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The city that we want (A cidade que a gente quer)

This project, conducted together with the Secretary of Education of São Paulo and the Bradesco Foundation, is introducing new ideas and technologies in the public and non-profit system of more than 1,000 schools. More than forty workshops have been conducted so far, involving more than 50 schools, 3,000 children, teachers and technology coordinators. The main idea is to have children identify the problems in their community, design solutions using multiple computational technology and, hopefully, implement the changes.

Websites about the project
http://www.blikstein.com/smesp (work area of the November 2002 phase)

Papers about the project

Cavallo, David, Blikstein, Paulo. et al. The City that We Want: Generative Themes, Constructionist Technologies and School/Social Change. In Proceedings from the IEEE International Conference on Advanced Learning Technologies (forthcoming), Finland, September 2004.

Sipitakiat, Arnan, Blikstein, Paulo & Cavallo, David. GoGo Board: Augmenting Programmable Bricks for Economically Challenged Audiences, In Proceedings of the International Conference of the Learning Sciences (forthcoming), Los Angeles, USA, 2004. (Full paper (PDF, 250KB)

Blikstein, Paulo & Cavallo, David. God hides in the details: design and implementation of technology-enabled learning environments in public education, in Proceedings from Eurologo 2003, Porto, Portugal, 2003. Full paper (PDF, 800 KB)

News about the project:

Estado de São Paulo
Sep 01 / 2001

New learning methods are tested in São Paulo
Introduced by American researcher, methods use information technologies.

The American researcher David Cavallo, from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (EUA), declared, in São Paulo, that schools should change the way they teach, incorporating new possibilities offered by information technologies, and argued that undeserved children should not be left out the process of innovation.

Cavallo visited one public school in São Paulo, the "Campos Salles", in the Heliópolis shantytown, where a pilot project of information technologies applied to basic education is being conducted. The goal is to encourage the creativity of the children, presenting more pleasant learning alternatives such as the construction of electronic or solar powered equipment, moviemaking, crafts or computer projects. The responsible or the project is Paulo Blikstein, Cavallo's student at MIT.

"Schools need to change the way they teach and our work deal with this process of innovation. Although it's not only for underdeveloped countries, we believe that with underserved children it's possible to show that a lot can be accomplished", said Cavallo, the project's advisor. "The self-esteem of the kids is greatly increased and that is reflected in a positive way in their life outside the school", he added.

Blikstein, a graduate student at the MIT Media Lab, said that the pilot project began 20 days ago and will finish on September 4th.

Every afternoon, outside the regular class schedule, 20 students from 12 to 15 years old (6th and 7th grades), spend with him three and a half hours in the computer lab of the school, to carry out their projects. "The goal is not to oblige them to do things. Each one has freedom even to play in the computer. The only rule is that everyone has to have a project to be done here", he clarifies.

Suellen da Silva, 12 years old, is in the 6th grade, said that she liked a lot to do documentaries in the shantytown and to act in a fiction movie that the students made with the video equipment brought from the USA. She shows with pride the windmill she did. "It took two days to complete this".

In October, the project will be taken to two other public schools in São Paulo.

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