In an interview last week on CNN (click here for the video), Nicholas Negroponte, founder of OLPC, was quoted as saying that the first word children speak in villages where they roll out the XO is "Google." Is this a good thing? In the same video, he touted the thousands of ebooks that children can share using the laptops. Yet the kids aren't saying ebook first, or laptop, even. If Negroponte is to be believed, they are saying "Google".
There are few people more enamored of Google than I. I can't say enough about the technology they bring us, seemingly for free. However, I have yet to find anyone who can tell me (based on personal knowledge of the project or by actual documentation from OLPC) how these kids are going to be taught to use the laptops in a truly productive way. We all know that while Google brings us fast, accurate searches, they also bring us YouTube and the same 3 references on every student's works cited page.
The OLPC was supposed to revolutionize the way we use computers. If Rwandan kids are simply learning to Google as well as American kids, it might be time to rethink this a bit.
What do you think?