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Monday, November 12, 2007

Arming Kids with Laptops...works


In an effort to eliminate the "digital divide" between wealthy and poor students, Maine public schools in 2002 and 2003 distributed 36,000 laptops to seventh- and eighth-graders across the state.

Many critics wondered if this was just technology in search of a problem or if the kids would actually benefit from the use of technology. Some of the results are in and...they look good for the advocates of giving every child a laptop.

The article explains that student writing scores have improved on standardized tests since laptop computers were distributed and that the students' writing skills improved even when they were using pen and paper (how quaint), not just a computer keyboard.

Check out the article School laptop program begets writing gains for more details. So the issuing of technology to students helps with learning...imagine that.

In a related move, Electronic Arts announced plans to donate the original version of the SimCity computer game to the One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) project.

The article quotes Don Hopkins, the man responsible for the original multiplayer Unix port of the SimCity game as saying:
"The goal is to enable the open-source community to renovate SimCity and take it in new educational directions, by applying Seymour Papert's ideas about constructionist education, Alan Kay's ideas about interactive user interfaces and object-oriented programming, Ben Shneiderman's ideas about direct manipulation and info visualization, and many exciting ideas about multiplayer games, blogging, storytelling, game mods, player created content, and lessons learned from World of WarCraft, The Sims, Spore, etc,"
All the Web 2.0 ideas and the usage of video games to teach...what an exciting prospect.

Imagine the possiblities and interest that will be generated by allowing thousands of young minds to explore the possiblities of expanding and enriching the game through their innovative ideas and concepts. Technology providing the opportunity for growth not possible with other means.


Check out the entire article Games that can educate: SimCity donated to OLPC project.

With this focus on making technology available to everyone, educators, trainers and academics need to seriously consider the best methods of deploying these technology so they are relevant and exciting to the upcoming generation of gamers.
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1 comment:

rosburne@cwa9415.org said...

Getting laptops to the kids is a great start, but we also need to make sure they have high speed internet access at home as well as at school. Being able to participate in live on-line study groups is just one example how this technology could be used for education.

The Communications Workers Of America are working on this with their Speed Matters campaign. Check out the website for more information at www.speedmatters.org