Building One Laptop Per Socialized Child

   
   
   
   
   

Social inclusion has been one of the foremost issues in the minds of many ICT4D people, like me, Eduardo Villanueva Mansilla, of Lima, Perú. The advantages of using computers and the Internet as a mechanism for making governments and institutions readily available to the citizen, and to enhance the potential of consumers to act together, are always a significant component of the reasons given to invest in technology.

olpc socialization
Socialization, OLPC style

But social inclusion means also some degree of socialization. To include all citizens demands that those that haven't been able to (or haven't been allowed to) exercise their collective citizenship find the means to do that, but first of all, that are aware that they have the rights and duties that come with participation in a polity, in a nation as a whole. This demands a very specific form of socialization.

Historically, the most important resource for this kind of socialization has been the school system. Even more so, in many developing countries with confusing situations of race, ethnicity and class, and with structural limitations to social mobility, schools are the only significant support of the "imagined community" as discussed by Benedict Anderson.

One of the shortcomings of relying on schools for socialization is the creation of standardized, overpowering "big narratives", that cover every aspect of history, social relationships and economic possibilities for kids, so that the way that their collective experience is shaped leans toward a desired notion of both nation and the role they are expected to play in that nation.

To achieve this kind of unique understanding, it is necessary to create a rather vertical system, less than welcoming to criticism and alternatives views. This pervasive "national discourse" is at the very source of schooling, and comes with pledges of allegiance, national holidays and a variety of rituals.

This overwhelming structure is questioned when learning moves its focus from teacher-based instruction to student-centered discovery. This may be a good outcome, but leaves a huge void to be covered.

olpc collective
Creating collective OLPC notions

Exactly how these collective notions of past, present and future are going to be disseminated, learnt and accepted, without the vertical strictures of classic schooling? Is it irrelevant to consider this set of issues when planning for freely-decided, freely-conducted self-learning?

The yet to be realized dream of kids looking for other kids and connecting with each other, creating new narratives in the process, may not be enough to replace the one solid source of citizenship and social cohesion as we know it, schooling. And it may not even happen, since kids tend to look at the suggestions of pop culture and consumerism with a fondness that may preclude the development of high-minded narratives.

It is a distinct possibility that a massive number of kids connected to each other by XO laptops all around the world end up spending all their networking time exchanging Pokemon trivia and very little else, notwithstanding a small minority of motivated children that may have got connected to each to discuss the issues of the day even without OLPC XO's.

And this, simultaneously with the loss of social cohesion brought by the loss of the common sense of belonging to a community, that the school has been giving, for good or bad, all these years.

Related Entries

24 Comments

Eduardo --

Excellently observed, and a real and well-described risk.

(And I write as an English person of 75 whose vision of 'social cohesion' inludes as an automatic contrary warning a horde of people chanted, in unison, "Seig Heil!")

Martin

This is a very interesting and important aspect. Social cohesion and shared traditions, values etc. are important. They are a precondition for a functional community. But it also has a downside. If the cohesion is strong it excludes all outsiders and inhibits tolerance and openness towards them or towards own social members that are different. In other words it emphasizes conformism. In extreme cases it can result in nationalism and hostile attitudes towards outsiders. (See also Martin's warning.)

On the other end of the range the complete absence of social cohesion can result in indifference towards the other's problems. And it prevents to tackle problems together that are too large for a single person.

I think social cohesion requires a very delicate balance between those two extremes. And in my opinion a too strong or ill-oriented cohesion bears more risks than a too weak cohesion. In order to solve the worlds problems mankind urgently needs to build also social cohesion also across national and continental boarders. To solve global problems we need to shift our social cohesion from the present, mainly local character more towards a international and even global character. And I hope the internet generations will make an important step in the right direction. The OLPC education program gives me much more hope to finally build more global cohesion than fears of loosing too much local cohesion.

