Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Goal: Change How Kids Learn

The One Laptop Per Child project has done its first test deployment of laptops in Nigeria.

Here's the school where 150 students attend class:

During a rigorous training session, Hassounah instructs the students to identify and hold aloft each of the laptop's components, starting with the power adapter.

After becoming more comfortable with their laptops, the children begin to explore with programs, settings and physical units. One of OLPC's major goals is helping children feel comfortable customizing their laptop configurations and guiding their own learning. Some laptops barely made it out of the plastic packaging before the students began experimenting.

The following movie (via 1 Laptop: 1 Student) is over an hour long, and except for the first and last 10 minutes, is very technical. But I would highly recommend you watch at least the first 10 minutes or so, where you get a good idea of their philosophy (it's about the learning, not the laptop). Their goal: change how kids learn. If you do that, then I'd recommend you let the rest of the movie load and start watching again at about the 51 minute mark when he answers some questions. The 40 minutes in between is also very interesting, but very technical. But even if you're not particularly technical, it's interesting to watch just to see all the issues that they're attempting to address. They really are paying attention to all the little details - I think this is going to be amazing.

Two interesting tidbits that I recall from the technical part of the movie (in case you don't watch that part). First, in real world testing, the wireless mesh network worked at a distance of two kilometers. Wow. Second, there's a "source" button on the keyboard - push it, and the kids see the source code for almost anything they're running. They want these kids to be curious and to mess around with this computer - in other words, to learn. (There appears to be an amazing revision system that will prevent any irrecoverable changes to the system).

Oh, and they're hoping to ship 10 million of them this year, 50-100 million next year.

1 comment:

  1. If you are interested in OLPC, you might want to check out OLPC News where we are diving into the intersection of Constructivist pedagogy, Technology, and OLPC.

    For example, we recently we explored GenYes and educational software training with a lively debate.