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I have been an elementary and secondary school teacher and administrator. Currently, I am a faculty member in the Faculty of Education at Wilfrid Laurier University, Waterloo, Ontario, Canada. My M.Ed. and Ph.D. had a focus on the educational and linguistic experiences of children who moved from other countries to Canada.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

$20 tablet computers

I've posted a number of articles dealing with the "one laptop per child" phenomenon. Here is a recent one on the new $20 tablets developed for children in India (but with ramifications for children everywhere):

India's $20 tablets

Peru's massive and expensive experiment with laptops for children was a failure in many regards, primarily because of the lack of training and support which went along with the project (see this article: Forbes - Peru's failed laptop project). Certainly, children will explore and utilize these user-friendly devices with or without teacher support (see this article: Technology Review - Ethiopian children use tablets without teacher support). However, to really be used effectively to access and build knowledge and skills within school systems, teachers need to receive training so they can use the devices to their maximum potential.

The early results from the pilot project I have run in Haiti (Digital Mentoring Project) has indicated the same: portable devices facilitate knowledge-sharing and the creation of professional learning communities, but they are not used to their full potential when the training for, and "buy in" from, those using them is limited.

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