We’ll never thank Chintan Vaishnav enough for arranging our visit to the MIT Media Lab and OLPC Foundation, impressive places where to work (or study, of course: actually, a place to learn, either official role you get there with), really interdisciplinary.
MIT Media Lab
We there were presented a couple of very interesting projects:
Jay Silver kindly introduced us to the rudiments of Scratch and how to get started on this tool. Actually, I still wonder whether it is a game, a multimedia design and production tool, an educational technology, a collaborative web 2.0 networking social software or all of them.
It then was turn for Leo Burd’s thesis Technological Initiatives for Social Empowerment: Design Experiments in Technology-Supported Youth Participation and Local Civic Engagement, most commonly known as What’s Up.
The project joins best of both worlds in VoIP, mobile telephony and social software for community building. The idea is that while the Web is quite spread, in most developing countries the ICT revolution is clearly led by mobile phones. Thus, What’s Up presents the usual community site but empowered with VoIP and all kinds of mobile enhanced features, just like SMS posted text and vodcasts.
One Laptop per Child Foundation
XO Laptop (AKA “OLPC” Laptop)
A year and a half ago I wrote Negroponte and the Web 2.0 or the Four Classes of the Digital Divide to state that Nicholas Negroponte’s effort to bridge the digital divide will be worthless if digital literacy and provision of content and services did not accompany the infrastructures revolution and diffusion. Having Samuel Klein as spokesman or PR representative makes a tacit statement on what the One Laptop per Child Project is about: it is not about delivering laptops to children, is about opening them the gates of content, which is the real issue.
As he himself explained, every activity has comunity around it, being the goal to build education networks, an example of it the installation of Moodle for some community projects, being the management and coordination of this free software LMS done by the same educational institutions that provide wireless connectivity to the laptops.
The commitment with content can be on the other hand exemplified with the Summer of Content 2007 initiative to provide content to be packeted with the XO laptop.
- MIT: Media Lab, Stata Center, Press, by Daithí Mac Síthigh
- MIT: One Laptop Per Child, by Daisy Pignetti
- ‘$100 laptop’ production begins
SDP 2007 related posts (2007)
If you need to cite this article in a formal way (i.e. for bibliographical purposes) I dare suggest:
Peña-López, I. (2007) “OII SDP 2007 (Break): Visit to the MIT Media Lab and One Laptop per Child Foundation” In ICTlogy,
#46, July 2007. Barcelona: ICTlogy.
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