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Cultural and Educational Implications of Global Media.

The One Laptop per Child Initiative in Rural Peruvian Schools.

Wissenschaftliche Hausarbeit zur Erlangung des akademischen Grades eines Magister Artium der Universitt Hamburg

Vorgelegt von

Antje Breitkopf
aus Berlin Hamburg 2012

This thesis investigates the impact of the One Laptop per Child (OLPC) project on local Peruvian elementary schools. Since 2007 the Peruvian Ministry of Education has been implementing laptop computers for schools and children in remote villages as part of a national OLPC initiative. OLPC represents an approach to address various educational challenges worldwide with the help of technology, referring for example to Information Technology for Development (ICT4D) programs and other contemporary global discourses on education that often emphasize the importance of incorporating technology into educational development initiatives. The project promotes the use of the so-called XO laptop, a portable computer that was designed by members of the MIT media lab under the chairmanship of Nicholas Negroponte, to meet the educational needs of children. This technology-led approach has been criticized from various perspectives and can be understood as a technologically deterministic solution, which underestimates social, political, economic and cultural circumstances and challenges. At first, the author identifies her own point of view as a culturally sensitive one, which was guiding especially the field research, and thereby provided the basis for the here presented arguments. The main topics of this first chapter concern different models of understanding and researching cultural phenomena, especially material culture, introduce the theory of the cultural production of the educated person (Levison and Holland, 1996), education as an act of modern citizen building and technology as a cultural environment. After a short description of the fieldwork process, the thesis briefly discusses the main principles and assumptions of OLPC, mainly referring to critical perspectives. It then proceeds to show how, in the case of Peru, these assumptions were transferred unquestioned to the rhetoric of policy makers and promoters of the project. Peru has undertaken a tremendous financial effort to provide all elementary and secondary schools with the above-mentioned technology. The thesis shows that the question of how to meaningfully use these machines in schools all around the country remains mostly unsolved, and there are rather few concrete examples of how to actually use the laptops in classes in accordance with the national curriculum. Financial means, appropriate materials and content, as well as adequately trained personnel and technical support are scarce, so that teachers and children are left alone with the seemingly marvelous technology. A main starting point for the following discussion of the OLPC project in a particular local environment is the supposition, based on Debray (1996), that with the introduction of a new medium into the school, the meanings that are being negotiated, transformed and transmitted by this social institution will be altered. According to C.A. Bowers (2005), knowledge gains its

significance and with it a high or low status through cultural processes and these same processes were of major interest for the here presented research. The thesis explores the processes of knowledge transmission and the contextual appropriation of the particular technology in the local context. Therefor an open-ended field study was conducted in 2010, during which several elementary schools in more or less isolated rural areas of Peru were visited. The thesis refers mainly to observations that were made during the field study and presents statements of teachers and other local informants, based on the central question of what kind of education the children need in the countryside (summary of the answers as video: v=XIqMpwoGaBA). Thereby, the main approach of the field research phase was to assess the particular educational needs of the local people and then compare it with what OLPC promotes as general solutions. Emphasis was also placed on understanding the role of the school as an institution of knowledge in the local communities. The results of the field research show that the Peruvian OLPC project does not meet the local educational necessities, it does not relate to most prior efforts to improve rural education, and does not take into account the local customs and actual needs of students, teachers or the local community. The implementation strategies of the Peruvian OLPC project were examined emphasizing the limitations experienced by teachers, especially concerning teacher training, pedagogical and technical assistance. Furthermore, the appropriateness of the available teaching and learning material, and the teachers' use of these materials as well as the available software in classrooms, were analyzed. The research results reveal that the lack of appropriate materials and educational software causes great problems for teachers and limits their possibilities and motivation to use the laptops frequently during classes. They often perceived their own lack of specialized computer knowledge as another limiting factor. As the importance of computer-skills is continually emphasized, it implies a low social status of people that lack these skills. Consequently, the acquisition of computer-skills is regarded as necessary to gain a higher social and economic status. The thesis analyses these mechanisms in the local context and reveals that OLPC contributes to the enforcement of technologically deterministic perceptions, which change the significance of certain knowledge and skills. The project rather promotes a view on education and knowledge that further downgrades local knowledge and produces a new definition of the educated person (Levison and Holland, 1996) as a computer-literate person. When the educated Peruvian was formerly evaluated by his ability to read, write and speak Spanish to be able to participate in the greater national society, he is now re-evaluated in his ability to use modern technology and to participate in an imaginary global society.

Antje Breitkopf eMail:

Table of Contents
My personal interest in studying the XO laptop....................................................4 Structure of the thesis............................................................................................5

Chapter 1: Culture, Education, and Global Media........................................8

A culturally sensitive perspective..........................................................................8 The cultural biography of artifacts......................................................................10 The cultural production of the educated person..................................................13 Modern citizen building...........................................................................17 Cultural appropriation..............................................................................18 Technology as a cultural environment.................................................................19 The mediological approach..................................................................................21 The globalization of technology...............................................................25

Chapter 2: Fieldwork in Search of Education and Digital Media...............27

First encounter with the XO Laptop....................................................................27 Methodology........................................................................................................28 Arriving in the field.............................................................................................29 Changing the research plan......................................................................30 Research phase.........................................................................................30 Difficulties and obstacles.....................................................................................33 The role of the researcher.........................................................................35 The quantity and loss of data...................................................................37 Data analysis........................................................................................................38

Chapter 3: Laptops to All Children.............................................................40

The idea of a children's laptop.............................................................................40 Constructionist learning.......................................................................................42 The XO Laptop....................................................................................................45 Representation of the OLPC initiative.................................................................46 OLPC and human development...............................................................49 The OLPC Principles...............................................................................53 OLPC and the Open Source community..................................................56 OLPC's project evaluation.......................................................................58

Chapter 4: Una Laptop por Nio in Peru....................................................60

The Peruvian OLPC deployment.........................................................................60

Project evaluations...................................................................................62 ICT use in Peru........................................................................................65 The state of the Peruvian education system.........................................................66 The national curriculum...........................................................................68 Reasons to purchase laptops for schools..................................................69 Peru is advancing.................................................................................................71 Identification of laptop users...................................................................73

Chapter 5: The XO in a Local Context........................................................75

Puno and Madre de Dios......................................................................................75 Local educational needs.......................................................................................77 A basic education.....................................................................................78 An individualized education in a diverse environment............................82 A contextualized and intercultural education...........................................84 An practical education for work and for life............................................90 A modern education.................................................................................93 Appropriation strategies: teachers dealing with the XO....................................102 Conclusion: The educated Peruvian must be computer-literate........................107

References.................................................................................................114 Figures.......................................................................................................123 Appendices................................................................................................124

Abbreviations and Acronyms:

CODESI: Comisin Multisectorial para el desarollo de la Sociedad de la Informacin (Multisectorial Commission for the Development of the Information Society) CRT: DCN: Centros de Recursos Tecnolgicos (Technology Resource Centers) Diseo Curricular Nacional de Educacin Bsica Regular (National Curricular Design for Basic Regular Education)

DIGETE: Direccin General de Tecnologas Educativas (General Department for Educational Technologies) DRE: EIB: ICT: ICT4D: IDB: INEI: MIT: NGO: OLE: OLPC: OLPCF: PCR: PEAR: PELA: PEN: PER: ULPN: UN: Direccin Regional de Educacin (Regional Educational Board) Educacin Intercultural Bilingue (Intercultural and Bilingual Education) Information and Communication Technologies Information and Communication Technologies for Education Inter-American Development Bank Instituto Nacional de Estadstica e Informtica (National Institute for Statistics and Information, Peru) Massachusetts Institute of Technology non-governmental organization Open Learning Exchange One Laptop Per Child One Laptop Per Child Foundation Proyecto Curricular Regional (Regional Curricular Projects) Projecto Educativo para Areas Rurales (Educational Project for Rural Areas) Programa Estrategico de Logros de Aprendizaje (Strategic Program for Reaching the Learning Goals) Proyecto Educativo Nacional al 2021 (National Education Plan until 2021) Proyecto Educativo Regional (Regional Educational Project) Una Laptop Por Nio (One Laptop Per Child, Peru) United Nations

UNESCO: United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization UNICEF: United Nations Children's Fund UNAP: XO: Universidad Nacional del Altiplano, Puno (National University of the Altiplano, Puno) the XO laptop

Schools have always been places where modernity and tradition meet each other. Nowadays, they are also committed to bridging the global and local spheres, which shape the lives of people around the globe. Teachers represent the force in between this struggle for recognition of the old and the new. The question that guided the here presented inquiry into the processes of knowledge transmission concerns the meaning of emerging global media in this context. The 'new' media and technologies of information and communication are modern by definition. Reference point for the present inquiry is the crack between these globally promoted media and the local social reality, where schools define what is significant knowledge and how it should be acquired. This paper is the outcome of an open-ended field research, in an attempt to document the impact of a global project, namely the One Laptop per Child (OLPC) initiative, which fosters the implementation of laptop computers in education systems worldwide, on rural Peruvian schools. This 'anthropological voyage' (Greverus, 2003) was driven by the aim to understand the implications of this digital artifact for a local context, where it was introduced by outsiders. Thereby, it approached the processes of knowledge transmission and the contextual appropriation of technology. What happens when a modern technology is placed in a context, which is considered by the makers of this technology as 'not completely developed'? How will this technology integrate into an educational system that is itself regarded as obsolete? The here presented research does not only reflect on the theoretical and ideological implications of the OLPC project, but also focuses on the social appropriation of the 'XO children's laptop', which was first introduced in 2005. Thereby, this study attempts to reveal the 'cultural meaning' of this object. The search for 'meaning', as one of the key concepts, has especially guided the inquiry of researchers in the field of cultural studies. They understand all social practices as constituted by culture, because they are all meaningful: "The production of social meanings is therefore a necessary precondition for the functioning of all social practices" (Du Gay and Hall et al., 1997, p.2). The production and circulation of meaning in society involves educational institutions like the school, which attempts to transmit a certain knowledge and supports the development of specific skills. Media also foster particular skills and privilege certain knowledge and information. Debray (2000) states that any transport of a message goes 1

together with a remodeling, refiguring and metabolizing of its meaning. At the same time the act of receiving involves selection, reactivation and recasting. In short: Transport by is transformation of [emphases in original] (Debray, 2000, p.27). This is one of the main arguments of Debray, continually explores how the modes of grasping, archiving and putting into circulation different meanings as 'traces', at the same time alter and influence those very meanings. Consequently, with the introduction of a new medium into the school, the meanings that are being negotiated, transformed and transmitted by this social institution will be altered. Furthermore, for Debray, culture can be understood as the imprint of a mediasphere's mechanics 1 (Debray, 1996, p.117), which means that with the emergence of a 'new medium', the 'old culture' will be severely modified. In this perspective, which closely binds culture to the available media, the impact of the laptop that was especially designed for children, will be identifiable in the diversified meaning and altered significance of certain knowledge. Bowers (2005) writes that knowledge gains its significance and with it a high or low status through cultural processes, and points out the dichotomy between 'cultural knowledge systems' (Bowers, 2005) and the modern, scientific knowledge that is often understood as universal. He describes how "traditional cultures have taken different pathways of development, and demonstrated the capacity to live in a long-term sustainable relationship with the environment" (Bowers, 2001, p.12). This qualitative adaptation to environmental conditions is ignored in most education systems that strive to educate students "for citizenship and employment in the emerging Information Age" (ibid.) and ignore the importance of maintaining cultural diversity. McGovern (1999) sees the production, legitimisation, and circulation of knowledge as a political process, which has effects of excluding or marginalizing other forms of knowledge (McGovern, 1999, p.22). Education is a conflicting field, where definitions of the 'educated person' are "produced and negotiated between state discourses and local practices" (Levison and Holland, 1996, p.18), and where the school gains a prominent position in its function of transmitting relevant knowledge. Levison and Holland describe how the globalization and standardization of Western forms of mass schooling, have generated powerful, and to some extend convergent or 'global' constructions of the 'educated person' (ibid, p.15).
1 Throughout his work, Debray constructs successive 'mediaspheres', as 'megasystems of transmission', which he divides into three principal historical time periods, namely logo-, grapho-, and videosphere (Debray, 1996, p.176, glossary). Furthermore, Schwalbe (2010) points out the importance of comprehensively analyzing the currently emerging 'digital mediosphrere'.

Contemporary global discourses on education often emphasize the importance of incorporating technology into educational projects. Frequently, technology is introduced as a key element of development aid initiatives in an attempt to "help poor and marginalized people and communities make a difference to their lives" (Unwin, 2009, p.1). These initiatives can be summarized under the label 'Information and Communication Technologies for Development' (ICT4D) and often refer to an emerging global 'Information Society' that justifies these efforts. The OLPC project situated itself in this field with its attempt to provide an affordable laptop computer to children in 'developing countries' worldwide. Several critical perspectives question the philanthropic goals of the OLPC initiative and will be referred to in the course of this study. OLPC presents a 'one-size-fits-all' solution that shall empower children worldwide, arguing that the XO laptop is so sophisticated, technically mature and well thought out that no research of local necessities and conditions is needed. This study will attempt to show how misleading this assumption is, and will therefore especially focus on the local living conditions and educational necessities of children in the Peruvian rural areas, where the project has been implemented since 2008. It will be analyzed how local teachers struggle with the divergence between national education plans and the constraints of the local context. The implementation of the XO laptop in this context represents a 'modernizing' strategy of the Peruvian government that attempts to assimilate global education agendas. The goal of the Peruvian employment of laptops, which were first introduced in the most marginalized and remote areas of the country, aims to enhance the quality and equity of education. Many countries in the region recently started to implement similar projects that can be seen as efforts to catch up with global developments and become internationally competitive. The implications of such projects for the receiving communities, and especially for schools, depend on a variety of local conditions, such as the existing living conditions of the local population, the available resources, and the motivation and individual characteristics of teachers. In the Peruvian rural areas, where this field study was conducted, these local conditions often constrict the positive impacts of the OLPC project. The project will be examined in comparison with other state efforts to enhance the quality and equity of education and it will be demonstrated that the OLPC project represents an isolated and limited effort, which is not adequately based on previous experiences. The views and experiences of teachers, as the main local actors within the project will be of special concern. Therefore, numerous statements of teachers, which were acquired through interviews 3

and conversations will be referred to. In addition, commentaries of officials, who are involved in the project, will be presented. At the time of writing, the Peruvian OLPC project has not yet succeeded in achieving major positive impact on the quality or equity of education. The available evaluation results do not indicate statistically significant effects on students' achievements in standardized school examinations (Christia, 2012). In a study of the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), shortcomings in the implementation strategy of the project were pointed out, and the narrow technological focus of the project was criticized (Severin et al., 2011, p.1). The present study will approach the project implementation and outcomes from an anthropological perspective. The implementation strategies will be examined emphasizing the limitations experienced by teachers, especially concerning teacher training, pedagogical and technical assistance. Furthermore, the appropriateness of the available teaching and learning material, and the teachers' use of these materials as well as the available software in classrooms, will be examined. The research results reveal that the lack of appropriate materials and educational software causes great problems for teachers and limits their possibilities and motivation to use the laptops frequently during classes. They often perceived their own lack of specialized computer knowledge as another limiting factor. As the importance of computer-skills is continually emphasized, it implies a low social status of people that lack these skills. Consequently, the acquisition of computer-skills is regarded as necessary to gain a higher social and economic status. These mechanisms will be analyzed in the local context of Peruvian rural schools and communities and it will be investigated whether the OLPC project itself contributes to the enforcement of such perceptions. In doing so, the varying significance of certain knowledge and skills will be described and the emergence of a new concept of the 'educated person' as a computer-literate person will be exposed.

