Title: One Laptop Per Child and Social Issues behind Education
Keywords: technology, education, social issues, one laptop per child, innovation/reinvention
Thesis: My thesis will attempt to take a more narrow view into a specific innovation, the One Laptop Per Child venture. It will explore the highs and lows of the organization which launched a $200 laptop to be embraced by governments worldwide in order to connect children to the internet and 21st century learning tools. Furthermore, it will take a look at the social issues behind our education system and relate to OLPC’s efforts.
Theoretical overview: This was really inspired by Paola Antonelli, who briefly described One Laptop Per Child in her class presentation. It was already something I’m familiar with, but she seemed to reignite the interest for me to delve further. I think many of the readings and presenters’ views would correlate with this topic. For example, Balsamo’s view on inventions and reinventions or Appadurai’s explanation of the significance of imagined worlds. I think my project will be strongest if I focus on one or two readings so I plan to narrow down which are best within the coming weeks.
Methodological overview: My research project will involve an in-depth analysis of One Laptop Per Child as an organization and their milestones. It will then relate their successes and failures to possible theories discussed by authors we have read in class. From there, it will look at social issues regarding the education system. I plan to do this primarily in written form, as it will be the best form of organized communication. I also plan to create a visual component but am not sure what that will exactly entail; most likely an infographic or PowerPoint presentation summary.