OLPC to Drop Tablets from Sky

This looks like an interesting experiment. OLPC founder and chairman Nicholas Negroponte has revealed plans to airdrop shipments of the XO tablet into remote villages and return 12 months later to see how things panned out. The idea behind this approach is a ‘hands-off’ method of education; give the children the tablets and then leave them to figure out the devices and teach themselves to read.

It is inspired by the experience in India where kids taught themselves how to use public “hole in the wall” computers.

See PCmag.

1 Response to “OLPC to Drop Tablets from Sky”

  1. 1 Bill Kerr

    This report needs some context, which is provided by C Scott Ananian in his response to another derogatory report about Negroponte:

    It’s worth keeping in mind that there are two different projects which Nicolas is working on these days. There’s what most of you will think of as “OLPC”, which involves millions of XO-1/XO-1.5/XO-1.75 machines being distributed through national departments of education and other means. This is ongoing, and hasn’t changed (although the price and performance of the machines have steadily improved).

    There’s also a literacy project, which is orthogonal to the continuing “traditional” OLPC deployments. The literacy project is being done with Sugata Mitra, Maryanne Wolfe, Cynthia Breazeal, the United Nations, and other respected folk. It targets places which *don’t* have departments of education or schools; none of the infrastructure a traditional OLPC deployment relies on. The literacy project isn’t even using OLPC hardware at the moment, although we hope to have them use XO-3 hardware when it becomes available. The literacy project is where the “flinging laptops from helicopters” figures-of-speech come from, and Sugata Mitra has done quite a bit of respected work in this field previously (his “Hole in the Wall” projects).

    Hopefully this information will help place these stories in proper context.

    So, Negroponte is not suggesting that the xo can effectively replace humans in teaching children to read and write. Need to be careful about what the “Hole in the wall” project did and did not achieve.

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