November 17, 2005
Mo' Laptops, Mo' Problems
Hey, they unveiled the prototype of those $100 laptops we’ve blogged about before.
In the Washington Post, Seymour Papert says: “It will change … the way children everywhere think about themselves in relation to the world.”
CNN’s story quotes Nicholas Negroponte like this: “One laptop per child: Children are your most precious resource, and they can do a lot of self-learning and peer-to-peer teaching. Bingo. End of story.”
But Ben Vershbow at if:book says:
Sorry to be so snide, but we were watching the live webcast from Tunis yesterday… it’s hard not to laugh at the leaders of the free world bumbling over this day-glo gadget, this glorified Trapper Keeper cum jack-in-the-box (Annan ended up breaking the hand crank), with barely a word devoted to what educational content will actually go inside, or to how teachers plan to construct lessons around these new toys. In the end, it’s going to come down to them. Good teachers, who know computers, may be able to put the laptops to good use. But somehow I’m getting visions of stacks of unused or busted laptops, cast aside like so many neon bricks.
There is a grain (maybe several grains) of cagey wisdom there, and some useful caution. All the same, I’m excited to see what happens with these things.
(if:book features some of the most thorough thinking around. I totally recommend the feed.)
Update: Great, detailed on-the-scene interview with the CTO of the $100 laptop project by Andy Carvin. I love the internet!