My personal interest in studying the XO laptop.

I remember when I first read about the One Laptop per Child (OLPC) project, I was very skeptical and I could not imagine the benefit of a high technological device for small remote villages. The initial hype surrounding this project, to me, was rather a sign of the obsession with technology and media in occidental culture, than a serious approach to meaningfully improve education worldwide. My perspective was of course

formed by my academic background in Educational Science, Cultural Anthropology, 2 and Political Science, but was also influenced by former experiences as a volunteer English teacher in a village in Nepal, where I worked in 2003. 3 In the course of my university studies I became interested in the cultural and educational effects of visual media, such as photography, film, and digital media. I was familiar with the OLPC project prior to the choice of a topic for this thesis and decided to find out myself what was really happening in those remote villages, where magic laptops were said to revolutionize education. I was lucky that the Peruvian General Department for Educational Technologies (DIGETE) supported my investigation, since they were interested in the effects of their intervention as well. Unfortunately, my insights did not confirm the assumption that this project would lead to a revolution of education. To begin with, I want to state that in this place it is not my goal to judge whether the OLPC project is good or bad, whether it succeeds or fails its mission. I aim to consider the issue in a broader sense, as illustrating progressive global developments associated with the diffusion of technology. Accordingly I consider the investigation into this field as a record of witness, which is fairly subjective and driven by my personal interests. Still, I believe that the insights I acquired during the field research, together with the voices of teachers, children, parents, and officials, which I want to present here, can contribute to understanding the challenges, assumptions and beliefs that the project in consideration brings about.

Structure of the thesis

The first two parts of this thesis comprise theoretical and methodological approaches to the topic of children's laptops in rural schools. The first chapter emphasizes the importance of a culturally sensitive perspective and proposes a framework for this research in describing the 'biography' (Du Gay and Hall et al., 1997) of the XO laptop. Therefore, the laptop is conceptualized as a material cultural artifact and as a medium in the sense that it provides symbolic techniques and
2 At the University of Hamburg, where I have studied, the subject of study is called "Ethnologie", and there are many different terms being used for more or less the same field of study, such as Social Anthropology, Cultural Studies etc. I choose the term "Cultural Anthropology", because it emphasizes the focus on culture as a basis for understanding the human being. 3 In Nepal, I stayed for three month in a village and taught English and environmental classes to children of grades 7 and 8, with approximately 50 children in each class. There, I personally experienced the limits of education, when the conditions are limiting, the school is not equipped and teachers are not well-prepared for the task.

means for the transmission of knowledge in the broadest sense. The cultural production of 'educated persons' (Levison, et al., 1996) and 'modern citizens' (Rival, 1996) are discussed as processes of negotiation between state discourses and local practices. Then, a concept of technology as a cultural environment is developed, pointing out the impact that technology and media can have on other cultural environments. With the 'mediological' approach of Debray (1996), the understanding of media as closely connected to the transmission of knowledge and as constituting elements of culture, is specified. A short reflection on the globalization of technology and media and the social and political changes that this process causes, terminates the theoretical part. The second chapter provides an overview of the field research, including the approaches and methods of data collection and analysis. Furthermore, problems and obstacles are described. The third chapter examines the OLPC project and especially discusses critical discourses that reflect upon its educational concepts and its understanding of child development. Furthermore, the initiative is located in development discourses that foster the global diffusion of technology. The public representation of OLPC, its goals and recommendations for the implementation of laptops in education systems worldwide, are analyzed. The identification of 'Third World' children as the main target group of the project is detected as a highly problematic labeling. OLPC's summary of project evaluations is reviewed as a part of its public marketing strategy. The fourth chapter considers the Peruvian OLPC project with its particular implementation strategy and points out the current state of the national employment. An assessment overview is provided and the present availability and use of ICT throughout the country is observed together with the current conditions of the Peruvian education system. The role of Peruvian OLPC project as a prestigious 'modernizing' initiative that shall provide all citizens and especially the marginalized rural population with access to modern education is critically analyzed. The final chapter looks at the local context and emphasizes the importance of considering local educational needs and requirements. Through teacher interviews, these needs are articulated and efforts of the Peruvian Ministry of Education as well as nongovernmental organizations to meet the local necessities are discussed. The OLPC project is presented as one such effort and processes of implementation and of appropriation by local teachers are described. The chapter concludes the discussion by 6

referring back to the theory that was elaborated in the first chapter, situating the project in the struggles about and processes of knowledge production, valuation and transmission. The inquiry leads from the global to the local sphere, starting the discussion with an examination of the OLPC project in general, then describing the implementation strategies in the Peruvian national context, followed by an analysis of regional educational policies and strategies. Finally the local context, including single schools, and the individual teachers are approached.

Figure 1: Impressions from field study, Peru 2010.

Chapter 1: Culture, Education, and Global Media.

This chapter will introduce the three main concepts which have guided this research as a theoretical fundament. Theoretical approaches and discourses that have informed my individual view of these three concepts will be discussed and their interrelationship with each other, as well as their significance for the field study will be described. Starting with explaining the culturally sensitive perspective that guided this research, a framework of how to analyze a material object as a 'cultural artifact' will be provided. Secondly, an understanding of education as a cultural process will be elaborated, pointing out schools as mayor sites of social, political and cultural struggle, where 'appropriation' of policies, teaching styles and teaching materials can take place. Thirdly, media will be presented as cultural environments, having great influence in shaping people's identity and perception of the world. With the introduction of the 'mediological' approach, as presented by Rgis Debray, several paths of analysis will be opened up that did influence this study and give it a broader scope. Finally, globalization processes, involving media and technology will be briefly addressed, pointing out critical aspects of these processes.

A culturally sensitive perspective.

"Individuals are not free to choose for themselves any view of the world, any way of acting in class, any definition of success, or any identity. In practice, such choices are constrained by intersubjective understandings of what is possible, appropriate, legitimate, properly radical and so forth. That is, they are constrained by culture and the enduring social structures that culture mediates." (Eisenhart, 2001, p.215)

Starting with this statement from Margaret Eisenhart, the great impact that culture has on the possibilities and choices of all people is being valued. When it comes to understanding the way how people make sense of their world and make sense of the conditions they are confronted with, culture plays an outstanding role. Culture has been described in many different ways over time 4 and it seems rather difficult to find an
4 Historically transmitted thinking about culture can be found in the early examinations of 'others' in Greek antiquity. It can also be found in accounts of various travelers, such as medieval arab scholar Idn Khaldoun (1332-1406), and descriptions of missionaries between the 15 th and 18th century. Later, culture was more elaborately theorized upon during the time of Enlightenment, followed by the formation of academic disciplines for the study of culture throughout the 19 th century. In the beginning, culture was mostly understood in terms of difference and devious or abnormal behavior was of great interest. With the rise of the natural sciences, culture was situated within the framework of evolutionary models. One of the most important shifts for the study of culture came with a concept, later labeled as 'cultural relativism', that was established as axiomatic in anthropological research by Franz Boas during the first decades of the 20 th century. It demanded that each culture should be understood in its own terms and thereby responded to the Western ethnocentrism that dominated

ultimate definition for it. Consequently, more of a framework will be provided which guided my personal approach and derived mainly from my academic training in Cultural Anthropology, where the 'ethnographic' method plays a very important role as the basis for research. The methodological approach of the field research will be explained in more detail in the next chapter. As an introduction to the approach of this research, I refer to one of the most influential contemporary scholars, Clifford Geertz. He introduced a semiotic and interpretive view of culture as "webs of significance"5 (Geertz, 1973, p.7), and found the object of ethnography to be "a stratified hierarchy of meaningful structures" (ibid.) in terms of which meaningful actions can possibly be produced, perceived, and interpreted. In his famous collection of essays The interpretation of Cultures (1973), Geertz points out that 'doing ethnography' is basically the procedure of 'thick description', 6 meaning the interpretative activity of the researcher, who constructs "other people's constructions of what they and their compatriots are up to" (ibid., p.9) and thereby tries to sort out structures of signification and determines their social ground and import. What is most interesting about Geertz's approach is the way he looks at the production of knowledge by the researcher. In every anthropological writing the constructions and interpretations of the researcher are "obscured because most of what we need to comprehend a particular event, ritual, custom, idea, or whatever is insinuated as background information before the thing itself is directly examined" (ibid., p.9). Accordingly, the role of the researcher in the field, the methodology that is used, and especially the selective way in which data is analyzed and presented, need to be reflected upon. This reflection shall form a great part of the next chapter. Geertz describes culture as a context, within which social events, behaviors, institutions, or processes can be 'thickly' described, rather than a power which determines them (ibid., p.14). This view of culture as a context which then allows people a certain range of possibilities of how they can act, what is appropriate to be said and done, or even what they can understand, think of
earlier views. Nowadays the study of cultures goes beyond exploring the 'way-of-life' of small, isolated groups, but also incorporates studies of 'sub-cultures', the corporate cultures of companies, or other institutions, and 'learning cultures' that can be analyzed in a certain context taking the greater local or national culture into consideration, but not confining ones observations to those cultural models. 5 Geertz bases his view on Max Weber's notion that "man is an animal suspended in webs of significance he himself has spun" (Geertz, 1973, p.5), and reasons that the analysis of those webs therefore could not be an experimental science in search of law, but needed to be an interpretive one in search of meaning (ibid.). 6 Geertz borrows this term from Gilbert Ryle, who used it to interpret a certain body-movement as a meaningful, communicative gesture (Geertz, 1973, p.6).

and imagine, is especially relevant for the present research. It means that anything that changes the context, may it be the introduction of a material object (like a laptop), a person (for example a foreign researcher) or a new idea, brings with it a potential of changing the whole range of possibilities. It is important to clarify how the term 'culture' will be used in the context of this study. The informants that will be quoted used the term 'culture' when talking about the wayof-life, traditions and folklore of their surroundings, namely the southern Andean and Amazon regions of Peru. In this context, the term refers to the shared way-of-life and world-view of a particular region, social and language group. 7 It is used to distinguish local cultures from the national or global culture. Although these 'cultures' cannot be seen as distinct and separated from each other, the term will be used to refer to differences in their historical, ideological and philosophical foundation.

The cultural biography of artifacts.

The central element of this study was a material object, namely the XO laptop. Consequently, the field of material culture offered a theoretical and methodological approach. The study of material culture as distinct field of research incorporates a range of scholarly inquiry into the uses and meanings of objects (Woodward, 2007, p.3), their cultural transmission and transformation. Paul Du Gay and Stuart Hall (et al., 1997) provide a cultural study of a technological artifact, namely the 'Sony Walkman', 8 and trace back its 'meaning' as a 'story' or 'biography' of the object, passing through a cycle of cultural processes. This approach provided a very useful framework for the present research, as the XO laptop shares many qualities with other technological artifacts and can likewise be explored by mapping out its 'biography'. Similarly to Geertz, Du Gay and Hall (et al.) stress the importance of meaning as the defining element of culture. They construct a 'circuit of culture', which determines the framework for analysis, consisting of five major processes: " Representation, Identity,
7 Culture as a way-of-life describes the adaption to external conditions of a bounded social group that is passed down from one generation to the next (Eisenhart, 2001, p.210), and is used in anthropological discourse side by side with more recent conceptions that do not determine culture in such rigid geographic and social boundaries. Nowadays most social groups are less isolated and their way-of-life is influenced by more than just relatively stable environmental conditions. Also the transmission of knowledge became more diversified, so that the old view of culture seems to static to fit into nowadays global discourses. Nonetheless, it remains useful for the description of local perspectives. 8 The study analyses the cultural production and circulation of meaning in a cycle of cultural processes forming around a material object, namely the Sony Walkman (Sony and Walkman are registered trademarks of the Sony Corporation) that was invented in the late 1980s and had considerable impact on 'modern society'.


Production, Consumption and Regulation [emphasis in original]" "through which any analysis of a cultural text or artifact must pass if it is to be adequately studied" (Du Gay and Hall et al., 1997, p.3). This study will not extensively apply to all of these processes due to the lack of time and the limited scope. In the following, authors' understanding of the production and circulation of meaning will be briefly outlined and the main focus of each of the processes in their 'circuit of culture' will be explained. According to Du Gay and Hall (et al.) meaning cannot arise directly from an object, but is inscribed into the artifact during the afore-mentioned cultural processes. Therefore, "the process of the production and circulation of meaning needs to be studied in its own terms [emphasis in original]" (ibid., p.12). The authors refer to new developments in the study of these processes that emphasize the particular mechanisms by which meaning is produced and circulated "the forms of culture, as opposed to the content" (ibid., p.12). This focus directs "attention to the communication process itself and the medium in which meaning is constructed i.e. language [emphasis in original]" (ibid., p.13). Social practices can be understood as 'signifying practices', as organized around and constantly producing meaning. Therefore they are closely related to any system of representation, allowing to use "signs and symbols to represent or re-present whatever exists in the world in terms of a meaningful concept, image or idea" (ibid., p.13). In this prspective, the introduction of a new medium establishes new practices of signifying and may bring about entirely new significations. In addition, any material object is situated in different practices, it is used in certain ways and thus given significance, meaning and value in cultural life. In this way it can be appropriated to an existing culture, expanding its meaning and value (ibid., p.17). Like the 'Sony Walkman', the XO laptop can be understood as a cultural object, because it can be constituted as 'a meaningful object'. Furthermore it "connects with a distinct set of social practices" and is "associated with certain kinds of people", as well as with "certain places", as it "has been given or acquired a social profile or identity" [all emphases in original] (ibid., p.10f). Finally, it also appears in and is 'represented' by the "visual languages and media of communication" (ibid.) on a global scale. Considering the five intertwined processes presented by Du Gay and Hall (et al.), the first three processes through which the artifact obtains meaning, namely 'representation', 'identity' and 'production' are primarily concerned with the production of meaning by producers, which, in the purpose of this study would be the OLPC 11

foundation, as well as the Peruvian Ministry of Education. It can be analyzed how the XO laptop is being represented, especially in advertisement and the global public discourse. Chapters 3 and 4 will especially address the processes of representation in the global and national discourses. Intertwined with these representations is a certain identity of users9 that is also communicated and produced in public discourses. An important question concerning this identity is: What kind of users do designers and policy makers produce and how does this 'pre-configuration' of the user influence the utilization of the laptop? In other words, this study will attempt to show that there is a disconnect between the perspective that many local teachers have on rural children, and the view of laptop designers as well as Peruvian policy makers. The process of production is also related to the representations and identities associated with the object and covers insights on how the artifact is produced technically, as well as culturally by its producers. Unfortunately, these processes of production cannot be thoroughly analyzed as part of the present study. 10

Figure 2: The circuit of culture.

