The Kenya government has made a pledge. The one laptop per child pledge by this government could provide the radical transformation needed to broaden access and equity, make our education child-centered and improve learning outcomes. This pledge is not new in the world or this region of East Africa. If you have read this blog before then you have heard of the OLPC organization.
Four years ago, with the help of friends of OLPC we in Eshibinga village got acess to five xo laptops to be used by kids at a local primary school. This is what we have seen so far.
- A laptop can take the child beyond mindless, unthinking learning.
- A laptop can enable the child to actively engage in a process of learning through doing.
- A laptop can encourage self-directed learning and peer-to-peer learning, where children also learn by actively assisting other learners.
When laptops arrived at Eshibinga primary school and were introduced, attendance surged. I have over 20 students whom I can parade to the world to prove that use of laptops in the classroom helped rural, 10 year old Kenyan children write more, faster and better.
When Sandra visited the village to see what we were doing you could Imagine the burst of creativity Eshibinga primary kids had with an xo laptop with a built-in functionality for still and video photography, voice recording, and game playing can unlock in a child. What our children lack is not capability, but opportunity and resources.
When a child has a laptop, they have in their hands the key to active co-creation. Socio-economic barriers are annihilated because they can access high-quality learning resources, engage their passions and develop their expertise.
What I am saying is, Kenyans do not need to fear the arrival of laptops in class. It has been tested elsewhere and proven. Let us accept change.