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

Video:

Sugar News: Summer of Code 2013 / Twitter from the Journal / XO Physics Book

1. We need to finalize our application to Google Summer of Code by the end of next week. I’ve put a rough draft of our application in the wiki (See Summer_of_Code/2013/Application). Most important is to finalize our list of project ideas and mentors. Please add your ideas to the wiki to Summer_of_Code/2013.

2. Martin Abente (with a little help from his friends) has gotten the beginnings of a Twitter Web Service working from the Sugar Journal. Simply invoke the Copy-To Twitter menu item, and your Journal entry is sent as a tweet. There is some work to be done in registering the service per user and some housekeeping regarding pulling replies into the comments field of the Journal, but it is already in pretty decent shape, thanks to the Web Services framework that Raúl and I developed last month. (I am hoping that the framework is reviewed and accepted into Sugar so that it will be easier for people to test and enhance it.)

3.  Guzmán Trinidad has written a book about Physics on the XO (See Física con XO). It features many of the projects that Guzmán and Tony Forster have been developing, using a combination of Measure and Turtle Blocks.

by Walter Bender

BLENDED LITERACY AND THE XO LAPTOP: A MATCH MADE IN SUGAR HEAVEN

By Christine Horowitz

One Laptop per Child Facilitator, Walter G. Byers Academy

The methods of teaching reading and writing have changed very little over the past decade.Proven pedagogy such as guided reading circles, modeled writing sessions and read alouds continue to dominate classroom literacy time, and for good reason. They are highly effective tools that increase student achievement. Why, then, do we want to ‘mess things up’ with the integration of technology when it hasn’t been a necessary component to literacy success in the past?

The answer is twofold. First, recent studies have shown that literacy goal achievement is further increased when using available technologies (Rose) and, second, the XO laptops ensure each and every student has the technology available – 100% of the time.

The blended literacy model adopted and being implemented by Project L.I.F.T. schools and the One Laptop per Child program bring a natural, effective partnership in the classroom that can boost literacy goals for students in grades one through four. The XO laptops ensure that the technology component is continuously available to every child so that the methods outlined below are possible. As an added bonus, the partnership will also increase digital and media literacy skills that are so necessary for our students to be college and career ready.

IMPLEMENTATION OF THE XO IN A BALANCED LITERACY PROGRAM GUIDED READING

The XO is an excellent tool that can engage students in independent reading practice while the teacher is working with a small group or reader.

-Have students use the XO to access online, leveled reading support programs

-Students can use the Speak Activity to sound out difficult words for themselves

READ ALOUDS

Using the XO as a ‘spoken book’ can offer read aloud opportunities beyond a teacher’s capacity that are more individualized to student level and interest. Free online read aloud sites provide teachers and students with engaging readings dictated by skilled orators.

www.starfall.com

www.storylineonline.net

www.barnesandnoble.com (choose KIDS and ONLINE STORYTIME)

www.mightybook.com

PARTNER and SHARED READING

The Get Books Activity allows the student to access thousands of free books in rich text, PDF or HTML formats. Further, teachers can access and/or load leveled books on the XO machine.

Students can perform shared readings while text displays on each XO laptop. Students can toggle between the story and the Speak Activity in order to have difficult words sounded out for them or they can access Wikipedia Activity to investigate topics that they read about. ESL students can use the Words Activity to translate newly learned words from/to English and multiple languages.

MODELED AND GUIDED WRITING

Teachers can use the built in ‘ad-hoc’ network to connect with students and guide writing instruction. They can also share writing assignments in real-time and several students can collaborate on a single document, including creating graphic organizers together.

Beyond Activities-based guidance, students can use the XO to share writings via the Internet. Studies support the idea that providing a wider audience for writers (i.e. blogs, wikis) encourages students to be more conscientious writers. Also, blogging, creating web pages and other forms of digital media give students real-world experiences in which to write upon and the potential for large amounts of feedback from a varied audience (The Journal).

