Monday, September 26, 2005

MIT Media Lab: $100 Laptops for the Third World

The MIT Media Lab has launched a new research initiative to develop a $100 laptop - a technology that could revolutionize how we educate the world's children.

One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) was announced by Nicholas Negroponte, Lab chairman and co-founder, at the World Economic Forum at Davos, Switzerland in January 2005.

See Superintendent Notebook for Negroponte's answers to questions on the initiative.

Multi-tasking and short attention spans

Tom McHale, an educator in New Jersey, USA writes a notable post Portrait of a Digital Native about childrens' use of technology and their ability to multi task.

The post features a student named Meredith Fear who is working on her independent study for social studies and chosen a topic that is important to her, the genocide in Darfur, Sudan.

Meredith catalogues her research through Furl and bookmarking and follows the news and blogs about Sudan through a news aggregator. She finds this process to be very different than her classroom experience.

"The computer gives me a contact to all the people I need to talk to," Fear says. "It's a gateway to the world."

"What I make of it is entirely dependent on me and the effort I'm willing to put into it," she says. "It's a much, much more specialized and detailed level of thinking than I've been exposed to in any of the classes the school provides."


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