OLPC Debate

The New York Times discusses the merits and demerits oF the $100 laptop:

Seymour Papert, a computer scientist and educator who is an adviser to the project, has argued that if young people are given computers and allowed to explore, they will learn how to learn. That, Mr. Papert argues, is a more valuable skill than traditional teaching strategies that focus on memorization and testing.

The idea is also that children can take on much of the responsibility for maintaining the systems, rather than relying on or creating bureaucracies to do so.

We believe you have to leverage the kids themselves, Ms. Jepsen said. Theyre learning machines. As an example, she pointed to the backlight used by the laptop. Although it is designed to last five years, if it fails it can be replaced as simply as batteries are replaced in a flashlight. It is something a child can do, she said.

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