Jun 12, 2006

OLPC Follow Up

The following is a follow up on to the One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) initiative post from last week, and is in response to concerns raised by a CETPA member:

Several of the concerns have already been considered, and while some of the solutions may not be ideal, they are at the very least a step in the right direction. Conditions on the ground will always be a factor, and there will always be differences from country to country. Ultimately, getting the devices in the field will be the proving ground for these theories, and I am certain that they will see much revision. The following is my understanding, from reviewing the project materials and full text of the comments and presentations of the project group, of the appropriate responses to the questions (listed below) about OLPC:

Q - How will these devices be maintained? They will break, everything breaks, and these will be in the worst of environments for electronic devices. I don't think parts distribution is part of the current plan, at least not in anything that I've read.
Jun 5, 2006
In recent days, significant media attention has been given to MIT's One Laptop per Child initiative, including a good deal of, in my opinion, unwarranted criticism. The following is my personal take on the matter, as posted on the California Education Technology Processors Association (CETPA) mailing list:

When considering the One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) initiative, we must bear in mind the real purpose of the initiative, along with the problems that these countries face with regard to education. I can understand how one might be tempted to evaluate the potential effectiveness of OLPC solely based on the technical specifications of the tool, mistakenly basing their conclusions on their personal experiences in the classrooms of the richest country in the world. Before we pass judgement on it, we must first study the project itself, discover who is behind it, evaluate the educational needs of the rest of the world without personal bias, and consider the tool as it applies to the goal, rather than our personal desires or experiences.