WORD WORK

The XO is a useful tool for early elementary students as it supports phonics instruction. Students can type in letters, letter blends and words and hear them repeated back, even changing the speed of playback, if necessary. Spelling and vocabulary can be reinforced through a variety of Activities, including a concentration-like game and those that reinforce individual letter sounds and blends.

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Using the powerful little XO machine for literacy in the classroom is a natural fit that can take every student to a new level of learning literacy.  Add in the important 21st century skills of collaboration and digital media literacy and a teacher can have a hugely successful literacy program that fully engages every student with the learning process.

SOURCES CITED

Rose, David. “The Role of Technology in the Guided Reading Classroom.” Scholastic Teachers. Scholastic, Inc., Oct. 2004. Web. 30 Jan. 2013.

“The Journal.” Content Delivery in the ‘Blogosphere’ –. N.p., n.d. Web. 27 Feb. 2013.

Rodrigo Arboleda at TEDxCMU

Some of the brightest minds at Carnegie Mellon University and beyond gathered together on campus recently, ready to take their turn on stage. More than 450 attendees appreciatively took it all in, at the fourth annualTEDxCMU event.

This year’s theme was ‘Spark.’

“Our goal is to inspire each and every one of our 450-plus attendees — to create a spark of ideas that will spread, and ignite people’s minds with brilliance,” said Ketaki Desai, master of public management student at CMU’s Heinz College, and president of this year’s event. The team built their list of speakers based on several factors, including subject matter and passion. They assembled both men and women from diverse fields that would best represent the CMU population.

Rodrigo Arboleda: chairman and CEO of One Laptop Per Child Association, a not-for-profit that has distributed more than 2.7 million laptops to children in 41 countries, was one of the featured speakers. At the end of his presentation he received a standing ovation.

photo (4)

 

OLPC Brings 1-to-1 Laptop Program to 7 North Carolina Schools

A collaborative effort between One Laptop per Child (OLPC) and Project LIFT has delivered 2,000 laptops to seven schools in North Carolina’s Charlotte-Mecklenburg School District, with support from the Knight Foundation, who brought together and funded the project.

The local Charlotte group, Project Leadership and Investment for Transformation (LIFT), is a community initiative working to improve outcomes and eliminate education disparities for minority and low-income students in the West Charlotte corridor.

Rebecca Thompson, OLPC facilitator at Bruns Academy, said that the laptops will directly assist LIFT schools in reaching their goals for students to be 90 percent on grade level and 90 percent achieving more than one year’s academic growth in one year’s time. These goals are to ensure that when students arrive at the feeder high school, West Charlotte, 90 percent of them graduate.

Students have utilized the XO 1.75 laptops via Sugar-based activities facilitated by OLPC on-site coordinators, according to Thompson, with activities ranging from basic document software to beginner computer programming.

“This initiative provides families with access to technology, information, and increased academic engagement,” Thompson said. “We have already seen such a positive impact with so few machines. We look forward to seeing our work transform the community and see the full impact of the project.”

To help integrate the laptops into each teacher’s daily lessons, teachers were offered multiple zone-wide and site-specific trainings. Each participating school also houses a facilitator to help guide teachers for maximum curriculum integration.

The LIFT zone schools included in the OLPC program are:

Charlotte marks the second project in recent years for OLPC in the United States. The first project, also funded by the Knight Foundation, was in Miami for 500 children in a single school.

Based on the successful results from the first year of that project, Knight approached OLPC to undertake the larger, multi-school program in Charlotte, according to a release.

