“It’s not a laptop project. It’s an education project”: The discursive construction of the OLPC and the thorny issue of te...
Introduction<br />Ongoing research project.<br />Examine OLPC programme  in relation to the idea of technological determin...
The OLPC   XO-1<br />Educational netbook produced for the developing world.<br />High spec.<br />Super tough.<br />Very ch...
Theoretical background<br />Ideas of using the laptop in education is based upon Papert’sconstructionism (a derivative of ...
History and Numbers<br />Launched in 2005 at Davos with prototype at WSIS in Tunis.<br />Released in November ‘06.<br />As...
Distribution<br />Green = OLPC Deployments (5000+, saturation)Purple = OLPC PilotsBlue = Preparing for a pilot<br />Magent...
Technological determinism<br />One big criticism has been that the OLPC understands itself as a technology that will resul...
Why technological determinism is problematic if not ‘faulty’.<br />Technology not discreet – technology is part of culture...
Technological determinism examined<br />Current research is to examine the discourse of the OLPC so as to understand OLPC ...
Findings: A The narrative arc of the OLPC…<br />Why do we need the OLPC?<br />There are certain fixed, normative, foundati...
The OLPC story…<br />
Findings: B<br />Once these components and story are accepted they lead to a sophisticated two pronged argument.<br />
Findings B: Education of children as a goal in itself<br />Education of children as a goal in itself- it allows a ‘normal’...
Findings B: the instrumental purpose of education<br />Technology via Education will transform society.<br />Multipart acc...
Technological determinism<br />This is a slightly different interpretation of technological determinism to the usual direc...
Conclusion and  thoughts<br />OLPC understands itself in a ‘soft determinist’ sense.<br />No less problematic, determinism...
References<br />Chouliaraki, L., & Fairclough, N. (1999). Discourse in late modernity: rethinking critical discourse analy...
Upcoming SlideShare
Loading in …5
×

'It’s not a laptop project. it’s an education project': The discursive construction of the OLPC and the thorny issue of technological determinism.

1,430 views

Published on

This presentation looks at the OLPC and presents initial research findings on a discourse analysis of the idea of technological determinism in Negroponte's speeches.

Published in: Education
0 Comments
0 Likes
Statistics
Notes
  • Be the first to comment

  • Be the first to like this

No Downloads
Views
Total views
1,430
On SlideShare
0
From Embeds
0
Number of Embeds
3
Actions
Shares
0
Downloads
11
Comments
0
Likes
0
Embeds 0
No embeds

No notes for slide

'It’s not a laptop project. it’s an education project': The discursive construction of the OLPC and the thorny issue of technological determinism.

