directed by Seymour Papert. Project Lighthouse is exploring the role of computers in educational reform throughout Thailand. The goal of this particular pilot project was to help villagers of all ages and backgrounds gain technological fluency, cultivate a sense of ownership and mastery, and develop knowledge and pride about their cultural heritage and history while creating an on-line magazine for their village. The constructionist methodology guided our work and helped people to view themselves not only as consumers but also as producers of information. The project employed a software environment named Pluto, an authoring tool specially designed at the MIT Media Lab to support community-based collaborative electronic publishing.

Keywords: community settings, web, constructivism

We are exploring collaborative computer-based learning activities in under-served developing areas. Here we describe a web-based project that took place in a small and remote village in Northern Thailand. This experience, located in the Mae Fah Luang district, engaged a community of learners with the task of creating an on-line magazine for their village. They made use of an MIT developed collaborative authoring tool, entitled Pluto, that was designed to be simple and transparent We observed participants gaining technological fluency as they worked on the collaborative project - writing, editing, taking photographs, doing artwork and publishing stories of relevance for the community. Web-based journalism allowed learners of all ages and backgrounds to assume an active role as producers of information and researchers of their cultural heritage.

This experience is part of a larger research endeavor, directed by Seymour Papert, which explores educational reform throughout Thailand. The goal of the project, entitled Lighthouse, is to use new technologies to re-think what education . . .

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