This study aims to emphasize the consumption and regulation of the XO laptop in
9 The role of users in design has been analyzed for example by Oudshoorn (et al., 2004), especially with view on Information and Communication Technologies, stressing concepts like 'user-centered-design' and bringing forward constrains in the development of technologies "that aim to reach users in all their diversity" (Oudshoorn et al., 2004, p. 30). From this analysis a perspective was obtained on how users are being shaped or 'configurated' during the design process, and how the identity of designers plays a vital role in this process. 10 An analysis of the production and representation processes has been carried out in two theses by YaYin Ko (2009) and Sarah Funk (2009) that analyze the discourses, which dominated the production and representation of the XO laptop. These two papers will be especially referred to as they provide numerous points of reference.


schools as well as the local, regional and national context. Du Gay and Hall (et al.) describe a cycle of commodification and appropriation that marks the process of consumption.11 It can be understood as a dialogue through which meanings are produced. Commodification refers to modifications that producers of an object make as a result of user's activities, while appropriation 12 concerns the changes which users may produce in the meaning of the object. Those appropriated meanings can be different to those that were intended by producers (ibid., p.103). It has to be taken into account, however, that the employment of an object like the XO laptop and its introduction in a state education system, will generally be subject to unequal power-relations. Keeping this in mind, questions of cultural regulation can be approached as the last process in the circuit. It is particularly relevant to examine the structures of specific 'classificatory systems', which incorporate the object and provide it with meaning as well. Consequently, it needs to be analyzed how the object is being classified in relation to other elements within the same system, as the meaning of objects is always relational to other objects of the same category (ibid., p.116). To find out more about its specific meaning, 'classificatory systems' will be outlined that classify the XO laptop in comparison to other objects, and in turn make it a 'certain kind of thing'. 13

The cultural production of the educated person.

"[...] schools provide each generation with social and symbolic sites where new relations, new representations, and new knowledges can be formed, sometimes against, sometimes tangential to, sometimes coincident with, the interests of those holding power." (Levison et al., 1996, p.22) "Ironically, schooled knowledges and disciplines may, while offering certain freedoms and opportunities, at the same time further draw students into dominant projects of nationalism and capitalist labor formation, or bind them even more tightly to systems of class, gender, and race inequality." (Levison et al., 1996, p.1)

The headline for this section is taken from the title of a book edited by Bradley A. Levison (et al., 1996), which provides critical ethnographies on schooling and local practice. Many of the authors of this book focus on 'non-Western' societies and their
11 This study will refer to the consumption of the laptop, in the following, using the term utilization, to emphasize its intentional use as part of a national education policy. 12 In the next part of this chapter a more profound idea of the process of 'appropriation' will be elaborated, which helps in analyzing how teachers and students utilize the XO laptop, once it has arrived in the schools. 13 According to Appadurai (1986), commodities are objects that hold value for individuals or groups. There are many different types of value, apart from economic, or exchange value, which can be ascribed to objects. The production of commodities is also a cultural and cognitive process, wherein commodities must not only be produced materially as things, but also culturally marked as being a certain kind of thing (Appadurai, 1986, p.64).


struggle with 'modern schooling'. The studies are based on local and ethnographic research and point out culturally specific and relative conceptions of the 'educated person', in order to better understand conflicts around different kinds of schooling and education. With an emphasis on a 'local angle' the authors try to find out, for example, how concepts of the 'educated person' are produced and negotiated between state discourses and local practices (Levison and Holland, 1996, p.18), linking local and comparative perspectives. This point of view is significant for the present research, which is dealing with local state-schools in sometimes very isolated areas, which have to follow a national curriculum and transmit a corpus of competencies and skills that was centrally determined, and is often irrelevant for the local context. This study will describe how local teachers struggle with the divergence between national education models and the local conditions and needs of their students. Furthermore, it will be pointed out that a new understanding of educated and uneducated persons is being formed under the influence and pressure of national preferences that focus on 'modernization' and push for the integration of all citizens into a global 'Information Society'.14 This new 'educated person' must possess computer knowledge to be able to participate not only in the national, but also in the global society and thereby achieve 'development' for the whole nation state. Modern schooling as a fundamental aspect of contemporary state formation has produced a concept of the 'educated person' that challenges previous views and with the rise of the nation state as a political form, schooling became crucial of common cultures (ibid, p.16). As a result of these formation processes schools were promoted to be the only sites where people could acquire relevant knowledge, and as a consequence, other forms of knowledge have increasingly lost relevance. Throughout his work, C.A. Bowers has pointed out how Western thinkers15 have often misvalued what he calls 'cultural ways of knowing' or 'cultural-knowledge systems' (Bowers, 2005a, p.VIII). Bowers' deep concern with the complex ways in which culture influences values, ways of thinking, behaviours, built environments, and human/nature relationships (ibid., p.VII), forms a foundation for his recommendations for educational reforms. He
14 The concept of the 'Information Society' will be referred to in more detail in Chapter 3 and 4. 15 His critique focussed mainly on educational scholars like Dewey and Freire, as well as Piaget whom Bowers accuses of reproducing a Darwinian thinking, misinterpreting the knowledge systems of other cultures in a reductionist way, placing them in a position of cultural backwardness that made it unnecessary to learn about the differences in how children learn. As Bowers especially criticizes 'constructivist' theories of learning, I will come back to his arguments, in my discussion of pedagogical principles underlying the XO laptop, in Chapter 3.


explains that when a person is born into a language community she/he learns to think in terms of the assumptions and categories that have been passed down over generations through the languaging processes of the cultureand these assumptions and categories are the basis of the persons taken-for-granted experiences (Bowers, 2005b, p.10), and thereby unveils the myth of language as a conduit or culturally neutral medium. 16 Major emphasis of his work is put on the 'commons', as what is commonly shared between humans, and between humans and the non-human world, encompassing everything that is not privately owned and that has not been turned into a commodity 17 (Bowers, 2005a p.59). For Bowers, taken for granted 'cultural patterns' can also be called traditions and should not be put in opposition to progress and innovation, as is frequently done, especially in association with 'modern technology' (ibid., p.41). Bowers understands traditions as the historical continuities within a culture, what he calls 'intergenerationally connected culture', that is perpetuated by human beings, undergoes constant change, and is especially vulnerable of being undermined by the development of new traditions, as when it is lost, it cannot be recovered (ibid.). In the Western view, differences in knowledge and value systems are ignored, according to Bowers (Bowers, 2005, p.1). With the disregard of traditional knowledge systems by the dominant Western view, the status of knowledge is constituted as high and lowstatus knowledge:
"High-status knowledge, which is represented as the basis of modernization, includes the assumption that the individual is the basic social unit, the source of intelligence and moral judgment; that literacy and other abstract forms of representation for encoding and communicating knowledge lead to a more rational and progressive mode of being; that change is the expression of progress; that Western science and technology are both culturally neutral and at the same time the highest expression of rational thought; that cultural development is governed by the laws of natural selection whereby the fittest (the more efficient and scientifically based) prevail over the less fit; and that the major challenge is to bring nature under human control and to exploit it in ways that help to expand economic markets." (Bowers, 2005, p.2)
16 This emphasis on the role of language is very important, as this study is dealing with language minorities, who are in danger of loosing their languages and related knowledge systems. The institutionalized education in Peru is predominantly concerned with teaching Spanish as the dominant language. There are numerous projects that strive for 'cultural affirmation', like PRATEC ( Proyecto Andino de Tecnologias Campesinas), a Peruvian NGO that is concerned with the preservation of Andean knowledge. Bowers has published a book together with PRATEC, where he traces language as the source of an ongoing colonization (Bowers, 2002). 17 In addition, Bowers mentions the symbolic systems that are shared in common and are essential to the ability of different human communities to sustain and renew themselves. Those symbolic systems include a wide variety of technological systems, spoken and written language, narratives that are the basis of the community's moral codes and the self-identity of its members, and the knowledge and aesthetic sensitivities that influence the community's approaches to food, music, and the other arts, ceremonies, and leisure activities (Bowers, 2005a, p.59).


Following Bowers' perspective, one of the research goals for the present study was to encompass local forms of knowledge which have contextual relevance for local people. These 'cultural-knowledge systems' are then to be contrasted with new 'significances' that are produced using the XO laptop, including the different status that is given to these two knowledge systems. One of the analytic approaches suggested by Levison (et al., 1996), as well as Eisenhart (2001) is the 'cultural difference theory',18 and even though this theoretical approach has been contested by scholars like Ogbu (1987), it can still be of value for educational research. The value of this approach for the present study has been that it suggests that all children approach school culture as a kind of 'second culture' (after the home and neighborhood) (Eisenhart, 2001, p.211) and that this culture can be more or less alien to the home culture, making an adaption to the new school culture more or less difficult. The present study intents to take into account the different 'cultural frames of reference' proposed by Ogbu (1995, p.195f), which groups develop toward schooling and which can aid in understanding the school performance of minority groups. During the continuous contact between two different populations, different relations between their cultural frames of reference defined as the "correct or ideal way to behave within the culture" (ibid., p.195) can emerge. These are either similar, different, or oppositional to each other. Especially in situations of collective problems, where one group experiences subordination or other kinds of discrimination that have an impact on individual members of this group, oppositions in the cultural frames of reference can occur.19 Concerning this study, mismatches between school culture, representing the dominant national culture, and local communities will be pointed out. In addition, historical references of how these communities have worked out their relationships and identities in relation to schools will be provided.
18 Cultural difference theory reflected a shift from social class as the central problem of reproduction theory to ethnic difference, for educational anthropologists, especially in the United States. Most of the studies that were conducted as 'microethnographic studies' of classrooms and communities, were concerned with the problems of cultural and ethnic differences in the United States. Ogbu (1987) criticized these approaches for essentializing the cultural repertoires of minority groups and asked for a deeper structural context of cultural production and school failure, which had remained obscure and largely unaddressed (Levison and Holland, 1996, p.8). 19 During the field research I frequently dealt with ethnic minority groups, most of which had experienced a long history of repression of their languages and traditions. Ogbu describes how the "cultural frame of reference of the subordinate group may include attitudes, behaviors, and speech styles that are stigmatized by the dominant group" (Ogbu, 1995, p.196). This can be found frequently in Peru, where members of native language groups are being stigmatized for their accent, speech style, traditional clothing and physical features. They struggle for the survival and recognition of their traditions. The field study focussed on the status of native languages in schools, which was considered an indicator for the status of the native cultures. These topics will be discussed in detail in Chapter 5.


Modern citizen building

Education tends to be associated with "the wider world, social mobility, urbanity and modernity", but it not necessarily leads to better employment opportunities and may create unrealistic expectations (Panelli and Punch et al., 2007, p.5). In their book Global Perspectives on Rural Childhood and Youth (Panelli and Punch et al., 2007) the authors describe how social changes and globalization processes make an impact on young rural lives. For many of the rural youngsters this means a loss or adaption of their traditional lifestyles and an "incorporation of modern behaviours" (ibid., p.5). In her article on Formal Schooling and the Production of Modern Citizens in the Ecuadorian Amazon (1996), Laura Rival describes the resistance of a small group of Amazonian hunters-and-gatherers against state attempts to create 'modern citizens' (Rival, 1996, p.153). She argues that once the school institution has transformed local social relations, pre-school identities can no longer exist (ibid., p.153). In her view state schools are modernizing institutions that distribute a cultural model of what knowledge is and how it should be acquired and determine a fixed standard of what the school institution should offer (ibid., p.163). 20 Helena Norberg-Hodge (2001) argues in an equal manner that education in remote rural areas (in her case the Ladakhi region of India) "isolates children from their culture and from nature, training them instead to become narrow specialists in a Westernized urban environment" (NorbergHodge, 2001, p.159). She further mentions two general problems of "the process called education [emphasis in original]" that can be observed in "every corner of the world today" (ibid.). It is based on a Eurocentric model with its inherent assumptions and focusses on 'universal knowledge', which Norberg-Hodge considers as a synthetic type of knowledge that has no connection to the specific ecosystems and cultures (ibid., p.160). Bowers describes the passing on of intergenerational knowledge" as comprising "holistic lessons from one generation to the next, incorporating localized environmental knowledge, social skills, and spiritual values (Bowers, 2001, p.13). Accordingly, Rival considers knowledge as embedded in experience and context and states that cultural continuity requires the continuity of community practices (Rival, 1996, p.164). In her article, the school is understood as creating discontinuity for the local community. In the modern school children learn more than literacy and numeracy
20 In the case of the Huaorani villagers, an Ecuadorian tribe of hunters-and-gatherers, Rival shows how schools remove children from subsistence activities and thereby 'de-skill' them with regard to traditional productive activities. For Rival, the formal school is incompatible with other local 'sites of cultural (re)production' and undermines the continuity of minority identities (Rival, 1996).


skills; they learn to be members of a modern community (ibid., p.164), which means finally to be members of a national society. The push towards mass education and the attempts of Third World elites to deepen the school's effect upon children are the major topics of Bruce Fuller's book Growing-up Modern (1990). He argues that "fragile states21 eagerly try to catch up, faithfully arguing to their people that mass education is the [emphasis in original] effective medicine for social ills and brittle economic growth" (Fuller, 1990, p.xii). Fuller explores the forces that have historically pushed the spread of Western schooling worldwide and explains that the expansion of mass schooling "serves a variety of state interests: reducing the barriers among tribes that speak different languages, encouraging economic integration and entry to the wage economy, building individual loyalty to the nation-state rather than to tribal or religious authority, and (allegedly) boosting economic productivity and growth" (ibid., p.3). In Peru, the ambition for 'modern citizen building' is being imposed especially on rural schools. It will be shown in this study what kind of knowledge is being offered at those schools and how 'modern Peruvians' are to be formed as part of a national identity creation. This involves the introduction of the XO laptop in recent years and thereby amplifies certain experiences and forms of knowledge, and marginalizes others. The introduction of laptops, as 'modernizing devices' in Peruvian rural schools will be explored as it influences people's perception of the children's future possibilities and creates desires and expectations that are in many cases unrealistic.

Cultural appropriation
Elsie Rockwell (1996) introduces the concept of 'appropriation' to the discussion of schooling as a cultural process. She suggests that appropriation of cultural meanings and practices can occur in several directions 22 (Rockwell, 1996, p.302). This cultural appropriation conveys a sense of the active/transformative nature of human agency, and the constraining/enabling character of culture. Furthermore it alludes to the sort
21 The concept of the fragile state is used by Fuller to describe a "version of the Western state" where "nationalist leaders within young polities must to advance their own legitimacy construct modernlooking institutions" (Fuller, 1990, p.xiii). He characterizes fragile states as showing a highly constrained credibility, because of their limited fiscal and organizational resources. One of the problems he mentions is that popular expectations "that secular leaders will transform society, bringing modern progress [emphasis in original]" are rising (ibid., p.xiii). 22 Rockwell draws a difference to appropriation in the economic cycle of production and reproduction, where the concept is understood as unidirectional appropriation of surplus value in capitalist production (Rockwell, 1996, p.302).


of culture embedded in everyday life in objects, tools, practices, words and the like, as they are experienced by persons (ibid., p.302). In this sense one can say that people appropriate available cultural resources, by selecting and taking possession of them, and by using them in multiple ways and with diverse understandings. Rockwell refers to Chartier, who locates cultural appropriation within the social conflicts over [the] 'classification, hierarchization and consecration or disqualification' of cultural goods (Chartier cited in Rockwell, 1996, p.302). Rockwell proposes to use the concept of appropriation in the study of schooling. She is especially concerned with the different ways in which common cultural sets are appropriated, by transforming, reformulating, or exceeding them within particular social situations (Rockwell, 1996, p.302). Rockwell shows how the appropriation of teaching under local circumstances can reflect back to federal programs23 and may eventually change the notion of the 'educated person'.

Technology as a cultural environment.

