Just when I started to feel comfortable that One Laptop Per Child was finally turning its focus to developing educational content. That Children's Machine XO's would be part of a localized curriculum; Nicholas Negroponte has reminded us of his opinion on how to educate children.
At DLD (Digital, Life, Design), Europe's "conference for the 21st century" at HVB Forum in Munich, Germany, Negroponte spoke in the panel "How to Be Good" on his views on the world's children.
How might the mighty MIT professor, the self-proclaimed "global citizen", fix the problem of uneducated children? How would he deal with providing the rural poor a solid educational basis for development? At 12:40 in the presentation he tells us:
It's not by training teachers. It's not about building schools. With all due respect [to HP's e-inclusion efforts], it's not about curriculum or content. It's about leveraging the children themselves.So in other words, Nicholas Negroponte doesn't believe in the tried, tested, and confirmed power of teachers, working in structured classroom environments, to exceed his "magic", his OLPC implementation miracle, which looks something like this:Billions of dollars this project is consuming might become a giant boondoggle?
Then you might want to contribute to OLPC Nepal, one group I know of who has a collaborative OLPC implementation plan, and based on their Weekly Updates, is working on hyper-localized basic learning activities for the Children's Machine XO.
In the first generation of Mero Sano Saathi, their Nepali-language curriculum for the OLPC XO, they've aligned their efforts with the Nepali education system's traditional pedagogical models and are focused on three Grade One activities. To quote the Update:
Now isn't that local, content focused curriculum a refreshing contrast to Nicholas Negroponte's anti-teacher comments and vague references to energy in schools? Go OLPC Nepal! May you succeed in spite of Negroponte's views.
- Gyankosh -- a wiki (open-source encyclopedia) targeted to children. We intend to have all of the stories and poems for Grade One implemented in this first phase.
- Jotpad -- A basic tool that allows children to write in free-hand with a stylus and even draw pictures. We hope this tool will eventually recognize the text and grade the quality of the child's penmanship. For this first phase it will only record the child's writing.
- Basictivity Maths -- Basic math lessons. We intend to port and localize the Gcompris math tools for this first phase.