Sandman by Brian Bolland
What happens if you give a thousand Motorola Zoom tablet PCs to Ethiopian kids who have never even seen a printed word? Within five months, they’ll start teaching themselves English while circumventing the security on your OS to customize settings and activate disabled hardware.
The One Laptop Per Child project started as a way of delivering technology and resources to schools in countries with little or no education infrastructure, using inexpensive computers to improve traditional curricula. What the OLPC Project has realized over the last five or six years, though, is that teaching kids stuff is really not that valuable. Yes, knowing all your state capitols how to spell “neighborhood” properly and whatnot isn’t a bad thing, but memorizing facts and procedures isn’t going to inspire kids to go out and learn by teaching themselves, which is the key to a good education. Instead, OLPC is trying to figure out a way to teach kids to learn, which is what this experiment is all about.
Rather than give out laptops (they’re actually Motorola Zoom tablets plus solar chargers running custom software) to kids in schools with teachers, the OLPC Project decided to try something completely different: it delivered some boxes of tablets to two villages in Ethiopia, taped shut, with no instructions whatsoever.
They just left the boxes there, sealed up, containing one tablet for every kid in each of the villages (nearly a thousand tablets in total), pre-loaded with a custom English-language operating system and SD cards with tracking software on them to record how the tablets were used. Here’s how it went down, as related by OLPC founder Nicholas Negroponte at MIT Technology Review’s EmTech conference last week:“We left the boxes in the village. Closed. Taped shut. No instruction, no human being. Within four minutes, one kid not only opened the box, but found the on/off switch. He’d never seen an on/off switch. He powered it up. Within five days, they were using 47 apps per child per day. Within two weeks, they were singing ABC songs [in English] in the village. And within five months, they had hacked Android. Some idiot in our organization or in the Media Lab had disabled the camera! And they figured out it had a camera, and they hacked Android.”
I’m kind of weirded out by the whole premise of “let’s give poor illiterate Ethiopians some tablets as a social experiment”, the outcome is pretty cool. Can we just share technology without the icky factor of rich white people treating it like a test tube?
I can kind of understand the logic, though. Here you have people [children] who have never had any formal education, especially in technology, and they’d been helping for a few years, so why not also find out about human intuition? Can’t really do that in the West because we’re all surrounded by computers and laptops and switches and stuff all the time.
Plus, like it said above, it was also about teaching them to learn on their own rather than just teaching them facts like the normal teaching model. Their best defense, I think, is that they’d been doing this for 5-6 years before trying this method out. In fact, I think I remember hearing about it when it started and was like “yaaay education errywhur”
so really, I’d call it a win/win. Seems like “their hearts were in the right place” as they say.
Plague doctors were individuals in the Middle Ages who were given the task of tending to people infected with the plague. In most cases, they were either second rate or under-trained physicians, incapable of maintaining their own practice. Many were not doctors at all, but people of various other employments paid by towns to cater to the sick.
Plague doctors were employed in various methods when ever plague set in. The earliest documentation of these individuals being hired go as far back as the mid 500s AD. The plague doctor image that we as a general public are familiar with was not seen until the 1600s. It was then that the “traditional” plague doctor costume was created. The costume consisted of a cloak made of heavy fabric covered in wax to protect the doctor’s body, and a mask to keep out the sick air. The masks had a long cone shaped structure at the nose, to be filled with scents that would protect the doctor from the bad air.
Because of the nature of their work, plague doctors often became victims of the plague themselves, or were quarantined for the protection of the public.
Kind of surprised Moffat hasn’t brought these to Who yet.
I still kind of have this minor obsession with the plague.
I will never not love Plague doctors and the Plague-era.
As long as anyone can remember, the coming of The Undertaker has meant the coming of death. Until one day the grim promise fails and tension builds as the God fearing townsfolk of Backwater wait for someone to die.
Click that little link and enjoy the short film.
this is eerie
this is how God plays shadow puppets
do people even live in canada