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11 August 2006 / erikduval

I love TED – and kind of like the $100 laptop

I’ve never physically been to any of the TED conferences, but I do like some of the things that they make available on-line, like the presentation by Nicholas Negroponte on the $100 laptop one laptop per child.

It seems to be “bon ton” to critisize the initiative — too focused on laptop/hardware, too Western-led, just another MIT publicity stunt, not pedagogically innovative, … (see also the Fonly Institute, Bill Gates’ comment, the Perils of the $100 laptop, or reasons why India may have said no… ).

In my view, there are some Good Things here:

  • The goal is easy to explain and understand, as any Grand Challenge ought to be.
  • I very much agree with the basic principles:
    1. Children are our most precious natural resource.
    2. The solution to poverty, peace, environment is education.
    3. Teaching is one but not the only way to achieve learning.
  • The initiative is rooted in decades of research under the direction of Seymour Papert and other pioneers. It is not something that needs to be proven – we’re way beyond the research stage on the question about whether this is useful at all.
  • “It’s an education project, not a laptop project.”

Here’s a challenge for you: if you could design educational software that would be available for kids worldwide on their own personal laptop, what would you propose…?

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