"I think media are so powerful they swallow cultures. I think of them as invisible environments which surround and destroy old environments. Sensitivity to problems of culture conflict and conquest becomes meaningless here, for media play no favorites: they conquer all cultures." (Carpenter, 1972, p.191) "New technologies alter the structure of our interests: the things we think about. They alter the character of our symbols: the things we think with. And they alter the nature of community: the area in which thoughts develop." (Postman, 1992, p.20)

There are many authors writing about the impact of media and technology 24 on cultures, and especially about the 'new' Information and Communication Technologies (ICT), of which several provide critical perspectives. In the 1970s a paradigm shift began, in that technological determinism, which used to be the blueprint to understand socioeconomic change in industrialized countries, was abandoned by many researchers, who started to understand technological development as a social process (Dierkes and Hoffmann, 1992, p.17). Edmund Carpenter,25 one of the pioneers in anthropology, who was
23 In her study of rural schooling in Mexico, Rockwell examines the appropriation of teaching in terms of how teachers changed their teaching methodology, thereby adapted to local conditions and how the federal school program drew on these experiences and molded their practice to village resources and preferences (Rockwell, 1996, p.311). 24 It might be criticized here, that media and technology, which need not be considered as two very distinct categories, are being mixed up. A more particular understanding of the XO laptop as a technological tool and a medium will be developed at the end of this chapter. At this point the presentation of arguments starts with a more general examination to give an overview of how different authors interpret the impact that media and technological artifacts can have on culture. 25 Carpenter did not only theorize about the use of 'electronic media' like film, photography, and radio, but also used them frequently, for example during his field studies. Together with Marshall McLuhan and Northrop Frye, he was a leading figure in the so called Toronto School, where modern


concerned with the cultural impact of media, viewed media with great distrust, because people perceived them as neutral tools, that just needed to be used 'humanely' (Carpenter, 1972, p.170f). In his book Oh, What a Blow that Phantom gave me! (1972), he warned against underestimating the trauma that any new technology produces, especially any new communications technology (ibid., p.122). One quite impressive example of Carpenter's work, portraying the profound impact that media could have on native cultures, was a participatory film project which he and his colleges produced in the Middle Sepik (New Guinea). Carpenter writes that the film (Appendix 1: Video) threatened to replace a ceremony hundreds, perhaps thousands, of years old,

Figure 3: Video Still, Initiation in Kandangan village.

because by watching themselves with the detachment of an observer, the villagers came to know their ceremony, themselves, and by an extension their entire society in a way that changed them forever (ibid., 124f). Visual media, in his point of view, first allow one to see oneself in isolation and thereby detached from the engulfing web of society & environment, before they proceed to bind and imprison us in new environments, namely themselves (ibid., p.147f). Carpenter's understanding of 'technology as environment' was shared by other scholars, like Neil Postman (1992), who warned that the uncontrolled growth of technology destroys the vital sources of our humanity26 (Postman, 1992, p.xii). In his lecture Technology and Society (1998)
communication studies were developed. As a pioneer in the field of visual anthropology, he drew from his experiences and observations, addressing especially visual media, and arrived at the conclusion that media do not only preserve and present what had been recorded (on film and tape), but mainly distract the observer and can be used for human control (Carpenter, 1972, p.168ff). 26 Postman opens up a dichotomy between technology and 'everybody else' and illustrates several impacts that new technologies have on culture, like adding thousands of new words to languages, and modifying and redefining old ones, or creating new 'knowledge monopolies' and associated elite groups. His Technopoly critique predominantly applies to the United States, but some general ideas and concerns of his approach can be transferred to other societies, especially considering the fact that the USA bestow 'development aid' upon many countries, which includes providing technology as well as the corresponding knowledge and belief systems.


Postman criticizes Nicholas Negroponte 27 for only being concerned with amplifying people's adaption to the 'technological future' that he foresees, instead of reflecting on the psychic and social meaning of such adaption (Appendix 2: Video: Postman, 1998, min 7:30). As opposed to Negroponte, Postman is concerned with how we may become different by using technology. It is this perspective that will be taken into account in this paper, although I do not agree with all of Postman's arguments. 28 He proposes an 'ecological' view on technological change, stating that one significant change [in a given environment] generates total change (Postman, 1992, p.18). In the case of the XO laptop this would mean that the rural school, conceived as a given environment, will be completely different with the occurrence of such a significant change, like the introduction of laptops. The quote by Postman at the beginning of this subchapter, summarizes the intriguing ambiguity relating to the social impact of technologies such as the XO laptop. It implies that with the laptop, children's interests, the available symbolic systems, as well as the nature of their community changes and becomes irretrievably different from those of their surroundings.

The mediological approach

"Human beings have always transmitted their beliefs, values, and doctrines from place to place, generation to generation. How, by what strategies, and under what constraints do they persist in doing so?" (Debray, 2000, p.vii)

With the concept of 'mediology', as proposed by Rgis Debray, this examination will move beyond Postman's dichotomy of culture versus technology. 29 Debray seeks to "destroy the wall that separates technology, until now experienced in Western tradition as anticulture, and culture, experienced as antitechnology" (Irvine, 1999, p.32). Even though the kind of research that Debray conducts is historical and in that sense very different from the here presented approach, which seeks to give an analysis of current developments and uses data that was gathered during a field study, it is still possible to transfer some of his ideas to broaden the scope of the present analysis. Debray proposes
27 Negroponte is one of the founders, chairman, and public spokes-person of the One Laptop per Child Foundation (OLPCF). 28 Postman's assumption that a technology must always be the solution to a present problem, cannot generally be applied in today's world. In 1998 he questioned the usefulness of the 'information superhighway', which is nowadays known as the internet and does much more than, as highlighted by Postman, solve the problem of access to 'a thousand TV stations' (Appendix 3: Video: Postman, 1998, min 2:12). One of the important claims he makes though, is that new technologies foster "serious social, intellectual, and institutional crises" (Postman, 1992, p.19). 29 Other authors, like Harris and Taylor (2005) have also come to break down the border between the technological, or material and the social or cultural, referring for example to Latour's concept of 'techno-cultural hybrids' (Harris and Taylor, 2005, p.3). Unfortunately I will not be able to present their arguments in this paper.


two different research programs that he relates to the mediological perspective. The first one is "asking by which networks of transmission and forms of organization a given cultural legacy was constituted" (Debray, 1996, p.99), while the second one interrogates "how the appearance of a new system or equipment modifies an institution, an established theory, or precodified practice" (ibid., p.99). In general, the goal of his research has been to determine correlations between "the symbolic activities of a human group (religion, ideology, literature, art, etc.), its forms of organization, and its mode of grasping and archiving traces and putting them into circulation" (ibid., p.11). Transferring this approach to the present research project implies following the second research program and find out how educational institutions in the Peruvian countryside are being modified with the appearance of a new equipment, namely the XO laptop. In the following, some important concepts that Debray elaborates for the study of a medium, or "system of apparatus-support-procedure [emphasis in original]" (ibid., p.13) as he calls it, will be introduced. First of all it needs to be mentioned that Debray assigns four senses to the medium in the transmission of a message, which consist of: 1. a "general procedure of symbolizing", 2. a "social code of communication", 3. a "supporting material system or surface for receiving an inscription or archiving", and 4. a "recording device paired with a certain distribution network" [all emphases in original] (ibid., p.13). Considering the XO laptop as the constitutive element of an emerging 'new medium', it will then be asked what kind of messages are being transmitted, how they are being encoded and decoded, and what kind of distribution network is supporting the use of this device. The process of transmission takes a central role in Debray's analysis, especially when it comes to understanding the prolonging of a cultural legacy. He radically distinguishes between transmission and communication. Transmission is described as a "violent collective process" putting into play systems of authority and relations of domination (ibid., p. 45), while the act of communication is interpersonal and "comes after the battle, placing itself at the terminus of a process it grasps by its end [emphases in 22

original] once the line has been installed, once the message has been formed as such and the code agreed by convention or institution between the partners" (ibid., p.48). For Debray there is no innocent medium and no painless transmission, because every "transmission is a combat, against noise, against inertia, against the other transmitters, and even especially against the addressees" (ibid., p.45). To transmit means to organize, to hierarchize, to exclude and to subordinate, bringing with it institutional relations of inequality. In the process of transmission institutions like the school play a major role as "intermediate bodies and institutions of knowledge" (ibid., p.6). When thinking about the introduction of new media, the school is in a special position, because of its "attachment to the past" as part of its very function (Debray, 2000, p.17). The school needs to prolong the cultural legacy of the past and at the same time prepare students for the future, which means among other things, to normalize innovations. Here it needs to be mentioned that the tools which are used in the classroom are not neutral nor passive, but deeply influence the contents as well as the methods of teaching and learning, because the contents of bodies of learning are not indifferent to the mechanisms of transmission and the methods they bring about" (Debray, 1996, p.121). Assuming that there do emerge 'mediological revolutions' which may unsettle and disturb the present systems of 'apparatus-support-procedure', it needs to be analyzed what effects such a revolution can have and how it can be characterized as a revolution to begin with. Debray states that a "mediological revolution does not fundamentally affect the extant linguistic codes [], no more than it abolishes the other modes of transmission", but it rather overturns "the symbolic status and social reach" of mediological practices (Debray, 1996, p.13). 30 Furthermore, he points out that mediological revolutions seem to crystallize around a certain apparatus, which he calls a "fetish", a sacred tool (Debray, 1996, p.30), a "miracle tool" or a "mediabolical organ" (ibid., p.176, glossary). A 'mediological revolution' would consequently evolve when a certain tool, together with its symbolizing procedures, social codes, support systems, and distribution networks alters the status, meaning, and social reach of the present modes of transmission. Moreover it can create new forms and procedures of communication that may become dominant. The present analysis will be concerned with how the symbolic status and social reach of
30 Debray exemplifies these processes by illustrating the effects of the invention of the printing press, presenting it as the outstanding example of a 'mediological revolution', and draws conclusions from observable changes that this revolution brought with it.


using a computer is being reappraised and uprated with the introduction of the XO laptop which can be considered a 'miracle tool' and is destined to induce a revolution that shall take the whole country of Peru to the 'Information Age'. 31 Another point that seems very important considering Debray's comprehension of the influence of media, is the importance he appoints to the community in the process of transmission:
"[...] in order to bring off transmission across time, to perpetuate [emphasis in original] meaning, in my capacity as emitting Everyman I must both render messages material and convince others to form into a group. Only working on dual fronts to create what will be memorable by shaping those devoted to it can elaborate the milieu for transmission." (Debray, 2000, p.10)

Thus, the community chooses what will be inherited, and without a community there cannot be any transmission. Community is again coupled with communication, 32 so that one can say that in order to transmit a message one needs to open up ways for this message to reach others and one needs to persuade these others to receive and decode the message. That is where institutions, such as the school come into play as they structure the social locus in the guise of collective organized units, devices for filtering out the noise, and totalities that endure and transcend their members of the moment and reproduce themselves over time under certain conditions (ibid., p.12). These institutions do not only transmit messages, but constantly revise, censor, interpret and diffuse them. The process of transmission refers to both, the institutional level as illustrated above, as well as the material level. The material level is organized around the manufacturing of consultable stores of externalized memory through available technologies for inscribing, conserving, inventorying, and distributing the recorded traces of cultural expression (ibid., p.11f). For this study the interaction between the XO laptop, which can be defined as the 'consultable store of memory', and the rural public school as the local institutional level will be explored and interpreted. A medium that focusses especially on the young generation and is structured by schools and educational politics, on the institutional level, brings with it a crisis for this generation. Debray describes such crisis as follows:
31 In Chapter 4 will be explained in more detail how a 'mediological revolution' is being constructed around the XO laptop, which takes the function of a 'mediabolical organ' and shall unfold a great potential that is being projected to the emerging of the 'Information Age'. This shall solve various problems, economical and social alike. 32 Communication is itself characterized by various instruments. Debray distinguishes between the semiotic mode, or the type of sign that is being used, the form of distribution, broadcasting or channeling, the material base, and the means of transportation of a message (Debray, 2000, p.12).


"[...] the dynamics of technologies of the intellect widen the furrows between the inherited paradigms of earlier tools and the solicitations and demands of more recent machines. A person will therefore feel divided between the symbolic culture he receives from his history and the technological culture of the present moment, between what he calls values, on the one side, and norms, on the other. An uneasiness, confusion or 'crisis' arises within us when automatisms of different ages become superimposed." (Debray, 1996, p.117)

One goal of this research was to tap into this furrow and find the traces of symbolic culture and ancient heritage, which still maintain their relevance in the everyday lives of Peruvian villagers, especially in the Andean regions, and contrast those with the new paradigms and norms which the new 'miracle tool' brings under the administration of centralized educational politics and the development efforts of outsiders. In Chapter 3 the term 'development' which is frequently being used in the discussion around OLPC, will be more explicitly discussed.

The globalization of technology

The OLPC project is a global project that offers its 'children-machine' especially to those countries of the so called developing world 33 and thereby operates on a global scale. It can be viewed as an example of the global dissemination of technology and is outstanding in its promises and marketing. 34 Like many other authors,35 Debray cautions against a tendency towards globalization that comes with the global diffusion of technology:
"[...] the new technologies of images, sounds, and signs do more than modify the norms that sway audiences, influence consumption, and control the recording and storage of traces, data bases, and memories. They tend to globalize one sole political economy of videospheric consciousness that risks fostering harsh conditions for those who deviate from or disturb its status quo." (Debray, 1996, p.126)36
33 Instead of using the term 'developing world', Panelli and Punch (et al., 2007) propose the term 'majority world', because it acknowledges the majority of population, land mass and lifestyles that the concerned countries hold and shifts the focus to their issues instead of privileging 'Western' worldviews. For the present study the term 'developing world' will be mainly used as it typically appears in discourses around OLPC. 34 The promises and marketing strategy of the OLPC project will be discussed in Chapter 3. 35 At this point there shall be mentioned only a few, like Keniston (2003) who asks if the cultures of India can survive the information age and describes the power of a 'global monoculture' that is characterized for example by the hegemony of the English language and the spreading of 'American' values. He points out a de facto imperialism as a threat to cultural diversity and local languages in particular, and suggests a market for localization. Goldsmith and Mander (2001) warn against the 'rush towards globalization' that is portrayed as unfailingly positive by leading advocates, but spreads disintegration of the social order and the increase of poverty, landlessness, homelessness, violence, alienation, anxiety about the future, and the near breakdown of the natural world, instead of bringing 'trickling down' benefits for all. 36 To shortly explain Debray's 'videosphere' I want to mention a few of the characteristics that he assigns to this category, like individualism, a consumer identity of the individual, a domination of the visible,


Debray points to how the "effective functions of the tool, as well as the ulterior imperial motives of the operators, are all absorbed and concealed by the tool's potential, abstract deployments" (Debray, 2000, p.25) and demands for an ethic of technology. Regarding this demand it needs to be considered that under the present circumstances, where the driving force behind many such initiatives like OLPC is the hope for economic development,37 there seems to be little effort of a comprehensive evaluation and formation of political regulation for technological systems. Mander (2001) explicitly mentions the 'political drift of modern technologies' that are still being viewed as neutral tools with the only matter which is widely considered being the access to those technologies. He warns against the passivity with which 'revolutionary' new technologies are being accepted by society, "without any systematic consideration of the social and political changes they bring with them" (Mander, 2001, p.45). There is a great corpus of literature on technology and globalization, but at this point there is no space for a conclusive examination concerning these topics. Ramos (2003) describes technology as "a global force that poses effects upon political, social, ethical, and environmental" issues and mediates a "chronic intensification of patterns of interconnectedness" together with global communications (Ramos, 2003, p.1). Bowers, who is also a vehement critique of the globalization of a consumer and technology dependent lifestyle, which he traces down to an ideology that explains cultural domination as the outcome of natural selection, writes:
"In today's world, arguments for globalizing a consumer/technology dependent lifestyle, the right of the WTO to nullify the process of democratic decision making at all levels of government, and the right of corporations to destroy the economic basis of local communities and the resource base of Third World cultures, can all be justified on the grounds that the basic life forming processes are being expressed when the strong (the fittest) displace the weak (the unfit)." (Bowers, 2003, p.9)

The goal of my research was to find a way to describe some effects of global media, which I understand with Debray as comprised of the technology together with its procedures and codes of communication, and distribution networks, on a local scale. With this work I want to present a local perspective on these media that takes into account impacts on the local context which I do not conceptualize in economic terms, but with a culturally sensitive view.
simulation as the principle of efficacy, and manipulation as the means of making authority be ceded (Debray, 1996, p.171ff, mediological tables). 37 This is what I interpret to be the driving force behind the OLPC initiative in Peru. I will explain in further detail in Chapter 4 how the Peruvian government promotes this large-scale project in its most marginalized and remote countryside under the buzzword of development.


