On 13th and 14th of August at the CONAFE offices in the city of San Cristobal de las Casas, we conducted an intensive development course with the community instructors of the two chosen schools: Claudia Hernandez-Ruiz and María Diaz-Perez form Tilil and Alfonso Gomez-Santis from Nectaktik; other educational actors from the region participated also. The course included:
- A brief explanation of the TecnoTzotzil project
- Training in the use of the Classmate laptops and the Sugar operating system and activities
- How to develop lesson plans that integrate CONAFE curriculum with Sugar activities following the constructionist methodology -mainly a) Have the kids plan, design and build physical or virtual artifacts that represent some aspect of their learning b) Share result with other children or the instructor c) Gather feedback and improve design d) Reflect on learning and register reflection. Instructors are encouraged to let kids explore the design space rather than impose a fixed design in order to spark creativity; and to allow for playing time.
- The researchers shared some lesson plans already developed by us. Each of these plans follow some thematic content of the curriculum and can be used by children of several ages, as the CONAFE classrooms are multi-level. So they typically start with some simple activity related to the plan Theme that can be extended in several directions for older children.
- The community instructors then had the opportunity to develop a couple of their own plans, receiving feedback from the researchers.
- We finally presented our research questions and the research instruments that will be used during the project