Valdemar Setzer Olpc Wcce

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  • 1. A CRITICAL VIEW OF THE "ONE LAPTOP PER CHILD" PROJECT Valdemar W. Setzer Dept. of Computer Science, IME-USP See FULL paper on my web site: www.ime.usp.br/~vwsetzer
  • 2. INDEX
    • 1. Survey
    • 2. Local arguments
    • 3. My thesis
    • 4. Recent statistical surveys
    • 5. Universal arguments
    • 6. Epilogue
  • 3. Is the human being a machine? Please answer YES or NO in the piece of paper 1. Survey
  • 4. INDEX
    •  1. Survey
    • 2. The OLPC project
    • 3. Local arguments
    • 4. My thesis
    • 5. Recent statistical surveys
    • 6. Universal arguments
    • 7. Epilogue
  • 5. 2. The OLPC project
    • Hardware only
      • Developing a cheap computer
        • For governments donating them to public school students
        • N.Negroponte has already convinced some governments (Uruguay, Portugal,
    • Planned: US$ 100; actual (XO): ~US$ 200
    • Original plan for Brazil: 1,000,000 machines
      • According to Veja , 5/16/07, one for each public school student: 30 million
  • 6. 2. The OLPC project (cont.)
    • There was no educational proposal
    • The only educational proposal (principle) is
      • Giving a computer to every child, s/he will automatically have a better education
  • 7. INDEX
    •  1 . Survey
    •  2. The OLPC project
    • 3. Local arguments
    • 4. My thesis
    • 5. Recent statistical surveys
    • 6. Universal arguments
    • 7. Epilogue
  • 8. 3. Local arguments
    • Corruption
    • Political advantages
      • Based upon ignorance and hype
    • Digital inclusion
      • Warschauer, Sc. American, Aug. 2003, pp. 34-39: Digital inclusion only works with uncultured people when computer rooms/kiosks have an instructor orienting users
  • 9. 3. Local arguments (cont.)
    • Other priorities (e.g. teachers earning miserable salaries, some of them illiterate or semi-illiterate, schools with soil ground or without restrooms, bad school administration, etc.)
    • Costs – a critical question in Brazil
  • 10. 3. Local arguments (cont.)
    • Not preparing teachers beforehand
    • Laptops will be broken, made dirty, stolen – a technology which requires culture being given to children and people without culture
  • 11. INDEX
    •  1. Survey
    •  2. The OLPC project
    •  3. Local arguments
    • 4. My thesis
    • 5. Recent statistical surveys
    • 6. Universal arguments
    • 7. Epilogue
  • 12. 4. MY THESIS
    • I am TOTALLY AGAINST the use of computers by children and adolescents, at least until high school
      • Ideally : after age 17
        • Unless in cases of physical incapacity (e.g. holding a pencil)
      • In high school: just CST ( Computer Skill Training)
  • 13. 4. MY THESIS (cont.)
    • The central question is the influence computers have upon any user
      • Mainly in her thinking
      • This influence is specially deleterious for children and adolescents
  • 14. 4. MY THESIS (cont.)
    • Computers are mathematical machines; any command given to them activates strictly mathematical functions for the logical manipulation of symbols.
      • User is forced to
        • employ a logical-symbolic, algorithmic type of thinking, which may be introduced into the computer (“machine-thinking”);
        • use a strictly formal language
    • Screen with images impairs imagination
  • 15. 4. MY THESIS (cont.)
    • Crucial question
      • What is the minimum age of a child or adolescent, so that this type of thinking and mental state does not hinder the healthy development of a child or adolescent?
  • 16. 4. MY THESIS (cont.)
    • Using concepts of individual development of Waldorf Education (successful since 1919 – see www.sab.org.br), plus my own studies and observations, I concluded 17 as the minimum age
      • Mental maturity (capacity for abstraction and formalization, such as theorem proving – this would indicate age  15)
        • Up to age 15: children and adolescents just want playing with computers
      • Requires enormous self-control (indicates age  17).
        • Mainly the Internet, because it presents a libertarian education
  • 17. 4. MY THESIS (cont.)
