August 08, 2003
Kinkajou in Kemon
This afternoon we had our tenth field test of the Kinkajou projector--this time with a village literacy class organized by the Evangelical Church. This class, held regularly throughout the year through two groups in the village, is open to all ages. The classes take place in the late afternoon, between the time when adults get back from the fields and before sunset. They concentrate on basic literacy, but also cover introductory math skills.
The exercises we saw involved the instructor, Paul Boni, writing a phrase on the blackboard for the more advanced students to read.
The teacher then asked students to come up to the board to underline different letters.
He then had them all practice writing a specific letter of the alphabet.
This particular class was held inside what used to be a grain store room. The other class, which takes place on the other side of town, takes place either outside or in a nearby elememtary school classroom.
After the teacher ran through the regular classroom exercises, we set up the Kinkajou projector for them to try out. It was around 5 PM when we started with the Kinkajou--even though we closed the sliding door of the grainery and covered the crack with the classroom chalkboard, there was still a lot of light coming into the room from the wall vents near the roof.
In terms of lighting, these were the worst conditions of any Kinkajou test. The cassette was also in Bambara, rather than the local Nagot language. Suprisingly, even from a distance of thirty feet, class members of all ages were still able to read all of the text and they claimed to have no trouble making out the images. From my own vantage point about 15 feet from the wall, I could also read the text, but the images were too faint and the lines to wide to really make out.
The words on the cassette didn't have any meaning for the students, but they were still able to sound them out. The only hitch with the cassette was that the letter 'c' doesn't exist in the Nagot alphabet.
As at the APAF girl's literacy class in Bamako, the students seemed to enjoy the novelty of the Kinkajou, and the feeling of being in a movie theater. The teacher picked up right away on the function of the Kinkajou, and appreciated not having to bend over to write and erase things from the blackboard.
In terms of utility, the results of the test were less clear. This being a basic literacy class, the students spent less time reading aloud than they did copying letters onto the class blackboard and onto their own smaller blackboards.
For reading exercises, the teacher made up short, simple sentences on the spot for the students to read from the class blackboard. It may be the case that at a later point in the curriculum the students spend more time reading aloud, in a fashion similar to the APAF and World Ed courses. MVV will help us to find out more about how Kinkajou might work in the village.
One last note about the literacy class. Those completing the curriculum received a certificate and ID card signed by the teacher and the local program director, stating that they have learned how to read the local language. For most students, this is the only diploma they'll ever receive.
Posted by Timothy Prestero at August 8, 2003 02:53 PM