Tuesday, August 26, 2008

iPod Touch, the real OLPC?

I've blogged in past, both here and on Nussbaum's site, about the potential of the iPod Touch as a versatile, low-cost pocket computer, and how it represents perhaps a better solution in many ways than the OLPC initiative.

Judging by this article from the News&Observer in Raleigh, at least one middle school is seriously considering handing out Touches to all teachers and students in a pilot program. Not coincidentally, I'm sure, Duke University, 20 miles down the highway from Chapel Hill, was one of the first universities in the country to hand out iPods to students.

I hope we see a similar initiative in Cleveland where inner city students already have access to free wifi in many neighborhoods courtesy of OneCommunity, but lack the hardware to take advantage of it. Imagine, for about $200 per pupil, one of the most endangered school systems in the country could leapfrog to being one of the most technologically advanced, supplying each and every student with the tools necessary to have anytime online access to the vast resources of the web.


Valdis Krebs said...

Yes, I love my Touch.

But giving a Touch to each student w/o totally rethinking the teaching approach will be like every other project that we throw technology at... an expensive failure.

Plus, I would hate to write a paper on it...

How would you change the teaching approach?

Scott Crawford said...

Thx Valdis for the thoughtful reality check and challenge. Agreed that approach would have to change.

Hmmmmmm. I've never taught, but in coaching roles, I've always found teams work better than individuals. Peer2Peer coaching is especially powerful. And since we're talking about networking tools in hands of students, maybe therein lies an answer?

As I was watching Obama speech, I was also eavesdropping on my kids helping each other with some advanced chemistry problems (stuff already waaaay beyond my grasp). Study groups are second nature to them. Can Touch or Touch-like device connected to study network foster/enable this kind of peer approach?