    • Recent studies confirm what I have been writing since 1976
  • 18. INDEX
    •  1. Survey
    •  2. The OLPC project
    •  3. Local arguments
    •  4. My thesis
    • 5. Statistical research
    • 6. Universal arguments
    • 7. Epilogue
  • 19. 5. STATISTICAL RESEARCH
    • Angrist (MIT) and Lavy (9/2001)
      • Analyzed the “Tomorrow 98” project of mass installation of computers in schools in Israel
        • Goal: 10 students/computer in 1998
      • Analysis: 200 schools; mathematics and Hebrew tests
      • Results
        • “ There is no evidence that increased educational use of computers actually raised pupil test scores.”
        • “ ... negative effect on 8th grade math scores...”
        • “ ... (marginally) statistically significant decline in test scores in 4th grade classes...”
  • 20. 5. STATISTICAL RESEARCH (cont.)
    • Fuchs and Woesmann (11/2004), Univ. Munich
      • Used PISA 2000 (international tests) with 174.000 students of age 15
      • Call the attention to the fact that computer availaility is associated to the availability of other educational resources (problem with bivariate analyses – in general, produce positive results)
      • With multivariate analyses showed that
        • “ ... correlation becomes small and statistically undistinguished from zero once other school characteristics are held constant.”
  • 21. 5. STATISTICAL RESEARCH (cont.)
      • “ ... Students who use computers at school several times a week perform sizably and statistically worse in both math and reading.”
      • “ ... there is also a negative relationship between home computer availability and student achievement, ...”
      • “ Having a computer at home and using it at school will almost certainly raise some computer skills. What our results suggest is only that this may come at the expense of other skills . However, Borghans and ter Weel (2004) show that these other (math and writing) skills are the ones that yield significant labor-market returns, not the computer skills.”
  • 22. 5. STATISTICAL RESEARCH (cont.)
      • Clotfelter, Ladd and Vigdor (Duke Univ.), 2008 ~1,000,000 5 th and 8 th grade students, 2000-2005
        • “ Our preferred specifications indicate that 5th through 8th grade students generally perform best on math and reading tests when they do not have access to a computer at home . Conditional on owning a computer, the ‘optimal’ rate of use is infrequent, twice a month or less.”
        • “ For school administrators interested in maximizing achievement test scores, or reducing racial and socioeconomic disparities in test scores, all evidence suggests that a program of broadening home computer access would be counterproductive .”
  • 23. 5. STATISTICAL RESEARCH (cont.)
    • 3 local studies (analyzing SAEB – 287,719 students)
      • Naércio Menezes Fo. (USP/Ibmec), 2008
        • “ Comparing students of equal social-economical status and same environment, the average in mathematics in public or private schools where students have access to computers does not differ significantly from children in schools without computers or Internet.”
      • Maresa Sprietsma (European Center for Economical Research, Mannheim), 2005
        • “ ... the presence of computers in Brazilian schools negatively affects the students’ performance in Portuguese and, mainly, in Mathematics. ”
  • 24. 5. STATISTICAL RESEARCH (cont.)
    • 3 local studies
      • Dwyer, Wainer et al. (UNICAMP), 2007
        • “ The first result is that students who always use a computer, independently of the social-economic class, obtained worse performance than those who never use a computer. … For both subjects [Math and Portuguese] using a computer is always associated to a worse result in the tests, comparing to the group that never uses a computer. ”
  • 25. ÍNDICE
    •  1. Survey
    •  2. The OLPC project
    •  3. Local arguments
    •  4. My thesis
    •  5. Recent statistical surveys
    • 6. Universal arguments
    • 7. Epilogue
  • 26. 6. UNIVERSAL ARGUMENTS
      • There is ABSOLUTELY no need for early learning to use a computer (“computer literacy”)
        • It’s very easy learning how to use it
        • How many present adults learned it while they were children? (probably no one aged over 40)
      • Computers are highly detrimental for children and adolescents
        • Unduly accelerates intellectual development
          • “ Mental infant walker”
        • Hinders imagination and thus creativity
        • Hinders sociability
  • 27. 6. UNIVERSAL ARGUMENTS (cont.)
      • Computers are highly detrimental for children and adolescents (cont.)
        • Learning without context
        • Induces lack of discipline (of the worst kind: mental)
        • Induces tendency of doing many different things simultaneously
          • Fragments thinking
          • Hinders mental concentration
          • Induces tendency of doing everything rapidly
        • Only what looks like video games is interesting
          • Transforms learning into a play
  • 28. 6. UNIVERSAL ARGUMENTS (cont.)
      • Computers are highly detrimental for children and adolescents (cont.)
        • Corrupts language (it tends to be synthetic, abbreviated – it is no coincidence that programmers have always abbreviated variable names!)
