Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Technology Review: $100 Laptop Program's New President: "Charles Kane, OLPC's finance chief and a former software company executive, is stepping into the role of president and chief operating officer following last month's resignation of president Walter Bender. Bender had adamantly opposed efforts by the organization's founder, Nicholas Negroponte, to depart from a pure open-source-software approach and include a version of Microsoft's Windows XP operating system on the laptops."
One Laptop per Child Appoints Chuck Kane as President and Chief Operation Officer: "One Laptop per Child, a non-profit organization focused on providing educational tools to help children in developing countries “learn learning,” announced today the appointment of Charles (“Chuck”) Kane as President and Chief Operating Officer."
... "Before joining OLPC, Kane held a number of positions in which he oversaw mergers and acquisitions, negotiated deals, restructured organizations and directed financial operations."
Seeing No Progress, Some Schools Drop Laptops - New York Times:

" officials here and in several other places said laptops had been abused by students, did not fit into lesson plans, and showed little, if any, measurable effect on grades and test scores at a time of increased pressure to meet state standards. Districts have dropped laptop programs after resistance from teachers, logistical and technical problems, and escalating maintenance costs.

"Such disappointments are the latest example of how technology is often embraced by philanthropists and political leaders as a quick fix, only to leave teachers flummoxed about how best to integrate the new gadgets into curriculums. Last month, the United States Department of Education released a study showing no difference in academic achievement between students who used educational software programs for math and reading and those who did not."
Walter Bender summarizes a learning philosophy:
"I was very much influenced by Seymour Papert and his constructionist theories, which can be summarized in my mind very efficiently by two aphorism.
"One is that you learn through doing, so if you want more learning you want more doing.
"The second is that love is a better master than duty. You want people to engage in things that are authentic to them, things that they love.
"The first is more addressed by the Sugar technology [the OLPC operating system]; the second is more addressed by the culture around freedom."
Code culture > Sic Transit Gloria Laptopi:

After leaving One Laptop Per Child, Ivan Krstić calls for "... an Open Learning Foundation... Having a company that is device-agnostic and focuses entirely on the learning ecosystem, from deployment to content to Sugar [the OLPC operating system], is not only what I think is sorely needed to really take the one-to-one computer efforts to the next level, but also an approach that has a good chance of making the organization doing the work self-sustaining at some point."

"So here’s to open learning, to free software, to strength of personal conviction, and to having enough damn humility to remember that the goal is bringing learning to a billion children across the globe. The billion waiting for us to put our idiotic trifles aside, end our endless yapping, and get to it already."
One Laptop Per Child Foundation No Longer a Disruptive Force, Bender Fears; Q&A on His Plans for “Sugar” Interface | Xconomy: "Walter Bender, the former president of software and content for the One Laptop Per Child Foundation, says he left his post last week because of a growing split with founder Nicholas Negroponte over whether the foundation should continue in its gadfly role in the computing world."