Author Topic: Ethiopian kids teach themselves English, hack OLPCs in 5 months  (Read 1131 times)

Lord Cataplanga

  • Outlandish
  • ***
  • Posts: 2315
  • Saint Fiasco
    • View Profile
Ethiopian kids teach themselves English, hack OLPCs in 5 months
« on: November 01, 2012, 03:43:38 am »
The experiment:

Closed boxes with Motorola Xoom tablets with solar chargers and custom software were left in two isolated villages in Ethiopia. Some adults were taught how to recharge the batteries and nothing else. They didn't have instruction manuals or anything (very few people at the village knew how to read anyway). The devices had special software that tracked how they were used.


The result:

“I thought the kids would play with the boxes. Within four minutes, one kid not only opened the box, found the on-off switch … powered it up. Within five days, they were using 47 apps per child, per day. Within two weeks, they were singing ABC songs in the village, and within five months, they had hacked Android,” Negroponte said. “Some idiot in our organization or in the Media Lab had disabled the camera, and they figured out the camera, and had hacked Android.”

Elaborating later on Negroponte’s hacking comment, Ed McNierney, OLPC’s chief technology officer, said that the kids had gotten around OLPC’s effort to freeze desktop settings. “The kids had completely customized the desktop—so every kids’ tablet looked different.  We had installed software to prevent them from doing that,” McNierney said. “And the fact they worked around it was clearly the kind of creativity, the kind of inquiry, the kind of discovery that we think is essential to learning.”

This experiment began earlier this year, and what OLPC really want to see is whether these kids can learn to read and write in English. Around the world, there are something like 100,000,000 kids who don't even make it to first grade, simply because there are not only no schools, but very few literate adults, and if it turns out that for the cost of a tablet all of these kids can simply teach themselves, it has huge implications for education. And it goes beyond the kids, too, since previous OLPC studies have shown that kids will use their computers to teach their parents to read and write as well, which is incredibly amazing and awesome.

I've been told that one of the reasons OLPC isn't implemented in the schools in my area is not that the laptops are expensive or anything, but that the teachers don't want to learn how to use them. This experiment suggests that the teachers can be unnecessary.

Also, how did you guys learn how to use computers? Did you guys read instruction manuals and stuff?

The Good Reverend Roger

  • Tarantism Victim
  • One-Armed Jizz Moppers
  • Deserved It
  • **
  • Posts: 34406
    • View Profile
Re: Ethiopian kids teach themselves English, hack OLPCs in 5 months
« Reply #1 on: November 01, 2012, 04:08:24 am »
Built my first computer from a Heathkit in 1982.  Learned along the way.
"The illusion of freedom will continue as long as it's profitable to continue the illusion. At the point where the illusion becomes too expensive to maintain, they will just take down the scenery, they will pull back the curtains, they will move the tables and chairs out of the way, and you will see the brick wall at the back of the theatre."
- Frank Zappa

Don Coyote

  • Deserved It
  • ****
  • Posts: 129340
    • View Profile
Re: Ethiopian kids teach themselves English, hack OLPCs in 5 months
« Reply #2 on: November 01, 2012, 04:14:45 am »
Playing computer games and surfing for porn.
This spot for rent

Lord Cataplanga

  • Outlandish
  • ***
  • Posts: 2315
  • Saint Fiasco
    • View Profile
Re: Ethiopian kids teach themselves English, hack OLPCs in 5 months
« Reply #3 on: November 01, 2012, 04:30:12 am »
Built my first computer from a Heathkit in 1982.  Learned along the way.

When I started using computers, it was already past the point where pretty much anyone could use them. Anyone who knew how to press F1 and read instructions, anyway, which the Ethiopian kids don't.

It used to be that you had to know how to assemble your own computer to use it. After that you had to know how to read (preferably English) and understand the instructions.

Now even that is unnecessary. Or maybe it was unnecessary since the beginning, and anyone with free time and motivation can learn how to use computers. That would explain why illiterate kids can do it but my middle school teachers couldn't.

