[LINK] $100 laptop could sell to public

Jan Whitaker jwhit at melbpc.org.au
Sun Jan 21 10:15:29 AEDT 2007

At 09:17 AM 21/01/2007, rchirgwin at ozemail.com.au wrote:
>Without this evidence, OLPC as educational philanthropy is 
>vulnerable to the simple (and I think correct) criticism that it's 
>simply the wrong answer to the question - it's an answer shaped by 
>IT ideology rather than educational science. That vulnerability 
>should be answered; and IMO the answer needs to be founded on more 
>than fine sentiment.

Hi guys. Interesting discussion from varying backgrounds. Isn't the 
answer contextual (re the point at which the computers will be 
introduced into 'educational systems'), what they'll be used for, and 
the details of what they include in their own package? I think it's a 
very complex situation, as Danny pointed out when any externals are 
brought in out of a desire to do good things sometimes resulting in 
the exact opposite outcome and doing more damage than good. The 
objective must be determined in advance, not just the method. 
Evaluation needs to be part of this project - and different kinds of 
evaluation: formative, summative, outcomes and longitudinal. I wonder 
if they've put that in their $100/seat figures?

Richard asked about research to "demonstrate the efficacy of 
classroom computers as a teaching instrument". Too blunt, too broad. 
As a 'teaching instrument' for what? At what level of education? For 
what population of students? If I took a little time in the 
literature, I could probably find all kinds of studies to support a 
hypothesis of positive outcomes. (I'm not going to, though.) There 
are probably fewer reports of failures, though. Doesn't mean there 
aren't failures, just that they're less likely to be reported.

Having said all that, if the work does result in cheaper computers 
for everyone, that's a good thing in itself. We've already seen huge 
drops, so more in that direction is much appreciated. But I hope they 
don't confuse the drop in the cost of the computer with a drop in 
'cost of ownership'.


Jan Whitaker
JLWhitaker Associates, Melbourne Victoria
jwhit at janwhitaker.com
business: http://www.janwhitaker.com
personal: http://www.janwhitaker.com/personal/
commentary: http://janwhitaker.com/jansblog/

'Seed planting is often the most important step. Without the seed, 
there is no plant.' - JW, April 2005
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