The vision of OLPC about “Home Computers and Child Outcomes: Short-Term Impacts from a Randomized Experiment in Peru”

By Rodrigo Arboleda

On Wednesday February 27th, Reuters published the article Poor kids with laptops read less, do more chores in Peru -study“, based on the working document of the Inter-American Development Bank entitled Home Computers and Child Outcomes: Short-Term Impacts from a Randomized Experiment in Peru “. I would like to make some observations on the vision of One Laptop Per Child, of which I am CEO and President:

Situation

As an organization we know first hand this report, published by the IDB, which expressly states that it tries not to evaluate the One Laptop Per Child initiative or educational one to one projects. It is further known that the same organization designed an experiment using the OLPC XO laptop for children who do not belong to the OLPC program in Peru in order to understand and measure the impact of the computer in the home. Therefore, the experiment is different from a comprehensive intervention based on a one to one learning project, such as promoted by multiple organizations including OLPC. A comprehensive study involves the education system, teachers, family and community.

Like this experiment, numerous studies and research in the last decade by recognized academics (1) have shown that the provision of technology alone has no effect unless there is an appropriate intervention process. It is for this reason that the results of the experiment showed little effect and did not generate changes in reading habits, cognitive skills or academic achievement.

The OLPC program

Using the preliminary results of this experiment as a basis for governments to promote one to one learning programs is wrong because the objectives of the programs are many and varied. The plans for program implementation must consider the local objectives and context. The computer at home is just one element in those plans. What has been confirmed by experts is that technology alone will not make any difference.

Results in countries where the program is implemented

To illustrate this, consider two major projects within the ecosystem of OLPC. The first, One Laptop Per Child in Caacupé, was implemented by Paraguay Educa Foundation, which aims to make every child in Paraguay develop technological and life skills. The second project, in Colombia, which began with advice and funds from the IDB, has been implemented by the Barefoot Foundation. Unlike the project objectives of Paraguay, the Barefoot Foundation seeks to improve skills in the areas of Spanish and Mathematics in grades two and three of primary schools.

Both programs have developed implementation plans to meet those objectives and have articulated infrastructure, connectivity, awareness, community service, teacher training, logistics, maintenance and repair, and other elements to achieve their goals. Significant achievements have been reported.

First report of the IDB on One Laptop Per Child program Peru

In a report also published by the Inter-American Development Bank in March 2012, entitled “Technology and Child Development: Evidence from the One Laptop per Child Program” the report presents findings related to cognitive abilities, the results of the Raven test, which showed a positive impact. In this study, after 15 months of implementation of the program, with a sample of 319 rural schools (which is significant), children in the OLPC project in this country have an advantage on average of 5 months in the development of their cognitive abilities with respect to children who have not been helped by the program.

This study perhaps shows that when fully implemented, the OLPC program proves to be effective, develops skills and responds to the main premises of One Laptop Per Child. This study shows the difference of an isolated experiment of computers at home without a comprehensive intervention strategy that did not generate impact.

Latest report submitted by the IDB, Home Computers and Child Outcomes: Short-Term Impacts from a Randomized Experiment in Peru

It was an experiment conducted by the IDB, which gave away laptops for home use, to determine whether it would increase reading habits. In this case the experiment did not try to determine whether the One Laptop Per Child program outcomes were achieved but rather whether through the use of technological tools an increase in reading habits could be shown.

We would like to emphasize the one to one learning project led the Zamora Teran Foundation in Nicaragua. The Foundation, in partnership with USAID has developed an important strategy that includes literacy training and support to teachers, design and delivery of manuals, and a collection and delivery of digital resources for teachers, students and parents. This initiative has begun to yield significant results. The results and findings of this project let us reiterate that intervention strategies to achieve a real impact on education of children through the use of technology require a comprehensive intervention plan that involves all actors in the educational community that goes beyond the provision of computers.

For this reason OLPC continues to expand, to use the 7 years’ of acquired experience working on the integration of technology in education and social projects and to implement our philosophy: rethinking education.


[1] Harrison, C., T. Fisher, et al. (2002). ImpaCT2: the Impact of Information and Communication Technologies on Pupils’ Learning and Attainment.. Coventry, DfES

- Ting Seng Eng (2005). The impact of ICT on learning: A review of research. International Education Journal, 6(5), 635-650.

- Underwood, Jean D. M., British Educational Communications and Technology Agency, corp creator. (2009) The impact of digital technology : a review of the evidence of the impact of digital technologies on formal education.

