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Posted by on Nov 1, 2012 in Technology |

Tablets without teachers for children in Ethiopia show themselves learning

Tablets without teachers for children in Ethiopia show themselves learning

Ever we have told the project One Laptop Per Child , an idea that aims to bring current technology to children who do not have access to education in the world. One of the actions carried out took place in two villages in Ethiopia with incredible results. The proposal: let a set of tablets with preloaded software and see what happened .

The aim was to see if children, all illiterate and without prior exposure to written words, could learn to read for themselves, by experimenting with the tablet and the preloaded software including the alphabet games, ebooks, movies, to draw …

The first results have been more encouraging as told the conference at MIT last week Nicholas Negroponte, founder of OLPC. Devices that were given to the children were carrying tablets Motorola Xoom built solar charging system that workers had been trained to use OLPC adults of the villages.

Then once a week we passed a project worker to observe the progress that had youth and use that had been given to the tablets. After several months, the children of both towns had adopted the use and recharging machines, they also knew recite the “Alphabet Song” and even spell words. One of the children exposed to literacy games with pictures of animals came to open a paint program and write the word “lion”.

An experiment was conducted in two rural villages with 20 children in each village. None had been previously printed materials. So the incredible development Negroponte had lived in the villages:

Our workers left closed boxes containing tablets, closed, without any instruction. At first the children were playing with the boxes. After four minutes, a child not only opened the box, but found the switch on and off … coming on. After five days, they were using 47 applications per day per child. After two weeks, singing alphabet songs in the village, and after five months, had hacked the Android operating system. Someone in our organization or the Media Lab had disabled the camera inadvertently discovered them and fitted out, had hacked Android.

During the conference it was her turn to speak to Ed McNierney, OLPC chief technology officer, who explained some of the “hack”:

The children had gained access to desktop settings. The boys had completely customized desktop, so that each tablet of each child looked different. We had installed software to prevent so. The way we worked around it was clearly the creative type, the type of research, the kind of discovery that we believe is essential to learning. If they can learn to read, they can read to learn.

Promising results which still need new similar projects for finding that children can learn to read this way. Negroponte conference ended with a question to the community:

What can we do with 100 million children worldwide do not attend school? Maybe offer them the tools to read and learn, without having to provide schools, teachers or textbooks.

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