"It's specifically NOT computer labs."
How is it not a computer lab? A computer lab is simply a group of computers where groups of kids can work together or independently to apply their literacy and critical thinking skills or otherwise communicate on the web? Whether the group of computers is inside or outside doesn't matter?
"The insight is the mechanisms of Self Organizing Learning Environments. His practice is mostly in rural india and other rural areas around the world."
And what evidence shows the benefits of SOLE efforts outweighed potential adverse consequences of encouraging kids to congregate unsupervised 2 surf the web? He shows clips of impoverished illiterate kids playing with computers and learning to sign up for email and not much more? Has anyone seen the data or even what variables were included in analysis of findings and conclusions? That green chart in the video I cannot decipher what it says and he does not speak to it. Am not trying to be rhetorical, just really am confused as to how so much confidence is generated by outlandish claims which lack data. Or maybe the data is somewhere and if so I will appreciate links.
"He has a nuanced story about computers making marginal differences in good schools with good students and good teachers."
I absolutely believe this!!! This seems like a credible claim I would not be surprised to see data which supports the possibility that computers per se (versus how they are used by excellent teachers) are not likely to substantially impact student learning.
"Where they can make a significant difference is in rural areas or any areas where the teachers are not great."
Is the goal to find a place for more computers in the world? I understand he wants "computing environments for children that are powered by free energy and bandwidth.", however, will this priority make a dent in this problem "A recent survey in India (Annual Status of Education Report for Rural India 2005) shows that 51.9% of children aged 7-14 cannot read grade 2 texts and about 65.5% of these children cannot perform simple arithmetic operations."
"The paradox he is trying to resolve is that really good teachers will not go to really difficult environments in a sustainable way."
The paradox to me is trying to solve a massive illiteracy and innumeracy problem with computers!!! Recruiting great teachers everywhere may not be nearly as hard as many think.
I think we see a very similar dynamic with poor urban kids in arrival city formations in every part of the world.
To an extent, though not necessarily, and there are lots of exceptions. Many well trained and supported excellent teachers happily teach in some of the poorest urban communities. There are MANY lessons learned from the resilient schools out their beating the odds in the most impoverished communities. Sustainability lies with training and support in use of well validated sound efficient tools for both instruction (such as Souns) and assessment (such DIBELS or DIVAs) relative to agreed upon pivotal goals.
"He does NOT say anything about learning to read. He is looking at the post Literate condition not the pre Literate condition."
He does say something about reading. He states at the end of one video that the next step is to apply his approach of leaving kids to their own devices unsupervised with computers to learn how to read. And with respect to numeracy, he explicitly mocks the teaching and learning of math facts as menial. He says kids don't need to know their facts because they have computers. This is a dangerous assumption which is wreaking havoc in the lives of many kids, impoverished and middle class alike, and from what I see, is fueled by careless academics.
What is just as disturbing to me is audacity of a self described educational leader/guru posting an inflammatory public rant accessible to children which by pretty much any standard I think can be seen as inciting racism and hatred and bullying not to mention emotional confusion???
"That's why I see +Brenda Erickson work in addition to +Sean Grainger work to get to a whole system intervention."
I am not familiar with their work though am guessing it is interesting and important. Have checked out Sean's blog and lots seems super interesting and important there (particularly the serious biliteracy perspective:).
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