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by Kentaro Toyama
A well-meaning but arid argument, by a former Microsoft executive and current MIT fellow, against the presumed Trojan horses of technology.
Issuing an affordable laptop to every school kid will save the developing world, right? Well, probably not ... The argument Toyama advances contains or at least implies such straw men, for of course there are many other considerations: are skilled teachers available? Is learning valued at home? Will the girls of the village be allowed to learn how to work a spreadsheet, or will they be forbidden from doing so because, as Toyama cites in one case, such knowledge will drive up their dowry prices? Throwing technology at problems that are fundamentally social and cultural in nature, argues the author, will likely prove ineffectual ... Meaningful education and social development are both expensive and require plenty of follow-up, something that one-laptop schemes underemphasize.
A white paper largely of interest to education theorists and aid specialists.
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