          • Impairs clear thinking (who is not able to write in a clear way, cannot express himself clearly and vice-versa – there is a high correlation between intellectual level and language tests)
        • Alienates from reality
          • Teaching is highly contextual
        • Transforms learning into a video game
  • 29. 6. UNIVERSAL ARGUMENTS (cont.)
      • From the web site “One laptop per child”, http://www.laptop.org (July 24, 2009):
        • “ A computer uniquely fosters learning learning by allowing children to ‘ think about thinking ’, in ways that are otherwise impossible. Using the XO as both their window on the world, as well as a highly programmable tool for exploring it, children in emerging nations will be opened to both illimitable knowledge and to their own creative and problem-solving potential. ”
          • Absolutely wrong! “ Window ” should be to the real world and imagination, and not to a virtual world!
          • Children should not think in abstract and formal ways (‘ programmable tool ”) – they would not be children anymore!
          • Children should not “ think about thinking ” – their thinking should be intuitive and not self-conscious
          • Children should not learn how to consciously learn , which would be correct for adults
          • Children should explore the real world and not virtual ones
  • 30. 6. UNIVERSAL ARGUMENTS (cont.)
      • Computers are highly detrimental for children and adolescents (cont.)
        • The Internet is EXTREMELY DANGEROUS for children and adolescents
          • They are naïve
            • Reveal personal data
            • Fix encounters with unknown people
          • They don’t have the maturity to choose between
            • Good and bad
            • Beautiful and ugly
            • True and false
            • Appropriate or inappropriate for their maturity and culture
  • 31. 6. UNIVERSAL ARGUMENTS (cont.)
      • Computers are highly detrimental for children and adolescents (cont.)
        • Worst influence: view of the world
          • There has never been such a strong metaphor for the induction of the view that humans are machines
            • Wrong! Every machine was designed and built; humans were not
            • I am radical in this respect: there is nothing purely mechanical in living beings
          • Mainly with children and adolescents!
            • Every child has an innate religiosity
  • 32. 6. UNIVERSAL ARGUMENTS (cont.)
      • Humans as machines eliminates
        • Feelings, compassion (see on my web site the paper “A.I. - Artificial Intelligence or Automated Imbecility? Can machines think and feel?”)
        • Freedom, free will
        • Responsibility
        • Compassion, unselfish love
        • Individuality
        • Dignity, respect, veneration
        • Will lead to (has already lead to?) purely rational thoughts , desensitization ( lack of feelings) and bestial actions
          • What are we seeing everywhere?
          • INCREASING INDIVIDUAL AND SOCIAL MISERIES (psychological and psychic)
          • DESTRUCTION OF NATURE (lack of respect towards it)
  • 33. ÍNDICE
    •  1. Survey
    •  2. The OLPC project
    •  3. Local arguments
    •  4. My thesis
    •  5. Recent statistical surveys
    •  6. Universal arguments
    • 7. Epilogue
  • 34.
    • “ The problem is not the world we will leave for our children, but the children we will leave for the world.”
    • Federico Mayor, former UNESCO director
    • HOW TO EDUCATE OUR CHILDREN TO IMPROVE OUR WORLD???
    7. EPILOGUE
  • 35.
    • Let children be childish - don't allow them access to TV, video games and computers/Internet! (VWS)
    • The school of the future has to be more HUMANE, and not more TECHNOLOGICAL
    • Machines should give us freedom; instead, they are imprisoning us (see my paper “The mission of technology”)
    7. EPILOGUE (cont.)
  • 36.
    • What students need is
    • A nice, artistic place to learn
    • More experience with reality, abstraction only in correct measure and at right age
    • Artistic and handicraft activities
    • Social activities/cooperative games
    • Enthusiasm, human warmth and individual understanding from teachers
    • THEY DON’T NEED COMPUTERS, ON THE CONTRARY, THE LATTER ARE DETRIMENTAL!
    7. EPILOGUE (cont.)
  • 37. ÍNDEX
    •  1. Survey
    •  2. The OLPC project
    •  3. Local arguments
    •  4. My thesis
    •  5. Recent statistical surveys
    •  6. Universal arguments
    •  7. Epilogue
  • 38. THE END A CRITICAL VIEW OF THE "ONE LAPTOP PER CHILD" PROJECT Valdemar W. Setzer Dept. of Computer Science, IME-USP See FULL paper on my web site: www.ime.usp.br/~vwsetzer