Revolutionizing schools with OLPC

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Revolutionizing schools with OLPC


This is a very interesting essay I stumbled upon at , here are a few citations I have
picked out:

"compulsory schooling on this continent was intended to be just what
it had been for Prussia in the 1820s: a fifth column into the
burgeoning democratic movement that threatened to give the peasants
and the proletarians a voice at the bargaining table."

"School didn't have to train kids in any direct sense to think they
should consume nonstop, because it did something even better: it
encouraged them not to think at all. And that left them sitting ducks
for another great invention of the modem era - marketing."

"Now, you needn't have studied marketing to know that there are two
groups of people who can always be convinced to consume more than they
need to: addicts and children. School has done a pretty good job of
turning our children into addicts, but it has done a spectacular job
of turning our children into children. Again, this is no accident.
Theorists from Plato to Rousseau to our own Dr. Inglis knew that if
children could be cloistered with other children, stripped of
responsibility and independence, encouraged to develop only the
trivializing emotions of greed, envy, jealousy, and fear, they would
grow older but never truly grow up."

"Now for the good news. Once you understand the logic behind modern
schooling, its tricks and traps are fairly easy to avoid. School
trains children to be employees and consumers; teach your own to be
leaders and adventurers. School trains children to obey reflexively;
teach your own to think critically and independently. Well-schooled
kids have a low threshold for boredom; help your own to develop an
inner life so that they'll never be bored. Urge them to take on the
serious material, the  grown-up material, in history, literature,
philosophy, music, art, economics, theology - all the stuff
schoolteachers know well enough to avoid. Challenge your kids with
plenty of solitude so that they can learn to enjoy their own company,
to conduct inner dialogues. Well-schooled people are conditioned to
dread being alone, and they seek constant companionship through the
TV, the computer, the cell phone, and through shallow friendships
quickly acquired and quickly abandoned. Your children should have a
more meaningful life, and they can."

"After a long life, and thirty years in the public school trenches,
I've concluded that genius is as common as dirt. We suppress our
genius only because we haven't yet figured out how to manage a
population of educated men and women. The solution, I think, is simple
and glorious. Let them manage themselves."

I think that the OLPC project has the opportunity to build
computerised systems, where each genuis student is put in a database,
and that the program enables the student to do meaningful things,
learn learning, conduct inner dialogues, gets a taste for arts.
Basically Children shoulden be dummed down, but they should get the
client laptop computer that gives them access to the managed
population of geniuses and genius works.

OLPC shouldn't just be a goal of bringing educational tools for the
developping world, the students with OLPCs shouldn't be just catching
up with western school kids educational level, the OLPC students
should way overtake the western schooling traditions, and it should
become a need for all western kids to have the tool.

Now I believe one of the best educational content is video, it should
be a mix of watching a creating video. So students can use
usb-webcams, and Google Video and Google Video Talk should be an
important part of the OLPC software pack.