[Olpc-open] question->medium:lesson

John Kintree jkintree at swbell.net
Sun Dec 9 15:49:20 EST 2007

First, I want to express appreciation for the contributions to
the OLPC project that are coming in so many arenas; such
as home schooling, course management software, social
networking, and ongoing bug fixing and feature filling.

Knowing that everyone's time is valuable, I apologize again
for another lengthy message.  It is my hope that by expanding
on thoughts such as that the medium is the lesson, and
possibly addressing some of the criticisms that are directed at
the OLPC project, that members of the OLPC team can direct
their attention more to developing the XO laptop, and less to
defending  it.

Education takes place within a context.  One basic question
in the current context is, What would be a sustainable way of
life for all of the seven billion people who will inhabit planet
Earth by the year 2012?

An assumption underlying that question is that we want to
treat other people the way we would like to be treated
ourselves.  That assumption might not hold for everyone,
but if it holds for enough of us, we can still make it work.

The extreme energy efficiency of the XO laptop is a model
for all other aspects of our lives.  Anyone who is using an
XO is engaged in an activity that is sustainable.

The mesh wireless networking and emphasis on collaborative
work is an expression of the whole being greater than the
sum of the parts.  The answer to the question can't come
from any one of us, it has to come from the collective,
as a synthesis of our individual and diverse gifts and talents.

New knowledge comes from previous knowledge, and open
source software maximizes our ability to build on previous
knowledge, as well as maximizing our power.

Direct experience is a basic aspect of the constructivist
approach to education.  Students who use the XO laptops will
experience the extreme energy efficiency, the networking
and emphasis on collaborative work, and the commitment
to open source software and knowledge sharing.  The XO
laptop itself is an embodiment of the lesson that is central
to the current context and question.  The medium is the lesson.
John Kintree
PS There is a nice set of tutorials for items such as opening
the XO, getting connected, using activities, and so on at:

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