Technology in Classrooms: One Laptop per Child-A Failed Idea? Is the use of technology benefiting the students in classrooms today or is It taking away from their education? Should students be allowed to have easy access to a computer during a lecture to find relevant information or is it a distraction that puts their attention onto something completely off subject? It has certainly been argued both ways. As technology becomes more prominent In everyday life, the global world changes at the same time. Third world, developing countries have begun to see this hang, and are starting to accept It.
One proposed start-up for Introducing technology Into the classrooms of these countries was the One Laptop per Child, a nonprofit organization that alms to provide laptops for the children of developing countries (“One Laptop per Child”). Technology has certainly changed education, Thither Garments, a faculty member of a Montreal school, asserts the use of laptops and technology In school classrooms allows for academic success. He claims that by using computers concentration and motivation has increased as well as a way of successful teaching students important ND valuable computer skills (in “Laptops in school classes improve scores”).
Robert Imaginer speaks on the behalf of students saying that they are more eager to integrate the use of computers into school because they are motivated to learn from it, they typically already know how to use one before starting school, and they are more likely to learn and understand the importance of technology which will help them with any future academic and employment opportunities. Imaginer claims that students have shown great excitement and are very curious in the classrooms with the introduction of computers.
He said that teachers are seeing less and less absenteeism and behavioral issues through this technological learning style (Imaginer). The use of technology is becoming more, and more valuable, as we get older and get busier, the use of computers help manage our everyday, somewhat complicated lives no matter if we are in the classroom or not. While some strongly agree that computers are a good thing and should be used in every school classroom, there are also those who disagree by providing reasons why computers will not help in educating students.
Paul Lam reported that both teachers ND students worry that computers in the classroom will be very distracting. Students agreed, saying that computers would take their attention away from what their teacher was saying. Teachers noticed that when computers were allowed during class time, students weren’t looking up, and they would smile at the computer screen, or be typing during Inappropriate times (Lam). Yes, computers are useful, but they take attention away from Important lectures and class time. It’s Important for these third world countries such as India, Peru, Kenya, and Afghanistan to continue to grow with this global change.
Technology Is being used more. And more, and it can be very helpful improving education especially in these countries. Even though they are at different stages of developing, as the world moves forward in development, countries to be ready to incorporate those changes. Technology is a new and very big change, it is one change, but a very important one not only have access to it, but to also know how to effectively and efficiently use it. Everyone, everywhere can benefit it; sometimes it Just takes time to figure out the best way. Integrating technology is an issue all on it’s own.
Countries may want to eave the ability to access technology, and Western cultures may want to push the use of technology, but it’s not always that easy. Technology has quickly taken over the world that we live in, we use it everyday, everywhere. The program, One Laptop per Child was designed to send low-cost, specially designed laptops to children in developing third world countries. According to the OLAP website, their “mission is to empower the world’s poorest children through education” (“One Laptop per Child”) by providing them with this laptop.
Kenneth Kramer says that OLAP put in a lot of effort to design a computer that loud withstand both the different and difficult conditions in a developing world country environment. Kramer stated that the designers had a great understanding of what developing countries needed when it comes to introducing technology. The computers are sealed, made to keep dirt out. The screen can read in bright sunlight, runs on very low power, and has a built in wireless system (Kramer). What’s the best part? These computers were set to be only $100, completely affordable, right?
The governments of these countries can purchase the computers and they can afford to give them to all the children. They have an important goal that no one is left out. All children should be able to experience the use of technology. One MIT professor, and adviser to the OLAP, Seymour Appear, talked about the benefits of the program saying that through the use of computers children can do anything, they “will take charge of knowledge” (Appear). With this program they will have access to computers, and they will have their own computer all the time.
This will allow students everywhere, especially in developing countries to learn (Appear). Of course there are many cons and negative feedback based upon this program. There are always going to be two sides and it’s important to look and understand both of them. From the New York Times, flogger David Vogue says it perfectly by saying, “think again. This laptop is not intended for the sneaky floggers. This laptop is intended for poor kids in other countries. And for that, I say it’s amazing’ (Vogue, 03:43).