Placid Dingo

  • Deserved It
  • ****
  • Posts: 27259
    • View Profile
    • Me!
Re: Ethiopian kids teach themselves English, hack OLPCs in 5 months
« Reply #4 on: November 01, 2012, 07:36:51 am »
The experiment:

Closed boxes with Motorola Xoom tablets with solar chargers and custom software were left in two isolated villages in Ethiopia. Some adults were taught how to recharge the batteries and nothing else. They didn't have instruction manuals or anything (very few people at the village knew how to read anyway). The devices had special software that tracked how they were used.


The result:

“I thought the kids would play with the boxes. Within four minutes, one kid not only opened the box, found the on-off switch … powered it up. Within five days, they were using 47 apps per child, per day. Within two weeks, they were singing ABC songs in the village, and within five months, they had hacked Android,” Negroponte said. “Some idiot in our organization or in the Media Lab had disabled the camera, and they figured out the camera, and had hacked Android.”

Elaborating later on Negroponte’s hacking comment, Ed McNierney, OLPC’s chief technology officer, said that the kids had gotten around OLPC’s effort to freeze desktop settings. “The kids had completely customized the desktop—so every kids’ tablet looked different.  We had installed software to prevent them from doing that,” McNierney said. “And the fact they worked around it was clearly the kind of creativity, the kind of inquiry, the kind of discovery that we think is essential to learning.”

This experiment began earlier this year, and what OLPC really want to see is whether these kids can learn to read and write in English. Around the world, there are something like 100,000,000 kids who don't even make it to first grade, simply because there are not only no schools, but very few literate adults, and if it turns out that for the cost of a tablet all of these kids can simply teach themselves, it has huge implications for education. And it goes beyond the kids, too, since previous OLPC studies have shown that kids will use their computers to teach their parents to read and write as well, which is incredibly amazing and awesome.

I've been told that one of the reasons OLPC isn't implemented in the schools in my area is not that the laptops are expensive or anything, but that the teachers don't want to learn how to use them. This experiment suggests that the teachers can be unnecessary.

Also, how did you guys learn how to use computers? Did you guys read instruction manuals and stuff?

In my experience, teachers are horrifically resistent to change. Also administration is horrifically scared of giving mandates.

maybe it's better in bigger areas but I suspect it's still a problem.
If sheep entrails could in any way be related to the weather, i.e. sheep trails only originate where it rains, then you could use it as an accurate model for discerning what the weathers going to be like. Either, sheep shit makes it rain, or raining makes sheep shit. Sheep don't shit "randomly" sheep shit after they eat, it doesn't rain "randomly" it rains after water collects in the atmosphere.

Cain

  • Chekha
  • Deserved It
  • ****
  • Posts: 96337
    • View Profile
Re: Ethiopian kids teach themselves English, hack OLPCs in 5 months
« Reply #5 on: November 01, 2012, 09:26:25 am »
I learnt how to use a computer via trial and error.  Started with MS-DOS, which was...quite a learning curve, though I didn't experiment too much since it wasn't my own machine.  That came later, at university, when I was in a building full of wannabe hackers abusing the shit out of our shared network.  Then I had to get creative, because otherwise some pimple-faced Computer Science student was going to steal all my music.

I'll get my coat.

  • Deserved It
  • ****
  • Posts: 51901
    • View Profile
Re: Ethiopian kids teach themselves English, hack OLPCs in 5 months
« Reply #6 on: November 01, 2012, 09:44:10 am »
Those kids give me warm fuzzies.

Nigel

  • in my oonlz
  • Deserved It
  • ****
  • Posts: 587230
  • v=1/3πr2h
    • View Profile
Re: Ethiopian kids teach themselves English, hack OLPCs in 5 months
« Reply #7 on: November 01, 2012, 03:02:00 pm »
My son figured out how to use my Mac to surf the web before he could talk. I never figured out how he knew how to navigate to the right websites, but he did.

My favorite line from the article was "within five months, they had hacked Android,”

That's kids for ya.  :lulz:
Tiny and Terrible Strap-On Fuckhorde of Tonight's Wrong Turn.

“I’m guessing it was January 2007, a meeting in Bethesda, we got a bag of bees and just started smashing them on the desk,” Charles Wick said. “It was very complicated.”

