[Edu-sig] OLPC (was FYI: PataPata postmortem link)

Arthur ajsiegel at optonline.net
Wed Nov 29 14:39:39 CET 2006

Bert Freudenberg wrote:

>On Nov 29, 2006, at 13:00 , Arthur wrote:
>>I fear not only that OLPC is turning into a toy,  but a toy for the
>>wrong follks, folks who have enough toys,  rooms full of them,   
>>lost in
>>their toys, blinking and whizzing  hynoptic.
>Would you agree that the software (and not the greenish toy-like  
>hardware) would make all the difference between that little machine  
>being a toy and it being a serious platform for education? Why, then,  
>are so few folks working on actual educational software for it? So  
>far, you can count the specifically educational activities on the  
>OLPC on one hand. Even if you lost most fingers.
>- Bert -
Not sure what are saying.  Just checked my facts:

Squeak, and Scratch on top of Squeak seemed to be the done deal 

You wouldn't be implying - God forbid - that this is not state of the 
art, best practices, educational software.

There is a team, and that team has a point of view:


      Educational Software

The responsibilities of this group include selecting suitable 
educational software, (with an understanding of memory consumption of 
the software). Ebook and book authoring technology belongs here. Other 
issues include teacher preparation, migration of exisiting content, a 
framework for new content development, school-server technologies, a 
"Kids Corps" for maintenance.

/Who:/ Walter Bender, David Cavallo, Seymour Papert 
<http://wiki.laptop.org/go/Seymour_Papert>, Brian Smith, Alan Kay 
<http://wiki.laptop.org/go/Alan_Kay>, K12LTSP(?), Mitchel Resnick, 
Roseli de Deus Lopes

There is also a need for basic tools for programming and authoring. LOGO 
<http://wiki.laptop.org/go/LOGO>, OpenOffice, Dia, TuxPaint, etc. all 
should be considered.

However, let's keep in mind that there is a difference between 
Edutainment and and Playful Learning. And we want Playful Learning 
instead of Edutainment 
<http://www.media.mit.edu/%7Emres/papers/edutainment.pdf>. Also, we 
don't want kids to be punished by rewards 
<http://www.alfiekohn.org/teaching/pbracwak.htm>. Some understanding of 
constructionist <http://wiki.laptop.org/go/Constructionist> educational 
philosophy will be useful for developers.


I don't argue the merits of constructivitist educational philosophy.  
And I don't like punishment, much less punishment by rewards.

Just that  I see these matters as having next to nothing to do with 
electronics. More than nothing to do with electronics.

That the Wizards think they can construct this reality electronically is 
not only absurd, in my view, but an absolute - almost tragic -  
distraction from more coherent and human to human based efforts toward 
these espoused ends.  Which I might see in the end to have maybe a 4% 
electronic component.

I guess as I grow up I am less and less impressed by the expression of 
good intentions.  Great intentions tend to have great effects almost 
exclusively in the hands of less than great egos - is what life 
experience seems  have informed me. Not sure those kind of folks are 
well represented by the team assembled here.  Certainly, they would not 
be noticed, or have influence if they were.

Its all just more of the same.  The non-electronic component, beating 
the best of intentions.

Other than what Alan Kay, and his posse, says he has accomplished in the 
field of education, what has Alan Kay demostrably accomplished in the 
field of education.

How many days has he spent in a classroom? He has gotten to the top of a 
field he has never even entered.  Gotten there electronically.  True 
wizardry, to be sure.

This team is quite silly, when you look at it, deconstructed from my 
perspective at least.



More information about the Edu-sig mailing list