I also remind myself that the word 'education' has two roots: 'e-','ex-' meaning 'out', and 'duco' -- I lead; hence, the leading of someone out of a dark slough of ignorance and towards something else: the light of reason, perhaps? Of imagination?

But:- For a person to be able to think for themselves requires, firstly, that they have something to think about and only secondarily -- though still importantly -- that they have something to think with. To build requires bricks no less than a vision of what may be being built.

And so, yes, I agre with you that the risk we run with our proposed universally linked community of laptops is one which our children use them to chatter in between games of DOOM or SUPER MARIO BROTHERS.

--------------

This is to say, though, that what the XO and its feebler companions need is content.

As schoolrooms need -- you remember -- books?

Those old things.

Cheers,

Martin

"It is a distinct possibility that a massive number of kids connected to each other by XO laptops all around the world end up spending all their networking time exchanging Pokemon trivia and very little else, notwithstanding a small minority of motivated children that may have got connected to each to discuss the issues of the day even without OLPC XO's. "

K-6 children will see *any* laptop as a nice little toy and use it accordingly. That's why no nation on earth, poor or rich, has implemented Negroponte's idea. Kids can be introduced to technology and be given access to technology without having to hand out one computer per kid. The traditional "computer rooms" idea is still very valid, effective and far less expensive.

In fact, a very good case could be made that Negroponte has a much better chance of succeeding if he concentrates on making his laptops work as "thin clients" or terminals within a school-based network. Simple is better.

Trucutru

'Books', of course, includes stories and poems and pictures. Frogs are frogs, see, and princesses are Princesses, and never the twain . . . oh, wait a minute . . .

You tell a story, and the child who hears it or reads it learns, and that's education. You can try to do the same thing by instructing children to keep their promises, of course, but that intruction -- even when issued interactively and accompanied by boxes to tick -- doesn't carry the same hidden grip as the Grimm brothers' story about The Princess and The Frog.

We can --- almost --- prove this:

. . . .

"Our revels now are ended. These our actors,
As I foretold you, were all spirits and
Are melted into air, into thin air:

And, like the baseless fabric of this vision,
The cloud-capp'd towers, the gorgeous palaces,
The solemn temples, the great globe itself,
Yea, all which it inherit, shall dissolve
And, like this insubstantial pageant faded,
Leave not a rack behind. We are such stuff
As dreams are made of, and our little life
is rounded with a sleep."

Prospero, from THE TEMPEST, Act IV

. . . .


Oh, yes. We are indeed such stuff as dreams are made of, as aboriginal children from Australia's Outback have been taught for tens of thousands of years or so.

Except that Professor Richard Dawkins desn't think so, and has told us the contrary at considerable length. Dreams, on the contrary, he says, are merely an attribute of matter, other than which nothing exists.

He has thought a great deal, and competently, as befits a good, even a great, scientist. But I don't believe he read enough, when he was young. The mortar of his reason is fine as far as it goes, but he is lacking, you see, in bricks.

Love,

Martin

why does every now and then there is an article opposing classical schools systems and the OLPC Constructivism? I cannot see both as selfexcluding, but as complementary.

Kids go to school. They meet. Teachers come up with activities, just like ever. Then kids take their laptop and start buliding things as an answer, instead of sleeping.

alexandre

"I cannot see both as selfexcluding, but as complementary."

Oh, so do I, most assuredly. But I find every now and again that 'constructivism' seems to be offered (particularly, I may say, by OLPC) as some kind of new and overwhelmingly superb educational philosophy -- instead of its being, exactly as you say, kids talking to one another and to their teachers about stuff they have learned.

What OLPC, and everyone else involved in all of this, needs, is CONTENT.

CONTENT. CONTENT. Of which I see singularly little. Which is why I keep rabbitting on about it!

(okay, also because I am a content provider . . . It's what I do.)

Martin

There is content, and there is the medium through which the content is made available to people, and then there is the process by which content is created, critiqued, perfected and disseminated.

