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“Laptops make a good school better, but they don’t make a bad school good.”

asus-eee-pc-901Since I started following, I’ve really had to work to expand my ICT vocabulary. Geez louise, techies really do speak in a whole other language. This week, the “collective site for news and commentary” focuses on the Asus EEE PC and its many benefits to grade school children in the United States. Within the post, Papyrus founder Mark Warschauer links to a primary research report he wrote for One Laptop Per Child News (OLPCN). The report details a case study in which all grade four students at a particular U.S school were each given the Asus EEE PC 901 to use during classroom hours. Over 150 interviews were conducted with students and teachers and more than 650 hours were spent observing classroom behavior with these notebooks. In a nut shell, Warschauer boils the finding down toLaptops make a good school better, but they don’t make a bad school good.” Ultimately, the study concluded that the notebooks enhance a good school by “facilitating more and higher quality writing, allowing the practice and development of 21st century learning skills, encouraging high student motivation and engagement, and assisting effective integration of technology in teaching and learning.” Conversely, it does not fix a bad school in the sense that time wasted surfing the net is time lost learning. Overall, I found the report interesting and was impressed with the positive commentary Warschauer and the OLPC project received.

Surprising however, was one comment that suggested that these notebooks are not conducive to the educational system in India. At first, I viewed these economical little notebooks as a solution to helping the developing nations advance their ICT skills. Yet, Atanu Dey believes that the notebooks are simply too expensive considering some schools in India do not even have blackboards. He believes it comes down to “sequence” and that the notebooks must be put on hold for now. While I can’t help but accept the harsh reality of educational funding in India, I do not believe that waiting is the answer. At the rapid rate new technologies are being invented and adapted, the children of India are sure to be left behind the times and the technologies that fuel the economy of their generation.

Have a read! What do you think?

June 1, 2009 Posted by | Review of Monitored Site | , , , , | Leave a comment