I haven't been blogging much about the OLPC lately.
My perception is that the education system in Australia is so conformist that there doesn't appear to be a single school, Principal or Department in the whole country that is prepared to give the OLPC a chance. If I found such a niche I would apply to teach there. Failing that I'm not quite ready to leave my country of birth, (yet).
OLPC ought to be given a chance in remote aboriginal communities. This could work.
Part of the problem here is that plans to fix things are centred around standardised testing, based on the need to measure improvement. See teaching to the test. This is at odds with the constructionist learning theory promoted by the OLPC group.
Another issue working against the OLPC is fear of the internet (porn, pedophiles and online bullying). Sadly, many educators, particularly administrators, do not support the notion of a real personal computer in the hands of children, any children. They see the risks outweighing the benefits. This fear is visceral.
There is also a profound lack of understanding of what could be achieved educationally with personal computers distributed to young children. This parallels the lack of understanding of what can be achieved with a programming language microworld such as logo - and the decline of the use of logo in schools in the past 15 years.
Summing up: standards, fear of a true PC and epistemological miasma. These issues taken together add up currently to a "no go" sign in implementing OLPC based education in certain areas of Australia, such as remote indigenous communities, where it could be invaluable.
Paul Biba’s eBook, eLibrary and ePublishing news compilation for week ending Sunday, February 7 - I am the former Editor-in-Chief of TeleRead, the Internet’s first blog devoted to ebooks. I now run a curated Twitter feed devoted to ebooks, elibraries, a...
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