"Constructivism" seems to ignore the process completely and confuse it with the medium (the XO). Just give the kids the machines and there- you're done. The kids will do all the work - and it will all be done right. (Talk about dreams.)

So what do we do now - those of us who would like to see this excellent technology used appropriately and effectively? We have to develop a conversation about this process and how it can be created and sustained. We're not going to get any help from OLPC in this, but they will be glad to take all the credit for it.

Martin is very clear about his orientation - ebooks. I would throw in one aspect that perhaps hasn't been given the same status - writing.

I learned to read as I learned to write - clumsily wielding a dull pencil to shape the letters and assemble them into words that had sounds and meaning. I don't see using a keyboard and assembling letters on the screen as quite the same thing. I would hate to raise a generation that is unable to write except through a keyboard and screen.

Even a touch-pad is not the same. Words on paper - or chiseled into stone or chalked on a wall - have a power that is not present in the virtual world. They can get you into trouble - has any of us not had to learn that lesson?

This is an example of how the whole topic of education must be reconsidered in light of the available technology and, as Eduardo Villanueva Mansillo points out so well, in light of the needs and desires of the whole community.

I will attempt to involve a friend of mine who spent the 1960's and 1970's studying and participating in the alternative education phenomenon in the US. For me to paraphrase his conclusions would be unfair both to him and to the readers.

I encourage everyone reading this to seek out those people they may know who have made similar studies, experiments and analysis. This is about education, not technology.

The fact that OLPC has abdicated this responsibility simply makes it easier for us to take it up.

I find most of the negative comments regarding Negroponte's vision of every child having a laptop unbelievably archaic, lacking vision, intellectually snobbish - well, just incredibly ignorant.

Do we not recognize what a small world we live in? Technology needs to be shared with the future leaders so that we may all, hopefully, have a more peaceful world. Who can argue that knowledge is power? And how can "we" try and understand and respect other cultures and they ours, without knowledge?

Obviously, I'm not as "learned" as you, however, sometimes, simplicity, dreams, visions, have been what has moved certain civilizations/cultures towards more tolerance, understanding and acceptance of other people's cultures. Condemnation and unacceptance of those of different beliefs has never resulted in peace. Interestingly enough, Rodney King's comment "Can't we just all get along" is so simple yet so profound.

Let's promote acceptance, knowledge and peace.

Sincerely,
Lisa Smith

The most important part of a child's education is that they learn intelectual attitudes that took mankind to accumulate during millenia, which are available in every corner. For the lack of a better term, I will call it wisdom.

Wisdom is not something that every human can acquire without exercising the mind in a certain way. There are young people who, from observation, consultation and meditation, are wiser than some old people who die without wisdom. One can find wisdom disseminated in books, in stories passed from generation to generation, from the life experiences of living persons, and in the written memories of dead persons. Some books are biographies, others are fictions based on real lives, children's stories, fables, religious scriptures, theater plays etc.

I think the challenge now is to fill the OLPC with interesting texts in the form of short stories, complemented with songs with lyrics from those stories, illustrations, comics strips, games etc. all created from wisdom themes. It is a gigantic task which must be carried out by all adults who understand their duty. There are many sources. The stories need to be either time-independent, or adapted to the objects and scenes of the recent world. Every few years, some of the stories have to be updated, or added. I think now is the time for each who can start writing short stories to teach wisdom to children in every possible language, that teachers can put in debate in class. Those who have talent will adapt stories to games, toys, charades etc. It is not easy, but a worthwhile challenge. I am trying to do my part right now to kickoff the process.

The short stories will reside in the school servers that will be referred by the OLPCs. One of the games that could be proposed is to record dialogs inspired in the stories from e-books, like in the old radio plays. This will enrich the repertoire for the future learners. As the first trainees get older, they should be encouraged to improve, update, rewrite the existing stories. When we get to that point, our mission will be accomplished, because with assured continuity of the program!