  1. 1. “It’s not a laptop project. It’s an education project”: The discursive construction of the OLPC and the thorny issue of technological determinism.<br />Dr Marcus Leaning<br />University of Winchester<br />
  2. 2. Introduction<br />Ongoing research project.<br />Examine OLPC programme in relation to the idea of technological determinacy.<br />Background to the OLPC;<br />Examine the technological determinist critique;<br />The discursive construction of the OLPC’s impact by Negroponte;<br />Theorise the model of technological determinacy.<br />
  3. 3. The OLPC XO-1<br />Educational netbook produced for the developing world.<br />High spec.<br />Super tough.<br />Very cheap about $100 off the shelf.<br />Goal was global saturation, to get one in the hands of every primary school aged child.<br />
  4. 4. Theoretical background<br />Ideas of using the laptop in education is based upon Papert’sconstructionism (a derivative of Piagetian informed constructivism). <br />We learn by building ‘things’.<br />Kay’s 1971 ‘Dynabook’ the educational computer.<br />Also healthy dose of e-book optimism.<br />
  5. 5. History and Numbers<br />Launched in 2005 at Davos with prototype at WSIS in Tunis.<br />Released in November ‘06.<br />As well as success, lots of problems: distribution; countries not committing in sufficient numbers; rivals; economic downturn.<br />OLPC claims over 1.8 million in the field as of August ‘10.<br />
  6. 6. Distribution<br />Green = OLPC Deployments (5000+, saturation)Purple = OLPC PilotsBlue = Preparing for a pilot<br />Magenta = Give One Get One<br />
  7. 7. Technological determinism<br />One big criticism has been that the OLPC understands itself as a technology that will result in a specific outcome - technological determinism.<br />While the OLPC seems to have no problem with this, the description is intended to be a pejorative one (James, 2010; Leaning, 2010; Winston, 2007).<br />Projects that regard themselves as TD are regarded as problematic.<br />
  8. 8. Why technological determinism is problematic if not ‘faulty’.<br />Technology not discreet – technology is part of culture, not ‘clean’.<br />Target environment is downplayed – TD ‘flattens difference’.<br />Unintended consequences – impact is not linear, technology is an ecosystem, one change impacts many areas.<br />
  9. 9. Technological determinism examined<br />Current research is to examine the discourse of the OLPC so as to understand OLPC foundation and Negroponte’s model of technological impact.<br />5 of Negroponte’s speeches and texts from:<br /> 2005, <br />2006, <br />2 x 2007, <br />2009 <br />at TED, IADB, Netevents, on Al Jazeera and in the Economist.<br />Used discourse analysis of:<br />Fairclough (2001a, 2001b, 2003); Chouliaraki and Fairclough (1999).<br />
  10. 10. Findings: A The narrative arc of the OLPC…<br />Why do we need the OLPC?<br />There are certain fixed, normative, foundational discursive moments – <br />Aspects of the world, certainties, things that don’t change.<br />But there are also ‘problems’ – villains, false friends.<br />Comparatively bad practices that can be improved.<br />Then there is the solution.<br />A way to improve the bad practices and lead to the goal of ‘education’ and a ‘better world’ – ‘no problem that can’t be fixed with education’.<br />The OLPC has a narrative arc.<br />
  11. 11. The OLPC story…<br />
  12. 12. Findings: B<br />Once these components and story are accepted they lead to a sophisticated two pronged argument.<br />
  13. 13. Findings B: Education of children as a goal in itself<br />Education of children as a goal in itself- it allows a ‘normal’ or even ‘natural’ state of affairs of education and individual development to resumed or facilitated.<br />Children will be facilitated by technology to pursue their natural inquisitiveness and achieve their teleological development.<br />
  14. 14. Findings B: the instrumental purpose of education<br />Technology via Education will transform society.<br />Multipart account of domino-transformation of societies. <br />Children can be ‘leveraged’ to achieve development.<br />
  15. 15. Technological determinism<br />This is a slightly different interpretation of technological determinism to the usual direct impact - `The hand mill gives you society with the feudal lord; the steam mill society with the industrial capitalist' (Marx, 1847).<br />Marx and Smith (1996) identify a continuum:<br />Power of Technology<br />Soft Determinism<br />Hard Determinism<br />Technology is ‘prime mover’ but causes change through ‘agents’. Technology has no direct impact unless embedded in social practices and is subject to negotiation and appropriation.<br />‘Machines make history by changing the material conditions of human existence. It is largely machines… that define what it is to live in a certain epoch.’ (Heilbroner, 1996:69).<br />
  16. 16. Conclusion and thoughts<br />OLPC understands itself in a ‘soft determinist’ sense.<br />No less problematic, determinism is but one means of understanding technology’s impact.<br />But does mean evaluation tools need to be more subtle if the validity of the project is to be measured.<br />But evaluation is a whole other very problematic issue…<br />
  17. 17. References<br />Chouliaraki, L., & Fairclough, N. (1999). Discourse in late modernity: rethinking critical discourse analysis: Edinburgh University Press.<br />Fairclough, N. (2001a). Critical Discourse Analysis as a Method in Social Scientific Research. In Wodak, Ruth & Meyer, Michael (Eds.), Methods of Critical Discourse Analysis, Sage. <br />Fairclough, N. (2001b). Language and power: Longman.<br />Fairclough, N. (2003). Analysing discourse: textual analysis for social research: Routledge.<br />James, J. (2010). New Technology in Developing Countries: A Critique of the One-Laptop-Per-Child Program. Social Science Computer Review, 28(3), 381-390.<br />Leaning, M. (2010). The One Laptop per Child Project and the Problems of Technology-led Educational Development. In I. R. Berson & M. J. Berson (Eds.), High-tech tots : childhood in a digital world. Information Age Publishers.<br />Marx, K. (1955) [1847] The Poverty of Philosophy, Progress Publishers.<br />Marx, L. & Smith, M, (1996). ‘Introduction’, in M. Smith & L. Marx,eds. Does Technology Drive History? The Dilemma of Technological Determinism, Massachusetts Institute of Technology.<br />Winston, B. (2007). Let Them Eat Laptops: The Limits of Technicism. International Journal of Communication, 1, 170-176.<br />

×