Chapter 2: Fieldwork in Search of Education and Digital Media.

This chapter provides an overview of the research phase, including methods that were used to collect data in the field, problems and obstacles, and the process of analyzing the data. In particular, the chapter will provide an insight into the research process.

First encounter with the XO Laptop

When I started researching OLPC in 2009 there were hardly any scholarly articles or publications. The articles that I found then did not go beyond descriptions of the 'children's laptop' in technical terms. Most deployment programs were still in their pilot phases, so that there was little information about what was actually happening in the field. In preparation of the research I borrowed an XO laptop and tested it beforehand. I documented my experience with learning how to use it, trying to imagine what it would feel like to someone who has never seen or used this kind of device. This little experiment already revealed great limitations. One limitation was that it was difficult for me to forget my prior knowledge of and experience with technical devices. 38 Some of the programs (Turtle-arts, eToys, Scratch, Phyton) were quite complicated, working with different programming languages that I was unfamiliar with. This raised doubts about if and how these programs would be used in class and if it would really, like the OLPC idea implies, enable children to understand learning itself.

Before going into the field, I prepared the field study following the model of traditional ethnographic field work.39 As Hnersdorf et al. (2008) have noted, the disciplines of ethnography and pedagogy have been 'discovering each other', meaning that ethnographic methods are used for educational research more and more frequently. Wallen and Fraenkel point out in their practical guide to Educational Research (2001), that ethnographic research tries to obtain a holistic picture of its research subject and puts its "emphasis on documenting or portraying the everyday experiences of
38 I do not consider myself a true 'digital native' (Prensky: 2001), as I can remember days without computers, where my family did not even have a landline telephone. I became, however, very accustomed to using all kinds of technical devices. 39 For me the 'traditional fieldwork' was going to be 'long-term participant observation' following the model of pioneers like Malinowski. I planned on staying in a single school in one particular village to explore how the introduction of the laptops influenced the processes of learning in and outside of the school, and to get into close contact with the surroundings. It needs to be added though that this very important method is by no means the only method in anthropology (Bernard, 2000, p.10).


individuals by observing and interviewing them and relevant others" (Wallen and Fraenkel, 2001, p.469). The strategy of ethnographic research is generally flexible, so that methods can be adapted to the circumstances in the field (Lders, 2010, p.384). I chose to start with an open and very general research question: What is the impact of the introduction of the XO laptop on the local community and on the institution of the school? During the preparation phase I adopted a dual research focus. On the one hand I looked at the processes of education and how they could be observed and documented. On the other hand I concentrated on the technological object that was introduced into these processes of education. The integration of a technological object into the social realm can be analyzed using the research scheme which has been proposed by Du Gay and Hall et al. (1997) and, which I have explained in Chapter 1. During the visits to various villages, I was especially concerned with the processes of consumption and regulation of this object. I hoped to be able to observe the consumption and utilization of the XO laptops and to add information by interviewing the various actors which I imagined to be teachers, students, as well as parents and other villagers. Upon arrival in the field,40 I realized that it was very difficult to get in contact with villagers so that I changed the initial research design and concentrated mainly on the teachers as informants. Further to this, I conducted several interviews with officials and experts, working in different positions within the education system on the national, regional and local level. These interviews can be considered statements of 'relevant others', who were able to explain the source of many problems and clarify connections between local, regional, and national changes and challenges. My research focussed particularly on certain aspects of the reality as I encountered it in the field. My own 'others'41 in the field were the XO laptops and their users. Thus, the main research focus was on the material object itself and on how it was being used and situated in everyday life. The perspective and perception of the users were of major interest to me. As the laptops were introduced into the education system, another focus of my research was the analysis of this system, its structure, challenges and struggles, as well as the significance that different actors attributed to the laptops within this system.
40 In the third part of this Chapter I will explain this process of adapting the research methods to the circumstances that I found in the field. 41 The 'other' as a category, which distinguishes it from the 'self', in this case the researcher, has been critically discussed by many scholars and was historically traced back within the anthropological tradition for example by Pandian and Parman (2004). Determining the laptops as actors in the field, alludes to the ideas of Actor-Network theorists, which I do not want to refer to directly, as the basis of this research basically resides in other theories, regarding the laptop as a cultural artifact.


To analyze the way in which people conceptualize education and knowledge, I searched for a more specialized method and found the study of 'cultural domains' to be an interesting approach. Cultural domain analysis is a form of structured interviewing and studies how people structure and categorize certain subjects. Schnegg and Lang (2008) define cultural domains as cultural knowledge about a confined part of reality, and point out that this knowledge has a certain structure in itself (Schnegg and Lang, 2008, p.5). To find out about these structures, free lists are used, asking informants to name a number of items that belong to a set of observable or conceptual things (Bernard, 2002, p.399). In the context of this study, the cultural domain which I aimed to explore was the knowledge about education, or knowledge about knowledge. 42

Arriving in the field

I started my journey in Lima, the huge and chaotic capital city of Peru that economically and politically dominates the rest of the country. There I met the responsible persons, who were sending the XO laptops to the remotest and poorest communities of their country. The General Department for Educational Technologies (DIGETE), is commissioned to organize and monitor all government projects and programs involving technologies in education. It took several visits to the Ministry of Education to get some of the required information so that the preparation of the rest of the journey took nearly two month.43 DIGETE provided me with information about the schools that had received laptops so far and helped me in contacting other institutions like the Catholic University in Lima. In connection with a non-governmental institution called Escuelab,44 I met several Peruvian and foreign volunteers and learned about their experiences. As regards planning of the actual visits in the field, DIGETE was less able to help me, since the further away from Lima one goes, the less information seems to
42 After the first exploratory phase, I formulated four different questions that aimed at finding out about what knowledge and skills children needed to learn in schools, what knowledge they would need in their everyday lives in the countryside, and what they needed to know if they choose to leave the countryside and move to a city. The last question was concerned with more local and implicit knowledge about the traditions of the place and their culture (as shared the way-of-life of their surroundings) and asked where the children acquired this specific local knowledge. Later, I added a fifth question, asking as what kind of 'thing' the interviewees perceived the XO laptop. The questions are attached as Appendix 4 (Cultural Domain: questions). 43 One of the reasons why I stayed in Lima for so long was because I wanted to visit a training course for teachers, which was delayed several times. Luckily, I found other opportunities to learn about teacher trainings later. 44 The Escuelab (, accessed 04-09-2012) is an institution that combines art with technology and social causes and has a residence program for young south-american artists. They also experimented with the XO laptops and helped me a lot by providing free accommodation and access to their equipment.


arrive. In the end, I found much of the official information to be outdated or even wrong and worked with local informants to find out when and how to get to places. Prior to the field trip I had established contacts in Puno over the internet, which fortunately was available in all bigger cities, so that I could communicate with people.

Changing the research plan

During the first period in Lima I also had the chance to visit the pilot school where the XO laptops had been tested in 2007. The village of Arahuay is situated about 70 kilometers north-east of Lima in the mountains at around 2300 meters altitude and had been visited by several foreign visitors in the context of the XO laptop. 45 When the laptops were tested in 2007, several Ministry staff accompanied the classes together with an OLPC learning consultant, who reported about the pilot project (Gomez Monroy: 2007). During the pilot phase, a team of seven provided pedagogical and technical support to the three primary school teachers that were involved. The educational coordinator of DIGETE, who escorted me and the other visitors to the school, had formerly been one of the pilot teachers. During this visit and through conversations with teachers and children I realized that I needed to visit as many schools as possible, because the teaching and learning reality in the classrooms seemed to depend to a great extend on the individual teachers, their skills and interest in using the laptops. The implementation strategy in Peru consists in essentially letting the teachers find out themselves how and when to use the laptops in class. 46 Consequently I found that in order to present a valuable account of the local impact, I would have to visit a greater number of schools.

Research phase
I chose the Puno region, which is situated on the Andean plateau in the south of Peru, for the first field research phase. With the assistance of a local teacher in the town, who had dedicated herself to supporting the project, 47 I found another teacher to accompany
45 There are different reports about the OLPC project in Arahuay, because it is like the model school and close enough to the city of Lima to be visited in a days journey. It has been visited by Ivan Krsti and Walter Bender, from OLPC, and other external visitors like Julio Real Garcia, a Spanish professor from Madrid, who was exchange professor in Lima. I coincidentally went to the University just one day before his trip to Arahuay and was invited to join. I had the feeling that there must have been many more visitors, because the children reacted as if they were already accustomed to the situation of being watched, filmed and photographed by foreign strangers (Appendix 5, Field note: 13.04.2010). 46 I was told several times that when pressing the teachers to use the laptops, they would reject it. More on implementation procedures and support in Chapter 4 and 5. 47 She wrote a guidebook about the Sugar software (Salas Pilco: 2009) that includes examples on how to


me on my first trip to the district of Moho. There I based myself in the district capital, a small town near the lake Titicaca, and undertook field visits to schools, which I could reach from there.48 It was quite difficult to get to the very remote places, mostly because there was no transportation and I could not stay in any of the small villages and therefore had to return to Moho every day. Many of the teachers who were working in these villages also lived in the town of Moho, so that I could quite easily get in contact with them.49 During the school visits I mainly observed the classes, documented activities in class, using video and photography and made handwritten notes. For the interviews with teachers I had prepared a guideline, but depending on my interview partners I kept it more or less open and changed the arrangement of questions to enable a more natural conversational situation.50 One of the most important questions that I asked to all of my informants and that provided a very useful starting point for the analysis was the question: What kind of education do the children need in the countryside? At the end of each interview I asked the free list questions and noted down the lists of items. In most of the schools I also worked with the children and asked them, for example what they felt they were learning in school. 51 Thus, I acquired a list of items that could be compared to the lists of the teachers. Throughout the whole study I kept a field diary, noting conversations and situations as well as additional information acquired in different libraries. This diary also helped me reflect my methods. I found additional key informants in three teachers that worked in several schools as accompanying teachers,
use the software in class. 48 I am aware that for this reason I might not e able to provide a complete summary of the situation in the countryside. Researchers call it the tarmac bias, meaning that the sample includes only locations that are easily accessible from the road. But as you can see in the map of locations (, last edited 05-02-2012), I visited several schools that can be considered far away from main roads and towns. 49 After a while I was known in town and people provided me with several contacts, pointing out that there were some teachers living nearby. One of the best places for me to make contacts was the local copy-shop (that used to have internet the previous year, but while I was in town the network never worked) where teachers printed their reports for the Education Ministry. 50 I had tested the guideline with my first informant in Puno and added or left out questions where appropriate, to deepen the subject, or prevent duplications when someone had already mentioned a certain topic during the conversation. The guideline for teacher interviews is attached as Appendix 6. It includes a number of personal information about the interviewees, their education, computer and internet use. Further questions consider the situation in the rural schools in particular, the teachers view of the surroundings and family situation of the children. Finally there are several questions concerning the use of the XO laptops in class, the preparation of teachers in training courses and their personal view of the usefulness and value of the laptops. 51 This kind of group questioning worked out quite well, although in some schools it was influenced by the presence of the teachers who suggested answers or brought the question into a different direction, for example by asking what the children want to be when they finished their education. Still the results can be seen as an expression of the children's view of school and learning.


as part of a program that aimed at intensifying the apprenticeship in the first two school years, the Strategic Program for Reaching the Learning Goals (PELA). Working in several schools, these teachers had a good insight into the situation in different schools. I also talked to a coordinator of PELA, who is also an anthropologist, and provided valuable information about the local traditions. Most of the interviews lasted between half an hour and one hour. After four months in Peru, of which two had been spent in the countryside, I proceeded to the region Madre de Dios, which is situated in the Amazon jungle bordering Brazil and Bolivia. When I visited Puerto Maldonado, the capital of Madre de Dios, I was fortunate to be invited to stay in the house of an artist 52 and public figure who was very concerned with education and most interested in my study. My research focus here was to find out if teachers faced the same problems and to have cases for comparison with the data that I collected in the highlands. In Madre de Dios most of the schools in the countryside are so called 'one-teacher' schools53 with only one teacher, who teaches all grades between one and six in a common classroom and who also has to complete all the administrative work. I encountered the distinct problems that one faces when trying to teach six different grades in one single classroom with up to twenty or more children. I started to copy various materials, like photos, videos, drawings and texts from the laptops, using a USB memory stick, to see what the children were producing. Furthermore I made screenshots of the laptop diaries, 54 which provided an overview of all the activities55 that had been used since the activation of the laptops. After about two month in Madre de Dios, I went back to Puno, to visit some of the schools again, and to see if there were any changes. I had given them materials from DIGETE, like worksheets and the PeruEduca USB portal,56 and wanted to know if these materials had helped the teachers to improve their work with the laptops. When I arrived in Puno, I was introduced to two teachers that were working in other districts of Puno and wanted me to visit their schools as well. One of them was driving around 100 km by
52 Francisco Carrera Gambetta (Pepe) is a sculptural artist and appears in a TV show every evening, discussing the local, regional and national politics and other important events. During the time that I spent in his house the regional government was elected, so that I had a direct insight into Peruvian regional politics. 53 In Puno I had not visited any 'one-teacher' schools, because the district of Moho where I conducted most of the research, has a majority of 'multi-grade' classrooms with two or three teachers per school. 54 The Diary, or Journal is a standard application of the XO laptop that allows to review a list of all the activities that have been used by children. All items, texts, photos etc. are normally saved to the diary as there are no folders in the XO interface. 55 The educational programs that come with the software of the XO laptop are called activities. 56 More information about the materials that the DIGETE provided will be given in Chapter 5.


bus every day to arrive at his school. Upon my return to Moho, I visited the nearest school again, without announcing my arrival in advance. There were no teachers present, and the laptops had been locked into a separate computer-room. When the headmaster arrived he was very angry about my presence and denied me the access to the laptops. As a result I could not obtain any information on how frequently the laptops had been used. During my stay in Moho the national exams were carried out, so that many teachers and students came from the villages. I asked all 'laptop-teachers' to fill out a questionnaire.57 During this research phase I also interviewed several of the parents, using a modified method, which I will describe in the next part of this chapter. In addition to the teachers, I interviewed a regional coordinator of DIGETE, a local specialist for primary education, and an ICT specialist of the Regional Educational Board (DRE). Furthermore, I interviewed the head of the Faculty for Education of the National University of the Altiplano, Puno (UNAP), a linguistics doctoral student at UNAP, and a young woman who works in a project of CARE Peru, a non-governmental organization that is especially concerned with poverty reduction and carries out educational projects that focus on revaluating the local culture and customs. During the time in the field I also had the possibility to visit several teacher training courses of which one was a standardized one-week course from DIGETE. The other courses were organized by the regional and local specialists, or by volunteers and took one or two days. When I finally arrived in Lima again, after six month, I conducted an interview with the head of DIGETE, Mr. Becerra and two staff members of the Department of Primary Education, of which one originated from the district of Moho and was an anthropologist, which made him especially valuable as interviewee. Both of them had been working in other projects, like the Educational Project for Rural Areas (PEAR) that is especially concerned with rural education and multi-grade classrooms. In addition, the second interviewee was a webmaster of the online portal PeruEduca (, accessed 04-09-2012), which provides online-courses for teachers as well as a community platform to enable the exchange of experiences.

