We went through an interview marathon with the children in Bhagmalpur yesterday. The interviews were done over the phone with plenty of help from my mother who translated and asked questions in Hindi. At this point, the children have had their OLPC XO-1 laptop for six-to-eight weeks. While we are still busy documenting all that was gleaned from these calls, here are some interesting observations:
- Of all the children who have registered for a “computer” course at school, none have actually ever used a computer because they have been told that the computer is broken, and so the teacher cannot teach anything. Reminds me of the “Computer Club” at August Town Primary School in Jamaica.
- Many children like to learn about elements such as Hydrogen and Nitrogen because they have started to learn about elements in their school. Note that nobody has ever told them about chemistry or elements on the XO. None whatsoever. They have discovered these on their own.
- Many children like to use the calculator. They use it to get assistance in their math lessons. They use the Calculate activity to check their answers.
- TamTamMini seems to be another favorite.
- Most have asked about Internet or Browse Activity (they all call it “activity”, again something they have gleaned on their own) but none of them have ever used the Internet or even know what Browse is. We still don’t have good connectivity in Bhagmalpur.
- We are using a “One Laptop per Child per Family” model, and in all cases, a sibling (older or younger) uses the XO laptop as well. However, in none of the cases do any of the parents use the XO. In some cases the parents actually think their child “wastes time” on the XO. They don’t see a reason why the kid should do anything but “study for school” on the computer. The parents want digital copies of textbooks on the XO. Interestingly, none of the children asked for textbooks on the XO.
While we’ll get more results in the next few months, these are some anecdotal observations that stand out. More to come soon.