"That's why no nation on earth, poor or rich, has implemented Negroponte's idea. Kids can be introduced to technology and be given access to technology without having to hand out one computer per kid. The traditional "computer rooms" idea is still very valid, effective and far less expensive."

Dear sir, it seems to me you did not visite a Western school recently. There, you would have seen that almost every child has a mobile phone and access to a computer at home. Very often, their own computer with internet access. For most high school types, having access to a computer and the internet at home is necessary for graduating (at least in my country).

The OLPC project just tries to give to poor children what has been shown to help rich children.

Furthermore, I advice all people who are interested enough in educational theories to attack Constructivism to also inform themselves about the theories of Piaget, Froebel, Montesori, and Parkhurst, to name only a few.

These reformers, going back to the early 20th century, already developed most of the theories you try to ridicule. Their work is heavily used in European schools (I have no idea about the USA). Most parts of what Constructivism tries to achieve has already been applied in education. So if you want to attack Constructuvism, you can find all the evidence you need in current practise. I am only afraid the evidence will point the wrong way for an attack.

Winter

Please, do not forget the main shortcoming of present day schools. It is the passive role the students are given most of the time. They are taught by consuming prepared lectures, texts etc.
The best improvement of education would be to give the kids back their natural active role. They should learn much more often by doing and by producing rather than by hearing and reading.

The most valuable preparation for classes is not texts and stories to consume but activities that let children actively find out for themselves about the stuff they should learn. E.g. to learn about the great lakes in North America you should not hand out photo copies with maps and related information to consume. Instead you should send them on virtual discovery trips to find out interesting things about the lakes like what animals live in them, what people live around them, what they do in, on and around the lake etc. By doing that the kids will not have to memorize a map and the names of the lakes like we did. They will learn important things associated with the lakes driven by their own curiosity and will have no problems to remember the names of the lakes for all their lives because of those associations.

So the best preparation for class is to think up topics for the kids for their active exploration (i.e. not by just reading a hand out) that will let them learn the necessary things and to prepare or introduce the tools of exploration which are called activities on the XO.
Exploration means to find out about the following questions:
What is out there? What does it do? Why does it do that? How does it relate to something else?

Lisa --

I doubt if anyone here disagrees with Negroponte's vision of ' ONE LAPTOP PER CHILD '.

Speaking for myself, and even though I tend to write posts which may seem critical of the XO, I very greatly look forward to the day when every child will start off with the e-book reader I have suggested, at very little indeed in cost or wattage needed, (hence with carbon footprint also zilch, by the way) -- on which he or she will learn to read; and will then, later, have an XO or a similar machine through which -- exactly as you wish -- to be connected with everyone else in the world.

(Not that this will lead to universal peace: do not even begin to kid yourself about that.

On the contrary, it will lead to bigger and better wars between larger and more stupid factions, led by exactly those persons of loathsome, greedy and selfish ill-will who lead them now. But that won't be XO's, OLPC's, or Negroponte's fault, nor yet mine, come to that.)

But : Let us be brisk, here.

OLPC, that huge humanitarian concept, has now turned into a tawdry -- and frankly rather dull, because familiar -- battle between commercial interests wishing to sell lots of cheap(ish) PCs to the world's secondary schools.

And the XO itself has turned into a battleground on which various geek-factions argue over interactive video and multimedia recording ('because those are what the real world needs') This war isn't quite as boring as the commercial one, but it's being fought between people with their eyes firmly shut against any idea of what teaching children might be about.

Martin Woodhouse wrote:
"The moment I read his nice friendly comment about how he had put a little slot in the side of the machine to accomodate his good friend Bill Gates -- and Windows XP, of course, at $3 and one and a half gigabytes -- I knew beyond doubt that the project was headed down the tubes. And exactly why."

I agree with most of your post. Except for the quoted part.

