We Can Learn A Lot From First Graders In Ethiopia About Tech Integration!

I have been using the picture and text above in a couple of recent presentations to educators surrounding the way we support learners (teachers and students) in accessing digital tools.  The picture and text come from a post on Technology Digital a couple of weeks regarding the One Laptop Per Child program.
Shouldn’t the highlighted text cause us to rethink some of our overly structured ways? I’ll cite it again below in case the text from the slide above is too hard to decipher:

OLPC workers dropped off closed boxes containing the tablets with no instruction. “I thought the kids would play with the boxes. Within four minutes, one kid not only opened the box, found the on-off switch … powered it up. Within five days, they were using 47 apps per child, per day. Within two weeks, they were singing ABC songs in the village, and within five months, they had hacked Android,” Negroponte said. “Some idiot in our organization or in the Media Lab had disabled the camera, and they figured out the camera, and had hacked Android.”

In my mind, we spend way too much time walking people through tedious lessons on how to do very basic things with technology in our schools. In many cases we would be better throwing the unopened boxes out to our staff and or students and let them figure it out on their own. But if we can escape our traditional upbringings here and look at the evidence here and the similar finding of Sugata Mitra with his Hole in the Wall Project, I believe we can move much faster.

We are the only ones holding us back!

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