OLPC to World: Children are fast learners. Let’s give them the right tools

Last week, the OLPC foundation released an Internet-only ad that starts by showing kids who are learning to use guns. The commercial then goes on with its message: “Children are fast learners. Let’s give them the right tools. Give a laptop. Get a laptop.”

What are your thoughts on this ad? Let us know in the comments.

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14 Responses to OLPC to World: Children are fast learners. Let’s give them the right tools

  1. A social commentary on what we should be teaching kids, and what we should not be teaching kids..anywhere. It should stay on… people ought to know what they are allowing to happen in the world. bpp

  2. A social commentary on what we should be teaching kids, and what we should not be teaching kids..anywhere. It should stay on… people ought to know what they are allowing to happen in the world. bpp

  3. The message is good… but laptops? Really? To live a better childhood you don’t need a laptop. I get they’re great tools for education but I’m uncomfortable with spreading the idea that everyone needs to live and be educated like North Americans… and I’m not even going to go into the fact that or education system and resources suck here.
    But great message.

  4. The message is good… but laptops? Really? To live a better childhood you don't need a laptop. I get they're great tools for education but I'm uncomfortable with spreading the idea that everyone needs to live and be educated like North Americans… and I'm not even going to go into the fact that or education system and resources suck here.

    But great message.

  5. What do laptops have to do with a “North American” education? Its a computer. Put whatever you want into it! Sheesh!

  6. What do laptops have to do with a "North American" education? Its a computer. Put whatever you want into it! Sheesh!

  7. I do volunteer support for OLPC, and I have to say I really think that our PR firm has gone mad. It’s a terrible advert, and while I think that laptops are a very good means of education for children when coupled with the proper lesson plans (I devote a large amount of my time to this project), I do not think this is the way we should be attempting to get donations.

    • Oh, and why is that? I thought the ad was pretty good… even though I doubt buying laptops to kids in third world countries will change the culture of violence experienced there.

  8. I do volunteer support for OLPC, and I have to say I really think that our PR firm has gone mad. It's a terrible advert, and while I think that laptops are a very good means of education for children when coupled with the proper lesson plans (I devote a large amount of my time to this project), I do not think this is the way we should be attempting to get donations.

    • Oh, and why is that? I thought the ad was pretty good… even though I doubt buying laptops to kids in third world countries will change the culture of violence experienced there.

  9. It's a thought-provoking ad that could do some good but I think the well-meaning MIT folks behind OLPC are misguided.

    Of how much real benefit will computers be for people who lack clean water or electricity? Wouldn't a better use of those funds be to help establish or improve basic civic infrastructures?

    And I question the validity behind the notion that Internet access equals education. There's a startling lack of evidence that (even in ideal settings) computers actually improve student achievement. Worse yet, the committees that push so hard to get computers into the classrooms are largely manned by representatives of tech companies & agencies that stand to profit significantly from the added business. This is a classic – and very dangerous – case of putting the fox in charge of the henhouse. It's tragic that we're blindly allowing other programs to be slashed to make available funding for an unproven strategy that has such a questionable underlying motive.

    I urge everyone to read Tech Tonic: Towards a New Literacy of Technology from the Alliance for Childhood to explore this troubling issue further.

    I'm not saying that kids shouldn't have the opportunity to learn to use computers and the Internet, but we've got to move much more cautiously and mindfully towards that. Our current adoption of computers in education is reckless and shows little forethought about the specific goals or long-term effects.

  10. It's a thought-provoking ad that could do some good but I think the well-meaning MIT folks behind OLPC are misguided.

    Of how much real benefit will computers be for people who lack clean water or electricity? Wouldn't a better use of those funds be to help establish or improve basic civic infrastructures?

    And I question the validity behind the notion that Internet access equals education. There's a startling lack of evidence that (even in ideal settings) computers actually improve student achievement. Worse yet, the committees that push so hard to get computers into the classrooms are largely manned by representatives of tech companies & agencies that stand to profit significantly from the added business. This is a classic – and very dangerous – case of putting the fox in charge of the henhouse. It's tragic that we're blindly allowing other programs to be slashed to make available funding for an unproven strategy that has such a questionable underlying motive.

    I urge everyone to read Tech Tonic: Towards a New Literacy of Technology from the Alliance for Childhood to explore this troubling issue further.

    I'm not saying that kids shouldn't have the opportunity to learn to use computers and the Internet, but we've got to move much more cautiously and mindfully towards that. Our current adoption of computers in education is reckless and shows little forethought about the specific goals or long-term effects.

  11. OLPC is selling flawed machines. The keyboard membranes can be ripped off within a day or two of being shipped. I know this, my 5-year-old daughter did it. Yet, what was I told by OLPC "support" that it wasn't meant for unsupervised use. Um, they want to give it to kids who use GUNS??? I'm sure those kids would treat a laptop in the most pristine of manner.

    OLPC is selling flawed machines and denying it's actually doing a disservice to anyone who uses their units.

    IF/WHEN they ever fix this fatal design flaw, perhaps they would be worthwhile to sell/give away. Otherwise, in their current configuration, they're going to end up in landfill. No need to believe me, here is the forum responses regarding this godawful release:

    http://en.forum.laptop.org/viewtopic.php?f=1324&a

  12. OLPC is selling flawed machines. The keyboard membranes can be ripped off within a day or two of being shipped. I know this, my 5-year-old daughter did it. Yet, what was I told by OLPC "support" that it wasn't meant for unsupervised use. Um, they want to give it to kids who use GUNS??? I'm sure those kids would treat a laptop in the most pristine of manner.

    OLPC is selling flawed machines and denying it's actually doing a disservice to anyone who uses their units.

    IF/WHEN they ever fix this fatal design flaw, perhaps they would be worthwhile to sell/give away. Otherwise, in their current configuration, they're going to end up in landfill. No need to believe me, here is the forum responses regarding this godawful release:

    http://en.forum.laptop.org/viewtopic.php?f=1324&a