February 26 - Lessons, Local News, Healthcare and More Fruit


On Monday I submitted a business proposal to Cable & Wireless outlining the contributions we hope they'll agree to make to our project. If they sign on, which it looks like they will, we'll need to be prepared to take our project to another level. We're limited in the number of schools we can possibly visit using our current 6 weeks of visits program. Although we intend to continue with that model throughout our time here (we're staring at Tivoli Gardens high school tomorrow and Camper Down next week!) we're adding an additional method of training. We'll be holding full-day trainings for teachers in which we'll train them in both FruityLoops and skyBuilders and in how to teach them to students. With a little organization ahead of time, teachers from a school should leave a training with a live school website and FruityLoops software for their school computer lab as well as all the skills they'll need to teach our curriculum. We'll do follow-up visits at each school to help the programs get started and to make sure they are progressing well. The catch is, to this point we haven't had a formal curriculum. This is absolutely key if we are going to expect teachers to be able to adopt our program after a single day of training. So we are

Announcing the first few installments of the Harvard-Jamaica Project Currculum!

They are geared specifically towards teachers and students participating in our program, but if you are interested in learning and have your own copy of FruityLoops or want to build your own skyBuilders site, they may be fun to try out. We've been working on them steadily and we'll be continuing to add more over the next few weeks. By the time we have our first C&W-sponsored full-day workshop for teachers we hope to have complete curricula (sp?) available online and in print for the participating schools. If you do try them out, we'd love your feedback and error checking--just send us an email.

On a personal note, the C&W legal and regulatory team invited me to come do a private Internet law course for their team. I think it will be a great opportunity to actually work with an ISP on their Internet policy. I'm really looking forward to it. Also, it won't be bad to get paid!

local news

I've mentioned the local news in my blog before, I think--mainly in reference to what we see on the local network TV news (20 minutes of local stuff and business, 1 sentence on international news, 5 minutes of weather and about 30 minutes of cricket and local sports). Although most people watch at least one hour of the TV news here, I think, the main method of finding out what is really on the minds of Kingstonians is through the talk shows that are on all day long in the radios in every car. There is usually a local political story-of-the-moment that is being discussed on every single radio talk show and in every car. I think these stories and peoples' reactions to them give an interesting window into what is happening here. I'll relate two recent ones:

health care

I'll spare the details, but I had to visit the St. Andrew hospital in Kingston this morning for a minor ailment. Although the place was unassuming and not extremely modern, it was more efficient and less overcrowded that most other hospitals I've ever visited, in the U.S. or elsewhere. My doctor, a young woman named Dr. Jo-Anne Brathwaite was extremely competent and helpful. Everything went so smoothly that I didn't even leave in a bad mood or with a headache. What's more, it cost JA$2000 (US$40) to see the doctor and get lab work done. Amazing.

more fruit

I promised you a picture of the inside of a custard apple, so even though you may be very sick of all of my talk about fruit by now, I'll at least make good on my promise: