BELL and OLPC Partner to Digitize the Summer Learning Experience in Charlotte

Students and teachers at Allenbrook Elementary to utilize laptops to reinforce mathematics skills and engage in robotics discovery

CHARLOTTE, NC – May 20, 2013 – BELL and One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) are partnering this summer to enhance student learning and foster creativity and collaboration.  At the Allenbrook Elementary School, the two nonprofits will integrate OLPC’s laptops and technology curriculum into the BELL Summer learning program.  The collaboration will impact 140 students – called “scholars” in BELL programs – by boosting their academic skills, self-confidence, and engagement in learning.

“This is a story about mobilizing community resources to strengthen and expand learning opportunities for students,” explains Sherrinne Reece, BELL’s Director of Field Operations.  “Scholars have embraced the XO laptops and loved OLPC’s robotics club in our after school program.  By working together in the summer, BELL and can produce even more value and impact to our efforts in the L.I.F.T. zone.”

The BELL Summer program is a full-day learning and enrichment experience.  In the morning, teachers will integrate XO laptops into instructional curricula to create a blended learning environment.  Scholars will be able to express their learning and mastery of core concepts by working collaboratively to create reports, presentations, concept maps, collages, and a myriad of other digital forms.  In the afternoon, scholars will engage in a robotics club.  They will learn how to use Scratch, an open source software developed for the XO, to program their robots to perform various functions.  Scholars will also be able to take the XO home with them to continue their digital engagement after the bell has rung.

“One Laptop per Child is excited to form a partnership with BELL here in Charlotte’s Project L.I.F.T. Zone,” explains David Jessup, OLPC Project Manager.  “Our combined efforts will ensure that participating scholars are provided with a truly innovative summer learning experience. Infusion of the XO laptops into BELL’s existing program structure will only serve to enhance teaching, learning and exploration!”

BELL and OLPC have been working together to extend the use of the XO laptops into BELL’s after school program.  OLPC had planned on collecting, taking inventory, cleaning, and updating the XOs at each elementary school at the end of the school year.  But Torie, the OLPC Facilitator at Allenbrook, and Kim Smith, Math Facilitator at Allenbrook and BELL Program Manager, recognized a great opportunity to learn how XOs could enrich summer learning.

BELL is serving a total of 900 scholars across five elementary and middle schools in the West Corridor this year.  In addition to bringing technology into the classroom through its collaboration with OLPC, BELL will also utilize computer adaptive assessments to measure scholar achievement.  These efforts are designed to help Project L.I.F.T. achieve its goals in West Charlotte that 90% of students are on grade level, 90% achieve more than one year’s academic growth in one year’s time, and 90% graduate on time from West Charlotte High. Project L.I.F.T. is set to achieve 90-90-90 in five years using the pillars time (continuous learning opportunities), talent (the best teachers, administrators and staff), technology, and community/parent engagement.

“We hope that this summer’s pilot partnership will grow into a broader collaboration to further digitize summer learning experiences throughout the L.I.F.T. zone,” explains Reece.

About Project L.I.F.T.

Project L.I.F.T. is an innovative, community initiative working to improve outcomes and eliminate education disparities for minority and low-income students.  Visit www.projectliftcharlotte.org for more information.

 

Neonode(R) Powers One Laptop Per Child’s Newly Launched Laptop XO-4 Touch

Neonode’s Robust and Efficient Multisensing(R) Solution For Laptop Convertibles Debuts on Acclaimed OLPC Laptop Device

Neonode Inc., NEON +0.76% , the optical touch technology company, today announces that its robust, cost efficient and sustainably low-powered MultiSensing Technology is integrated into One Laptop Per Child’s (OLPC) new XO-4 Touch.

The XO-4 Touch, which is now shipping globally, is the evolution of OLPC’s successful XO-1 laptop series, and now leverages Neonode’s Multisensing Technology to augment usability, and user experience.

In light of its target market, this laptop convertible is developed to be virtually childproof, with strict requirements for safety, durability, cost, and power-efficiency. These demanding specifications are also valid for the touch requirements, and are implemented via Neonode’s MultiSensing(R) solutions, which excel in each of the above-mentioned areas.

OLPC’s rigorous requirements include:

– Exceptional power efficiency, that supports hand-crank charging

– A touch-based user interface that works without adding cover-glass, thereby maximizing glare-free readability in sunlight

– Integration of low-cost parts that are durable, yet easily replaced and repaired

– Enabling high-performance touch functionality in less-than-ideal environments that may include dust, dirt, and moisture

“We are proud to deliver our technology to a forward-thinking partner such as One Laptop Per Child,” says Thomas Eriksson, CEO at Neonode. “To see the X0-4 Touch come to market is truly a milestone for us, and a testament to the all-round quality, stability, and versatility of our technology. While the OLPC laptop is a very basic device, its touch performance and cost requirements are similar to those of regular convertibles. We are also appreciative for the close and inspiring working relationship with OLPC, whose vision to push education, entertainment and knowledge, to children around the globe, continues to inspire us every day. Thus we are happy to contribute with a creativity-inducing touch experience to the very same children. Moreover, we are grateful for OLPC’s rigorous design-in experience, which will likely serve us well, as we imminently enter mainstream laptop PC markets,” he concludes.

Read more about the cooperation here.

OLPC has strategic partnerships with world-class educational content developers, including Sesame Street Workshop, UNESCO and Little Pim, to provide content for the XO laptops and tablets. OLPC, created by faculty members from the MIT Media Lab, sells the laptops in large quantities to governments and private institutions around the world, that in turn issue them to children or schools on a basis of one laptop per child

About Neonode

Neonode Inc. NEON +0.76% develops and licenses the next generation of MultiSensing touch technologies, allowing companies to differentiate themselves by making high performing touch solutions at a competitive cost. Neonode is at the forefront of providing unparalleled user experiences that offer significant advantages for OEM’s. This includes state-of-the-art technology features such as low latency pen or brush sensing, remarkably high speed scanning, proximity-, pressure-, and depth sensing capabilities and object-size measuring.

Neonode’s patented MultiSensing technology is developed for a wide range of devices like mobile phones, tablets and e-readers, toys and gaming consoles, printers and office equipment, automotive or inflight infotainment systems. NEONODE, the NEONODE Logo, MULTISENSING, and zFORCE are trademarks of Neonode Inc. registered in the United States and other countries. LIQUID SENSING, IT MAKES SENSE and ALWAYSON are trademarks of Neonode Inc. For more information please visit www.neonode.com

Could Computers Be the Answer to Peace? Ask Kids from Karabakh!

Posted: May 6th, 2013 by Michele Borba

How the One Laptop per Child project, NUR and children in a land far away called Karabakh may teach us the secret to positive social change for developing countries and even peaceful coexistence

I’ve been a teacher, writer and researcher for over thirty years and like many, I’m haunted knowing that millions of children in our world will never receive an education or even walk into a classroom. I’ve pondered again and again how we can give poverty-stricken kids-especially those living in the remotest of areas where teachers, textbooks, classrooms or even running water don’t exist-a chance for a more hopeful future. I found the answer, and ironically, it came from children in a country half way around the world in a place called Karabakh. The visit changed my life.

The One Laptop per Child Project (OLPC)

I made the 22 hour trip (and then six hour convoy ride) to meet Karabakh‘s Prime Minister, tour the schools and visit with these wonderful children and their teachers. I was invited by  NUR (New Educational Strategy (Nor Usumnakan Rasmavariutum), an amazing project within the Fruitfull Foundation, an Armenian NGO created by the Argentinean-Armenian businessman, Eduardo Eurnekian. Mr. Sebastian Duval, director of the project asked me if I’d like to see their educational efforts in Karabakh. There wasn’t much hesitation on part.

I accepted in my role as the Goodwill Ambassador for the One Laptop per Child (OLPC) project,  a nonprofit organization that oversees the creation of affordable educational devices (or laptops) for kids’ use in the developing world. The OLPC goal is to transform education by providing every child with access to a connected laptop computer.

The XO laptop is made from durable plastic so it can withstand tough weather conditions (think “Sahara Desert”), is childproof, and has instant connectivity.

The XO also comes equipped with curriculum in a child’s native language–29 languages and counting–and was specially designed for the children of Karabakh with a keyboard equipped in both Armenian and Latin alphabet.

The XO was created by some of the world’s most brilliant minds at the MIT Media Lab in Cambridge and supports how kids learn best. It retails for about $185 and is given by OLPC to each child to bring home and keep.

A core OLPC principle is that in order to achieve meaningful educational improvement, each child should own a laptop so no one is left out. (I couldn’t agree more-I’ve witnessed many children in remote areas teaching their parents how to use a computer! It’s always a stirring sight.)

As of 2012 there are over 3 million XO laptops delivered to children in developing regions of the world including Rwanda, Nicaragua, Uruguay, Peru, Afghanistan, India, Ethiopia and South Africa.

Laptops to Karabakh!

Laptop deployments to Karabakh began just over a year ago with Fruitfull Foundation overseeing the distribution as well as teacher training. The laptops were generously funded by Mr. Eduardo Eurnekian,who gave 5000 laptops to all schools in the Karabakh cities of Stepanakert, Shushi and Karin’tak. His goal is to improve these children’s learning experiences by introducing technology in the classrooms, their schools and to their families so that eventually have every child in the region is equipped with an XO. I love Mr. Eurnekian’s vision for children:

“The world community sees Nagorno Karabakh within the context of war and regional conflict. People fail to take note of the children who are born and live there. These children are entitled to the universal right of education and access to information.

Through NUR, I intend to bridge the gap and give the children of Nagorno Karabakh the opportunity to receive the best education the world has to offer.”

 ~ Eduardo Eurnekian

Karabakh’s Unique Technology Challenge

Each XO deployment is always remarkable and has special challenges, but the Karabakh experience has to be among the most unique. The region’s history, location, and present-day circumstances all make the laptop deployment fascinating.

The success-as well as  the amazing response of the children and teachers-provides important and often overlooked lessons about the power of technology that we can all learn from.

To help you understand these special children and why the OLPC project is so special, I ask you to step into the shoes of the kids of Karabakh.

Imagine you are a child living in a country with it’s own flag, President, Prime Minister, post office, passport stamp, and standing Army, but you are not recognized as a nation by most of the world. That unique region is called Republic of the Mountainous Nagorno Karabakh.

Because your country is not recognized by the United Nations, you or your classmates do not receive crucial international health and benefits-as do most other world children-from organizations such as the World Health Organization, UNICEF, USAID, IREX, FLEX

Next, imagine what it is like living as a child in that region where there is a constant threat of war.Every waking day for these children is a “fear factor.”  Military convoys are all around you, your community is war-torn with bullet holes which still cover walls of your homes, churches, hospitals, and neighborhood.

Though you are currently in a ceasefire with neighboring, Azerbaijan, you recognize that your area is still vulnerable to attack. The constant visual presence of your army in your streets reminds you that your world is not safe.

Also imagine terror from another realm: the HALO Foundation is on the scene to remove hundreds of active landmines that surround your home, school or town. Since 2000, HALO Nagorno Karabakh safely located and destroyed over 50,0oo landmines and cluster munitions. Hundreds of more explosives remain.

Imagine that you go to school each day and as you walk into your building the first images you see are walls lined with photos honoring those killed in the war. Many of those photos are of your classmates.

Technology-especially computers-are novel and even a bit frightening to you. Your parents (still cognizant of living under Soviet mentality) fear there are special chips inside the device that track your every move.

Your connectivity to other children around the world is minimal. In fact, 90 percent of you and your peers lack connectivity to the outside world via computer. You basically  live in “technological isolation.” Television stations and news are also monitored.

Peace for your country is your hope. Conflict talks still continue but top international agencies-Amnesty International, Council of Europe, European Union, OSCE-warn that your region may well be the next place for armed conflict in Eurasian space. Threat of war is your daily reality. Just imagine!

And also imagine if you continue to live in a small, isolated, no-peace region unrecognized by the world and unable to benefit from the international experience. Education would continue to be a rote memory system. Your source of information would be limited and filtered.

But you share one common cord with children everywhere in the world: You know that education will provide you with a brighter future. A better education would provide you with the tools you need to pave your life.

And now you are given a laptop that just might be the answer to your hopes and dreams.

To continue reading …Computers Can Offer A New Educational and World Mindset  click here.

- @GoogleTalks features Rodrigo Arboleda

photo

Rodrigo Arboleda, the CEO of One Laptop Per Child, tells the success story of how one laptop has revolutionized education through “non-profit entrepreneurship” and unveils its new Android tablet that will be available for sale in US Walmart stores – the 1st time OLPC goods are sold in America – in summer 2013.

Rodrigo Arboleda Halaby is currently Chairman and CEO, for One Laptop per Child Association and based in Miami, Florida. Born in Medellin, Colombia, he completed his Bachelor’s Degree in Architecture at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in 1965 and was elected president of the Colombian Society of Architects in Medellín in 1975. He has worked with Nicholas Negroponte since 1982 on projects oriented towards bringing digital age technologies to educational systems in developing nations.

Proceeds of Joe Kutchera’s upcoming book, Exito! will be donated to OLPC. You can view his talk here.

