Minecraft y la programación


“Like many nine-year-olds, Stanley Strum spends a lot of time building things in Minecraft, the immersive game that lets your create your own mini-universe. The game has many tools. But Stanley is one of many players taking the game a step further by building entirely new features into the game. And, more than that, he’s also learning how to code.

He’s doing this with a tweak to the Minecraft game, called LearnToMod. Modifications like this, called “mods,” are a big part of the game’s runaway success. But this particular mod helps kids learn to create their own mods. For example, Strum built a teleporter that whisks him to a random location within the game world. Another lesson teaches kids to write the code to create a special bow that shoots arrows that become “portals” between different locations in the game, allowing them to reach spaces that would otherwise be quite difficult to access. It’s like being able to create your own cheat codes.” (Ver artículo completo en Wired)

Los parques de la Provincia de Buenos Aires


Viajando por el sur de la Provincia de Buenos Aires (con Aspasia, Yael, Daniel y la Pupa), pasamos por varias ciudades pequeñas, antiguos enclaves industriales. Las industrias que dieron el esplendor a las mismas quebraron durante la década de los años 90. Pero quedan todavía algunas medianas y pequeñas industrias funcionando.

Lo que me llamaba la atención era lo cuidado de las calles, de las plazas, de los parques. Plazas bien cuidadas, con árboles de decenas de años o fácil de más de cien años. Plazas barridas. Y no dejaba de pensar en mi estancia en Huaral (estuve trabajando casi tres años, de lunes a viernes), con tanta contaminación visual, auditiva, smog, plazas terribles donde se han tirado los viejos árboles que daban sombra por meter más cemento. Evidentemente hay más plata en Huaral hoy que en Las Flores, Provincia de Buenos Aires, entonces no es un tema de dinero. Ni idea por qué la diferencia.

Puede ser por la solidez de la clase media. Puede ser por ese “sálvese quién pueda” tan hegemónico del Perú. Puede ser porque en Argentina mal que bien hay una idea de colectividad, de comunidad, de lo común (o por lo menos en estas ciudades pequeñas que vi). Ni idea. Ojo, que en Argentina no han privatizado los parques, estos son mantenidos por los gobiernos locales y por los gobiernos federales.

Así que si quieren colaborar con ideas para armar hipótesis, bienvenidos.

Los profesores no son el problema


“Over the years I have talked with lots of people who see teachers (and teachers’ unions) as a ‘problem’ that needs to be ‘solved’. One ‘solution’ increasingly considered is to figure out ways to use ICTs as a sort of metaphorical stick with which to prod teachers into various sorts of actions. This impulse is perhaps understandable in places that suffer endemic challenges related to (for example) teacher absenteeism, which is certainly a very serious problem in certain (often poor, rural) communities. That said, it may not be all that productive at a practical level.

A well known study done by researchers at the MIT Poverty Action Lab a number of years ago (and well worth reading, in my opinion) looked at a program in Udapur, India in which “teachers were instructed to have their picture taken each day with students and were paid only when the cameras recorded them present.” According to the authors, in this case “objective monitoring with incentives worked” — in other words, a mechanism was found to motivate teacher attendance. On numerous occasions, in conversation with policymakers in many different countries, I have heard this study cited as proof that technology (in this case, a digital camera) can be a ‘solution’ to the problem of teacher absenteeism. Perhaps.

But there is a real danger in many such discussions of confusing the symptons with the underling pathology. So-called ‘silver bullet solutions’ (aim the right weapon at a problem and you can ‘kill’ it) figure prominently in the checkered history of educational technologies. Things are seldom so simple, however.

Yes, the fact that mobile phones with cameras are increasingly ubiquitous in rural communities around the world does mean that it may be possible for community members to stand outside schools and take pictures of teachers as they enter and exit (a scenario I have had pitched to me on three separate occasions — in one case students were meant to wield the cameraphones themselves) and send them on to education authorities or post on a web site for public shaming.

But there just might be some unintended consequences from such activities ….

Another option might be to explore how ICTs can be used to support teachers with positive incentives linking them to other teachers via text messaging groups to help form professional support communities, or to help them save time in lesson preparation by providing additional learning resources via television (or delivered all at once on a USB stick), or to help improve their mastery of the subjects which they teach through interactive radio instruction. Sticks can sometimes work … but so can carrots. Do you want to use ICTs to punish, or to nourish?”

Leer 10 criterios a considerar cuando se introducen las TIC en ambientes educativos de bajos ingresos.