Ethiopian kids hack OLPCs in 5 months with zero instruction | DVICE

This was a quite interesting experiment and results.

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  1. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Ethiopian Kids Hacked Their Donated Tablets In Just Five Months

    After a box of Motorola Xoom tablets was dropped off in an Ethiopian village, kids who had never seen a computer before quickly taught themselves how to make modifications to Android.

    What happens if you drop off a thousand Motorola Xoom tablet PCs in a village with kids who have never even seen a printed word? Within five months, they’ll have taught themselves to customize the software, reactivate disabled features and, perhaps, start down the path of learning to read.

    Since vast swaths of the world unable to provide even basic education, scaleable solutions are needed to complement the long road to achieve universal schooling (something that took the West centuries).

    No one’s cracked the code yet on how to turn formal education into something children do themselves–but the first attempts at such a world are already emerging.

  2. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Ethiopian Kids Hack Their OLPC Tablets in 5 Months, With No Help

    Give a thousand Ethiopian kids – who have never seen a printed word let alone played around with expensive consumer technology – a tablet, and what happens? They hack it. Obviously.

    The amazing One Laptop Per Child scheme has been offering up Motorola Xoom tablets to kids in developing countries for a while.

    That, that is just sensational. To go from never having seen a written word – remember, the towns these kids grow up in have no street signs, no newspapers, no food packaging – to hacking an Android tablet in five months shows how inquisitive and adaptable the human brain is.

  3. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Given Tablets but No Teachers, Ethiopian Children Teach Themselves
    A bold experiment by the One Laptop Per Child organization has shown “encouraging” results.

    he One Laptop Per Child organization is trying something new in two remote Ethiopian villages—simply dropping off tablet computers with preloaded programs and seeing what happens.

    The goal: to see if illiterate kids with no previous exposure to written words can learn how to read all by themselves, by experimenting with the tablet and its preloaded alphabet-training games, e-books, movies, cartoons, paintings, and other programs.

    The devices involved are Motorola Xoom tablets—used together with a solar charging system, which Ethiopian technicians had taught adults in the village to use. Once a week, a technician visits the villages and swaps out memory cards so that researchers can study how the machines were actually used.

    After several months, the kids in both villages were still heavily engaged in using and recharging the machines, and had been observed reciting the “alphabet song,” and even spelling words. One boy, exposed to literacy games with animal pictures, opened up a paint program and wrote the word “Lion.”

    The experiment is being done in two isolated rural villages with about 20 first-grade-aged children each, about 50 miles from Addis Ababa.

  4. Tomi Engdahl says:

    EmTech Preview: Another Way to Think about Learning
    Why I hope kids in Ethiopia can teach the rest of us something profound about education.

    As we industrialized learning and created schools, we needed to measure the system’s efficacy and each child’s progress. What you really want to measure is curiosity, imagination, passion, creativity, and the ability to see things from multiple points of view. But these are hard to measure other than one on one, and even then, the assessment will be subjective. So instead, we measure what a child knows, and from that we infer that the child has learned how to learn. This is the real aspiration we have for our children: learning learning.

    The closest I have ever come to thinking about thinking is writing computer programs. This involves teasing apart a process into constituent parts, step-by-step functions, and conditional statements. What is so important about computer programs is that they (almost) never work the first time. Since they do something (versus nothing), just not what you wanted, you can look at the (mis)behavior to debug and change your code. This iterative process, so common in computer programming, is similar to learning.

  5. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Ethiopian kids hack OLPCs in 5 months with zero instruction

    What happens if you give a thousand Motorola Zoom tablet PCs to Ethiopian kids who have never even seen a printed word? Within five months, they’ll start teaching themselves English while circumventing the security on your OS to customize settings and activate disabled hardware. Whoa.

  6. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Illiterate Ethiopian children manage to hack Android

    In an interesting statement, One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) founder Nicholas Negroponte has revealed that the illiterate Ethiopian children they had given the locked down Motorola Xoom tablets earlier this year have within five months not only started teaching themselves English, but managed to bypass the security on the tablet’s operating system to customize settings and to activate disabled hardware such as the camera.

  7. Tomi Engdahl says:

    African kids learn to read, hack Android on OLPC fondleslab
    Why your next sysadmin could be Ethiopian

    One Laptop Per Child founder Nicholas Negroponte has said children are not only teaching themselves to read without teachers by using fondleslabs he provided, but they are learning how to hack Android as well.

    In an experiment, the OLPC dropped off Motorola Xoom tablets with solar chargers in two Ethiopian villages and trained the local adult population how to charge them up. Children were also given sealed boxes containing fondleslabs that were preloaded with educational software and a memory card that tracks how the kids got on with the new technology.

    “I thought the kids would play with the boxes. Within four minutes, one kid not only opened the box, found the on-off switch … powered it up,” Negroponte told MIT Review. “Within five days, they were using 47 apps per child, per day. Within two weeks, they were singing ABC songs in the village, and within five months, they had hacked Android.”


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