Posted by: bklunk | December 13, 2006

Is It Just Me?

Or does this just seem a bit gimmicky? Props to hupfetupf who posted this piece.

From No Education to Laptops

While Millenium Development Goal (MDG) number 2 strives to extend the right to education to all children around the world, a challenge faced by third world countries, there has been a movement to also extend laptops to lower income nations.

The New York Times article “For $150, Third-World Laptop Stirs a Big Debate”, addresses the non-profit project “One Laptop Per Child”. The project is advised by Seymore Papert, computer scientist and educator, who argues “children will learn how to learn”.

This first world amenity will further enable the globalizing forces to accelerate, further enhancing global connectivity. Children having access to the internet, if used wisely, will have access to a plethora of learning tools, such as curriki.org, a website which promotes a 21st century approach at learning and teaching.

Thomas Friedman in “The World is Flat”, as well as the article “How to Bring Our Schools Out of the 20th Century” (which has quoted Friedman), argue that the besides looking at extending education the debate must also be about what that education is to look like, and computers are essential to the progress made in this realm.

New York Times article “For $150, Third-World Laptop Stirs a Big Debate”:

http://select.nytimes.com/gst/abstract.html?res=F60B14F73A5A0C738FDDA80994DE404482

“How to Bring Our Schools Out of the 20th Century” by Claudia Wallis and Sonja Steptoe, published in Time Magazine on December 18, 2006.

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Responses

  1. I thought this was interesting. However, I really question the necessity of giving (or selling) laptops to children in LDCs. I would be curious to know who, if anyone is benefitting monetarily from making laptops available to these children. I agree that in general, having Internet access is a positive thing for educational purposes, but still have questions. I suppose it would depend upon the ages of the children and even what country the children were in. I say the last part because the blog post seemed to indicate that Internet access would make self-teaching more possible. To me this would only seem necessary if teachers were in short supply, such as because of the AIDS epidemic. Anyway, making laptops available to children seems like a promising idea, but I’m still curious as to who might make money off of it.

  2. The question is – is this a money maker or something that will actually help children learn around the world? $150 for a laptop is a lot of money for people living in developing countries. I cannot except someone in Sub-Saharan Africa to purchase such a device. India and China are already full of cyber-cafes that provide cheap access to Internet. But these are countries with strong education force. The main group of uneducated children seem to lie in regions where poverty is at its worst, and we’ll just go and try selling them a laptop for $150? I don’t think so.

  3. This would be a good idea if looking up most of the time trivial information has become more important than food. What these people need is human interaction and support more than anything else. And what is the gesture here? The coldest form of human interaction yet. Laptops are not what these people need. They need relief, food, and one on one education about how to take care of themselves and their land. Besides with all of the crime that takes place in LDCs I wouldn’t be surprised if most if not all of the laptops are destroyed or stolen by radicals usually found in struggling countries.

    There was one thing I did not get. Would each laptop cost $150? If so, I have to admit that is a pretty good price. But things are never so simple. It seems to be very impractical to provide internet to people who don’t have let alone can’t afford electricity. And it would be hard to imagine someone googling with death and famine outside their door.

    All in all I think, this is a little idealistic and very impractical.

  4. I forgot to mention literacy rates. LDCs are bound to have low literacy rates. And since computers are all about reading and comprehension I again stress what good would they be? I think if we really wanted to help people in poorer countries there are many more steps that need to be taken before we venture out and by them all laptops.

    To quote Patrick Henry I’m sorry to say that “I smell a rat.” There is no such thing as a free lunch and I can’t help but wonder if this article was just a publicity scam. There has to be some type of lobbyists or corporations or at leasy some twisted writers putting out this stuff for a reason a little less than noble.


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