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Thursday, September 29, 2005

Laptops for kids

Laptops for $100 for kids to help their education or as they claim

"a more cost-effective alternative than hiring additional teachers. A lot of learning comes form explorations, interactions, curiosity," Negroponte said Wednesday at an MIT emerging technology conference sponsored by Technology Review, an MIT magazine. "That's how we learned how to walk, how to talk. It's the kind of learning kids do very well. This [laptop] is a tool to make that more continuous, seamless versus … today, when we say at age 6, 'Stop learning that way, and learn by being told by books and teachers.'" "

Somehow this does not resonate well with me.
Could be that I am a former teacher.
Could be that I have some bias in this area.
Could be that as a parent having raised two children (not alone by any means, my wife had a major part in this) I don't accept the exploration argument.

Exploration will work within a proper framework.
Recall that I am an environmentalist in this area.

Imitation comes first. Then with some confidence, exploration can follow.
If the bread crumbs are not left there for positive reinforcement, don't expect exploration to work for long.

Hence, I do agree
Another problem that must be addressed by the not-for-profit group, One Laptop Per Child: a possible gray market in which laptops distributed free to children are instead illicitly sold by parents or others, especially those in third-world countries. One way to thwart this is allowing PC makers to manufacture commercial versions of the laptop at a relatively inexpensive price, say $200 each, with part of the profit going back to One Laptop Per Child.

There are so many other uses for these systems at a low entry point, they do not need to go to children first. If anything, that would be the last place I would put them.

What do you think?

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