Last week I wrote about 2 different programmes. I explained that one demonstrated the benefits of introducing technology into the classrooms of developing countries whilst I explained that the other was an example of how the introduction of ICT was not beneficial in the slightest.
I mentioned that a programme called the ‘one laptop per child’ programme that was used in Peru in order to introduce the use of computers and technology to young children in the classrooms. The programme was arranged by the Ministry of Education in which each child was provided with a brand new shiny computer. They were provided with the intention of improving ICT and content-related skills of children across the country however due to poor teachers training and other various factors such as out of date software, researchers found that the computers were not used and served minimal purpose in the classrooms of Peru.
When reading about this programme I did find that it has attracted many criticisms especially in regards to it’s impact on Peru, however I must admit that I was taken by surprise of it’s success in other countries. Critics argued that money should be spent on more ‘practical’ things such as clean water and medicine. I must say that I completely agreed with this until I heard of the impact it had on children in other countries. The OLPC’s mission is to empower the world’s poorest children through education and I have learned that the program has been introduced in countless countries other than Peru, including America, Afghanistan, India and Kenya.
An example of the beneficial impact that the OLPC programme has had is evident in the schools of Afghanistan. An intensive empirical analysis on test performance of pupils in the country before and after the introduction of the OLPC program demonstrated that there was an average improvement of 21.33% across all students in standardised tests in a period of only two months. The study confirmed that there was a significant improvement in childhood education as a result of the introduction of the computers (Hirji, 2010). These statistics suggests that when used properly, the programme has the capability to provide several beneficial factors to both pupils and teachers and goes against the criticisms that were associated with the impact of the programme in Peru.
Literature suggests that although the introduction of the OLPC programme is relatively recent therefore there has been a limited amount of time to conduct any longitudinal assessments on it’s impact on children, the findings from existing evaluations are largely positive in nature (Nugroho & Lonsdale, 2010).
For more information on this program, please visit:
Hirji, Z. (2010). One Laptop per Child Projects. One Laptop per Child Foundation Learning Group. 7. Retrieved from http://wiki.laptop.org/images/e/e7/OLPCF_M%26E_Publication_(1).pdf on March 2013
Nugroho, D., Lonsdae, M. (2010). Evaluation of OLPC programs globally: a literature review. Australian council for Educational Research. 4, 2-23.