This often quoted remark of Negroponte shows mostly that Negroponte is disconnected from the real design work. Other members have extensively discussed why they put the extra SD slot in: Because clients asked for the possibility of memory upgrades that would make the XOs last longer. Currently, the XO can even accomodate 8GB SD cards. Work to extend that is in progress, I believe.

The MS team seems to have hit the infamous brick wall familiar to all those that program in Windows. There comes a point in every programming project for Windows where you simply cannot progress anymore due to design errors in Windows. From that point on, you have to supply your own OS parts.

We have no evidence for (and some against) that the MS team is able to even boot XP on an augmented XO. MS seems to lacks the in-house knowledge to write the necessary hardware drivers. And there would even be file-system problems trying to run a MS OS over an SD card (USB sticks have special hardware to overcome these limitations).

Windows CE could be gotten to work. But that is so extremely bad, it isn't even worth the FUD value. And CE would be incompatible with XP anyway.

Winter

"as you can see from the post above, Negroponte's actions, statements and ultimate failure are - without a single doubt - Microsoft's fault."

It seems my post has caused some misunderstandings. My appolgies for that. And here some remedial (long) writings to right it again.

I do not think all the problems of the OLPC are caused by MS (nor Intel), and I certainly do not think XP on the XO should be encouraged.

What I intended to say is, that the extra slot was reportedly added on the request of the countries. They wanted to make the XO's usefulness last longer. Memory expansions are an obvious way for that. Given the hardware, an SD slot is the most cost effective option. The last report I read said that the XO now can work with 8GB of additional SD memory.

Negroponte in a talk attributed the slot to helping out MS. As I wrote, there are no other reports that support that quote. I see it as evidence that Negroponte operates at some distance from the OLPC team.

Notwithstanding all this, MS needs the SD slot if it ever wants to get XP running on the XO. However, according to those involved, MS is unable to write the drivers XP needs, nor the adaptations to an SD file system. I think MS do not have the know-how available anymore to do that. So I think, the whole XP on XO is just FUD. The $3 XP crippleware is intended for the Classmate.

I do know that if MS really feels like it, they will contract the support of XP on XO out to a firm that CAN do it. Maybe they already did, who knows? I think XP on educational computers is a crime against children. But that is just my personal oppinion.

MS have done their part to riddicule the OLPC project and no doubt have signed some deals targetted at reducing the adoption of the OLPC. But I do not think that they have yet done, nor intended, major harm.

In my personal opinion, I do expect that in the end, MS will do everything that can be done with $10B to stop children anywhere to get access to Linux. Just as Intel has reserved $1B to prevent these children from using AMD processors.

But I will immediately confess that I am close to paranoid on that.

Winter

"So the best preparation for class is to think up topics for the kids for their active exploration (i.e. not by just reading a hand out) that will let them learn the necessary things and to prepare or introduce the tools of exploration which are called activities on the XO.
Exploration means to find out about the following questions: What is out there? What does it do? Why does it do that? How does it relate to something else?"

In education this is called "inquiry-based learning" (IBL). Regardless of what one may think of standards, IBL is always recommended, mostly in teaching physical sciences because it follows naturally the scientific method. It doesn't necessarily require computers, although they definitively help. The way it works is simple. Prepare a set of focused questions for a specific topic which the student have to answer, based on what they know, and, most important, what they can learn from the available tools. The process is iterative, so every statement must be backed up by a legitimate argumentation. This is where computers come in, since they are the tools to be used. Learning by questioning is the best way to stimulate the creative and analytical skills of kids. It's exactly the opposite of lecturing, but also it also differs from the constructivistic approach, since the role of the teacher is very important.

The XO would help tremendously, if the content would be designed with IQL in mind. Imagine a sort of virtual teacher, that poses you questions, and with the help of simulations done with e-toys, allow the student to work his way out in understanding the problem. One example.

