Wednesday, March 28, 2007

OLPC and the Romanian politicians

Interesting blog post from Jani Monoses on how the Romanian parliament rejected the country's participation in the OLPC program. All the arguments centered around cost and lack of applications such as....MS Word! As Jani says -- cluelessness abounds.

Having seen Ivan Krstic's keynote on OLPC at PyCon this year, I realize that the One Laptop Per Child program is mainly about re-introducing kids to their intuitive ways of learning, through play, peer activities and free exploration, as opposed to the centralized, one-to-many teaching method that is used in schools everywhere. The laptop becomes in this case just a tool for facilitating the new ways of learning -- or I should say the old ways, since this is what kids do naturally. But this is one of those disruptive ideas that is hard to grasp by serious grown-up people, especially politicians...

3 comments:

Duncan McGreggor said...

In my naïveté, this is something I hadn't even considered: Microsoft.

MS has gone to extraordinary lengths in attempts to diminish the market strength of Linux (as monopolies are want to do with their competitors). When you consider the enormous potential market in countries where these laptops will go, it seems obvious now that, if they weren't involved in a misinformation compaign with Romainia, then they certainly will be with other countries.

The kids that grow up using OLPC will have open source in their bones. Those that go on to make personal/professional decisions about software and/or hardware will undoubtedly be affected by their exerpeices from childhood with the OLPC machines.

Steve said...

Those that go on to make personal/professional decisions about software and/or hardware will undoubtedly be affected by their exerpeices from childhood with the OLPC machines.

Which, of course, Microsoft know only too well, Which might in turn have something to do with why everyone thinks Microsoft Word is an essential application (which it isn't).

Don't worry. Peru has already got the message, so there's still hope for Roumania ...

Grig Gheorghiu said...

Duncan and Steve -- it is a shame that Microsoft has twisted (no pun intended -- OK, pun intended) the minds of people in charge of the IT budgets and even national budgets. We came to witness the time where 'nobody got fired for buying Microsoft'. Or maybe people have been fired, it's just that we never hear about them :-)

But as you both are saying, there's hope that the OLPC program will produce kids that have Open Source in their bones. It certainly is my hope.

Grig