Greg Smith raised several important points in his "Optimal XO Application Development Model Process" post.
We need to engage with the schools of the OLPC target countries (eventually all countries are targets, but we have to start somewhere) about the collaborative discovery model of education, which we call Constructivism.
Colonial Education Systems
This means opening a discussion with teachers, students, administrators, families, prospective employers--well, everybody, actually. The problem that we face is that almost every education system in the world was created by a colonial power, not to encourage innovation and problem-solving, but to keep the population in order while their country was pillaged.
The point was to create a compliant bureaucracy, military, justice system, and so forth, which would deal with the rest of the population on behalf of the colonial masters. Even at home in the seats of empire, the better sort of education was directed at producing bureaucrats and other functionaries for the home country and the colonies, military officers, and so on, while the lower forms of education were aimed at producing factory workers and shop clerks, not thinkers and innovators.
Nobody minded if the system also produced mathematicians, scientists, and technologists, as long as they confined themselves to their own fields and didn't try to think about the bigger picture. Those who did were marginalized as radicals, even Communists (which they often were. Communism combined a fine and quite appropriate sense of moral outrage for recruitment purposes with insane theories of politics and economics that most members took on faith).
The most innovative cultures in history, such as Athens and Venice, were slave-owning or aristocratic. We can learn from them, but we can't copy them. The US education system has been described thus: "If it had been imposed by a foreign power, it would have been considered an act of war." So in every case we have an education system not suitable for free peoples.
The OLPC Promise
We don't even know what would be suitable for free peoples. Not for lack of trying, but because those who have investigated the issues have been effectively marginalized and largely go unheard. Until now.
Now their work is embodied in the OLPC XO-1 laptop. Children won't need to hear the theory when they have the thing itself in their hot little hands.
Hmm, maybe I'm wrong. Maybe we don't need to open a discussion after all. Children of the world, listen to your uncle. (The rest of you, move along now. Nothing to see.)
Careful how you go with the truth under your coat. Pass it on.
More Constructivism on OLPC News