Talk:Learning learning

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Dvorak and V for 200million wrists

If enough are to be manufactured, maybe it would not cost too much to

  1. Use a split keyboard in the shape of a V for 200million healthier wrists
  2. Configure it with the Dvorak layout or some other better than QWERTY layout

And God bless you --Rogerhc 01:54, 28 May 2006 (EDT)

Above comment was inspired by the parables but I have since found and added this idea to the Hardware Ideas page. --Rogerhc 18:36, 28 May 2006 (EDT)
See the Hardware Ideas page for futher discussion of Keyboards.

Learning as a Culturally Variable Construct

It seems strange to me that one of the few pages to which contribution is limited (unlike other OLPC-maintained pages which allow one to edit, but encourage additions to be made only in the talk/discussion pages) is this one on which radical pedagogical thoughts are put forth as the foundation for the OLPC initiative.

Certainly I agree with everything that is written here, and I commend the project's challenges to the status quo, but these comments and concepts are all grounded on a certain understanding of the status quo, and certain assumptions about what the state and goal of learning is. It is an understanding of an educational status quo that is based on classes, schools, and school systems which admittedly does represent the type of systems into which it would be most easy to distribute the $100 laptop, but then it wouldn't be one laptop per child. This would mean that often the poorest children would be left out of this project, but more importantly that countries and cultures upon which the construct of "school" has been imposed (whether through colonialism and imperialism, or the economic pressures of globalization) are undergirded by inherently different models of learning which should not be dismissed (given particularly David Cavallo's assertion that the concept of "school" limits learning reform).

Constructionist learning is clearly a very progressive pedagogical foundation for OLPC, but to present it as the right way, the most effective way to learn, is a hegemonic imposition of moral proportions. To insist on constructionism is to insist that, "education means making creators. . . . You have to make inventors, innovators—not conformists," as Piaget is quoted in Conversations with Jean Piaget (Bringuier, Jean Claude, 1980, p.132). And since most of the people contributing to this project are from societies, cultures, or at least educational systems that value this individualist, entrepeneurial, non-conformist esprit, we don't question that it is universally good, and we don't look for the good in traditionally conformist, communitarian cultures. Thus there is an underlying, unstated goal to OLPC, that is probably subconscious to most of the developers and contributors: To produce geniuses. This is not necessarily bad, obviously; in fact, probably most contributors will think, "of course, that's great!" If we translated the statement to economics though, it would read: "to produce millionaires;" and that is ultimately the motto of capitalism's wealth accumulation ethic.

And many of us may think that is great - I am not saying it is inherently bad, but it is only one system, and the same with OLPC, and the constructonist trajectory it is on now. It is only one system, a system that will facilitate and encourage individual inventiveness, scientific inquiry, and a unique opportunity for kids who are smart to go above and beyond what they might have been able to do before. But it is not necessarily going to change things on a huge scale for the masses of children who may not fit into or be best served by the pedagogical model that OLPC is setting forth. Just as constructionism is a radical response against the fossilization/stagnation of the institution of "the school" or what might be called "neo-scholasticism" (this is not as unfounded an assertion as it might seem when understood that Habermas, upon whose theories much of constructionism is built, was bitterly opposed to Derrida and the deconstructionist "Contemporary Scholastics" as they are sometimes described) we need to open up this space to come up with radical responses to other educational systems and pedagogical theories which are prevalent in the world.

--Jdmitch 18:03, 10 June 2006 (EDT)

First, let me say that I think you are right on target when you say that constructionist learning is one way, not the way. While we are building what is fundumentally an "expression" machine, we are designing it within a social context, both technological and pedagogical. Discussion of this aspect of the design has been overshadowed in the wiki due to any number of reasons, but will front and center as the user-interaction model is further developed in these pages. I hope you join in the discussions of the role the laptop might play in teaching as well as learning.
Regarding your reference to Cavallo's "Model's of Growth" paper, I think you are reading a bit too much into the one sentence you quote. The overarching thesis of the paper is the need for systemic change, which will manifest itself in many ways. That said, schools in much of the world, including both the "non-conformist" and "conformist" worlds do need change, and as in any organization, the status quo is one of the major inhibitors of change.
Regarding your assertion regarding the "the people contributing to this project", it is not true: (1) we are working with educators from around the world; and (2) we are developing a platform that will enable whole-sale local appropriation. While it is true that we at OLPC have certain predilections, our primary mission is in regard to giving childen and teachers opportunities to learn and grown within their own cultures. --Walter 10:57, 26 August 2006 (EDT)
Glad that you all are thinking about these things and aware that some of the pedagogical issues could be lost in the shuffle...obviously (not being an insider) I don't know enough about "the people contributing to this project" to make any sort of judgment (and I am not naive enough to believe you all have the same perspective), however I think despite the involvement of "educators from around the world" and the "enabl[ing of] whole-sale local appropriation," the project will tend to attract people who think about education in a certain way (anything western is better), and/or people whose idea of appropriation may be accepting what "the experts" have to say. I think the weight of authority that those who have conceptualized this have, and the pre-conceptions about what may be best will be hard to overcome without some very intentional steps of not just including "educators from around the world" but including educators, as well as people who may not even be considered educators within the framework of the "school" construct, who are against technology, or view education in totally different terms. Otherwise, you will have ministers of education from all over the world, who actually were all educated in the west; or teachers who have all bought into an idea that "west is best," and constructive criticism will be minimal and superficial. Obviously, I am hoping this is not the case - and who am I to say it is? I just to want to paint a possible scenario, in the hopes that you will recognize aspects of it in the structure of what has been established, and so we can all learn from how other people, and other traditional cultures learn, and how that could enhance the potential of the OLPC project. I hope I have provided some food for thought, and I hope I can contribute to further conversations about this aspect of OLPC. --Jdmitch 7:30, 31 October 2006 (GMT)
Jdmitch, or anyone. Do you think the free availability of educational materials and processes such as the multilingual project will alleviate some of your concerns expresses above? Mirwin 20:59, 11 February 2007 (EST)