In this blog post, we will discuss some interesting things about a topic which appeared recently in mashable. I wanted to publish this topic on Nov 14th because it is when India celebrates it's Children's Day and there is no better topic to address than this !!
From the day, I heard about the OLPC (One Laptop Per Child) program about 4 years ago, I was really inspired by the ideas conceived by the people there at OLPC. When I started tracking on the project updates, I began questioning myself, "Is this the right way to go about in this research?".
I truly appreciate the concept of providing laptops/tablets to the children and make them learn on their own. I am aware that the children are more curious and have the capability to learn more on their own. But I really feel that the OLPC program helpers should organize monthly meetings so that children can come show their skill-set with using their tablets. In this way, we can track the progress of individual students. If there had been some form of help given to the students, instead of taking 5 months to start learning English, they could have started off in 3 months. What we need to do it to nurture the curiosity and questioning in the children. The tablet is an aid for the students to learn. Instead of spending more time trying to figure out the device, the students can start inquiring the various 'apps' installed in the device. We need to design those apps in such a way that they kindle the interest for learning among the children.
As for the STARS Haiti group, we can arrange meetings between the children and volunteers once in every two months. Sit with them and check how they have evolved in using the tablets on their own and give them any future tasks which will encompass all the self-learning which we expect but also provide them with a goal to achieve. I am strongly in for some supervised efforts from the volunteers/OLPC members because I feel that "There is a difference between teaching children everything and helping them learn things on their own".
What the children are missing here is the little help from us which when given at proper rate can help them transform into responsible and learned citizens of the world. They can then take care of all the third-world problems like safe drinking water, healthcare facilities etc on their own and also help their society overcome them.