Difficulties and obstacles

The contact with the local population was rather difficult for me as I did not speak any
57 A translated questionnaire and the original in Spanish are attached as Appendix 7.


of the local languages and although many people did speak at least a little Spanish, I could not acquire essential information only through short conversations. This challenge had partially been caused by the choice I made in the beginning of the field trip between either staying in one village and getting close to the population and perhaps learning the local language or visiting a higher quantity of villages and relying on Spanish-speaking teachers for most of the information. In all of the schools the parents cook a lunch for the children, so that mostly there were one or two mothers present. My initial attempts to interview them or to ask free list questions, where largely unsuccessful resulting in no response or statements that they did not want to talk or did not have time. Consequently, I needed to develop a different method to gain some information from the parents. After a while I had gathered quite a number of 'cultural domain' free lists from the teachers and decided to use them to develop an interview guideline for the villagers. I decided to use visualizations58 and printed images representing fifteen topics that were named frequently by the teachers and seemed most interesting to me. Then I asked parents to sort them into three piles of most important, less important, and not important. Thereby I defined very concrete topics, which resulted in a useful framework for further conversations. After the sorting I asked additional questions about the items, like why they were more or less important and what this knowledge and skills were useful for. For many of the interviews it was very hard to find an adequate place with a good acoustic, so that many of my recordings feature several background noises like screaming children, street noise, or the atmosphere of a caf, even though I had a clip-on microphone. During the analysis of these recordings there were some points that I could not understand anymore. Another problem that occasionally occurred was the preparation of a sports event or dancing contest that resulted in classes being shortened or canceled, so that I could not observe any teaching. Moreover, Puno is a place where people seem to constantly celebrate and every village has their own holidays, resulting in classes being cut.
58 I mainly used simple line-drawings and images that I found on the internet, and some additional images that I obtained from the material that was given to me by DIGETE to pass it on to teachers. Furthermore I added a photo of a child using the XO laptop to my collection, representing the topic of technology. I did not visualize the two topics creativity and values, so that I had to explain them when people asked about them. All the visualizations are attached as Appendix 8. I am very aware that the choice of images might have influenced the choices of the people, but under the mentioned circumstances I could not find a more neutral way of presenting the items. Especially the photo of the child with the XO laptop might have shaped the peoples decision to name it as more important, because the image is very different from all the others and represents 'modernity' in a very obvious way. Regardless, I found it matching to the idea and image of the Peruvian OLPC project, and how it was represented in the national media.


The role of the researcher

Before I entered the field I had already thought about my role as a researcher and planned on obtaining a very neutral role as an observer. However, most of the teachers introduced me as a teacher possibly because they understood that I studied pedagogy, so in conclusion I must be a teacher. Since I had come with a credential of the Ministry of Education, I had the feeling that some of the teachers were trying to answer my questions 'in the right way', and hesitant to state their own view. I found myself confronted with several problems that were caused by my ambivalent role, as a teacher, a foreigner, and a cooperator with the Ministry of Education. 59 Fortunately some of the teachers were very glad to speak to an outsider about their problems and everyday troubles. Furthermore, I was seen as an expert for the XO laptops, so that many teachers asked me for help, which I could not deny, so that I found myself reactivating laptops, explaining programs and solving other technical problems. In all of the schools where I spent more than one day, I observed the classes asking teachers not to be concerned with me and to proceed with class as planned, even if the class did not involve the use of the laptops. In one school the teachers performed a show-lesson, gathering all the children of the school in a single classroom, to present their teaching to me, and I could not convince them to do their normal lessons.

Figure 4 and 5: Laptop class.

In summary I must admit that the lessons that I observed were often influenced by my own presence, so that I cannot make many clear statements about the routine use of laptops in class from my own observations. Nonetheless, this enables me to illustrate a variety of teaching styles while using the laptops, and includes different ideas about what is good and modern education.
59 These problems of self-representation in interview situations are described for example in the article on interviewing by Harry Hermans (2010).


Regarding the perception of the children, I became subject of one of their lessons when one teacher asked them to take photos of me and write about my visit. When I read the paragraph of one of the children I was very surprised, because he seemed to perceive me as a white woman with blond hair and blue eyes who was two meters tall. Unfortunately I pointed this out, so that the children changed their descriptions, and I became a white woman with brown eyes and brown hair who was still two meters tall. The first description is much more interesting though, as it resembles the stereotype of the white westerner. In all of the schools, the children used their laptops take photos, or record videos of me.

Figure 6: Material downloaded from XO laptop, and Figure 7: Photo downloaded from XO laptop.

As most of the teachers introduced me as a teacher, I felt the obligation to actually teach in classes as well. Children and teachers alike expected me to introduce to them some of the programs of the XO laptops. I have to admit that I was not very well prepared for this task and tried different ways to combine teaching with my research goals. In some classes I asked the children to take photos of their homes, their animals and other things that were important to them. I also asked them to videotape themselves singing traditional songs or performing dances.60 Then, I introduced for example the Chat program which uses the local network that is automatically established by the laptops, or played songs with them in one of the music programs. Furthermore, I let the children sort little papers with the icons of the laptop activities to gain an insight into how they understand the icons. Unfortunately it was difficult to record this data in a way that I could analyze it later and when I talked with the children about their groups of icons they changed them very often, so that I felt I was influencing the outcome too much to
60 Singing and dancing is an integral part of the local traditions in Puno and in some of the schools the children were practicing for competitions.


be able to use it as valuable data. At the beginning of my study I was not fluent in Spanish yet, I had prepared myself taking courses and had practiced a lot during the first two month in Lima, but still I did not understand all the nuances. This is one of the reasons why I found it reasonable to work with semi-structured interviews, as I had a guideline that I could stick to. Furthermore, I could ask 'stupid' questions (Hermanns, 2010, p.364) pointing to my own lack of understanding. During the first phase I gathered basic information and diversified my questions during the second phase. Consequently my interviews became deeper and more open with time, as I could immediately understand all the answers and ask additional questions. The final interviews with teachers as well as officials went into much greater depth and I received answers to many of the open questions that I still had.

The quantity and loss of data

Like many researchers I used a variety of methods and gathered a great number of additional materials. My data includes several hours of video that I filmed during classes, video and audio recordings of interviews, materials that I obtained from the XO laptops, questionnaires that I gave to teachers, a field diary of nearly 60 pages, and other materials that I produced during my work with the children. Unfortunately, my laptop was suffering from viruses because many of the internet cafs that I visited did not have appropriate protection software.61 After a few months it was so slow that my friends in Puno helped me to install Ubuntu (a Linux distribution), which impacted on the use of certain crucial software.62 As a result of these technical problems and because my audiorecorder broke during the last field phase, three entire interviews and parts of another eight were lost. Fortunately, I had mostly recorded audio and video at the same time, and had gathered additional information through questionnaires, so that most of the information could be recovered. Of all the materials that I produced and obtained, the interviews proved to be the most valuable, featuring a great variety of perspectives. I decided to concentrate on these materials together with the cultural domain free lists that represent a more quantitative insight into how people comprehend the field of education and knowledge. These two sets of data could be triangulated most effectively. All the other data would rather build
61 The internet was also too slow to up-date or download an anti-virus program. 62 I had an audio-recorder that needed to install its own windows-based program to transfer the data to the computer. Once I had installed Ubuntu I could no longer use this program, so that I could not back-up the data.


a background and assist in remembering the single schools and situations in the field.

Data analysis
During the field phases I already started translating some of the interviews, because nearly all my interviews were in Spanish. 63 After these first translations and a rough analysis of the themes that appeared (by reading them), the interview questions were reviewed and refined. The personal data of teachers, like sex, age, employment contract (nominated or contracted), computer and internet use, and participation in a training course was collected in a table to see the variety and be able to contextualize the statements (Appendix 10). For in-depth analysis of the material, all the interviews were summarized and translated.64 Central themes of the interviews were coded, 65 using an inductive method (Bernard and Ryan, 2000, p.608) that allows to add new categories and sub-categories where they appear in the material. Then, key phrases were extracted from the answers to the key question: What education do the children need in the countryside? The statements were summarized into five main topics that were used to structure Chapter 5. Starting with the needs of the children as the central theme, the rest of the interviews was searched for themes that link to the five key topics, or provided evidence of conflicts and contradictions. A second phase of coding was concerned with the laptop, and considered all statements about them, including the training of teachers, the perception of problems and advantages. Accordingly, the interviews were analyzed with two different foci, on the one hand the necessities of the children and characteristics of the context, on the other hand the novelties that came with the introduction of the XO laptops. The material concerning the 'cultural domains' was analyzed with a more quantitative focus. Since the statements had been recorded as lists of items, these lists could easily be transformed into tables and visualizations. Instead of presenting all the data in the form of lists (as proposed by Schnegg and Lang, 2008), I wanted to find a more
63 The interview with Mr. Becerra, who was Chief Technologies Officer of DIGETE was conducted in English. 64 These translations summarize the main statements, reducing the material in the way that Mayring (2010) proposes for his content analysis. The translations were done using the transcription software F5 (, accessed 04-09-2012), so that time marks in the documents enable to listen to the original passage again. The passages that were considered most important were translated more accurately, afterwards. 65 The coding was done with the text analysis tool TAMS (, accessed 0409-2012) which allows to analyze the documents according to specific sets, like only teachers or officials, and enables to create summaries for certain codes. The field diary was also coded, searching for additional information.


appealing form of presentation and decided to create so called tag-clouds from the lists. A simple tag-cloud generator (, accessed 04-09-2012) was used to display the single items with varying size of letters according to the frequency, and at the same time display the numerical frequency. This form of presentation is sufficient to represent the frequency and importance of the items, which can be observed with a single glance. The data that was gathered during the interviews with parents represents a so called "pile sorting" (Weller, 2000, p.386) into most important and least important items. This data is presented in the same way, creating one tag-cloud for each pile, to be able to easily compare the data. Summaries of the data are attached as Appendix 21.


Chapter 3: Laptops to All Children

This chapter will provide a general overview of the OLPC initiative and discuss some of the discourses surrounding this initiative that are especially related to educational and development topics. First, the idea of a children's laptop will be traced back to Alan Kay's dynabook and Seymour Papert's theory of constructionist learning. Next, the XO laptop will be presented and a short overview of hard- and software features will be given. Leaving the detailed discussions of technical features aside will allow to concentrate on other issues and present critical perspectives. The OLPC initiative will be examined in the context of development initiatives. The project's main goals, organizational structure and diffusion strategy will be introduced and critically discussed. Throughout the discussion, major emphasis will be placed on how children are defined as users of the XO laptop, and how their identity is being shaped and viewed accordingly by the laptop's producers. In addition, OLPC's alliance with the Open Source Community will be briefly presented as a major source of support for the project. Finally a short review of the summary of project evaluations and assessments that was published by OLPC will be presented, but will not be further analyzed at this point.

The idea of a children's laptop

In 1972, Alan Kay computer scientist, founder of the Viewpoints Research Institute 66 (VPRI) and adjunct professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), presented his idea of a personal computer for children at the Association for Computing Machinery67 (ACM) National Conference in Boston, USA. The 'dynabook' is considered a direct inspiration for the development of the XO laptop. Back in 1972, Kay already found that it has been a tradition to attempt to cure our society's ills through technology (Kay, 1972, p.1) and criticized that the initial problems usually remained. Still, he believes that technological media would amplify learning processes for children, viewing the child as a 'verb' rather than a 'noun', an actor rather than an object (ibid., p.1). He presents children in terms of how they acquire a model of their surrounding, which is analyzed to be practical rather than based in formal logic, and proposes to start from these modes of thought in order to influence rather than replace
66 VPRI (, accessed 02-03-2012) is a non-profit organization that aims to improve 'powerful ideas education'. 67 ACM (, accessed 02-02-2012) is one of the world's largest scientific and educational computing societies.


them. Technology is seen to be a necessary [emphasis in original] constituent for this process any more than is the book, as this imagined technology can be a tool, a toy, a medium of expression, a source of unending pleasure and delight... (ibid. p.1). Kay does not only see technology as superior to books and printing (ibid., p.3), 68 but also cautions about the possible misuse by unenlightened hands (ibid., p.1). The personal computer that he envisions needs to be portable and owned by its user. 69

Figure 8: Two kids sitting in the grass with Dynabooks, and Figure 9: Dynabook.

Kay refers especially to O. K. Moore and Seymour Papert who influenced the notions that led him to the idea of the 'dynabook' in believing that the child is an active agent, a creator and explorer, and is far more capable intellectually than is generally supposed (ibid., p.4).70 Furthermore, he quotes theories of scholars like Piaget and Bruner, concerning early child development and model building, that have become fashionable for researchers in artificial intelligence and (to a certain extent) in education to examine the way children gain their models of the world (ibid., p.3). Kay mentions the idea of
68 This is an interesting statement, as the book is the 'mediabolical organ' of Debray's 'graphosphere' (Debray, 1994, p.171), and with the coming of a new sphere (which was the 'videosphere' in Debray's analysis, but this view can be contested and there could be a new sphere that is characterized by the emergence of digital media and especially the internet) there emerge new 'miracle tools'. With his ''dynabook', Kay envisions such a passage to a new paradigm. He sees books as passive, while his 'dynabook' would be active and therefor more compatible with children who are active themselves. The computer is described as both a medium for containing and expressing arbitrary symbolic notions, and also a collection of useful tools for manipulating these structures, with ways to add new tools to the repertoire (Kay, 1972, p.3). 69 The idea of ownership is deeply incorporated into the idea of the 'dynabook' and the later XO laptop. Kay reasons that the owner of the personal computer will be able to maintain and edit his own files of text and programs when and where he chooses (Kay, 1972, p.6). The issue of child ownership will be discussed again with reference to the five core principles of OLPC. 70 Kay especially points out that children do not generally lack a long attention span, but need to be able to adopt multiple roles that are more engaging than the frequently demanded role of the 'patient listener'. Consequently he sees the need for an environment which allows many perspectives and hence is very much in tune with the differentiating, abstracting and integrative activities of the child (Kay, 1972, p.4). Out of the dynabook concept grew for example Squeak, a programming environment with a graphic interface that comes as Etoys on the XO laptop.


sequential and successive stages of intellectual development that was proposed by Piaget as well as Bruner (in a slight variation) and bases his argument that computers are an almost ideal medium for the expression of a children's epistemology (ibid., p.5) on these theories. Bowers criticizes Piaget's model of cognitive stages in particular, writing that it does not provide teachers with a fail-safe scientific approach to interpreting which stage of development the student has reached(Bowers, 2005a, p.24). It furthermore creates the problem that the teachers cultural biases, subjective judgment, and own lack of knowledge become critical factors in shaping curricular decisions (ibid.). Important for the case of OLPC, where these ideas are being conveyed to other countries and cultural contexts, is the broader critique that Bowers poses on Piaget (as well as Dewey and Freire): "that they took-for-granted the late nineteenth century Social Darwinian view of cultures as evolving from a primitive and backward to an advanced and progressive way of knowing" (Bowers, 2003, p.1). Another critique of the progressivist nature of today's education theories is Kieran Egan, who points out that "[p]rogressivism has historically involved a belief in attending to the nature of the child, and consequently its research arm (so to speak) has involved studies to expose that nature more precisely" (Egan, 2004, p.6). Egan believes that the flaw in progressivism is the belief that the nature of the child, the child's modes of learning and stages of development can be disclosed conclusively. In his view it would be more useful to understand "the cultural-cognitive tools that shape and mediate our learning, development, and everything else to do with the conscious world of educational activity" (ibid., p.185). 71

