Saturday, April 07, 2012

Bad news on the application of OLPCs in Peru

If teachers are telling kids to turn on computers and copy what is being written on the blackboard, then we have invested in expensive notebooks.
Sandro Marcone (quoted in The Economist)
The article from which this quote is derived deals with the large scale deployment of One Laptop per Child computers in Peruvian schools. It is especially unfortunate that this apparently has been done with little attention to the way in which the OLPCs were employed to facilitate learning. As I understand it, Symour Papert was involved in the initial planning for the OLPC program, seeking to assure that they would be used to create a revolution in educational approaches.

It may also be the case that kids are learning a lot through their OLPCs, but that the tests used in Peru don't measure that outcome. One wonders how important understanding computers will be in the future lives of these kids, not to argue that maths and reading are less important. (I would note that I usually use the calculator on my laptop to do calculations rather than do long division and pencil and paper multiplication.)

Source: The Economist

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