XO sound card is designed so that it can be used to measure DC voltages. The sound card drivers have been hacked to allow that. With cheap sensors, you can measure voltages, temperatures, etc. One of the many possible IPL activities would focus on electricity. The student would be guided to build his own battery (using fruits for examples). Then, by questioning, he would be guided to understand how to connect more of them to obtain more voltage or current. The student would both simulate it with e-toys, and measure it physically with the sound card. The XO may have a dedicated activity consisting on a voltmeter to a full oscilloscope. The XO would then become more than a laptop, but a full laboratory equipment. Possibilities are endless.

The key point is that the teacher (real or virtual, as of the XO per se) must follow the kids natural path of learning, and questioning must come as an incentive to move introduce a new problem. By the time this practice has been done for a while, the student would be able to question himself, and apply this critical thinking in his learning.

The point of all this is that the laptop by itself isn't enough. Kids will not follow this path by themselves. You need to teach them to follow such practices. "How to learn" is something that you "learn", and someone must be there to facilitate that.
So the questions Roland was posing are keys in this process. The fact that the student at some point will ask himself those questions regarding a topic he doesn't know, it will allow him to move forward his education. And if that would be achieved with thanks to the XO, that would be a tremendous success.

(I apologize if I moved the discussion from the Microsoft-OLPC theories into talking about education, but Roland's comment was too good to be left unexplored)

Nick,
I agree that this learning method is great for science. But I am convinced that it is not only great for science but also for language and other humanistic topics. E.g. you could ask similar questions about the content and style and structure of pieces of literature, history, art, music, foreign languages you name it.

I agree with Martin that literature is also important in education not only for the general knowledge, emotions and beauty of it but also because it conveys important principles governing the personal and social life. This is complementing the scientific laws and is just as important. By the way, I have seen too many scientist with poor interpersonal skills. So also in this humanistic area is vast room for improvement and it is high time for new, more effective approaches.

But I do not agree with Martin that reading books (or e-books) is the only way to approach literature. Of course it is the technically least complex one and much better than no education at all. But if we can provide better ways for a few dollars more we should try it. As valuable as reading books already is it is still rather poor compared to the additional wealth of approaches modern technology provides. We have to learn to use this technology to our kids' advantage also in education.

In order to understand the OLPC, you must read the papers from Alan Kay and the thinking behind the Dynabook. The problem that most people have is that they picture the students as being rich white kids in a western country. The schools the OLPC people are complaining about are like the failed schools in American inner-cities. If your school has drugs, prostitution, gangs, and apathetic or racist teachers...how is that a learning environment?

I was a child that actually used LOGO, BASIC, and computer-based learning. A real library was far away. The teachers seemed to be more interest in having sex with the students, than teaching them. The teacher with computers was a guest teacher from Australia.

I guess it took an outsider to see what was happening. The math, logic, and computer skills came in handy later in life. The computers also offered access to alternative media and data. Our textbooks dwelled on messages like "the United States was victorious in the Vietnam War". Victory in Vietnam and Cambodia, and the awesome might of the US military were obsessions for our school books. "Good Christian Values" were also trumpeted loudly. Many science concepts were down-played or glossed over, because of the emphasis on “Good Christian Values”. These same “Christians” were completely apathetic to the drugs and juvenile crime in the school.

So what chance is there besides a volunteer computer class after school?

Roland,

you are absolutely correct. I was referring only to its applications to the teaching of sciences because that is what I know from first hand experience. My knowledge of language education is not nearly as good so that I can make suggestions....

Robert Lane,
could you give me (us) a link to those papers of Alan Kay that you refer to? I'd like to check them out.

Of course the educational value of the XO outside school is very valuable for cases as you describe or for so poor places where no schools exist but also in more normal situations. _However, I am afraid that spare time learning even using an XO without support and guidance of a teacher will not result in a complete, well rounded education. It is rather an "emergency replacement" for a real education.

Sorry, this comment is from me. I accidently typed Robert the addressee.

