The school board of Eastern Townships, Canada, under Ron Canuel, has been pursuing a one laptop per child school program for over eight years, today reaching roughly 2,700 students and teachers. A research paper recently released by Karsenti and Collin suggests their decision to give children their own laptops was a primary cause of the student’s success to date, which has included a 40% reduction in their dropout rate over 4 years.
While they aren’t using XOs in their classroom, I’ve met some of their team more than once and shown them around our offices; they were certainly right at home. It’s great to see this sort of long-baseline research coming out. The only thing better would be similar research from many different facets of the same country or environment, as I hope we will see from Uruguay in another year.
Late last year, Roger (Arnan) published a brief summary of his two-year analysis of seven schools in Thailand, reported in The Nation, which was spun negatively in the Bangkok Post. While I haven’t seen the data on which he bases his analysis, his research and recent paper (from ICLS 2010) do not look negative; though they note that urban schools whose students already have access to computers (and, presumably, to libraries) do not see short-term improvements in traditional test scores, despite seeing improvements in basic literacy.
This is not surprising — OLPC does not target wealthier urban schools except as part of national saturation deployments, such as in Uruguay, Peru, and Rwanda where the entire system is undergoing a change in how it approaches learning in and out of school. Continue reading
In 2008, the city of Birmingham started an OLPC project for their 15,000 elementary school students, to bridge the city’s digital divide. Last summer, the NSF funded a two-year analysis of Birmingham’s deployment, focusing on 4th and 5th grade students across the city.
The research team, led by Shelia Cotten, includes Julian and Shani Daily of g8four, who ran the initial workshops in Birmingham and spent the following year there getting the project off the ground, and the University of Alabama at Birmingham, which has been advising the deployment for some time. You can read more from Ellen Ferrante’s early report.
The Birmingham community remains the largest in the US, and holds regular school-based events, such as this year’s spring break XO camp in the West End Library.
- A Ceibal teacher challenges a student to XOlympics
Access to the Internet has tripled in the interior of Uruguay, and 85% of all children use the Internet, according to a recent study by Radar and Antel. 40% of them visit one of the official national educational or informational sites at least once a day. That’s pretty fly.