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Sunday, January 20, 2008

1-to-1 and Getting Work Done

Was in Los Angeles with a group of administrators/teachers at schools and colleges talking about 1-to-1, what's possible, what the research says, what the components for success are, logistics, caveats, hindsight from other schools, etc. Related this story but not in so much detail.

A neighbor of mine is in computers and during a neighborhood event started talking about what he did and asked what I did. When I talked about 1-to-1 initiatives in schools, and going to schools and districts to help them get started or move ahead, he laughed. Yes, laughed. Because he thought that giving laptops to kids was about the most ridiculous thing you could do with money. He felt kids would not take care of the computers, just use them for downloading music and games, and generally not be "serious."

I asked him about his computer use. Oh yes, he has a computer at home, actually more than one. Oh yes, he has a laptop. Yes, it goes with him everywhere. But he said, "I have work to do."

Don't children and teens have work to do also? Isn't this the era when there is so much information and expectation and accelerated programs in schools? Aren't we trying to compete in the global economy? Isn't there a proliferation of homework and projects and assignments and requirements for reports, presentations, research ... all work expected that our students accomplish on time and well and present or hand in? Why should their work have so much less value than my neighbor's work?

Sunday, January 6, 2008

Intel Quits OLPC

Well, the Intel and OLPC partnership is over now - Intel quit this partnership over "philosophical differences" with Nicholas Negroponte. Could it be the child-centered nature of the OLPC, or the open architecture, or something else? Competition of different devices is cited by some articles, requiring only one device. My personal bias is I want more kids to have laptops, having seen the power and possibilities of self-directed learning when every child a laptop or tablet.