Friday, June 28, 2013

One Laptop Per Child News report on a downturn of their success

Since 2009, I've been following quite closely what's happened with 1:1 computing initiatives. One reason of course was that I managed a large-scale implementation in Europe on netbooks and I needed to know what's working in the field and what not. The OLPC project was always something that was an inspiration, but also to a certain degree, a worry.

With our project, we really quickly realised that although both projects were working on enabling students' access to ICT devices, our goals were rather different. Whereas the OPLC project was about reading, writing and arithmetic (i.e. replace bad teachers or the lack of teachers in general), our project was not about substituting teachers, but about changing pedagogical models in schools.

In a recent article on OLPC news, the downturn of OLPC was discussed. I found the following passage an interesting remark which fits with our own feelings of OLPC - it was always hard to find any supporting evidence for their really appealing storyline.

The underlying core issue was - and continues to be - that OLPC never bothered to invest in building supportive evidence for its own narrative about the impact of its work. This makes it easy to (rightfully or wrongfully) criticize the project and gives OLPC precious few solid arguments to counter with. - See more

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