OLPC Has Done Tremendous Good and Some Bad

   
   
   
   
   

Nothing has infuriated and excited technologists and educationists almost in equal measure like OLPC. When I first heard about the idea, I thought it was absurd! Taking a minute to do a back-of-the-envelope calculation would show that it was total unrealistic and not feasible financially, logistically and educationally-- if you know anything about the developing world.

But in the end, I believe that the OLPC has done tremendous good (and some bad?). Apart from the usually-mentioned benefits like spawning the netbook industry and the associated benefits from all the neat technologies developed (e.g. the screen), OLPC has ignited and/or rekindled a serious debate about the role of ICTs in Education and more importantly about the nature of education in the 21st century.

olpc ethiopia
XO's better than using books?

So what did we learn? Briefly:

  1. Love or hate the OLPC, the one thing we all seemed to agree on was that education needed a serious re-examination.
  2. (Re)-Learnt that the technology is the easy bit- getting the technology into the hands of the users, powering it, keeping it working and relevant is the hard part
  3. No technology is likely to be widely successful in the education sphere if the education system itself doesn't change. if the curriculum doesn't change and assessment system don't accommodate the technology, it will is likely to have limited impact
  4. Tests still rule the roost. OLPC is a neat toy but when it comes to test time, teachers and parents demand that the "toy" be hidden as far away as is possible
  5. teacher centered approaches are still king-- at least in the developed world
  6. Like it not, OLPC has enabled kids who would never have handled a PC to do so and who know what dreams may have been created
  7. To really change the world, you have to think big (even if the idea is a bit crazy)

Perhaps many have been too unkind to OLPC. Might we look back 20 years from now and recognize the birth of the OLPC as the turning point for education? Maybe. We still really cant tell the impact OLPC has had or is likely to have even if it died out today.

One of the more interesting thoughts on OLPC and ICT4E can be found at: "ICT Integration in Education - What do we mean?"

Alex Twinomugisha made this comment as part of the month-long look at One Laptop Per Child Impact on Educational Technology Debate

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1 Comment

I do think that people have been to harsh on the olpc.
It may not have played out exactly the way that Negraponte intended, but the olpc essentially invented the netbook, and created a new category of computer that is inexpensive enough to be bought by low income people and organizations, much to the benefit of schools all over the world.

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  • Oh, come on Michael. Do you really think anything that was said on OLPC News would have had much …

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  • Hi!

    I bought 2 "Tablets OLPC." I had to return because the two did not work. O …

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  • Dear sir
    I have one question to sir?

    -1 why XO Tablet children play OK but when h …

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  • Dear sir
    I have one question to sir?

    -1 why XO Tablet children play OK but when h …

    Comment on The XO Tablet - A First Impression in 750 Words

  • Warning: Use of undefined constant title - assumed 'title' (this will throw an Error in a future version of PHP) in /nfs/c03/h05/mnt/54379/domains/olpcnews.com/html/includes_c/sidebar.html on line 1473

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  • Dear sir
    I have one question to sir?

    -1 why XO Tablet children play OK but when h …

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  • Bonjour Mokifisi!
    Je suis bien d'accord avec vous. Je travaille depuis 4 ans dans un petit …

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  • You just follow the same route upstream how you got the 2XO Tablets? How did you get them? Bring …

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  • └ quelle adresse envoyer mes deux XOTablet qui ne fonctionnent pas?

    At what address to s …

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  • That's called "Death on arrivals". They happen. That's why there's always some additio …

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  • What is a shelf XO? If you tell me what did you buy and from whom, perhaps I will have a suggest …

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  • Voici mon message en franšais...

    Bonjour,
    Je viens d'acheter 2 tablettes XO. Les d …

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  • I just bought 2 shelves XO. Both tablets are not working. One does not start and the other touch …

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  • I just bought 2 shelves XO. Both tablets are not working. One does not start and the other touch …

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  • I just bought 2 shelves XO. Both tablets are not working. One does not start and the other touch …

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  • OLPC is not death; eg. this One Laptop per Child San Francisco (OLPC-SF) June 21, 2014 Meeting a …

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