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This week’s Bite: Teachers can only teach what they already know.

In a narrow sense of “teach” this may have a grain of truth. But if the intention is to say that OLPC can’t bring anything new it is not Just wrong – it is EXACTLY wrong. OLPC liberates teachers from the limitations of their subject specific knowledge and allows them to use their human knowledge.

The simplest example is learning a language. Learning a language in a place where nobody could speak it was almost impossible before any electronic technology existed. With the previous round (like radio) it became possible though still very difficult. The laptop opens the door wide.

The teacher still has an important role – bringing maturity and experience to guide the learner. Or best of all: co-learning.

If you want something to think about try to anticipate what I’ll have to say next week about applying this principle to mathematics. I hope someone will outdo me.


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