The One Laptop Per Child Project and What Its Failure Means for Education

A recent paper came out from Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), Technology and Child Development: Evidence from One Laptop per Child Program in Peru, which was the first large-scale evaluation of One Laptop Per Child’s impact on education. The great news is that the program dramatically increased children’s access to computers. The rate of computers per student went from .12 to 1.18. Good. There also appeared to be some evidence of an improvement in general cognitive skills. Also good.

Not so good? There was no change in either enrollment or test scores in Math and Language.

Simply adding technology won’t save schools. It’s changing the nature of the relationship between teacher and student. As long as students have an authority figure looking over their shoulder, evaluating their every move to make sure they don’t goof off or make mistakes (good ones or bad), students’ actions will be constrained in some way. They won’t be allowed to have their curiosity get away from them.

On the other hand, homeschoolers are allowed (and encouraged) to explore their interests and see where it leads. Some of it is supervised; some not. Some of their studies will meet state standards; some won’t. But you can’t deny that homeschoolers are doing something right and part of it is at the core of the home education dynamic. 

Read the full post at the Spotty Banana!

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