Promoting multilingualism with the XO – Armenia

Original by Nurarmenia.org – Newsletter

Dear Friends,

International Mother Language Day has been celebrated every year since February 21st 2000 to promote linguistic and cultural diversity and multilingualism.

Languages are the most powerful instruments to preserve and develop our tangible and intangible heritage. All moves to promote the dissemination of mother tongues will serve not only to encourage linguistic diversity and multilingual education but also to develop fuller awareness of linguistic and cultural traditions throughout the world and to inspire solidarity based on understanding, tolerance and dialogue.

General Conference of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) in November 1999

 We encouraged our students to honor the Armenian language and his creator Mesrop Mashtots through their work in the XO.  Below we share some of their excellent work.

Captura de pantalla 2013-03-05 a las 07.12.38

Best regards,

NUR team

Designing the XO-4 Touch – Part 3: “Goodies”

Power and battery life

The XO-4 features a powerful dual-core CPU running at 1GHz or 1.2GHz, 1GB or 2GB of DDR3 RAM, 4/8/16GB eMMC storage (and larger in the future). It supports a new battery chemistry (NiMH).

XO-4 – HDMI output to monitor

Video output to connect XOs to monitors and projectors has been a popular request. The XO 4 includes a mini-HDMI output port that can drive HDMI devices as well as traditional VGA displays (with an adapter). All in plug-and-play style.

Older XO models still support USB-to-VGA solutions, and the team intends to expand support for DisplayLink, which is a strong industry standard for USB-to-VGA.

Good things stay the same

In the midst of all these changes, the development team is making sure that all the good things of the XO laptop remain in the XO-4 model.

The child-proof grid membrane keyboard avoids choking hazards and has won the only “Children’s product” USL certification in the industry. The power input allows charging from a wide range of power sources, including power sources that vary their voltage such as solar panels.

The team has been careful to preserve the sunlight-readable screen and long battery lifetime. The microphone input jack still supports connecting humidity and light sensors to use them for science experiments and learning programming.

The laptops still work in hotter and colder environments than others, and still work at higher altitudes too.

For established deployments, it is also important that almost all XO spare parts remain compatible. Existing and new laptops can trade parts and share parts inventory to protect the existing investment and save money. New XO-4 motherboards can be used to repair or upgrade older units at a very modest cost.

A new release of our operating system is planned for early 2013—bringing all the new software versions to existing XO laptops—so environments with a mix of earlier laptops and new XO-4 can have an integrated user experience.

When you open an XO-4, there are lots of things inside—most of them invisible, hiding in the details. Millions of engineering hours, thousands of sleepless nights from the team, making sure this is the right machine for the next generation. For the next few months, the team will still be busy in at the assembly lines, the test labs, pounding keyboards, making sure everything comes together right on time for the start of production.

by: Marting Langhoff

Designing the XO-4 Touch – Part 2: Sugar changes for Touch

The touchscreen hardware is, of course, only as good as its software support. Fortunately, the XO’s Sugar user interface is naturally well suited for touchscreen use, with large, clearly designed icons that users instinctively want to touch.

Sketch of the Sugar interface

Sketch of the Sugar interface

The changes that the team is undertaking to Sugar are simple and subtle, and designed to feel natural to both experienced Sugar users and newcomers.

Icons are moving for better spacing, they are getting enlarged and rearranged to make things work better for touch. The team is adding adding swipe-to-scroll gestures (also known as kinetic scrolling) to show the frame, pinch to zoom and touchscreen-style text selection.

Internally, Sugar has seen a major overhaul that will benefit users of all XOs and unlock modern touchscreen features. This work is intended to provide a solid foundation for the coming years of Sugar development.

The magic in these modern touches relies on heavy engineering, and to perform it OLPC has joined forces with a team from Open Source software consultancy called Lanedo to make Sugar work smoothly with multitouch.

