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Posted by on Nov 4, 2012 in Gadgets, Science |

Ethiopian children illiterate hack a Motorola Xoom

Ethiopian children illiterate hack a Motorola Xoom

(Cc) Dietmar Temps

The project One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) last year raised the possibility of launching tablets from heaven to developing countries, with the idea that children learn by themselves to occupy and use them to learn. This project was carried out in Ethiopia, although the tablets were not dropped by parachute, but abandoned in boxes in two villages, without instructions or labels or anything.

“I thought the kids would play with the boxes. In four minutes, a child not only opened the box, but found the switch to turn it on and I started walking, “said Nicholas Negroponte, founder of the project, at a conference at MIT.

“In five days, they were using on average 47 applications per child per day. In two weeks, they were singing songs with the alphabet in the village, and in five months, had hacked Android, “he said.

The Xoom came preloaded with special software designed for children called Nell (more on this [ PDF ]), which for some reason had disabled the use of the camera on the device, and still maintain the desktop settings. But children managed to get access to the camera and customize the tablet.

“The children had completely customized desktop, so that each child looked different. We had installed software to prevent them from doing that. And the fact that they found a way to avoid that is clearly the creative type, the kind of curiosity and discovery that we believe is essential for learning, “said Ed McNierney, chief technology officer of OLPC.

The results suggest that children were able to learn a lot just Ethiopians from a tablet. Could this strategy help in the world?

Link: Are computers alone enough to educate children? (WSJ)

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