Giving week

Central detail, Window with Hudson River Landscape from Rochroane by Louis Comfort Tiffany/Tiffany Studios, 1905; commissioned by Melchior S. Beltzhoover for the music room of his mansion (apparently demolished in 1978 after much of the artwork etc. had been removed) in Irvington-On-Hudson, New York. [Full view, but tiny image, although this one’s a bit larger.] I guess the music room had been relegated to a side of the house with an inferior view, of the driveway or stables….

One Laptop Per Child—OLPC. Here’s the link.

Today’s my day for a disquisition on this. We ordered ours today.

In short, Nicholas Negroponte has put together a team that has invented a versatile, easy-to-use, smallish laptop intended to improve and extend learning possibilities for kids (and teachers, parents, and families) around the globe. When you click the purchase button, you get one for you (which, perhaps, can be donated in this country) and pay for one for “a child in need” for $400 plus shipping (just under $425 total). And the OLPC Foundation is a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization. Cha-ching: tax deduction.

We all, as members of humanity, need to find ways to give to our fellow human beings. Giving can take many forms (EG, food, money, a listening ear). And the fellow human beings may be known to you, or be strangers you will never meet.

JCB and I try and spread our giving around, and vary it year by year, as well as philosophically.

I wanted to do the OLPC ’cause I think putting possibility in the hands of others is a wonderful thing, and possibility can take many forms.

We had already sealed the deal when I watched this one-hour video (highly recommended) presentation made to Google people—although I’m a bit squeamish that the identifiable individuals in the first three/four rows are all male…. I now understand better how the laptop works (using so little power, so efficiently, with an open system, so users can use it to invent and create and dream, to not need updates, armed with an anti-theft system, etc.) [link to text on this].

I was really sold that we had done a good thing when I listened to the opening section of the Google video when the presenter, Ivan Krstic, discussed how people learn (I know, that’s the anthropologist in me). OLPC’s goal is to change how kids learn, improve it and take it beyond the normal formal learning system (teacher in front of students directing the learning experience in classroom in building), in which learning is no longer mostly curiosity-driven (Krstic’s term), but mostly conducted by the teacher.

OLPC’s idea is to open up opportunity. Now. By reinforcing peer learning, allowing kids to follow their own curiosity. Laptops might help, assisted by the conventional classroom learning experience.

Then I became REALLY CONVINCED that this was a wise allocation of our giving resources.

’Nuff preaching. Your move.

After all, this is T-giving week….

One comment

  1. kayak woman says:

    “although I’m a bit squeamish that the identifiable individuals in the first three/four rows are all male” Not only are they all male, they are all *young* males. In the interest of full disclosure, I only watched a bit of the video. Y’all already know about my current financial woes.