Elsevier ClinicalKey To Help Donate Laptops To Children Around The World

One Laptop Per Child to receive contribution for each ClinicalKey search conducted at Medical Library Association conference, May 4-7

Elsevier, a world-leading provider of scientific, technical and medical information products and services, today announced a charitable donation to One Laptop Per Child (OLPC), a non-profit organization whose mission is to help provide every child in the world access to a modern education.

For each search made on ClinicalKey at Elsevier’s booth (#106) at the Medical Library Association Annual (MLA) Meeting and Exhibition (May 4-7, Boston), Elsevier will donate $1 toward the purchase of up to 50 laptops for OLPC. ClinicalKey is Elsevier’s “clinical insight engine” which combines an extensive collection of medical content and a sophisticated search engine to provide clinicians with smarter, faster clinical answers.

“ClinicalKey shares OLPC’s vision of providing modern information connections for a modern education,” said Diane Bartoli, Senior Vice President and General Manager for Elsevier’s clinical solutions business. “We understand investing in education now is one way to help ensure excellence in healthcare in the future, a mission that’s close to our hearts. The children who receive these laptops may well become ClinicalKey users at some point, and we’re honored to play some role in helping them on that journey.”

OLPC works to empower the world’s poorest children through education, providing those in need with rugged, low-cost, low-power, connected laptops. In OLPC’s first years, approximately two million previously marginalized children were given the opportunity to learn and transform their communities.

“With access to this type of tool, children are engaged in their own education, and learn, share, and create together. They become connected to each other, to the world and to a brighter future,” said Rodrigo Arboleda, Chairman and CEO of OLPC. “Laptops are both a window and a tool: a window out to the world and a tool with which to think. They are a wonderful way for all children to learn through independent interaction and exploration.”

To help contribute to One Laptop Per Child and learn more about ClinicalKey, simply come search on ClinicalKey in the Elsevier booth (#106) at the MLA annual meeting.

# # #

About Elsevier

Elsevier is a world-leading provider of scientific, technical and medical information products and services. The company works in partnership with the global science and health communities to publish more than 2,000 journals, including The Lancetand Cell, and close to 20,000 book titles, including major reference works from Mosby and Saunders. Elsevier’s online solutions include ScienceDirectScopus,ReaxysClinicalKey and Mosby’s Suite, which enhance the productivity of science and health professionals, and the SciVal suite and MEDai’s Pinpoint Review, which help research and health care institutions deliver better outcomes more cost-effectively.

A global business headquartered in Amsterdam, Elsevier employs 7,000 people worldwide. The company is part of Reed Elsevier Group plc, a world leading provider of professional information solutions. The group employs more than 30,000 people, including more than 15,000 in North America. Reed Elsevier Group plc is owned equally by two parent companies, Reed Elsevier PLC and Reed Elsevier NV. Their shares are traded on the London, Amsterdam and New York Stock Exchanges using the following ticker symbols: London: REL; Amsterdam: REN; New York: RUK and ENL.

Cooperazione Italiana Etiopia finds “Tablets but No Teachers”

From their YouTube Channel:

The One Laptop Per Child organization is trying something new in two remote Ethiopian villages: simply dropping off tablet computers with preloaded programs and seeing what happens.

Last week we went to Wonchi, one of the two villages where the experiment is taking place. This is what we saw.

“Innovation Where There Wasn’t” Nicholas Negroponte

IaaC Lecture Series 2012-13


Nicholas Negroponte is an American architect best known as the founder and Chairman Emeritus of Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Media Lab, and also known as the founder of the One Laptop per Child Association (OLPC).

In 1967, Negroponte founded MIT’s Architecture Machine Group, a combination lab and think tank which studied new approaches to human-computer interaction. In 1985, he created the MIT Media Lab with Jerome B. Wiesner, a pre-eminent computer science laboratory for new media and a high-tech playground for investigating the human-computer interface. In 1992, Negroponte became involved in the creation of Wired Magazine as the first investor contributing, from 1993 to 1998, with a monthly column: “Move bits, not atoms.” Negroponte expanded many of the ideas from his Wired columns into a bestselling book Being Digital (1995), which made famous his forecasts on how the interactive world, the entertainment world and the information world would eventually merge.

 

Uruguay’s OLPC program: Impact and numbers – The Next Web

…As a matter of fact, one of Plan Ceibal’s goals was to provide each school with a wireless Internet connection which the XO devices could use, in addition to installing outdoor connectivity points in public places.

