Wayan Vota is, as usual, making a jackass of himself over on his OLPC News, using some decontextualized video of the OLPC pilot in
Nepal Thailand to claim that OLPC is working, but it isn't working the way the Foundation envisioned it, it is working the way Wayan Vota envisioned it. You see, he was right all along.
So in the two videos, you see a kid controlling the TamTam synthesizer with the XO's large trackpad, making weird noises (not unlike me let loose with an electric guitar). In the second video, we see kids sitting on the floor in a semi-circle, playing a local tune.
Now exactly who thinks that either of these accomplishments came from a random TamTam activity without a music teacher to guide the children in learning musical scales, melody, tone, and temper?
This is wrong on two levels. First off, there is good reason to think at least some of these results came from self-directed activity with the laptop. Vota only links to Vota, but if you find the OLPC report from the Thailand pilot, you find this quote:
One girl quickly started playing the village's local tune within an hour of exploration.
That seems pretty definitive. Certainly the kid making weird noises with his trackpad looks like... a kid undertaking some self-directed play, but I'll let you decide.
But on a deeper level, Vota is insinuating that the OLPC model is that adults should be excluded from the use of the computers, that somehow any time teachers are helping and guiding the kids, that's a failure of the OLPC model. Of course it is not.
What OLPC has said is, in effect, "We think giving every child a laptop is so important, we will not let the lack of a qualified teacher, or literate parents, or a specifically trained teacher, or a reliable source of electricity at home, or anything stand in the way." And they say, in effect, "We cannot know what will work and what should be taught in every village. Local customization and innovation will arise." But the point was never to not include teachers, the community, the nation, etc.
These videos portray OLPC working exactly as it was envisioned. Vota's remarks are typical of one strain of OLPC criticism which I generally have avoided commenting upon. The basic form is "OLPC is doing it wrong, they should do 'X.'" Where "X" is either exactly what any of the principles on OLPC have designed OLPC to do and have implemented in their (decades of) previous experience, or "X" is a simplified version of that.