Sustainable Innovation Strategies in Education: OLPC case studies in Ethiopia and Uruguay

Magda Pischetola, Andrea Mangiatordi

Research output: Conference Article in Proceeding or Book/Report chapterBook chapterResearchpeer-review


In the Knowledge Society great importance is given to sharing knowledge and information. The ICTs not only provide a very efficient infrastructure for this task, they also have radically changed the way we interact and access information. This effect is even more consistent among the younger generations, who were born and raised in an era when network communications were already nearly as common as any other service. This also means they met another generation, the one of their parents and teachers who did not experience the same immersion in technology as they did. A sort of conflict arises from this encounter: children who have been exposed to such a wide range of possibilities are taught by adults who consolidated a method based on analogical instruments and who think using different patterns. It seems necessary, given this scenario, to spend a great deal of effort in integrating teachers’ methodologies with ICTs in order to create a better environment for children’s education. This paper reflects on two different experiences from One Laptop Per Child deployments. The project, which is the largest attempt in the world to promote one-to-one computing in primary schools, is particularly interesting for the role it is having in changing the student-teacher relationship. Giving a laptop to every child in a country does not seem to be enough to reform a school system: strong effort must be made to teach the teachers how to better use these new resources in order to improve the quality of their pupils’ learning experience. This means that the whole process must be sustainable and participated. The two environments studied are Ethiopian primary school classes and Uruguayan schools for children with special needs: in both cases the role of technology is critical for sustainable innovation. In the first case, there is evidence that the teachers need to be taught how to use the ICTs to enhance the quality of their work, while in the second case they need to learn how to use assistive technology to make the classroom environment really inclusive. Both researches tend to highlight the important role of ICTs for social inclusion and suggest strategies to use one-to-one technologies for this purpose.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationOrganizational, Business, and Technological Aspects of the Knowledge Society, Communications in Computer and Information Science
EditorsMiltiadis Lytras, Patricia De Pablos, Adrian Ziderman, Alan Roulstone, Hermann Maurer, Jonathan Imber
Number of pages11
Place of PublicationBerlin
Publication date2010
ISBN (Print)9783642163234
Publication statusPublished - 2010
Externally publishedYes


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