Thursday, April 10, 2014

Testing out One Laptop Per Child

I recently sat down with a One Laptop Per Child laptop to investigate that often blurry line between man and machine. Since one of the major questions of my research project is whether or not the laptops are intuitive enough for children in developing countries to construct their own learning, I approached my hands on session with a sense of childlike wonder. At least that's what I'm telling myself, because I could not even open the laptop.

It's true. I had to look at the manual to figure out how to open the hardware. Such auspicious beginnings didn't bode well for the OLPC program, as well as my pride. Fortunately, as I explored the machine, it became slightly easier to navigate the programs. Starting at a home screen, users can select from quite a few diverse programs. There were the standard offerings - a word processor, a calculator, some games, and a language translator. Some of the more surprising programs included Wikipedia, Scratch (which wasn't that surprising after I found out the program originated at MIT), and music making application called "Tam Tam." 

Overall, I could see children really enjoying these laptops, but there definitely needs to be an adult supervising their explorations. I'm still of the mindset that children won't automatically construct their own learning because they have technology. 

The Fort Knox of Charity Laptops
Success! I've earned my place in Grad School.

Testing the Language Feature.

Some of the apps.

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