Nicholas Negotiate, founder of OLAP, says that these computers have now been distributed to 2,000 students across the globe, in 40 different countries, and available in 25 different languages. Negotiate goes on to say that 25% of teachers in developing countries re illiterate and have very poor education. The other 25% teaching didn’t finish school themselves, someone teacher fifth grade may only have a sixth grade education. These computers will not Just teach students, it will allow non-student adults to learn too.
Negotiate said that we he first started this project people told him that you can’t Just build a laptop that is connected, give it a kid and walk away. He responded with, “you know what, you can, you actually can, and we have found that kids in the remotest part of the world, when given that connected not only teach homeless how to read and write, but most importantly, thy teach their parents how to read and write” (Negotiate 2010, 03:52). In a separate interview, Nicholas Negotiate says that the most important part of this project isn’t that children will have their own laptop, it’s that this will become a part of society.
This project has education (Negotiate 2009). One Laptop per Child, has been widely criticized by many for not actually helping children. Jeffery James, quoted in a Journal article by Jeanine Renders, argues that the OLAP program leads to too much time spent focusing on computers and rumoring the use of the Western technology and way of life that not enough effort will be put into other forms of education that are of equal or greater importance (Renders). Lisa Marie Allen argues that Western cultures have a long history of trying to put their values, beliefs and way of life into non-western cultures.
They are constantly exploring different ways to “help” these developing counties, when in reality they have little knowledge or understand of these third world countries, which are at a completely different stage of development. What Westerners believe to be a rarity, these non-western countries don’t see as a priority. She states that in many countries such as Ghana, education is not a priority. Many children need to stay home, do chores and work for their families. They are not concerned with being computer literate (Allen).
Eileen and Michael Benson continued this argument, by saying that OLAP believes that, “one educational model is suitable for all educational environments and that the latest educational approach should displace, historic, locally developed teaching approaches” (Person, 243). Pelham agrees saying that Hess countries don’t need laptops, building schools and libraries is a bigger priority and will be more beneficial for students in developing countries. These students will go without pencils and paper while the computers end up being sold on the black market. Bringing laptops to the world’s poorest children could be the educational equivalent of delivering cans of food to people who have no can-openers” (Pelham, 76). Paula Cook Mackinac talks about why teachers in developing countries have a hard time bringing the use of laptops into their education plans. Mackinac says hey have very little knowledge about how to use computers themselves, let alone having to teach young students how to use them. Teachers said they need technological support if they want to incorporate technology in school classrooms of these developing countries, and they don’t have it (Mackinac).
Did One Laptop Per Child fail or succeed with their mission? It’s up to individual interpretation and what is or should be important, as well as what has happened versus what was supposed to happen. Yes, computers were distributed to over 2,000 children throughout the world, and they have definitely learned from it. Many resources say it failed and they critique every aspect, but why did it fail? Computers were distributed and studies have showed that children learned from them. Sure, developing countries could use buildings, food and water more, but education is important.
These laptops are Just one part of helping developing countries more forward with the rest of the world. In reality, there isn’t enough information to say for certain if this project truly failed or succeed. It would definitely be beneficial to research and find out exactly what happened with OLAP. Did students benefit from the program and the use of computers? Or did they slowly fade out? Do computers in class actually help students? What do advocates and critics think about OLAP and technology in classrooms?
The more interest an issue gets, the more information, research, and solutions will be made or educational problems of the world’s poor” (Weyerhaeuser, 46). Weyerhaeuser continues by saying the process of improving education with technology is at a very early stage. To make such a change will take time and the use of several different professionals (Weyerhaeuser). One Laptop per Child is definitely an area of study that should be continued. This is a program that needs to succeed, education is key for children and everyone has the right to one.
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