Constructionist learning
"You can be the gear, you can understand how it turns by projecting yourself into its place and turning with it." (Papert, 1980, p.8)

Seymour Papert, mathematician, computer scientist, psychologist, and former MIT Media Lab professor, is frequently quoted for his theory of constructionist learning, which forms the basis of the OLPC approach as an educational philosophy. With his book Mindstorms: Children, Computers and Powerful Ideas, published in 1980, he
71 With the phrase 'cultural-cognitive tools' Egan refers to the Russian psychologist Lev Vygotsky and his observations of "how human beings in their development 'internalize' aspects of their cultural and symbolic surroundings" (Egan, 2004, p.74). Egan contests both the idea that "children demonstrate a kind of natural learning that should form a model for how teachers should engage them in school" as well as the "belief that the scientific study of the nature of human learning will lead to principles for effective teaching" (ibid.).


proposes a learning theory that not only presents knowledge as individually constructed,72 but adds an affective component as necessary condition for learning. His fundamental idea is that "anything is easy if you can assimilate it to your collection of models" (Papert, 1980, p.vii). The common catch phrase to describe the main idea of constructionism came to be 'learning by making'. Papert "stresses the importance of tools, media, and context in human development" (Ackermann, 2001, p.1). He attributes an important role to the surrounding cultures as a source of materials to build knowledge with and states that the cultures supply some materials in abundance, while others might be lacking, which makes certain concepts complicated and others simple and concrete (Papert, 1980, p.7).73 Papert himself raised the issue of computers as cultural technology in saying that: The computer is not a culture unto itself but it can serve to advance very different cultural and philosophical out-looks (ibid., p.31). He therefor wants to introduce computers as a source of materials to build with and make certain concepts more simple and concrete. His vision is that children learn for example mathematics as if it was a natural language, by learning to talk to the computer that "can be a mathematics-speaking and an alphabetic-speaking entity" (ibid., p.6). Papert is involved in the development of active toys, which he calls 'cybernetic construction kits', like the LEGO Mindstorms74 series that can be individually programmed by children and has no predefined form or function. Furthermore he invented a programming language for children named LOGO.75 Papert writes about the experiences with this programming language:
"The child programs the computer. And in teaching the computer how to think, children embark on an exploration about how they themselves think. The experience can be heady: Thinking about thinking turns the child into an epistemologist, an experience not even shared by most adults." (Papert, 1980, p.19)

The process of communication between the child and the computer is further illustrated
72 The connotation of learning as 'building knowledge structures' derives from constructivism, a related theory that is attributed to Jean Piaget and precedes Papert's ideas. According to Ackermann, Piagets constructivism "describes how childrens ways of doing and thinking evolve over time, and under which circumstance children are more likely to let go ofor hold onto their currently held views" while Papert's constructionism "focuses more on the art of learning, or learning to learn, and on the significance of making things in learning" (Ackermann, 2001, p.1). 73 As an example Papert mentions that "many important things (knives and forks, mothers and fathers, shoes and socks) come in pairs [which then] is a 'material' for the construction of an intuitive sense of number" (Papert, 1980, p.7). 74 LEGO Mindstorms is a series of Lego sets combining programmable bricks with electric motors, sensors, Lego bricks, and Lego Technic pieces. 75 LOGO is a computer programming language used for functional programming, and mainly known for its Turtle graphics. Turtle graphics, or Turtle Arts is one of the standard applications of the XO laptop.


in the above quote introducing this subchapter. With the idea that the child can 'be the gear', Papert evokes a double relationship between the child and the computer as both abstract and sensory, connecting with the sensorimotor schemata of the gear as well as with the underlying formal knowledge of mathematics.

Figure 10: Frontispiece: LOGO Turtle, and Figure 11: Turtle activity.

Referring to Theodore Roszak76, Bowers understands this way of thinking as a "data processing model of the mind" (Roszak after Bowers, 2001, p.8) that "tends not to be recognized as specific to a particular cultural group" even though it corresponds to the conceptual patterns taken-for-granted in the dominant culture (Bowers, 2001, p.8). Clifford Stoll,77 a vehement opponent of computers in classrooms writes that computers teach children that the world is a pre-programmed place, a virtual universe where solving a problem means clicking on the right icon (Stoll, 1999, p.45). Bringing an abundance of symbols, computers at the same time lack such important experiences like climbing, running, and figuring out how to get along with each other (ibid., p.64).

76 In his book The Cult of Information (quoted by Bowers in its 1994 edition), Roszak made explicit a critical relationship that was "overlooked by those who view computers as a neutral technology" (Bowers, 2001, p.8), by pointing out that the "subliminal lesson that is being taught whenever the computer is used (unless a careful effort is made to offset that effect) is the data processing model of the mind" (Roszak after Bowers, 2001, p.8). 77 Stoll is astronomer and criticizes the culture that enshrines computers (Stoll, 2000, p.xi) and aims to pose a few notes of skepticism into the utopian dreams of a digital wonderland (ibid., p.xii). Stoll criticizes both, Papert and Negroponte, along with other technology advocates like Sherry Turkle and says that children (in the United States) do not need to be exposed to more media images to familiarize with computers. He further writes that the self-anoited digerati yearn for classical ideals of community, democracy, and connection. Without any discomfort, they see the Internet simultaneously providing unity and diversity, privacy and community, entertainment and education (ibid., p.115).


The XO Laptop
The laptop that was developed by the OLPC initiative was especially created for children, and to function in extreme environmental conditions such as high heat and humidity. These characteristics are implemented in the hardware and design. The technical specifications that will be given here, concern the XO-1 laptop, because this version was employed at the schools central to the field research in Peru. OLPC News, an independent internet news site that is dedicated to providing information about OLPC, compiled a list of the XO's impressive array of technology advances that are not found in the most expensive commercial laptops (OLPC News, 2009, p.4). At first the Sugar user interface is mentioned, it is based on free and open source software (FOSS) and provides an entirely new interface that does not look like any other known platform.78 The ability to automatically create a mesh network that shall facilitate the collaborative activities and allow internet connection, is another innovative feature of the laptop. Moreover the capability of the laptop to store eBooks and show them in a special eBook mode is pointed out together with the dual-mode screen that enables to read even in direct sunlight. Finally the great energy efficiency and ruggedness of the computer are acknowledged (OLPC News, 2009, p.5f). Concerning the stability of the XO laptop, I personally have some reservations, since my provided device broke after just three days in the field and could not be repaired locally but had to be sent to the capital. The examination of hard- and software will not go into greater detail here, a summary of hard- and software is attached as Appendix 11.

Figure 12: Video still 1: OLPC Mission, Part 2: The XO Laptop, design for learning. 78 The Sugar software is based on symbols rather than text, to appeal to children that do not know how to read yet. These symbols are sought to be universally understandable. Furthermore the goal in developing this software was to visualize the children's world of fellow learners and teachers as collaborators, emphasizing the connections within the community, among people, and their activities (, accessed 02-01-2012).


Representation of the OLPC initiative

"So there is what I would call an iPod approach to what we've done. We haven't gone around and done ethnographic studies in Africa and asked anthropologists throughout South America and Asia to do it. In fact, we've said: "Let's make something like an iPod that is cool enough and good enough for kids around the world to really actually want it as they will an iPod and do that approach also to get the price down." (OLPC Talks, 2007)

The One Laptop per Child project was brought to life in 2005 by several members of the MIT. The project's idea and associated nonprofit organizations 79 were first presented publicly at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, by the so to say face and spokesperson of the organization, MIT professor, former head of the MIT media lab and chairman of the One Laptop per Child Foundation, Nicholas Negroponte. 80 During the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) in Tunis, that took place in the same year, the prototype of a rugged children's laptop was presented by Negroponte and former United Nations (UN) Secretary-General Kofi Annan. The Summit's main goal was to work towards fulfilling the vision of an open and inclusive 'Information Society',81 in which human capacity is expanded, built up, nourished and liberated, by giving people access to the tools and technologies they need, with the education and training to use them effectively (Annan, 2005). Since its first presentation, the laptop was publicly promoted as the $100 laptop82 and the project received great media

79 There are two organizations that share the main support of the project. The OLPC Association (OLPCA) is based in Miami. It manages deployment and support for the XO laptops, and keeps country partnerships. The Cambridge-based OLPC Foundation (OLPCF) develops the laptop's hardand software, and is currently working on the XO-3 tablet. 80 Negroponte is especially known for his book Being Digital (1995) predicting a 'radically new culture' that emerges with the advance of the information industry where media will become digitally driven by the combined forces of convenience, economic imperative, and deregulation (Negroponte, 1995, p.1). In his book as well as his monthly columns, published in the Wired Magazine ( accessed 02-16-2012) between 1993 and 1998, he fantasizes about the impacts of the computer and the internet. Concerning education, Negroponte supports the ideas of Seymour Papert and others, placing the personal computer into the centre of his vision. He says that by playing with information, especially abstract subjects, the material assumes more meaning (Negroponte, 1995, p.16). In 2006, Negroponte stepped down as director of the MIT media lab and since then dedicates himself exclusively to OLPC. 81 The term 'Information Society' refers to changes in (Western) societies that were described by sociologists like Daniel Bell (1976) or Manuel Castells (1993). They correlate shifts in economic production to the growing importance of knowledge and information and proclaim a new kind of society that highly depends on information. In this society, ICTs penetrate all areas of life and the economy in particular is increasingly dependent upon the application of science and technology, as well as upon the quality of information and management, in the process of production, consumption, distribution, and trade (Castells, 1993, p.15). 82 This prize was never reached, but real prizes fluctuated between $180 and $230. The total cost of small deployments was calculated by Saurabh Adhikari to be nearly $500 including shipping, additional equipment like solar chargers, maintenance, training etc. (, accessed 01-232012).


coverage and lively interest from a technology affine public 83 and especially the Open Source community.84 Discussions around OLPC were immediately subject to controversy. Enthusiasts hailed the project as a catalyst with the power to initiate an educational revolution that would bring major advances in economic and social development, and could help less developed countries help themselves by providing access to information (e.g. Livingston, 2006; Collins, 2007; Kennedy and Uden, 2008). With time, the number of critical voices increased, as they found fault with the project's technological determinism, its ignorance vis--vis socio-cultural characteristics of the receiving communities, presenting a 'one-size-fits-all' solution, and its top-down system of distribution (e.g. Smith Tabb, 2008; Luyt, 2008; Kraemer et al., 2009; Leaning, 2010; Shah, 2011). The main mission of the XO Laptop can be expressed literally with the projects title: to give each child one laptop. 85 It must also be emphasized that the initiative explicitly targets developing countries. With its initial focus on developing countries the project situated itself in the field of ICT4D initiatives that emphasize the potential, which these technologies are believed to have for human development. 86 Unwin (2009) raises the question of what was actually meant by 'development' and points out that there are two distinct understandings. One is primarily concerned with economic growth, while the other emphasizes the importance of participation and empowerment in effective development practice (Unwin, 2009, p.1). Unwin assigns a key role to ICTs in realizing both these perspectives. In 2007 the production87 of the first version of the so called XO laptop (XO-1) started
83 For many critics the technical features of the laptop (like the long-lasting battery, the dust and waterresistant design, and the dual-mode display) that were 'revolutionary' at the time of its first public display, seemed to be more attractive than the actual mission of the project, and were discussed with great eagerness in several internet blogs and communities. At a conference about OLPC William S. Hammack called this the 'technically sweet response' (after J. Robert Oppenheimer), meaning that a project's technical challenges could be so seductive and it's solutions so satisfying that they completely absorbed the engineer or scientist and made them lose sight of the actual benefits of the project (Hammack, 2008). 84 The significance of voluntary involvement of many interested individuals who support the project in ways such as programming applications, creating learning materials, translating the software to several languages, or providing technical support, will be discussed in more detail at a later point. 85 The 'mission statement' of the organization was revised several times (, accessed 01-302012), but those changes will not be discussed in detail here. 86 In the rhetoric of the World Bank, for example, ICT plays a vital role in advancing economic growth and reducing poverty (The World Bank, 2006, part 1, p.4). The approach is considered very important in reaching the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and frequently appears in discourses that foster those goals. 87 For the mass production of the laptops OLPC made a deal with the Taiwanese Quanta Computers, one of the world's largest manufacturers of laptops. In 2009, the XO-1.5, an upgraded version, entered


and many countries deployed pilot projects to test the laptop's abilities. Meanwhile the OLPC project suffered several setbacks, as countries drew back their purchase promises,88 or turned to other competing products that started entering the emerging market for low-cost computers.89 Furthermore OLPC lost several employees, 90 had to adjust its infrastructure and made several changes in its policy. 91 Many of the countries that received laptops remained with small pilot employments and projects that were run by different non-governmental organizations (NGOs).

Figure 13: Countries with 500+ kids and teachers w/ XOs, June 2010.

mass production. 88 Countries like Brazil, Argentina, and Thailand were amongst the first deployment candidates (, accessed 01-25-2012), but drew back their promise to purchase at least one million laptops each. The government of India generally neglected the XO laptop. (, accessed 01-25-2012). The two largest employments to date exist in Uruguay, where literally all primary school students received laptops, and Peru. 89 OLPC initiated a market for low-cost laptops and was challenged by other products, such as Intel's Classmate PC. 90 Most famously, former president of software and content development at OLPC, Walter Bender, resigned in 2008. Nowadays he works for Sugar Labs, which is another foundation associated with OLPC that develops the Sugar software, autonomously since 2008. (, accessed 01-23-2012). Another employee that left OLPC was the director of security architecture, Ivan Krsti who rigorously accused Nicholas Negroponte, for betraying the OLPC mission and just being interested in getting as many laptops as possible out there (Krsti, 2008). 91 Initially the minimum purchase number of laptops was to be one million units, but when orders failed to meet these requirements, it was lowered to 250,000 units. In late 2007 OLPC started the so called Give 1 Get 1 (G1G1) program that allowed individuals to purchase the XO laptop for double the prize and automatically donate one laptop, in the USA. In 2008 it was introduced in Europe as well. The program was started as sales failed to meet the planned quantity. (, accessed 01-252012).