While early studies pointed out difficulties in that respect, a recent consultancy report co-authored by Canadian educational change expert Michael Fullan notes that virtually all schools now have Internet access, with initial connections being progressively replaced by optical fiber.

This new report also touches an interesting point by calculating the financial burden of Plan Ceibal, which is not as high as you may think…

Read the article here.

Rwanda ranks among top IT countries on the continent

 

Pupils of Kimisagara Primary School in Kigali using laptops during a lesson. Rwanda is among top 10 African countries in ICT usage. The New Times/ T. Kisambira.

Original post and photo from NewTimes

Rwanda has been ranked among the top 10 countries in Africa that are in better position to benefit from new information and communication technologies.

The 2013 Networked Readiness Index, released on Wednesday by the World Economic Forum (Wef) and European Institute of Business Administration (INSEAD), considers several aspects, including a country’s market and regulatory framework in advancing ICT for inclusive development.

INSEAD is one of the world’s largest graduate business schools, with campuses in Europe, Asia and the Middle East, as well as a research centre in Israel.

The survey that assesses the capacity of 144 developed and developing economies to leverage ICT for growth and well-being, ranks Rwanda top in East Africa, 6th in Africa and 88th globally with a score of 3.68.

Mauritius ranks first in Africa and 55th globally with a score of 4.12, followed by South Africa on 70th (3.87), Seychelles (79th with a score of 3.80), Egypt on 80th position scoring 3.78, Cape Verde (81st with a score of 3.78) and Rwanda.

The report, titled “Growth and Jobs in a Hyper-connected World”, recommends that national policies in some developing economies are failing to translate ICT investment into tangible benefits in terms of competitiveness, development and employment.

The Global Information Technology Report 2013 says Finland comes first in the world with a score of 5.98, followed by Singapore with 5.96 and Sweden with 5.91 in the third position.

The findings dwell on each country’s ICT infrastructure, cost of access and the presence of the necessary skills to ensure an optimal use, use of ICT among governments, business and individuals, business and innovation environment, the political and regulatory framework and economic and social impacts accruing from ICT.

“Despite initial concerns that ICT would hasten the deployment of resources towards developing countries, the benefits are now widely recognised as an important way for companies and economies to optimise productivity, free up resources, boost innovation and job creation,” said Beñat Bilbao-Osorio, senior economist, global competitiveness and benchmarking network, WEF, and co-editor of the report.

ICT usage

The survey states that despite progress, Latin America and the Caribbean still face connectivity challenges, while sub-Saharan Africa ICT usage remains very low, even though nations continue to build ICT infrastructure. In the Middle East and North Africa, ICT investment and use is sharply divided.

The report recognises Rwanda’s efforts to transform its agrarian economy into a knowledge-based one by 2020, using ICT.

“Rwanda’s ICT investments in education, partnerships with foreign universities and the laying of fibre-optic cables have created a conducive environment. Services such as E-Soko, a mobile service that allows farmers to check market prices for their products, have already improved the daily life of many Rwandans,” the report says.

It adds: “With the help of these new technologies, Rwanda intends to capitalise on its central location in Africa and act as a hub for banking, financial and outsourcing services.”

Speaking to The New Times, yesterday, Alex Ntale, the director of ICT chamber at Private Sector Federation, said: “it’s a testimony of what good governance and strong private sector can achieve with commitment and support of responsive public institutions.”

Rwanda has been on several occasions ranked among the most dynamic performers when it comes to ICT development globally.

Last year, the International Telecommunication Union report named Rwanda, Bahrain, Brazil, Ghana, Kenya, and Saudi Arabia as developing nations with strong dynamic ICT markets because of  catching up fast in efforts to bridge the ‘digital divide’.

To advance ICT growth, Rwanda plans to establish an ICT park that will be a base of technological investments, including training, industries, research and development. The country has also laid a robust 2,500-kilometre national fibre optic cable that seeks to enhance access to various broadband services and the National Data Centre.

“Individual countries need to identify the digital divide gap in order to fulfill long-term growth, competitiveness and innovation targets,” said Bruno Lanvin, the executive director INSEAD and co-editor of the report.

To maximise the country’s ICT infrastructure, Rwandan information technology students and fresh graduates are actively engaged in software applications, thanks to kLab innovation centre—an open technology hub for IT entrepreneurs.