“People get used to anything. The less you think about your oppression, the more your tolerance for it grows. After a while, people just think oppression is the normal state of things. But to become free, you have to be acutely aware of being a slave.”
― Assata Shaku

Forsooth

  • Known & Noted
  • **
  • Posts: 1963
    • View Profile
Re: Ethiopian kids teach themselves English, hack OLPCs in 5 months
« Reply #8 on: November 01, 2012, 07:00:35 pm »
observation and exploration

I learned how to use PCs by watching somebody else do it first, then just dicking around on them. I don't program anything so I never bothered with in-depth study of computers

A year or so ago, I bought the wife a thousand dollar web browser a Mac, and had to look for help on anything more complicated than the internet and double clicking (actually getting to a program's file and contents on a Mac is not intuitive)

Q. G. Pennyworth

  • Slimy Thing Who
  • Deserved It
  • ****
  • Posts: 45490
  • tentacle face mexico cookie lady
    • View Profile
Re: Ethiopian kids teach themselves English, hack OLPCs in 5 months
« Reply #9 on: November 01, 2012, 09:15:43 pm »
I taught myself html and css through trial and error and google. The first image editing I did was in MS Paint removing watermarks from tv screen caps.
Lap-Top Confessional of Your Most Deranged Horrorbag Indulgences | _xgeWireToEvent: Unknown extension 131, this should never happen.

Don't fucking judge me, I've got tentacles for a face.

Cainad (dec.)

  • Houseplant Supreme
  • Deserved It
  • ****
  • Posts: 87795
  • Ejection Seat Party Hat Issuance Officer
    • View Profile
    • Internet Forum Safari
Re: Ethiopian kids teach themselves English, hack OLPCs in 5 months
« Reply #10 on: November 06, 2012, 10:26:26 pm »
My first devices were a Mac LC II and then a first-generation iMac, so I think it's a stretch to say that I ever really learned how to use a "computer."

Nigel

  • in my oonlz
  • Deserved It
  • ****
  • Posts: 587230
  • v=1/3πr2h
    • View Profile
Re: Ethiopian kids teach themselves English, hack OLPCs in 5 months
« Reply #11 on: November 09, 2012, 11:58:42 pm »
My mom got a 286 in 1986 and I learned to use it so I could play games. The end!
Tiny and Terrible Strap-On Fuckhorde of Tonight's Wrong Turn.

“I’m guessing it was January 2007, a meeting in Bethesda, we got a bag of bees and just started smashing them on the desk,” Charles Wick said. “It was very complicated.”

“People get used to anything. The less you think about your oppression, the more your tolerance for it grows. After a while, people just think oppression is the normal state of things. But to become free, you have to be acutely aware of being a slave.”
― Assata Shaku

Don Coyote

  • Deserved It
  • ****
  • Posts: 129340
    • View Profile
Re: Ethiopian kids teach themselves English, hack OLPCs in 5 months
« Reply #12 on: November 10, 2012, 12:01:26 am »
My mom got a 286 in 1986 and I learned to use it so I could play games. The end!

I was two years old. Stop talking about vacuum tubes. :argh!:
This spot for rent

Lenin McCarthy

  • Outlandish
  • ***
  • Posts: 7623
    • View Profile
Re: Ethiopian kids teach themselves English, hack OLPCs in 5 months
« Reply #13 on: November 10, 2012, 12:24:07 am »
How I learned to use computers? Do people learn how to use computers? I'm unfamiliar with that concept.  :lol:

Most of what I've learned about computers comes from my Linux fanatic phase when I was 11-12, though.

Nigel

  • in my oonlz
  • Deserved It
  • ****
  • Posts: 587230
  • v=1/3πr2h
    • View Profile
Re: Ethiopian kids teach themselves English, hack OLPCs in 5 months
« Reply #14 on: November 10, 2012, 12:26:05 am »
My mom got a 286 in 1986 and I learned to use it so I could play games. The end!

I was two years old. Stop talking about vacuum tubes. :argh!:

 :lulz: :lulz: :lulz:
Tiny and Terrible Strap-On Fuckhorde of Tonight's Wrong Turn.

“I’m guessing it was January 2007, a meeting in Bethesda, we got a bag of bees and just started smashing them on the desk,” Charles Wick said. “It was very complicated.”

“People get used to anything. The less you think about your oppression, the more your tolerance for it grows. After a while, people just think oppression is the normal state of things. But to become free, you have to be acutely aware of being a slave.”
― Assata Shaku