Robert,

"could you give me (us) a link to those papers of Alan Kay that you refer to?"

You can find some of the recent ones at Squekland website:
( http://www.squeakland.org/school/HTML/essays/essays.html )

But you should really check the work Kay's team was doing in 70s working on Smalltalk at Xerox Palo Alto Research Center - here's a sampler:

"Personal Mastery: If a system is to serve the creative spirit, it must be entirely comprehensible to a single individual. "

Design Principles Behind Smalltalk
( http://users.ipa.net/~dwighth/smalltalk/byte_aug81/design_principles_behind_smalltalk.html )

All,

Thank you so much for your responses! The type of papers mentioned were from Viewpoints Research Institute, Alan Kay's group.

He recounts events in his life that led to the Dynbook and Smalltalk ideas:
http://www.vpri.org/pdf/kprize_RN-2004-002.pdf

His experiences were almost like mine.

I must say first that Negroponte is something of a hack. People like Doug Engelbart and Alan Kay were the real inovators back then. It was never the intention to replace schools or communities. If Negroponte said that, then he is twisting the vision. Things like the Dynabook were supposed to improve institutions, not replace them.

The real problem is that there many types of learning, such as Visual-Spatial, but the current Pedagogy focuses on rote learning and excludes others.

The OLPC program is an attempt to create a Dynabook. I guess Negroponte should get points for that, but the real vision is from Kay and Engelbart. The vision is for computers to empower people, i.e. regular people, and move people beyond the limitations of books and paper. You should see demos from Kay and Engelbart. They leave books-and-paper in the dust.

Doug Engelbart sites:

especially read his paper "Augmenting Human Intelligence"
http://www.invisiblerevolution.net/index-inside.html
http://www.bootstrap.org/

Alan Kay site:

http://www.viewpointsresearch.org/

I don't know if you got my last posting. Again, the papers I mention are at:
http://www.viewpointsresearch.org/html/writings.htm

epsecially the paper:
http://www.viewpointsresearch.org/pdf/kprize_RN-2004-002.pdf

Also check out Doug Engelbart's work at:
http://www.invisiblerevolution.net/index-inside.html

Imagine living in a world of Oral History and Storytelling, and then suddenly there are books.

We live in world of Books and Paper, but now there are computers. The vision is to use personal computers to empower people and move people beyond the limitations of books and paper. Ted Nelson is the vision's philospher. Alan Kay and Doug Engelbart are the vision's scientists. Everyone else is a hack or a heretic. They don't want to replace the teacher, they want to replace the books and paper. The paper "The Center of Why?" outlines the work that has been done to replace paper.

Computers offer Visual-Spatial aspects that are impossible with paper. The point is to use computers and people's minds to full potential, and not just have computers mimic books. I have never seen a real LOGO or Squeak lab that was not in a teacher-led class. School is still school...just the class excercises change. It basically looks like a modern corporate office, but using LOGO or Squeak instead of Microsoft Office. Nobody uses IBM Selectric typewriters anymore, they use Microsoft Word instead. In a Squeak or LOGO lab, the software replaces the notebooks that students have been using for 100 years.

What does MIT know about laptops anyway? MIT has always been focused on large Time Sharing Systems. A giant Time Sharing System with Artifial Intelligence has been MIT's vision of the future for 50 years. Fifty years is a long time. For an MIT person to suddenly do laptops...Well, he is a hack...

According to true MIT doctrine, a school system should have a big HAL 9000 looking supercomputer. MIT has always favored hugely scalable Time Sharing Systems enhanced with Machine Intelligence. "Computer Lib" coined by Ted Nelson and manifested by Engelbart and Kay was something MIT was against.

XO Tablets for Sale

Buy Your XO Tablet on Amazon.com
OLPC is selling the new XO Tablets on Amazon.com for just $149. Buy yours today!

xo-tablet-amazon.jpg

Discussions

Recent Comments

Community Forum

Close