Wednesday, March 12, 2008

One laptop per child: how its benefits

If you don't really know why every child should have a laptop, or you are concerned about cultural issues if children in rural places using laptops instead of learning traditional dances (ironic tag off), then read this story of a small village in Peru and how the OLPC effects the school and daily life. Amazing story.

Three changes
Mr. Navarro and Mrs. Cornejo spoke amongst themselves for a few minutes. Then Mr. Navarro said they agreed there were three key changes.
As there are few roads in and around Arahuay, the children don’t communicate much outside of school — with anyone. The teachers started independently pointing out to Mr. Navarro that this was changing once the laptops arrived: kids started talking to each other outside of school hours over the mesh, and working together more while in school. They started talking a lot more with each other in person, and conquered their previously paralyzing fear of strangers.

The second thing, Mrs. Cornejo jumped in, is that the kids used to be pretty selfish, an unsurprising consequence of the abject poverty in much of Peru. It’s not that the kids are starving, it’s just that they don’t have very much; what they do have, they’re reluctant to share. With the laptops, the kids had to turn to each other to learn how to use them. Then they realized it was easy to send each other pictures and things they’ve written — and it became commonplace. The sharing, asserts Mrs. Cornejo, extended into the physical world, where once jealously-guarded personal items increasingly started being passed around between the kids, if somewhat nervously.

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