Wednesday, May 21, 2008

A Totally New Concept for Learning Devices

The book.

That's the latest “totally new concept for learning devices” from Nicholas Negroponte.

To be fair, it's not just a book. It's a battery-powered book. That is new indeed, because a regular book won't stop working in broad daylight, but an OLPC XO2 can.

The OLPC Kool-Aid-addled salesmen continue to trot out the fuzzy math concept that developing countries spend USD 20/year per student on textbooks. I've heard this before from their staff and demanded documentation, and none was forthcoming. I'm not asking just for the sake of it; I'm asking because I absolutely, totally refuse believe that number, for more reasons than I can count.

Notice that Negroponte no longer mentions India in his list of developing countries (besides, there's no room for two `I's in his BRIC...), now that the country wisely turfed his snake-oil out.


Anonymous said...

A nice little read is "Leaving Microsoft to Change the World," by a Microsoft guy, John Wood, who started an organization to help schools in third world countries. How did he help? Mainly by donating thousands and thousands of used books.

Not as cool as mesh networking, new display technologies, new user interface paradigms, and press conferences with Kofi Annan, but a pretty darn good ROI. Sadly it's the OLPC crowd that gets all the press and not Wood.

Shriram Krishnamurthi said...

You're right. I remember reading about this some while ago and thinking it seemed intriguing. So here's the link.