What if we actually encouraged students to use technology?

February 12, 2010

This is the headline that roped me in, at The New York Times: “Wi-Fi Turns Rowdy Bus into Rolling Study Hall.”

And a short excerpt:

But on this chilly morning, as bus No. 92 rolls down a mountain highway just before dawn, high school students are quiet, typing on laptops.

Morning routines have been like this since the fall, when school officials mounted a mobile Internet router to bus No. 92’s sheet-metal frame, enabling students to surf the Web. The students call it the Internet Bus, and what began as a high-tech experiment has had an old-fashioned — and unexpected — result. Wi-Fi access has transformed what was often a boisterous bus ride into a rolling study hall, and behavioral problems have virtually disappeared.

What would your bus drivers say?

(File under “If you teach them, they will learn — and behavior problems will fade away.”)

Don’t miss the end of the article:

A ride through mountains on a drizzly afternoon can be unpredictable, even on the Internet Bus. Through the windows on the left, inky clouds suddenly parted above a ridge, revealing an arc of incandescent color.

“Dude, there’s a rainbow!” shouted Morghan Sonderer, a ninth grader.

A dozen students looked up from their laptops and cellphones, abandoning technology to stare in wonder at the eastern sky.

“It’s following us!” Morghan exclaimed.

“We’re being stalked by a rainbow!” Jerod said.


Seymour Papert recuperating at home

February 2, 2007

MIT’s Media Lab last updated Seymour Papert’s condition on January 10 — it said he’d been moved to a rehabilitation facility closer to his home, in Bangor, Maine. Vietnamese publications, including VietnamNet Bridge, report he’s home now (Vietnam was where he was struck by a motorbike in early December).

Prof Papert’s family said that he had been discharged from the hospital in Boston in the U.S. He is now still undergoing treatment at home. Luckily enough, he will not have any after-effects after the head trauma and now he can speak.

The $100 laptop idea, the XO Computer, steams on.

$100 laptop idea rolls on

January 5, 2007

One of its architects, Seymour Papert, lies in a Boston hospital (but out of intensive care) recovering from a head injury suffered in a collision with a motorbike in Hanoi in early December, but the idea of equipping tens of millions of students around the world with inexpensive, wireless-ready laptop computers continues to roll towards implementation.

The Christian Science Monitor carries an editorial more full of hope than opinion, on January 5, 2007, about the computer project. The laptops have been dubbed “XO.”

For billions of parents who earn only a few dollars a day, paying for a child’s education – books, etc. – often gets neglected. Many simple solutions that break that cycle of poverty have been tried and have failed. Now another one is on the horizon: a “$100 laptop.”

While noting past errors in sending technology to the third world, the Monitor cites some numbers from implementation that are quite dramatic, if accurate: Read the rest of this entry »

%d bloggers like this: