One Laptop per Child, on Flickr”>
This is a picture of a keyboard from a child’s computer in Ethiopia. The computer, part of an international project called One Laptop per Child (OLPC), has been designed to include the Amharic language, the national language of Ethiopia. I chose this image in part because of a trip I took to Ethiopia last February on a research project relating to literacy and distance education. The use of technologies (from books through to computers) in the educational settings in Ethiopia are extremely complex, and even the use of script, English or Amharic, brings up politically charged issues connected to literacy in the country. Apart from the Amharic/English keyboard, the presence of laptop computers is also highly contentious: for some, the initiative is seen by some as an imposition of a western model of education upon the country: while for others, it is seen as a way to give children a chance to tap into educational resources that go beyond anything currently available within the limited infrastructure of the country. This is a country where books are in very short supply and where it is very uncommon for libraries to actually circulate their collections!
My name is Jeff Miller, and I am one of your instructors in ETEC540. You’ve likely read my bio in the course website, but I’ll add that I’ve been working on developing spaces for writing, reading and learning with UBC projects for about 15 years, and am currently very excited about the possibilities that open up in collaborative spaces like this weblog. It is great to see that we start off from a place of multimodality, with a mixture of texts and images to get us started on our explorations of text and technology. I look forward to seeing how this site grows and expands as you engage with the various topics and activities in the course!