whining about children and technology

January 2, 2007

Jeremeanie started me thinking again with Too many topics, too little time. » This note’s for you » One Laptop Per Child? about the One Laptop Per Child issue, and then I found this on SlashDot below. I think what’s bugging me is that old standard of ‘what was good enough for me is good enough for everyone’ nonsense. When was our modern notion of the child invented. I’ve heard it variously put as post war, turn of the century, early 19th C or beginning of the industrial revolution. And this has nothing to do with whether we loved children or not. Point: how we see children is socially constructed and open to change. Secondly, technology for children is also not eternal, and will change, just look at the history of children’s books. Personally, I think TV was a bad thing because it opened up children to advertising, aside from the notions of what the CRT does to the brain. Point: children are already wedded to produced content and current technologies of the time.

As with most everything, people think that what they grew up with is the norm, and befores and afters are somehow unenlightened.

I don’t know if the OLPC project is a good thing. It definitely bugs me for its lack of transparency and inclusivity, and the hegemonic air about it. Perhaps I’m just out of the loop and everything’s kosher, but who knows.

I do know that there’s no validity in the status quo argument at all.

I’ll wait to see what happens.

Slashdot | OLPC’s UI To Be Kid-Tested In February
“The AP is reporting that kid testing of Negroponte’s ‘$100 Laptop’ starts in February. This article is some of the first mainstream coverage of just how different the user interface of the XO Computer is — it ditches the traditional office metaphors in favor of a ‘neighborhood’ and an activity-based journaling approach. Video of Sugar, as the UI is called, has been out on the net for a while, and Popular Science recently gave the color / monochrome display a ‘Grand Award’ in its 2006 technology roundup. What do you think of this new UI?”

Related links:
Low-cost laptop could transform learning – Yahoo! News

YouTube – Slightly better demo of the OLPC User Interface

PopSci’s Best of What’s New 2006

3 Responses to “whining about children and technology”

  1. There’s been a sudden round of publicity for the OLPC again online in the last few days since you posted this. I’m thinking they released a new Press Release just to keep people excited and to keep the peanut gallery blogging about them.

    I continue to reserve my judgement on it’s value as a learning tool until it’s been implemented (in spite of the fact that they’ve released so little info about that, or because of it?), but from what I’ve read it’s going to be yet another case of great ideas leading to wishy washy execution.

  2. P.S. I was surfing tonight and came across this opinion on the OLPC which I wanted to share with you. It’s written by Lee Felsentein who was the original designer of the JhaiPC and also of some of the first ever laptops. I think we can safely say that he knows his stuff.

    I’m recently fascinated by the many name changes of the OLPC… from $100 laptop to OLPC to 2B1, XO, and finally Children’s Machine. I wonder if that means anything more than that they simply can’t make up their minds??

  3. Clevergirl:

    Don’t forget the momentary CM1 name.