I wonder that Nicholas Negroponte thinks of Tara Bahrampour's "For Some, Laptops Don't Compute" article in the Washington Post? From the title, he can expect it to be a slightly negative take on laptops in education, and the beginning does not bode well.
But before Negroponte dismisses Bahrampour's description of T.C. Williams High School's leap into the future of education, he should note the reasons why it seems a negative take on the one laptop per child idea: the lack of initial teacher training and a misguided reliance of technology as a cure all.
When the program first started, the laptops were distributed without extensive teacher training. That lead to push-back by the teachers that only now, two years into the program, is being corrected. To quote the article:
Teacher training has also intensified.Then there is the role that technology should play in education. As usual, people were fixated on the "boat", instead of where they were going, or as an anonymous teacher was quoted as saying:
"I think they made the realization that they may have put the cart before the horse," said G.A. Hagen, a technology resource teacher at T.C. Williams. "It was like, 'Okay, teacher, here's the laptop -- go with it,' and [teachers] were like, 'What do you mean, go with it? Is there a Web site I go to?' "
"There's a big drive now to get everyone to do as much as possible on the computer. There's a real divide between those who see the computers as an end in itself and those who see them as a tool."Of course, the most damming comments were directed at the belief in implementation miracles. Larry Cuban, professor emeritus of education at Stanford University, echoed what Andrew Zucker, co-Director of the Ubiquitous Computing Evaluation Consortium, told Nicholas Negroponte directly:
"There have been studies that try to show that laptops and test scores are related," said Larry Cuban, professor emeritus of education at Stanford University. "There have been correlated rises but . . . no evidence to show that simply giving out laptops will raise test scores or close the achievement gap."So while Negroponte may not like the article, I do wish he reads it, if only to note others' errors. Errors he will be destined to repeat while we go ISO: a OLPC comprehensive implementation plan