[Olpc-open] RES: Defining success

Marta Voelcker marta at pensamentodigital.org.br
Tue Jan 24 23:24:02 EST 2012



This is quite an interesting point. I write from Brazil, and I am also
working on  my dissertation, not exactly about OLPC but about how the use of
ICT on  education contributes for the change for new paradigms on education,
the barriers for effective and scale innovation ( which relates to change on
evaluation). Understanding that OLPCs mission is aligned with the change on
education, I decided to write to share my point of view:

- I see your question as a major global issue at the moment. We all want a
better school, a student centered classroom, learning by doing,  project
based learning, creativity, collaboration, critical thinking, problem
solving, skills
 but it so difficult change, and even more difficult to
sustain and to scale the change, especially in locations were educators have
limited education to teach. So, how technology can help us here? 


The problem is that we ( adults in charge of , or researching education at
this moment) don´t know how to measure or to identify in a systemic way the
success on the new education that we want, at least not with the resources
available for education systems nowadays. There is research about it, but we
are all babies  on this process.


For instance, take collaboration   as a desired skill and an evidence of
success on the new education paradigm,  how do we  evaluate collaboration?
The  educational systems are not ready for that. That’s why we are stuck on
cases reported as anecdotes, because there is no school system valuing
“success on the development of collaboration” on a systemic way (exception
for some researches going on). 


An interesting research that can help us understand how challenging is this,
and how this issue is part of a greater challenge,  is the work from Yochai
Benkler from Harvard, on his recent book The Penguin and The Leviathan - How
cooperation triumphs over self-interest - he states that most human beans
are naturally good cooperators, but our reward and punishment systems
(including evaluation on education) don´t match with the development of


So far, cases of success are object of research, to evaluate them on a
systemic way we still have many steps to go: first, the educational system
must be willing to recognize and value the new achievements or evidences of
child development ( or skills development), second, this educational system
must develop a way to value the new achievements, and this is not going to
happen through ordinary tests. In my point of view this will happen through
a system that keeps versions of kids products and tracks kids actions. It is
through the  evaluation of  kids progress through what they produce and how
they interact with peers and teachers,  that the technology will help us to
evaluate, in a systemic way, the new evidences of success on the new
education that we are all looking for.




De: olpc-open-bounces at lists.laptop.org
[mailto:olpc-open-bounces at lists.laptop.org] Em nome de Brian D. Moss
Enviada em: quarta-feira, 25 de janeiro de 2012 00:07
Para: olpc-open at lists.laptop.org
Assunto: Re: [Olpc-open] Defining success



I would like to echo Farhan's request for information on how OLPC defines
success (aside from anecdotal stories).  I'm currently writing my master's
thesis on the OLPC program and why -- despite the most honorable of
intentions -- it has largely failed to live up to the hype.


Brian D. Moss, MLS

Center for Global and International Studies

University of Kansas

 <mailto:bdmoss at ku.edu> bdmoss at ku.edu





From: "Ahmed, Farhan" <farhan.ahmed at chicagobooth.edu>
To: "olpc-open at lists.laptop.org" <olpc-open at lists.laptop.org> 
Sent: Sunday, January 22, 2012 2:15 PM
Subject: [Olpc-open] Defining success




First of all, let me say that I love OLPC's mission of providing access to
education for millions of underprivileged children across the globe. By
empowering them to think critically and rationally, I believe it will usher
an era of unprecedented progress for the participating regions.


That being said, I wanted some thoughts on how OLPC defines and measures its
impact. While I've watched videos of teachers and students expressing how
the laptops have changes their lives, these stories are anecdotal at best.
Is there a methodology through which OLPC tracks the concrete educational
development a child goes through after he or she gets access to a laptop? It
seems that tracking a child's progress over the years will allow OLPC to
make substantial scientific claims about its impact. I haven't found any
such data on the website. I do understand the limited effectiveness of
quantifying "educational development", but I'm sure there's a
well-researched methodology widely used.


Furthermore, with regard to the Sugar interface, is it enabled to collect
metrics on usage patterns (anonymized, of course)? Information on how often
certain activities are enabled and used, the times of day a laptop sees most
usage, the average data usage (mesh or the internet) and other such metrics
would allow more targeted development and prioritization. Once again, I
could not find any such data on the website.


My motivation here is to understand how OLPC prioritizes it work and backs
its claims on the impact. I am doing this as part of a research project I
have undertaken at my university (The University of Chicago Booth School of
Business). I'd be happy to answer any questions.


Thank you,




Farhan Ahmed

farhan.ahmed at chicagobooth.edu

Olpc-open mailing list
Olpc-open at lists.laptop.org

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