Elaine Negroponte on Computer Usage in Schools


Back in February, we reported that in OLPC Thailand, XO Students Show No School Improvement. The post was quite controversial - generating the response Roger Siptakiat on OLPC in Thailand on the official OLPC blog.

Sadly, the OLPC News comments were down at the time, so community feedback was lost. Yet, this comment was emailed to me directly, and I thought it worthy of sharing:

Cambodia Pride School
To Whom It May Concern,

When I visited a large and obviously well endowed school in Bangkok -- I saw that no computers were being used there. Not XOs or any other larger laptops.

Computers are only used when the teacher believes in them for education purposes -- certainly what I saw was a lot of hands on learning but not computer learning usage. I think if this happened in a major city that the rural areas would have an even lower rate of usage.

What OLPC never has understood is that it is not the XO laptops that make the difference -- it will always be how motivated the teachers are to use any computer. Problems such as these occur in the US as often.

Elaine Negroponte

And yes, that is the Elaine Negroponte who sponsored laptops in schools with her then-husband, inspiring an entire movement.


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1 Comment

Sorry, nobody gets to lay the blame for lack of XO, or any other computer use, at the feet of teachers. If teachers were given the freedom - even encouraged - to innovate, experiment, and create positive learning environments for their kids, it would be a different story. Sadly, that's not the case in the US now, and I'm doubtful that atmosphere exists on a wide scale anywhere in developing countries.