Colombia Visit May 2018

Activity Ideas

Each One Teach One

  • each participant (or small groups?) teaches the rest of the participants about something they know
  • This would encourage leadership and reinforce for participants that we are all experts in some area

Empathy / Perspective Shift / Broader Beneficial Impact

  • Understanding how something you do has a broader beneficial impact can increase your motivation for doing it.
  • How to work this into an activity?


  • driving a very large moving truck from BC to Alberta (when you had booked a very small truck) - knowing it was bound for Ft. McMurray to help people evacuate/escape the forest fires


  • use a whole session to design the co-design process
  • support other's leadership in a co-design session
    • flip the script - be the user

Pocket Paintings

  • using acetate to create a multi-layered "painting" or design
  • individual drawings were made on acetate layers, then layered on top of each other and stitched on 3 sides
  • could we somehow use this to get participants sketching and bringing together ideas in co-design sessions?

Three Things

  • an activity led by Platohedro as a kind of ice-breaker
  • participants line up face to face in two lines
  • each pair of participants facing one another takes a few minutes to observe their partner
  • participants turn away from each other and change 3 things about their appearance
  • participants turn back to face each other and try to identify the 3 changes in their partner
  • participants share with the group when they have identified the 3 things
  • an exercise in deep observation / deep listening and a good "ice-breaker"

Collaborative Surprise Drawing

  • based on the method of "exquisite corpse
  • used to demonstrate collaboration and the creative ideas that can come from working together - something that one individual would not likely come up with on their own
  • in this case the aim was create a creature of some sort
  • lines were carried over from one section to the next with participants unable to see what came before
  • groups of 5 or 6
  • at the end the full drawing was revealed (to much delight and hilarity) and each group came up with a name and a short story (2-3 lines) about the creature
  • stories often reflected issues or aspects of the participants lives - so that they were able to tell a story that was important to them but without it being presented as personal
  • can we apply this directly to UI design or other design challenge?

Collaborative Art Warmup

  • based on with some tweaks
  • the group that presented the work, title, description and artist statement back to the larger group was not the original creating group
  • the original creating group then talked about their intention for the work (comparing it to the other interpretation)
  • we discussed the difference between an objective description and a subjective artist statement
  • we could also stress how when we design something it will probably be used for something we didn't think of so keeping our designs open is very important.

Mismatch / Starburst

  • while one member of each group was working on the collaborative surprise drawing, we got the rest of the group to come up with examples for the mismatch starburst
  • showed the starburst / scatterplot (related it to a normal curve, asked them what they knew about normal curves, average/median) and talked about things you "can do" things you find "difficult to do" and things you "can't do" 
  • participants worked in groups to come up with examples from their own lives
  • getting the to draw the starburst seemed to help engage them in the process
  • many answers related to transportation to/from school (some students travel 3-4 hours to get to school on a very rough road), also internet access
  • some students focussed on activities they personally find easy or difficult

General Notes

  • want to get PhET sims to them somehow to be able to use on their local intranet as well as at La Sagrada Familia
  • want them to use the storytelling tool to gather stories about organising Motivando a la Gyal
  • want storytelling tool to be able to be used on their smartphones as well as on the school local network
  • storytelling tool at La Sagrada Familia? They should be able to use it on wi-fi and school devices. Gather stories from them
    • could they use it to answer our feedback questions??
  • no internet (local network), smartphone hardware/software/OS as part of multi-modal, one-size-fits-one alternatives
  • can we get sensors into the student's hands - in Las Marias, Fresno, the Environmental Guardians (Cartagena) (also Canadian north?)
    • Nexus has to be able to run on old Microsoft desktops as well as smartphones that they use

Kimera Local Wireless Network

Student Interests

  • Students in Fresno (Mireya) talked about a few different small business projects they are interested in developing
    • Fruit Pulp - taking over-ripe fruit from farms that would otherwise go to waste, collecting the pulp, freezing it and selling it
    • Esthetics - providing esthetician services in Fresno and surrounding rural areas
    • Eco-tourism - developing tourism in rural areas that would include tours of farms and surrounding natural areas
  • Students in Las Marias expressed an interest in environmental issues and particularly negative effects on pollination (since herbicides and pesticides have killed of most of the bees, and many crops are now manually pollinated)

Notes from Debrief Meeting with Hector

Teacher Buy In

  • Teacher buy-in is critical for the success of the project. Some teachers are used to doing things a certain way and to using the content they are familiar with. At the moment this might be just a couple of printed pages which stands in for a chemistry textbook. 
  • Some teachers (and probably students too) are overwhelmed by the content available through wikipedia. Many teachers themselves have never before had access to much information. 
  • Regarding OERs, we need to slowly build up the confidence and interest of the teachers to use them (e.g. PhET simulations). 
    • Note: when shown the PhET sims, the teachers that were present at Platohedro in Medellín were very keen on getting downloaded versions of the sims to use with their students
  • A few teachers are now using the information in Wikipedia instead of their current content. At the school in Las Marias it is only the 9th grade that is doing this. 
  • Interestingly, in Las Marias, the community in general is using the Wikipedia intranet. They just come near they school and access the information.


  • Another issue is with teaching people how to search for the information that they are interested in. It appears that people have memorized how to get to certain pages but are unclear on how to find something else. For instance, if there are multiple entries for a particular word, they will only look at the first entry even if that is not what they were looking for. 
  • We talked about the possibility of doing some training around how to search, though there is a sense that this would not be easy. 


  • Originally the teachers were trying to use Wikipedia as a dictionary and were frustrated. Since then they got a dictionary and they are happily using it now, though the quality of the dictionary could be improved.

Local Content

  • One of the issues with Wikipedia is the lack of specific local information, particularly things related to farming and the possibilities for the future. Many of the students are very interested in ecology. Karisma will be running a workshop in two weeks where they will train people to enter information into Wikipedia. One of the girls at the school in Las Marias is going to be writing an entry about the history of Las Marias.

Content Creation

  • Some of the teachers would be happier if they could create their own content. 
  • Karisma set up a CMS, but it is too complicated for them. 
  • They are hoping to build a simple tool where teachers can create content (can the storytelling tool or version of it be used for this? how else can we support this? metadata project?). 

Increase Access

  • Karisma is trying several ways to increase access to the Wikipedia content. 
  • They have set up an intranet in the Fresno library which can be accessed from the park in the main square. 
  • They have also set one up at the organic coffee farm with the hope of enticing more people - not entirely sure of the strategy there. Perhaps it is that people come near the gates to use the intranet and the farmer could then give them more information about the project as a whole. 

Larger Social Issues

  • Young people aren't aware of the options they have for their futures
  • Women have little or no access to money so there is no way for them to ever change their situation. 
  • Conservatism - some parents won’t give permission for the program to take their kids to Fresno to visit the coffee farm or other field trips. 

Other Links

Magdalena River: