The One Laptop Per Child project is making people think again about educational technology.
Home computers sit on desktops. Typically, the computer is for the use of everyone in the family, including the adults. Adults need experience with computers and even like to play a game or two as well. Most schools encourage the adults in the home to let the kids have precedence for homework. The computer is seen as an educational tool, not a game platform.
Tools in education[edit | edit source]
Students and classrooms in the history have transitioned from the use of chalk on slate to pencil on paper and now networked personal computers and laptops.
Moving to paper from slate might have been a technical gee-gaw to some. Did the use of paper just encourage children to doodle more since they had more space for doodling?
No tool is more important that it's user. A hammer can be used to build a house for the homeless or drop it on your foot and cause pain. One tool, two outcomes.
No computer is useful without knowledge of how to use it. Exploration and curiosity are vitally important mental abilities. As kids get their own computer, they often find ways to use this gizo. That is learning.
Teachers and parents to guide their students and children through the learning process. So it's not perfect. But is access to the world worth a few games? I think so. - Show quoted text - On Tue, 2008-06-10 at 03:14 -0700, Joel Kahn wrote: > Here's a recent critique of the One Laptop > Per Child project and similar efforts in > the area of educational technology: > > http://www.slate.com/id/2192798/ > > I'm curious about people's reactions to this. > > Joel > > > > > -- James P. Kinney III CEO & Director of Engineering Local Net Solutions,LLC http://www.localnetsolutions.com
GPG ID: 829C6CA7 James P. Kinney III (M.S. Physics) <firstname.lastname@example.org> Fingerprint = 3C9E 6366 54FC A3FE BA4D 0659 6190 ADC3 829C 6CA7
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I think there is little doubt that computers can be a distraction without appropriate guidance and supervision. But then so can a basketball. A kid who doesn't want to do his homework, and without anyone around to force the issue is going to find pretty much everything he/she can get their hands on a distraction. That doesn't mean that getting computers into the hands of kids is a bad idea.
I too had early access to computers, and I too used them to play a lot of games, but overall computers were a positive influence for me. My love for games quickly lead to a love for all things computer/technology related and eventually became a driving force for me to learn more then just what the teachers were teaching. As a kid, I really didn't like reading, and yet I found myself reading book after book on computers. I taught myself how to program, first in basic, then Pascal and C and all before I left high school. It's pretty safe to say that I new more about computers then every one of my teachers up to that point. In High school, I was lucky enough to have teachers who let me continue my self study and learn about networking using the schools Novel network. I also taught myself about BBSs and Fidonet networks which have since been replaced by the Internet. It's pretty safe to say that without access to computers, non of this would have been possible.
I mention this not because I think early access to computers will turn all kids into computer experts - I was raised with 2 brothers neither of which took to computers like I did. Simply giving computers to kids doesn't automatically mean they will use them for good, but denying them access to them surely prevents those that would from their full potential. I think thats even more true today in the information age then it was when I was a kid. Not having access to a computer, also means not having access to the Internet which means limited access to knowledge and information in general. That would surely limit any child interested in self study of any kind.
As a parent with young kids, I see computers as a tool to help them learn. There is no shortage of computers in this house, and my oldest son (grade 1) has had every computerized learning gadget I've ever seen from v-tech computers to LeapPads and recently an OLPC XO laptop. Most of which have been underutilized in large part because I have not made it part of his routine and forced him to use them. The reality is kids would much rather play then do school work, even when computers are involved. The trick is to find ways to make learning fun or otherwise motivate kids to want to learn. Computers on their own can't do that. They are only a tool that will go to waist without appropriate guidance. That's where parents and teachers come in.
As for the articles comments about the OLPC laptops, I think the author completely misses the point. The OLPC laptops are designed for the third world where they are not only an educational tool for the kids, but also provide much needed infrastructure for the whole family and community at large. These laptops are designed to be useful even in environments without the power and communication infrastructures we take for granted in the developed world. The kids use the laptops in school, then take them home where they can be used by the whole family to access the Internet if it's available, but also to communicate with others in the community. Granted the parents often can't read or write themselves, but they can still benefit from having access via their kids. Internet access can be provided to the school and shared out to the whole community via these devices. Its too bad corporate interests view these machines as a threat to their business instead of an innovative solution to several problems facing the third world. I think there would be a lot more interest in these devices if it wasn't for the negative influence from Microsoft and Intel.