[IAEP] Sugar Digest 2010-06-10

Yama Ploskonka yamaplos at gmail.com
Sun Jun 13 12:17:18 EDT 2010

On 6/13/10, Walter Bender <walter.bender at gmail.com> wrote:
> I think Cathcart and Klein also have a term for your debate technique:
> characterzing an opponent's position as one that is distorting the
> truth through the poor use of statistics by engaging in an equally
> poor use of statistics. Show me the numbers. Demonstrate to me, with a
> "scientific attitude", that the only thing that kids are learning is
> how to play Doom.

I am afraid I didn't say "only".  If I did, I deserve a canning.
"Only" is too big a word for the likes of me.

As to the numbers, let me mention dear Sherlock Holmes.  What is
telling is the *lack* of numbers, mostly.  Opinion based surveys?
sure.  Platitudes? aplenty. Objective standardized research? uh?

The Doom data (with numbers) is in a most honest (in my view) report
from Paraguay, sorry, don't have the link on hand.

> (This is a great debate to have -- what are the kids
> learning -- and wholly unrelated to anything in Warschauer's article.
> But if we are going to have this debate, let's do it properly, rather
> than through speculation and innuendo.)

Any day.  Problem is, those sitting on the hard, objective data are
not sharing it.  It doesn't need speculation or innuendo to honestly
wonder why it is so.

>> While I do not agree with all Mark has to say, I believe we need more
>> of those who follow ideas with a scientific attitude, reporting what
>> they see on both sides.
> Back to the topic of my post: Warschauer followed no scientific method
> or procedure in his analysis. First, he began by saying he had studied
> US laptop programs, so presumably his thesis is not relevant to the
> "America's way" argument you are making.

I'm afraid it was you who tried to refute Mark with some comment on
Peru and Uruguay.  I may be mistaken, writing on a laptop while wife
drives makes it a bit hard for me to review the thread.

> Second, he failed to cite any
> data to back up his argument, hardly "scientific." It was purely a
> rhetorical argument meant to cast the OLPC project in a bad light. I
> don't know what motivated him to write such an article or why a
> website that is "exploring ICT and learning in the developing world"
> would host such non-scientific musing. I won't speculate here.

Again, I do not necessarily accompany all of M.W.'s positions,
expressions or methods.  Anyway, he's not that worse or better than
what is written by researchers with equivalent backgrounds and
academics in other posts that take the opposite view.  Nicholas' words
tend to be similarly lacking in data, and even yours.  Mine are the
worst, I must agree, though in several recent postings of mine in
OLPCNews.com I really made a big point to merely comment the very,
very few truly objective postings from Uruguay, which all draw a
rather glum picture.  XO's used like less than 5% of the time, a
school with over 50% XOs broken...

> Yama, I presume you didn't mean to characterize the only major OLPC
> deployment in the United States as "disconnected and exceptional". The
> longitudinal data are still out, but the Birmingham experience is
> nothing at all like either Warschauer's or your description of an OLPC
> deployment.

I am sure they are nothing at all like, but, what are they like?  I
mean, objective data, not rosy-glass impressions on impressionable and
willing to be impressed people.

>> I admire Walter's and others half-full attitude.  Nice.  To be really
>> useful, let's also dare see that objective information is scant.
>> Let's wonder and think why it is so.  Let's advocate more information
>> be shared, for the good and credibility of the project.
> I don't think anyone will argue with the "mom and apple pie" -- pardon
> the Americanism -- of gathering more "objective" information and
> sharing data and experiences. I don't think anyone is advocating
> otherwise. But how about toning down the rhetoric in the meanwhile?

Hey Walter, IMHO this issue does need some strong debate, yeah, toned
down by decent respect and "Western" debate procedures :-), but too
many people think ICT4E is easy, too many are setting themselves up
for a mess, which the too optimist view is encouraging, in my view, in
a less than responsible way.

I do not fail to see that information is not shared, almost as if
keeping information tied down were policy.  You are an exception, and
I do admire and respect that attitude, even though it is rather
obvious we see things differently.  And I am also thankful you do
accept to exchange ideas with me, even though my credentials are
rather minimal in many senses.  In this I am the one who learns the
most, and I am grateful.

BTW, I do respect enormously the courageous, ingenious, creative, and
beautiful great US of A, which I've been seeing for thousands of miles
this trip, Philadelphia, Gettisburg, Harpers Ferry (interesting
coincidence of places, uh?).  Yet, what works for us here, like
liberty to choose your own course of studies, and to build your own
future, is something peoples elsewhere often pay with their lives to
have a chance to attain, the system, especially Universities, being
set totally agaionst.  As such, trying to "export" constructi*ism
wholesale is bound to cause much pain, even though I too wish all
could have that privilege.
Also BTW, I did come across this private school in Bolivia that
already does have good base to implement it - yet, catch - private
schools are low in priority for OLPC... :-(  When I get there I might
try Soas with them

> -walter
>> On 6/10/10, Walter Bender <walter.bender at gmail.com> wrote:
>>> On Thu, Jun 10, 2010 at 4:41 PM, Christoph Derndorfer
>>> <e0425826 at student.tuwien.ac.at> wrote:
>>>> Am 10.06.2010 21:38, schrieb Daniel Drake:
>>>>> On 10 June 2010 16:13, Christoph Derndorfer
>>>>> <e0425826 at student.tuwien.ac.at> wrote:
>>>>>> I hate to play devil's advocate here (naaa, not really;-) but one
>>>>>> might
>>>>>> argue that based on what little we know about OLPC in Peru, arguably
>>>>>> the
>>>>>> 2nd largest OLPC / Sugar project at the moment, this ("simply passing
>>>>>> out XOs and getting out of children’s way.") is pretty much exactly
>>>>>> what
>>>>>> seems to be happening.
>>>>> While the deployment info is less public (and less publicized?) than
>>>>> most, and while like any deployment it faces a fair share of
>>>>> challenges and difficulties, it's not like this.
>>>> Glad to hear you're getting a good hands-on impression down there! :-)
>>>> Out of curiosity: Which provinces are you visiting?
>>>> From the information that I've gathered from Oscar Becerra, last year's
>>>> interns and a researcher who spent several weeks in the Ancash area in
>>>> 2008 and 2009 the difficulties that the project faces in Peru seem to be
>>>> quite a bit more extensive than in other countries. Two of the most
>>>> striking examples I've heard are that it often seems to take up to 3
>>>> months for broken XOs to be repaired and that between 2008 and 2009 30%
>>>> of the teachers in one province dropped out and their replacements
>>>> didn't receive any XO / Sugar teacher training whatsoever.
>>> Harsh realities intervene with best intentions, but to suggest that
>>> Peru or any other OLPC deployment is 'dump and run' as Warschauer
>>> suggests is misleading at best.
>>> -walter
>>>> But then again, I should have a clearer understanding of realities on
>>>> the ground once I arrive in Lima in early August;-)
>>>> Christoph,
>>>> --
>>>> Christoph Derndorfer
>>>> co-editor, www.olpcnews.com
>>>> e-mail: christoph at olpcnews.com
>>> --
>>> Walter Bender
>>> Sugar Labs
>>> http://www.sugarlabs.org
>>> _______________________________________________
>>> IAEP -- It's An Education Project (not a laptop project!)
>>> IAEP at lists.sugarlabs.org
>>> http://lists.sugarlabs.org/listinfo/iaep
> --
> Walter Bender
> Sugar Labs
> http://www.sugarlabs.org

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