[IAEP] Another article that could probably use some measured response.

Tomeu Vizoso tomeu at sugarlabs.org
Fri Sep 18 03:41:42 EDT 2009

On Tue, Sep 15, 2009 at 21:05, Bakhtiar Mikhak <mikhak at mediamods.com> wrote:
> More than two decades ago, Seymour Papert wrote a response to similar
> criticisms of the role of computers in education:
> http://www.papert.org/articles/ComputerCriticismVsTechnocentric.html
> I think Seymour's comments are as relevant today as when he first wrote
> them. It's interesting to read the paper replacing LOGO with OLPC, olpc, XO,
> or Sugar.
> I don't believe this paper has yet been mentioned in conversations on our
> lists. I think it would be of interest not only in light of reviews like the
> one that is the subject of this thread, but also with respect to the broader
> education conversations that have come up.

Great reading, thanks for sharing!

Pity Sugar and OLPC doesn't get more useful criticism, but after
reading the paper, I understand why ;)



> Best wishes,
> Bakhtiar
> On Mon, Sep 14, 2009 at 8:39 PM, Bill Kerr <billkerr at gmail.com> wrote:
>> On Tue, Sep 15, 2009 at 9:40 AM, Bill Kerr <billkerr at gmail.com> wrote:
>>> On Tue, Sep 15, 2009 at 5:39 AM, Kevin Cole <dc.loco at gmail.com> wrote:
>>>> This may have already come up in the 680 unread messages I have in my
>>>> inbox...  If so, my apologies.
>>>> A researcher in my office subscribes to Miller-McCune magazine, whose
>>>> slogan is "Turning Research into Solutions".  After seeing last week's
>>>> presentation by SJ et al, he handed me an article from the latest issue
>>>> (September / October 2009, Volume 2, Number 5).
>>>> | News and Opinions by Timothy Ogden (page 12)
>>>> |
>>>> | There appears to be cheaper, more effective ways to improve education
>>>> in developing nations than the glitzy One Laptop per Child program.
>>>> The article is available on-line
>>>> at http://miller-mccune.com/business_economics/computer-error-1390
>>>> At the risk of being burned at the stake, though I'm one of the devout,
>>>> I think the author makes some good arguments that should be either countered
>>>> POLITELY and/or addressed.
>>> hi kevin,
>>> my thought was to ask: why do some NGOs criticise other NGOs  in this
>>> way? While other NGOs just get on with the job. Is this to do with a real
>>> discussion of the issues or is there another agenda, such as a fight for
>>> being noticed to attract funding?
>>> I would see a real discussion about the different efficiencies of
>>> different methods of helping developing countries as important and am very
>>> interested in such discussions -
>>> see http://universalcommunication.wikispaces.com/
>>> But what is the relevance of comparing deworming with the xo???? No one
>>> promoting the xo is critical of deworming. And such different approaches
>>> attract different types of people, surely there is room for both. The other
>>> comparisons too while a little more relevant don't make much sense to me.
>>> Esther Duflo's suggestion of teachers making a date stamped photo of
>>> themselves each day is going to improve teacher attendance at low cost.
>>> Great idea. But the goals of this approach compared to the xo approach are
>>> very different and so its difficult to compare. I didn't see this article as
>>> fair or balanced because it didn't attempt to setup a real basis for
>>> comparing things.
>>> Also the link provided by walter is very interesting - all the comments
>>> as well as Oscar Becarra's response
>> more information on the esther duflo approach here:
>> http://econ-www.mit.edu/faculty/eduflo/papers
>> her approach is cost efficient small interventions that make a big
>> difference developed into a "science" - that is the claim, which is
>> interesting but my response is skeptical - I'm not convinced we are at the
>> stage of the one true scientific approach wrt the developing world
>> I think from her perspective the OLPC mega change approach  is seen as
>> wasteful
>> here is a popular article about her:
>> http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/europe/step-aside-sartre-this-is-the-new-face-of-french-intellectualism-1332028.htmlhttp://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/europe/step-aside-sartre-this-is-the-new-face-of-french-intellectualism-1332028.html
>> "She investigates, in elaborate detail, the practical, small things
>> which can make a difference in trying to improve the lives of the
>> poorest of the poor. For instance, not just "education, education,
>> education" but how to make sure pupils and their teachers turn up at
>> school. (Answer: tiny incentives, such as free meals or uniforms, can
>> transform attendance in poor countries.)"
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