To make the user interface ready for the XO-4′s multitouch capabilities the team has fixed and improved the graphical subsystem (X.org) and the UI toolkit (GTK+)—enhancements include support for gestures and better control over the look-and-feel of the UI, so that icons appear just so on screen.

One of the most exciting features is the new intuitive text selector. Thanks to the newly introduced handles that allow exact positioning, selecting text on the touchscreen now feels like a natural task. The on-screen keyboard is also tightly integrated, preventing applications from taking away the keyboard’s focus when scrolling. Furthermore, several commonly known gestures like zoom, rotate and swipe have been added to the Sugar environment.

A “little” keyboard to go along with Sugar

Sometimes you need to type something in eBook mode, or want to type in a language that is different from the keyboard layout that you have. Sugar now includes an outstanding on-screen-keyboard called “Maliit” (“little” in Tagalog). Just as any other tablet, the XO-4 can be put in eBook mode and still offer the option to open a web browser and type in a URL or a search term.

The team behind Maliit—OpenIsmus—has been working with OLPC to bring this best-of-breed on-screen-keyboard to the XO laptop and to integrate it with user experience. A lot of work goes into making sure that the keyboard appears at the right time, behaves and looks the right way.

This little keyboard opens a window for people working with multiple languages and accessibility. Some multicultural regions need 3 different scripts on the key caps; but only one can be put on the actual keys. Using the on-screen-keyboard, you can type in your language in any XO-4 Touch that you get your hands on.

For users that cannot type easily, but can drive a pointer of any kind, the on-screen-keyboard is an accessibility feature that can be enabled on any XO, even those without touchscreen.

Designing the XO-4 Touch – Behind the scenes with OLPC’s next generation laptop – Part 1: Touchscreen

The next generation XO laptop is due to go into production in 2013, offering the first
touchscreen ever provided by One Laptop per Child. In this article, the OLPC development team provides a behind-the-scenes look at the new laptop, revealing what features will be entirely new, and what good things will be preserved.

Two models are in development: the XO-4 Laptop, and the XO-4 Touch, a convertible laptop with a touchscreen. The XO-4 Laptop follows the tradition of the XO-1.75, the current OLPC laptop, but upgrades the processor and memory, can handle a longer-life battery, and adds a mini-HDMI port to allow easy connection to monitors and projectors.

The XO-4 Touch is all that plus a child-friendly touchscreen that improves on the existing display, keeping sun-readability and ease-of-repair. Both models can be requested with grid membrane keyboard or mechanical keyboard, which the development team calls “chewy” and “crunchy”.

Touchscreens in the sun 

Over the last few years, the development team has spent an enormous amount of time looking at touchscreen technology. It was a serious challenge to find a solution that would work well for OLPC devices, keeping repairs simple, sun readability, drop and general child-resistance and low cost.

They found the answer in Neonode’s zForce. It is an infrared-based touch implementation that works without adding a new layer of glass in front of the existing Pixel Qi screen, keeping sun-readability intact.

This approach avoids all the costs and complications in capacitive glass touchscreens. One of the complications is reparability—capacitive touchscreens are glued and nearly impossible to replace or repair. The zForce IR touchscreen can be easily replaced and repaired. zForce is also power-efficient—Neonode has worked hard to ensure that the power consumption is so small that it does not impact battery life.

All touchscreens technologies are sensitive to dust and dirt to some degree. Neonode’s zForce technology is especially good at handling wet and sweaty fingers, which confuse other touchscreens and touchpads.

Nobody else today delivers a touchscreen that is childproof, repairable and sun-readable.

Computers going to low-income campuses – Project LIFT

Published Monday, February 25, 2013 3:18 pm by Herbert L. White - The Charlotte Post

More than 2,000 elementary school students in the Project LIFT zone will take delivery of notebook computers on Feb. 26.

