The New York Times story referred to in my previous post mentioned the difficulties of teaching the alphabet to children when 200 kids have only one teacher in a jammed classroom. The game for 3-to-7-year-olds in the above illustration requires a television set, the game hardware ($60) and the Alphabet Park software package teaching the concepts listed at the right of the picture above ($20). Why not have a TV hut near the classroom where 2 children at a time could use the software? If the hut were open 50 hours week every child would have a half hour in the Park; with two huts every child would have a full hour. When a child has an OQO (see 2 posts below), he can put the Park in his pocket.
Here ia a place to follow constitutional developments in Iraq. Since the early days of the Internet, the University of Wurzburg in Germany has posted up-to-date and comprehensive constitutional information for countries around the world. Constitutional history and documents for 80 other countries are reachable with a click from this Iraq online constitution. The 2004 Afghan constitution is also hosted here, in an informal English translation with a link to the “Pashtu and Dari version for accuracy.”
This website designed for visitors to Mexico City includes crisp and handsome history pages. Among the graphics are colorful and interesting artifacts. Many topics link to museums and historical sites.
There is a knee jerk response you get a lot these days: the Internet has too much junk. True, it is a swamp. But the non-junk sites tend to endure, forming the gold that outshines the muck. This Shakespeare website is nine-years-old. Like the bard himself, it is enduring because it is wonderful.
The Carnegie Corporation of New York has posted this proud statement here recalling how their company’s founder, smiling above, directed his philanthropy to establishing libraries. Included is a useful overall account of the history of libraries. This repositioning from the corporation’s 1998 annual report into the internet is, itself, an example of 21st century library history in which knowledge is now moving into the golden swamp of cyberspace.
The new OQO is reviewed by David Pogue today in the New York Times. If you look at the the photo of OQO from the article, above left, you can kind of squint your eyes and imagine the small hands of a kid isolated in the Hindu Kush doing his algebra. Back in 2000, when something like an OQO was purely hypothetical, I created the illustration on the right of such a kid. OQO is no longer hypothetical: it is a real and powerful handheld wireless internet accessing computer. It is new and expensive but that will change. I predict that five more years will put one in every kid’s pocket. I hope it happens sooner. The algebra – and everything else a child needs to study to obtain a bountiful education – is already free online.
Why don’t we put a computer that teaches the 3R’s into the little hand raised so eagerly in this photo taken in a first grade classroom in Kenya by Mariella Furrer for The New York Times? A major reason computers like that have been downplayed has been the gut resistance people have to somehow competing with teachers when you let kids use computers. Ms. Mwanyonoyo would not be threatened by a gross of PDAs that teach the alphabet, you can be sure of that. The Times story today that runs the picture begins with this lead: “More than 200 first graders, many of them barefoot, clothed in rags and dizzy with hunger, stream into Rebecca Mwanyonyo’s classroom each day. Squeezed together on the concrete floor, they sit hip to hip, jostling for space, wildly waving their hands to get her to call on them.”
A couple of other reasons besides “needing teachers” that the anti-computer-tutoring crowd harps on look pretty silly in Mrs. Mwanyonyo’s classroom too. Some say spend the effort on food before worrying about learning. Others opine that other people’s children don’t want to learn anyway.