The OLPC XO laptop as a PLE
Fabio Serenelli, Andrea Mangiatordi
Personal Learning Environments can be defined under different points of view:
• technically, they are a hub for contents and contacts related to the learning experience of a single person. They can be composed by both desktop and web applications, with every piece of software supporting the user in a particular task;
• in opposition to Virtual Learning Environments and LMS, they prefer the usage of independent (even if interrelated) web 2.0 applications, following the ‘Software As A Service’ model;
• socially, a PLE is a set of instruments which gives value to individual contributions in a learning ecosystem.
What we wonder is if a PLE can be at the same time a cognitive artifact and a physical object. Can it have a concrete form, can it also be hardware? What can turn an ‘object’ into a PLE? The OLPC XO laptop seems to answer these questions. Its Graphical User Interface (GUI), called Sugar, can balance individual and collaborative learning instances. The whole user experience is based on social networking. The XO is a child-centered device, reflecting the way children think and interact with the social and informative context. XO is an inclusion instrument in the learning environment, by the fact it is an equalitarian, basic dotation for everybody. But this laptop is also an inclusive learning environment: it is in the hands of all the actors of the educational process, from teachers to children. In OLPC deployments, technology becomes a commodity, the computer becomes invisible. Being a context-variable, being part of the infrastructure for networked learning, the XO is:
1. a cognitive amplifier: a machine designed for children and equipped with software which can empower their cognitive potential (computation abilities, memory, writing skills, etc.);
2. a relational amplifier which can connect (automatically) its owners on various levels (Metcalfe law: the network value increases as saturation increases);
3. a platform to access instructional contents which can be online or can be hosted by the machine itself;
4. an instrument for sharing knowledge and, in presence of internet access, for publishing;
5. a knowledge-creation tool by the means of individual and collaborative activities.
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|Ronald E. Anderson, W. J. Pelgrum|
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|Computercomputer, GUI (Graphical User Interface)Graphical User Interface, Hardwarehardware, Internetinternet, Kinderchildren, OLPCOne Laptop per Child Project, Personal Learning EnvironmentPersonal Learning Environment|
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