One Laptop per Child Association will provide the laptops for students in the first through fourth grades as part of the organization’s largest U.S. effort to date – with funding from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation. The machines will be presented at Druid Hills Academy, 2801 Lucena St.
“We are pleased to be working with the Knight Foundation and Project LIFT in this bold endeavor,” said Rodrigo Arboleda, chairman and CEO of One Laptop per Child. “We believe that partnering with foundations, the private sector and the public sector is an excellent model that can be replicated across the country.”

photo (2)
The computers are integral to Project LIFT, a $55 million, community-oriented campaign to improve academic achievement in 11 northwest Charlotte schools. The program’s goal is to have 90 percent of the zone’s elementary students perform on grade level, achieve more than one year of academic growth per grade, and improve the graduation rate at West Charlotte High School. Project LIFT has offered notebook computers at a discount to families and provided free broadband access for a year.
“Our technology pillar has become complete with One Laptop per Child,” said Project LIFT Zone Superintendent Denise Watts. “These strategies will no doubt introduce 21st century technology to our students and help bridge the technology gap,” said Watts.

Continue reading here.

Uruguayan Youth Shines as Programmer Distinguished by Google

BY GIOVANNA FLEITAS

AFP

MONTEVIDEO — Agustin Zubiaga, a 15 year old Uruguayan, recently won a content sponsored by Google, thus becoming one of twenty teenagers from around the world to be recognized for his programming skills.

“When I was 12 years old, a teacher taught me to program. The rest I learned on the internet. I have been around computers as long as I can remember, as my mother is a professor of computer science. I love what I do, I think it’s my calling,” Zubiaga told AFP from his home in the department of San José in southwestern Uruguay.

His love of programming led him to volunteer with Sugar Labs, the organization devoted to developing free software. Sugar Labs created a learning platform written and maintained by volunteers around the world. Zubiaga uses his One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) laptop to support the Sugar Labs initiative.

Zubiaga also benefited from the  local OLPC project, called Plan Ceibal. The project began in 2006. To date, the Plan Ceibal has distributed more than 500,000 computers to students throughout Uruguay.

Zubiaga, who recently graduated from San Jose Rafael Perazza public school, said “I can be on the computer only for 4 hours per day, as that is the time that my parents allow me to use the computer. If it were up to me, I would spend much more time on the computer, because I never get bored of programming. ”

Among the Applications that Zubiaga presented to enter the competition, one was an app to create custom wallpapers on computers that use the Sugar operating system. Zubiaga’s application was awarded the highest score.

“The news gives us great joy. Augustin’s overall performance is excellent. In addition, his willingness to collaborate with others within the school shows a great spirit of cooperation” stated Veronica Massa, Director of San Jose Rafael Perazza public school.

His father, Nestor Zubiaga, said that the key is that his son “loves” what he does. “The prize took us by surprise, and it is clear that he has great ability,” he added.

The passion for programming and dedication transformed Agustin into one of the 20 young people from around the world selected by Google. Zubiaga was selected from a total of 334 participants from 26 countries. Zubiaga and another teenager from Argentina, were the only two Latin American representatives among the winners.

As a reward, in April he will travel to Mountain View, California, to visit Google’s headquarters.

Watch a video of Agustin being interviewed here (Spanish)

Students of Manitoba reach 2nd place in Nationwide Mathematics competition

Grade 3 Teacher Nathan Lang is inspired by the way technology has enhanced his students’ passion for mathematics. Last year, students of Otetiskiwin Kiskinwamahtowekamik School in Nisichawayasihk Cree Nation (Nelson House, Manitoba) received personal laptop through the OLPC Canada program.

Continue reading this post here.

One Laptop per Child Launch Event at Druid Hills Academy

Your presence is requested…
One Laptop per Child Launch Event at Druid Hills Academy

On February 26, more than 2,000 laptops will be distributed to students in the Project L.I.F.T. zone through the One Laptop per Child initiative, which is funded by the Knight Foundation. This initiative seeks to provide students with access to new channels of learning, sharing and self-expression.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013
10:30 a.m.
Druid Hills Academy Cafetorium
2801 Lucena Street Charlotte, NC 28206