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Submitted by Ed Gaible on
It's an ambitious goal, assessment of the impact of OLPC on a mixed set of learning outcomes in a randomized group of pilot schools over the course essentially a one-year period. The broader approach, involving assessments of other "student stakeholders" (families, teachers, etc.) will I hope be accompanied by attention to indicators other than edu outcomes, as these will be very difficult to ascertain. (BTW: It's unclear from your description -- at least to me -- as to whether the baseline assessment is drawn from students who will be using OLPC.) I find troubling -- altho I need to state my ignorance of education in Sri Lanka, of the pilot and of the evaluation -- the implication that this complex evaluation might be used to determine expansion of the OLPC program. My qualms have more to do with prior activities in ICT4E in Sri Lanka as I understand them: Students already have access to broadband Internet and to school-based computer facilities in many, if not most, instances; this infrastructure is currently significantly under-used, in part as a result of limitations in program design that don't target learning outcomes. It's entirely possible, even likely from my perspective, that there are programs and program revisions that would, if enacted, cost-effectively wring substantial value in relation to learning outcomes out of these prior investments. For the Gov of SL to expand a 1:1 program (OLPC or not) without first modifying its approach to school-based computing and evaluating that approach seems (again, from a great remove) an act of poor policy and management. The current pilot and evaluation appear to have the potential to "stack the deck" in favor of just such an outcome.