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SXSW slides, CSCW paper, and more - Accretions

Fata Morgana
2011-04-07 18:21
SXSW slides, CSCW paper, and more
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Last month I gave a 12-minute talk at SXSW about One Laptop Per Child as part of a Future 15 panel. The crib of that talk (with picture-heavy slides) is now available on my website at http://research.morganya.org/ames-sxsw-futures15-olpc.pdf. I'd love to hear your thoughts about it. It's a pretty short read, and for those of you who have been following my dissertation work, it will sound familiar.

Immediately following SXSW I flew to CSCW in Hangzhou, China to present the work I did with Janet Go at Nokia Research -- how family technology choices are influenced by socioeconomic status. The full paper is available for download at http://research.morganya.org/ames-cscw11-class.pdf.

I'll be defending my dissertation *proposal* this May (not the whole dissertation, though! that comes next year), and in early June I will be attending the CSST (Consortium for the Science of Socio-Technical systems) 2011 Summer Institute in Florida. More updates soon!
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Olego
olego
2011-04-08 02:30 (UTC)
(no subject)
I like your slides--sounds like you gave a really controversial presentation. Would have been fun to watch! ^_^
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Lisa E.
lunacow
2011-04-08 07:18 (UTC)
(no subject)
Great slides. What kind of response did you get?
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Fata Morgana
chimerically
2011-04-08 08:35 (UTC)
(no subject)
I actually saw a lot of nodding along in the audience, and everyone who talked to me afterward was open to the ideas. I'd bet that there were some who weren't, but none of them have talked to me about it, so it's hard to say how many or what their specific responses were.
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Lisa E.
lunacow
2011-04-08 20:54 (UTC)
(no subject)
Your evidence, even in the general terms presented in the slides, seems pretty compelling, so I'm not surprised you had a positive reaction to what you were saying. I'm sure there are people who will say "no, this program works the way it's supposed to!", but few of them have seen the laptops in action the way you have, so you're coming from a much more informed opinion (whether detractors will admit it or not).
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fanlain
fanlain
2011-04-10 05:05 (UTC)
(no subject)
out of curiosity, the 2% of kids that were doing interesting things - did you ask those children what their parents did for a living? or something softer like what got you interested in this? to understand the source of their initial interest or how they handled the learning process to do those interesting things (with or without support)

i don't know if there's anything historically like this that you could draw analogies to. i remember Apple having computers for a day in our elementary school classroom - not sure if it was a project geared toward those living at the poverty line? - but it would have been in the 1980s. i remember they had the computer and they showed us games like the apple that races across the screen and you have to click the open apple or the closed apple. they showed us LOGO program and taught us basic commands. i mixed commands and gave up following the lesson to do my own thing i remember that. and the next day, i was excited to get to school only to find out that the computers were no longer there. i don't know if there's more information on what apple was doing and if there's any possible correlations between whatever program they were doing and OLPC but it did seem like they were using desktops and interested in children's reactions to them but doing it the way that Paraguay Educa was - with classroom guidance which does seem to make sense to me. maybe in that setting, for the 2% that seems to be catching on quickly they could have more like a gifted class type model.

my other thought is - are games (with limited screen time) really that bad for kids? couldn't it be a gateway to develop interest in computers and expand from there to teaching programming concepts by explaining how a game is made? kids use things with what interests them. it might not be programming, but that doesn't make it a complete waste of time either. i think it means it's just a door that can be opened for further education. it might be easier to teach programming by essentially deconstructing a game they enjoy - to start with their interest first. something more concrete, literal that they can relate to over self-exploration. which goes right back to the idea of maybe this is the way most children learn. the self-learning seems closer to the montessori method...not sure what the success rate is of that style for kids who aren't self-directed.
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fanlain
fanlain
2011-04-10 05:23 (UTC)
(no subject)
i don't know if ours was part of the ACOT project (more info here) or something else...or why we had computers in the classroom that day. they were clearly trying to see how we related to them.
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Fata Morgana
chimerically
2011-04-10 07:07 (UTC)
(no subject)
Yep, I interviewed all of their parents, and they were all very supportive of education (they did a range of things themselves). I also used Turtle Art/Logo in elementary school, actually! It was a once-a-week sort of thing. Some of those programs were indeed antecedents to OLPC.

Games aren't necessarily bad, but it's funny how we set up a double-standard regarding them depending on which kids we're talking about. If it's in the US, games are villainized. If it's elsewhere, it's lauded as time with technology. But really, what kids are doing in each case isn't all that different. Part of my dissertation will be deconstructing the category of "games" to talk about how diverse an area it really is.

The results from Montessori are mixed -- in the long term, I've read it doesn't make much difference, though for some kids it helps in the first few years of elementary school. But the schools are expensive enough that there's a strong selection effect already (parents who are willing and able to put time into education at home are also more likely to be willing and able to pay for Montessori).
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