XP on OLPC - a contrarian view

Martin Langhoff martin.langhoff at gmail.com
Sat May 17 06:28:26 EDT 2008

On Sat, May 17, 2008 at 9:34 PM, Albert Cahalan <acahalan at gmail.com> wrote:
> Reason: it's not at all related to laptop computers
> Fact: it's not universally valued by teachers

This *is* a project pushing the envelope. Waiting for universal
consensus is aiming for the lowest common denominator.

> Constructionism might be a great idea. I have doubts, particularly
> in a classroom with 40 students and a below-average teacher.
> (remember, about half of the teachers are below-average)

Stop here, and please _read_ on constructionism. (Hint: most of the
tricks have to do with what happens _without the teacher around_).

> In any case, you simply don't need laptop computers for this.
> It's a matter of teaching style; you need to teach teachers.

Not focus on the teachers necesarily. Provide the kids with
interesting, self paced puzzles of increasing complexity. Give them
tools to explore collaboratively. Give them interesting reading

That's what the XO+Linux+Sugar bring.

> I'm sure. Researchers tend to get the results they desire.

And you will brush off evidence you don't like? I have higher
expectations than that for discussion on devel@

> Software freedom does however require some kind of hardware.

Software freedom - also close to my heart - does become interesting if
we can get kids into learning about the sw. Missing a super-hacker as
a teacher, they'll have to explore, learn and share.  Social
constructivism is the name we tend to give these days to that dynamic.
In other words: play to the kids natural curiosity and share/compete
instincts and they'll learn on their own.

Now, if your interest in education goes as far as flashcards, don't
worry, focus on helping us with the sw, and let others thing about


 martin.langhoff at gmail.com
 martin at laptop.org -- School Server Architect
 - ask interesting questions
 - don't get distracted with shiny stuff - working code first
 - http://wiki.laptop.org/go/User:Martinlanghoff

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