Oh Technology you…

In 2005, a non-profit organization called One Laptop per Child was created with the goal of sending technology oversees to promote literacy and learning.   And recently, the results of a lot of their good work have been published, and the findings shocked me!  Here’s the breakdown of what happened:

Earlier this year, two Motorola Xoom Tablets were sent in unmarked boxes, with no instructions on how to use the device, to two villages about 50 miles from Addis Ababa, the capital of Ethiopia.  One village is called Wonchi and the other is called Wolonchete.  Children there are completely illiterate, having never seen printed materials, road signs of even packaging that had words on it, according to John Negroponte, an American diplomat.  Many had doubts about the experiment, being whether or not technology can bring about literacy and thus learning, but the results were startling.  Negroponte recounts the results, saying , “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…Some idiot in our organization or in the Media Lab had disabled the camera, and they figured out the camera, and had hacked Android.”[1]

These findings are unbelievable in my mind.  Because for the first time in the history of the world, a small, $300 device can bring literacy without the need for a teacher, supervisor, or higher authority.  This channel of information can provide people with the most amazing ability of reading, and the further one’s ability to use language in an everyday context.  With all the talk about literacy in class recently, I thought this article would be really interesting.  Hope to get some comments!




[1] Talbot, David. “Saving Wikipedia From Itself.” MIT Technology Review. N.p., 12 Oct. 2012. Web. 25 Oct. 2013

One thought on “Oh Technology you…

  1. A couple weeks ago after class, Aaron mentioned this blog post to me when I told him that my research paper was going to discuss how technology affects literacy. Now that I’ve done some research on my topic, I find this article so refreshing. I feel like in our class discussions about technology and, even more so, in my class on social media, I am constantly reminded of all the negative affects technology has on our society. Furthermore, my research on the changes technology has enacted on reading and writing processes seems to be almost entirely negative feedback. I’m so glad to hear about a positive aspect of technology. I think that, as a society, we abuse the technologies afforded to us and forget how unbelievably useful they are (or could be) to countries where information is not readily accessible or maybe even hidden. This is so encouraging!

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