Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Ethiopian kids teach themselves via computers; Google's next big thing

(Oct 30, 2012, Silicon Republic)--In our trawl through some of the tech news from the weekend, we discover how an experiment whereby illiterate kids in Ethiopia are using tablet computers to teach themselves is bearing fruit; Google's next big thing in the world of predictive search; and Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer contrasts the new Surface tablet PC with rival tablet devices. 

Computers but no teachers – Ethiopian kids teach themselves
The MIT Technology Review reported how a bold experiment by the One Laptop Per Child organisation has shown “encouraging” results.

By simply dropping off tablet computers with preloaded programmes and seeing what happens the organisation endeavoured to see if illiterate kids with no previous exposure to written words can learn how to read all by themselves, by experimenting with the tablet and its preloaded alphabet-training games, e-books, movies, cartoons, paintings, and other programmes.

“After several months, the kids in both villages were still heavily engaged in using and recharging the machines, and had been observed reciting the ‘alphabet song,’ and even spelling words. One boy, exposed to literacy games with animal pictures, opened up a paint programme and wrote the word “Lion.”

“The experiment is being done in two isolated rural villages with about 20 first-grade-aged children each, about 80 kilometres (50 miles) from Addis Ababa. One village is called Wonchi, on the rim of a volcanic crater at 3,352 metres (11,000 feet); the other is called Wolonchete, in the Rift Valley. Children there had never previously seen printed materials, road signs, or even packaging that had words on them,” One Laptop Per Child founder Nicholas Negroponte said. Read more from Silicon Republic »

No comments:

Post a Comment