[iDC] One Laptop Per Child - MIT/Negroponte Initiative
voyd at voyd.com
Fri Jan 4 00:28:49 UTC 2008
I;ve been a bit quiet - long semester - took a break. SOmeday I'd liek to
get back to Scott Kildall's post.
Anyway, I tend to be a bit critical of the OLPC idea. IMO, it's the idea
that computers are superior learning tools, when, having seen US technology
& learning protocols, I'm a bit skeptical. Although I could get behind the
idea of getting information tools into the hands of children I would be
leery of implementing a lot fo learning software for several reasons:
1: Technocratic Colonialism - Part of my graduate thesis research was on New
Media in Africa, and they have very different social & distribution models
than in the 1st World (only as a mnemonic). WHat sort of impact will the
programs and hardware have on the kids in terms of how it will be
IMPLEMENTED. I do not believe int he "Field of Dreams" approach here.
2: Social (re)Engineering - As mentioned in previous posts, OLPC seems
primarily focused on the tech part of the solution, which is a US paradigm.
Have any Sociologists been thrown at the subject of regionally or
culturally-specific implementations of technology?
3: What impact will the reuse have in the long run? Given that a laptop
usually has a 5 year cycle, maximum, what are the ramifications of the
introduction of techno-waste into inreeasingly remote regions of the world?
4: Solid Learning models to accopmany the Laptops - I would not back the
OLPC initiative without a good, solid learning agenda, although OLPC may
feel that they already have one, and I'd be interested in learning more
about it. I just have not been able to find it.
I'd liek to state that my criticism is not a dismissal of the project; it's
more akin to wary support, knowing quite well the face of techno-determinism
and the assumption that access to information necessitates learning.
As an educator, I would like to state flatly that the real solution to any
learning crisis is human, not technological. Computers may help, but as in
Iraq (probably a bad parallel, but bear with me) the most effective
solutions have not been technological - they have been human.
Basically, don't send a billion transistors to do the job of three billion
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