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July 2009

Individal and Communal Computer Usage

1:1 Saturations and Computer Labs: Can Their Benefits Bring a New Model?

Go to most ICT-enabled schools and you see computer labs set up for student use, which often indicates that “Computers” are taught like a subject (ie. math), or a skill (carpentry). Parents and business leaders look to this model as preparing students with 21st Century skills.

But could there be a better way to distribute computing resources? A 1:1 computer-to-student saturation that encourages private ownership of technology and individual exploration and learning, rather than a limited shared-use of educational tools. Or is a one computer per student model an administrative and financial challenge with limited additional benefit? And could there be a mixed model where shared and private use can co-exist?

For July, the Educational Technology Debate we will examine the two models and look for a blended approach that can be deployed in the many educational environments of the developing world.

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Shared Access Computing is the Most Economical and Scalable Model

As Wayan appropriately points out in his introduction, a computer is merely a learning tool, albeit an increasingly important tool, in enabling higher quality education. And as Walter Bender pointed out in the insightful WSJ debate Will Low-Cost Laptops Help Kids in Developing Countries? with the CEO of NComputing, Stephen Dukker, “computing is not a […]

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For Real Learning, Mobility and Saturation Matter

In September 2007, while I was still working at One Laptop per Child (OLPC), I debated with Stephen Dukker, co-founder of NComputing on the topic, “Will Low-Cost Laptops Help Kids in Developing Countries?” and Dukker made what I thought was the seminal point when he said: “OLPC’s key development in our view is the software […]

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A New ICT4E Model: Multiple Platforms + Single Learning Environment = More Beneficiaries

I started this discussion with the suggestion that the two dominant models, of computer usage in education were growing stale. 1:1 computer to student saturations push both students and teachers to think critically and creatively, yet computer labs are a fraction the cost to implement and maintain. I was hoping that we could fuse these key benefits into a model that can be deployed in the many educational environments of the developing world.

Reading the resulting commentary, I’d like to declare success. I feel we have found a new model, that is an child of these two parents, mixing genes of both to create a new, better ICT4E model where multiple platforms plus a single learning environment equals more educational beneficiaries.

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