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2014 ICT4Edu Trends

Is the One Laptop Per Child Model Still Relevant in 2014?

Wayan Vota

Posted on April 23rd, 2014


A decade ago, Nicholas Negroponte burst into the imagination of educators and technologies worldwide with a brilliant vision of every child in the developing world using a laptop to learn learning. At the time, this was a revolutionary idea, and it brought forth a seemingly endless stream of commentary, hype, and announcements of countries planning massive one computer per child programs.

Since then, the bright idea has run into the realities of technology change, inertia, and innovation, and while the One Laptop Per Child organization continues, no longer are there major announcements of deployments or even a groundswell of excitement around it. Which begs the question: Is the One Laptop Per Child model still relevant?

OLPC vs. 1:1

Now I think we can all agree that there are two models at play here. There is the concept of one laptop per student and the concept of one device per student, regardless of its form factor. While the primacy of the laptop versus the tablet or mobile phone can be debated (and should be), the reality is that we have entered the era where one educational ICT tool per student is an accepted practice.

That doesn’t mean that 1:1 saturation of devices is proven, or is actually the best practice to pursue, but that’s certainly the route that many politicians and parents want. And that brings us to what I think is the larger question: should we be aiming for 1:1?

1:1 vs. 1:Many

In our headlong rush to try and provide computing devices for every student, and with Nicholas Negroponte asking if we would suppose that children share pencils, I wonder just why we believe we need to have a 1:1 ratio of technology tools per student. To Negroponte’s point, yes, there are many schools where children must share pencils, or pencil supply is by parental purchase only, resigning some students to share pencils as a normal course of their school day.

If we are still working to support educational systems to provide the basics, like even teachers or pencils, might we also dial back our expectations of ICT investments? What exactly is wrong with using low-cost projectors so an entire class can learn from one computer?

Teacher vs. Student ICT

Or what about starting with ICT infrastructure for teacher professional development and school administration? In fact, isn’t the low-hanging fruit of ICT4E getting teachers to post grades, get support, and even simply report on attendance levels through mobile phones a great advancement in many countries? Just paying teachers regularly and on time via mobile money would arguably increase learning outcomes as much as laptop deployments.

School level educational management systems, reporting real-time data up to national administrators and out to classroom teachers, would revolutionize education and reveal the great flaws in current practices faster and more transparently that student-centered technology.

Not as flashy or exciting, for sure, but I argue, much, much more effective than one anything per child.

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2014 ICT4Edu Trends

5 Key Barriers to Educational Technology Adoption in the Developing World

Clayton R. Wright

Posted on April 16th, 2014

Educational technology will continue to be implemented incrementally in many parts of the developing world. More rapid uptake and success are unlikely to occur unless five items are addressed – power, Internet connectivity and bandwidth, quality teacher training, respect and better pay for teachers, and the sustainability of implementations. 1. Electrical Power It is a […]

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2014 ICT4Edu Trends

6 Emerging Trends in Education and Mobile Learning

Steve Vosloo

Posted on April 1st, 2014

At the UNESCO Mobile Learning Week 2014 I sat on a panel titled Emerging Trends and New Technology – considered in the context of mobile learning. Below are the notes of the key points that I made. Note: The issue of Emerging Trends and New Technology begs the question: for who? For students in California, […]

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2014 ICT4Edu Trends

3 EduTech Trends for Global Success in 2014

Wendy Kopp

Posted on March 27th, 2014

Today, our workforce and economy are global, and our approach to education must be too. At first, it seems daunting. Suddenly, we’re responsible for preparing our students not just to work with their peers down the hall but with students around the world who will be their future colleagues, clients and employers. For Wendy Kopp’s 3 […]

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2014 ICT4Edu Trends

We Need Educational Regime Change in 2014

Charles Leadbeater

Posted on March 25th, 2014

We need regime change and not in some far away land, in which a wayward dictator threatens our oil supply. We need regime change in education. Regimes are not just groups of people – despotic politicians, kleptomaniac ruling families, corrupt military junta – who hold onto power in defiance of the public will. Regimes are […]

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2014 ICT4Edu Trends

What is the Future of Educational Technology?

Wayan and Shabnam

Posted on March 11th, 2014

Over the past 4 years, the Educational Technology Debate had great conversations every month on the major issues in ICT4Edu. From the challenges of 1:1 computing, to the promise of Open Educational Resources, and the reality of MOOCs, we’ve been at the forefront of the major trends facing educators and technologists. We are now re-starting […]

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Cultural Heritage

El uso de las TIC en la preservación de las lenguas originarias de Latinoamérica

Betina Lippenholtz and Laura Marés

Posted on August 3rd, 2013

. [original post in Spanish - brief summary in English at the end] El tema de los pueblos originarios y más específicamente, el subtema lenguas, ha sido relegado desde la noche de los tiempos. Varios son los motivos para que esto sucediera, y varios por los que posiblemente no siga sucediendo. Este panorama se viene […]

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Cultural Heritage

MIT-Haiti Initiative Uses Haitian Creole to Make Learning Truly Active, Constructive, and Interactive

Michel DeGraff

Posted on July 26th, 2013

An MIT-Haiti Initiative to modernize and democratize education in Haiti Until today, quality education in Haiti has been available only to very few. This is due to brutal socio-economic impediments, including a well-entrenched language barrier: French, the primary language of instruction, is spoken by a tiny élite (no more than 10% and perhaps as low […]

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Cultural Heritage

Lenguas Indígenas y Educación en México

Javier López Sánchez

Posted on July 23rd, 2013

[original post in Spanish - brief summary in English at the end] 1. Consideraciones sobre la diversidad A pesar de que existen diferencias genéticas dentro de la especie humana, podemos decir que estas variantes son superficiales, por lo que los humanos somos biológicamente iguales y constituimos una sola especie (Skutnabb-Kangas et al., 2003). La diversidad […]

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Cultural Heritage

The Role of Language in Knowledge Society Educational Systems

Susana Finquelievich and Roxana Bassi

Posted on July 15th, 2013

Many developing nations have committed themselves to becoming Knowledge Societies in the near future, approving development plans for horizons extended  10, 15 or 25 years, with a view to  substantially change their economies.  But this implies that most of their citizens will have to be connected to the Internet, and moreover, will have to be […]

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