Friday, May 23

One Laptop per child is less important than a good teacher

The OLPC seems to have died a horrible death. A good idea, but I am afraid the path to good intentions is paved by hellish technology. In other words, the idea that throwing technology at problems will immediately resolve it means that usually it ends up creating bigger problems than it solves.

I quote:

What is the sense of introducing One Laptop per Child when they don't have seats to sit down and learn; when they don't have uniforms to go to school in, where they don't have facilities?"

"We are more interested in laying a very solid foundation for quality education which will be efficient, effective, accessible and affordable."

I was reminded of this situation when I was watching Dr. Craig Barrett, Chairman, Intel Corporation, do his thing at the WCIT 2008. He was talking about Intel's offering, the Classmate PC.

Convenient carrying handle

It is, obviously a competitor to the OLPC and there is some bad blood between them. But what Dr. Barrett said was so right, he said, what is far more important to a student is a good teacher, a laptop comes with way too many tails dragging behind it to be really effective. I fully agree, a good teacher is worth 100 laptops if there is a binary choice. But given the fact that resources are so low in developing countries, I would much rather suggest that they take the money and use that to develop teachers.

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