 

Contact email: frank.kanyesigye[at]newtimes.co.rw

 

Learning how to learn – Rodrigo Arboleda at TEDxCMU

Rodrigo Arboleda is Chairman and CEO of One Laptop Per Child Association (OLPCA), a not-for-profit entity seeking to provide equal opportunity of access to knowledge to small children in Developing Nations and in some communities within the USA. OLPCA’s mission focuses on socio-economic and cultural change via education, with primary interest in children of 3 years and up. Arboleda is in charge of worldwide operational issues related to the project. More than 2,700,000 laptops have been distributed so far to children in 41 countries and in 21 languages including many indigenous languages. Arboleda has been also a Visiting Scholar at the Media Lab of MIT, where he worked on the Digital Nations Consortium project and on the Education for Peace initiative, E4P. He has served also as a Board Member of the 2B1 Foundation, which made possible some of the projects developed at the Media Lab. He was born in Medellin, Colombia and completed his Bachelor Degree in Architecture at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), in 1965.

In the spirit of ideas worth spreading, TEDx is a program of local, self-organized events that bring people together to share a TED-like experience. At a TEDx event, TEDTalks video and live speakers combine to spark deep discussion and connection in a small group. These local, self-organized events are branded TEDx, where x = independently organized TED event. The TED Conference provides general guidance for the TEDx program, but individual TEDx events are self-organized.* (*Subject to certain rules and regulations)

3,000 more kids with XO laptops in Nicaragua

Ciudad Sandino, Managua, Nicaragua – Thursday, April 4, 2013. The Zamora Teran Foundation delivered about 3,000 laptops to elementary students as part of the One Laptop per Child Program.

Zamora Terán Foundation delivered 3000 computers to the same number of children of 10 public schools in Ciudad Sandino as part of its “One Laptop per Child”.

According to the president of this organization, Josefina Maria Teran, with this delivery  30,000 children across the country already have their own XO computer to facilitate their learning process.

In total 101 schools across the country have benefited from this project. The program includes training for teachers on issues of educational innovation to improve the learning process. Besides, 108 teachers from schools in Ciudad Sandino also received their XO computer, a tool that promotes a change in the teaching-learning process.

Thus Ciudad Sandino became, according to Zamora Terán Foundation, the first community in the department of Managua digital. In the rest of the year they expect to deliver 10,000 more computers throughout the municipality.

OLPC about Aakash

In view of certain recent statements, One Laptop Per Child Association, Inc (“OLPC”) would like to clarify that Mr. Satish Jha has not been affiliated with OLPC since August 31, 2012. Mr. Jha does not represent OLPC or any of its affiliated entities and the views expressed by Mr. Jha do not represent the views of OLPC or any of its affiliates.

OLPC has always encouraged projects expanding the learning opportunities of children in the developing world including the Aakash initiative in India. OLPC is dedicated to providing the world’s children with access to an innovative education. OLPC supports all efforts dedicated to this end and it encourages the makers of the Aakash initiative to continue to explore such educational initiatives. Moreover, OLPC applauds the efforts of the Government of India as it continues to examine new and innovative ways to educate the children of India.

OLPC was created to design, manufacture and distribute educational laptop computers to children around the world. Inquiries related to any existing or future OLPC projects should be directed to OLPC, which is based in Miami, Florida.

Nicholas Negroponte: Re-thinking learning and re-learning thinking

Published on Mar 19, 2013

Re-thinking learning and re-learning thinking

Nicholas Negroponte, Technology Visionary and Founder, One Laptop per Child

What if we have learning all wrong?

In this thoughtful, provocative keynote, Professor Negroponte explores the implications of the work of One Laptop per Child (OLPC), the non-profit association he founded in 2005. Distributing 2.5 million rugged laptops around the world and seeing how impoverished children use them has provoked Professor Negroponte into re-considering much that we take for granted about how children — and all of us –learn.

The industrialisation of schooling, he argues, has replaced our natural wonder of learning with an obsessive focus on facts. We treat knowing as a surrogate for learning, even though our experience tells us that it is quite possible to know about something while utterly failing to understand it.

And compounding this is instructionism’s fatally flawed belief that anything can be taught and that there is a perfect way to teach everything. If we have learned one thing from OLPC, it is that the human mind is too rich, complex and wonderful for that.

This lesson does not apply only to children, and it does not apply only to developing countries. Children can — and do — learn a great deal by themselves before they have their natural curiosity extinguished, too often by school. And those children grow into adults. So how would our education systems and our adult lives be better, if we focused a little less on measuring what we tell people and a little more on understanding how they discover?

http://www.learningtechnologies.co.uk

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