OLPC and human development

The term ICT for Development (ICT4D) is widely used in international forums, by organizations such as the UN and the international development community, referring to initiatives that provide technology as key element of development aid. The main goal of many of these initiatives is to integrate technologically marginalized people into the global 'Information economy' which is based on the processing of information and in which telecommunications and computers are strategic for the exchange of information and knowledge (Bell, 1976, p.xc). The ICT4D approach is related to such concepts like the already mentioned 'Information Society' that builds a framework wherein the developing countries are arranged and ranked on a seemingly universal scale. In his famous book The Whale and the Reactor (1988), Langdon Winner summarizes the key assumptions underlying this information age perspective as follows: (1) people are bereft of information; (2) information is knowledge; (3) knowledge is power; and (4) increasing access to information enhances democracy and equalizes social power (Winner, 1988, p.108).92 In this perspective, the human being is defined as 'information and knowledge based'. This contradicts with the perspective of a meaning based culture that was proposed by several scholars (see Chapter 1). Another frequently mentioned concept is the 'digital divide' which is widely used to describe a disparity between individuals or states that originates in the lack of access to ICT.93 Warschauer (2003) critiques this term for its simplification of wider social, economic, and cultural issues and traces its origin back to the mid and late 1990s Internet and dot-com boom in the United States (Warschauer, 2003, p.11). He presents a new model of ICT access:
"There is not just one type of ICT access, but many types. The meaning and value of access varies in particular social contexts. Access exists in gradations rather than in a bipolar opposition. Computer and Internet use brings no automatic benefit outside of its particular functions. ICT use is a social practice, involving access to physical artifacts, content, skills, and social support. And acquisition of ICT access is a matter not only of education but also of power." (Warschauer, 2003, p.46)

Unfortunately the OLPC approach does not integrate this expanded model of access, despite Negroponte's frequently quoted slogan: Its not a laptop project. Its an
92 Winner criticizes these assumptions as mistaking the sheer supply of information with an educated ability to gain knowledge and act effectively based on that knowledge (Winner, 1988, p.108f). 93 Ko (2009) points out that ICT for development implies that development is not a self-propelled process of historical change, but rather a process that requires the deliberate intervention of institutions armed with capital and technical resources" (Ko, 2009, p.57).


education project. (Appendix 12: Video: Negroponte, 2006, min 7:45). Access to ICT is equalled with the possession of a laptop, and the laptop itself is equalled with education in the same breath. This is highlighted in a short video about the mission of OLPC which is part of the marketing campaign (Appendix 13: Video: OLPCF, 2008).

Figure 14: Video-still 2: OLPC Mission, Part2: The XO Laptop, design for learning.

In its rhetoric the project simplifies social and economic problems and proposes an equally simplified solution. In general the marketing strategy 94 trivializes the causes for global inequalities and does not reflect on the discourses that it uses to promote its mission. Sarah Funk (2009) as well as Ya-Yin Ko (2009) analyze how especially the notions of development, technology and education form the basis of the OLPC approach. Both conclude that OLPC builds on a development discourse that is rooted in techno-centric ideas and defines development subjects according to what they are perceived to lack (Ko, 2009, p.12). In the view of OLPC, the world is divided into the developed and underdeveloped, or developing countries, the 'haves' and 'have-nots', the Western scientific world and the 'others' that still need assistance on their way towards development. Accordingly, modernization is being displayed as a universal process of transition from a traditional, backward and static, to the industrialized and dynamic society after Western ideals (Funk, 2009, p.70). The progressivism that Bowers and Egan criticize in theories of Piaget and others persists in the mission of OLPC. The initiative does not seek for a change of the global society that would make it more sustainable in Bowers' terms,95 nor does it strive for a social transformation, 96 but
94 Ko (2009) analyses the OLPC marketing campaigns in greater depth, using discourse analysis to interrogate and challenge OLPCs authority and influence in mainstream international development communications (Ko, 2009, p.12). She demonstrates how certain concepts such as leapfrogging development and constructionism have been mobilized to market a product under the banner of philanthropy (Ko, 2009, p.iv). 95 Bowers describes the dominant trend that replaces cultural traditions "by industrial produced products and services that require participating in a money economywhich, in turn, contributes to the degradation of the environment. Even widespread reliance on the cell phone and the computer are examples of how such basic aspects of human existence as thought and communication are dependent upon being able to participate in a money economyand to becoming addicted to acquiring the latest technology (Bowers, 2005, p.3). 96 No attention is paid to existing power-relations, or systems of inequality and oppression. Instead, any government that is willing to purchase a sufficient number of laptops is regarded a 'partner', like the regime of former Libyan president Muammar al-Gaddafi


pushes for an integration of the 'next billion' 97 into the present capitalist labor system. Instead of changing the conditions, people shall obtain better chances to participate in the current global economic system (Funk, 2009, p.53). Brendan Luyt points out the need of today's capitalism for a different kind of worker (Luyt, 2008) as one of the driving social forces that favor the project. The emphasis on collaborative and communicative activities in the classroom, which the laptop supposedly fosters, is analyzed by Luyt as providing the new ways of learning that resemble pedagogical techniques focussing on developing collaborative and communicatively oriented communities of practice within the classroom that socialize students into acting as parts of a distributed knowledge system and produce workers capable of working in selfdirected, disciplined teams (ibid.). OLPC portrays the world as a rapidly changing place, and finds all the people looking at an unpredictable future that is caused by technological progress:
"The root cause of the rapid change, digital technology, also provides a solution. When every child has a connected laptop, they have in their hands the key to full development and participation. Limits are erased as they can learn to work with others around the world, to access high-quality, modern materials, to engage their passions and develop their expertise." (, accessed 01-30-2012)

The OLPC initiative produces a meaning that is inscribed into the XO laptop with the help of marketing strategies and characterizes the laptop as an essential element of human development in general. The marketing focusses primarily on the XO itself as 'miracle tool' that will solve several problems and empower children regardless of their social or cultural background. It is marketed as a universal and globally applicable tool, much like the automobile 98 (Funk, 2009, p.68), not regarding the 'non-neutrality' of technology (Bowers, 1988). Nicholas Negroponte's statement, quoted at the beginning of this subchapter, where he describes the strategy of OLPC as an 'iPod approach', illustrates very well that the project is based on a narrow 'Western' perception of what
(, accessed 02-17-2012). 97 Since the start of the OLPC project, discussions in the computer industry frequently mention the 'next billion customers', envisioning the populations of the majority world as potential consumers, not yet saturated with high-tech products (, accessed 02-17-2012). 98 Concerning the automobile, an ethnographic study by Gertrude Strotz depicts this object, which is considered very useful in great parts of the world, in the context of Australian aboriginal communities as a 'colonizing vehicle'. Strotz writes that Western things are gendered [emphasis in original] before they enter the social world of other peoples (ibid., p.229) and it may involve a conflict-ridden process of socializing the foreign object to transform it into an internally gendered object (ibid., p.321). The usefulness of 'Western objects' is hence questionable and depends on the necessities and social structure of the local context.


technology is supposed to offer. William Hammack attributes the computer-centric view and the related pedagogical model of OLPC to the 'US mindset' that is primarily focussed on gadgets (Hammack, 2008). The beneficiaries of this technological innovation are identified as a homogenous group the Third World child. Ko describes this mindset very eligible:
"In relation to technology, OLPC positions the child as a blank slate that is ready to be (and that ought to be) transformed by the XO. In relation to development, the child is characterized as a generic Third World subject that has no cause for optimism unless he or she owns an XO. In terms of education, the child is intrinsically creative and eager to learn, but has been failed by 'traditional' teaching methods and must be saved by drastic changes that only OLPC can bring about. The child embodies all of these positions, which are woven together by articulations of OLPC as the solution for the developing worlds lack of ICTs and 'progress' in education." (Ko, 2009, p.11)

The representation of OLPC involves stereotypes, generalizations and homogenization as central instruments (Funk, 2009, p.66). Ko further mentions that OLPC built on and marketed the "myth that freedom and empowerment can be achieved through (1) software that has been developed in a particular way; (2) computers and wireless networking; and (3) their joint delivery of constructionist pedagogy" (Ko, 2009, p.37).

Figure 15: What a difference One Laptop per Child makes!

This little comic illustrates in a humorous way, how misleading the mission of OLPC can be, if it is brought to places without questioning whether the problems that OLPC 52

wants to solve, actually exist in the place, and if they are perceived as such. The picture also shows how technology is not neutral and how it brings with it certain forms of interaction between people, and may severely change social relationships. To summarize, OLPC represents itself as a non-profit organization with a philanthropic goal that is rooted in their particular understanding of development, technology and education, as illustrated above. The expert knowledge of the laptop producers is considered the resource that is missing in the majority world and will be provided to the receiving countries in the form of a handy laptop. The XO laptop is represented as the 'miracle tool' that will enable all countries, regardless of their actual problems and local challenges, to participate in the information economy. It presents a solution to problems that are not even formulated yet. The child is considered as the most precious "natural resource" (Appendix 12: Video: Negroponte, 2006, min 1:23) of each country, that needs to be exploited. All children are seen as one and the same, as no cultural differences are considered, apart from language which is regarded as a conduit. 99 The child is moreover understood in terms of theoretical stages of development, as an actor that needs guidance towards a modern lifestyle and can be influenced through the exposure to modern artifacts. Isolated from the social and cultural context, the 'Third World' child [is defined] as a generic blank slate that ought to be transformed by the marvel of a 'First World' machine (Ko, 2009, p.iv). This identity is projected by OLPC to the future users of their laptops.

The OLPC Principles

Presenting itself as a non-profit organization with a mission instead of a market (Appendix 14: Video: OLPCF, 2007, min 0:38), the organization promotes five core principles that can be understood as employment recommendations: 1. 'Child ownership' demands that the laptop is to be property of the child, meaning that the child is free to take the laptop home. This way the family shall profit
99 Bowers criticizes the view of language as a conduit, which he finds for example in the work of Seymour Papert. Language appears to be totally nonproblematic except in terms of the need to increase the student's skill in using the computer to communicate information more effectively (Bowers, 1988, p.39). Language, according to Bowers sets boundaries and frames people's understanding, instead of just serving as the connecting container of concepts and thoughts in a sender-receiver model of learning, language socialization is at the same time a political socialization. The conduit view of language is closely connected to assumptions about the attributes of the individual. In Bowers' view language should not be understood as a conduit through which the ideas, information, and data generated by the rational activity of the individual can be transmitted to other rational and autonomous individuals (ibid., p.41).


from the laptop as the children pass on their knowledge and skills. 2. 'Low ages' refers to the central target group that is elementary school children between the age of 6 and 12. 3. 'Saturation' aims to address the whole school population in a country, a region, a municipality or a village, in which every child and teacher will own a connected laptop. 4. 'Connection' refers to the laptop's ability to automatically create a wireless network amongst the single machines, which enables children to use collaborative activities. 100 Furthermore it alludes the possibility to connect to the internet using the wireless network function. 5. 'Free and open source', ensures the project's independence from commercial software providers. This principle also makes it possible to 'localize software' into minority languages, or to 'repurpose the software' to local needs, because the global nature of OLPC requires locally-driven growth. (source:, accessed 01-30-2012) There are several points of critique concerning these principles. First and foremost the idea of ownership and the associated policy of granting a personal computer to each child has been contested from several angles. Jeffrey James (2010) argues in favor of balanced patterns of sharing that reflects the level of per capita income and reasons that the [OLPC] program causes so much to be invested in computers that other educational inputs are entirely neglected (James, 2010, p.381). The arguments are based on observations of Third World consumption101 that display a resource imbalance. Mark Warschauer and Morgan Ames (2010) argue that especially poor countries could improve their educational and social futures more effectively if the same investments were instead made on more sustainable and proven interventions (Warschauer and Ames, 2010, p.33). They also point out that if the children own the laptops they are thus fully or partly responsible for maintaining them (ibid., p.41). Despite the claim that children are easily able to provide the necessary tech support themselves, 102 there are
100These activities allow users to write a text, or draw a picture together. Furthermore there are multiplayer games like Memorize, Maze, and Chess and a Chat function. A list of all the available activities can be found on the Sugar Labs website (, accessed 02-012012). 101According to James, advertising and marketing practices of multinational firms as well as governments play a role in influencing the consumption of Western goods by those with relatively low incomes (James, 2010, p.384). One pattern that is produced this way, is people taking the view that local products fail to meet certain standards, standards that are invariably of Western origin (ibid.). 102This statement is attributed to Seymour Papert, who believes in 'Kid Power' saying that an eight-year


great numbers of laptops reported to be unusable due to breakage, 103 for example in Uruguay (, accessed 02-06-2012). The lack of awareness for local concerns is another general point of critique that was posed by many commentators (for example Winner, 2008; SmithTabb, 2008; Warschauer and Ames, 2010; Kraemer et al., 2011). Langdon Winner especially criticizes the dominant influence of commercial interests over other human interests. He sees it as a recurrent pattern in the introduction of new technologies in the education sector (Winner, 2008). Technology is promoted because it promises to be a lucrative market and because educators want to appear fully up to date, on the cutting edge of progress. Globalization takes 'disruptive products' to other places and perpetuates patterns from earlier times, expecting local people to alter their ways of living to accommodate the bureaucracy, professions, markets, political practices, and educational institutions of the dominant country (Winner, 2008). The second principle of early ages is connected to the theories of child development that were already criticized in the first part of this chapter. With this concentration on theoretical ideas about how children learn, other socialization factors are neglected. At the same time children are subjected to a technology that is not neutral, as Bowers especially pointed out (Bowers, 1988), but culturally charged, at an especially vulnerable age. The principle of saturation goes together with the intention of selling laptops only in great quantities. This allows only governments and large corporations, with the necessary spending power, to purchase the required quantities. Once the laptops arrive to the receiving country their distribution is handed over to the national Education Ministries. OLPC's strategy of diffusion, following a top-down approach that is intended to ensure the projected large scales, was frequently criticized (for example by Ko, 2009; Funk, 2009; Leaning, 2010). Camfield (et al., 2007) writes that the OLPC projects top-down technology-push model counters locally-driven development solutions that have proven to be more effective (Camfield et al., 2007, p.43). OLPC promised to provide consultation and to work together with national Education Ministries in organizing the deployment of the laptops. But Ivan Krsti (2008) has pointed out, that with the start of the distribution phase there was not enough personnel
old is capable of doing 90% of tech support and a 12 year old 100% (OLPC Talks, 2006). 103Warschauer and Ames further state that due to the great number of broken or unusable laptops, the principle of child ownership then contradicts with the principle of saturation (Warschauer and Ames: 2010).


in the organization104 to effectively fulfill this promise. In many of the receiving communities there is very limited, or no internet connection. Still OLPC promote their connection principle as empowering people by becoming part of a global networked community. However, to really benefit from the laptops, all the necessary infrastructure must be provided in addition to the laptops. Finally the principle of open source may be embraced in the Sugar software, but is not taken any further as the hardware is relying on 'proprietary technology' and most repairs require XO-specific parts. In 2008, OLPC also made negotiations with Microsoft, to develop a software version for the XO laptop that can be used besides the standard Sugar software due to the laptop's dual-boot capability. There are trials, testing the Microsoft Windows version, in Peru, India and Egypt, where every "education official [...] asked about Windows on the XO" (, accessed 02-24-2012). The implementation of the OLPC principles is not enforced or monitored in any way though. In the next chapter will be shown how the Government of Peru organized the deployment of the XO laptops, and how it has bended the core principles and thereby significantly changed the scope and possible impact of this project.

OLPC and the Open Source community

One of the most remarkable aspects of OLPC is not the project itself, but the great network of independent supporters spreading all over the world. This network makes the initiative appear like a 'grassroots' movement. In addition to the OLPC Foundation and Association there is a third organization named Sugar Labs that collaborates with OLPC in developing the software for the XO laptop, but operates independently since 2008. The software was developed under the GNU General Public License (GPL), which means that it can be legally copied, distributed and modified (Free Software Foundation, Inc., 2007). The Sugar software runs on several machines, meaning it is not bound to the XO hardware. This software is what makes it possible to 'localize' the

104When the first pilot projects started there was just one hired personnel to set up pilot projects, according to Krsti (2008). Krsti further states that he was himself sent to Uruguay and Peru to help with the deployment of altogether 360,000 laptops. He criticized that now the company has half a million laptops in the wild, with no one even pretending [emphasis in original] to be officially in charge of deployment (Krsti, 2008). Presently the OLPC website presents several independent country managers as international partners and contractors (, accessed 01-30-2012).


laptops,105 by translating it to local languages and by creating localized materials and activities. Some countries count with independent sugar groups106 that support the implementation and help as volunteers. As these organizations are neither related to the local government nor to the OLPC Foundation or Association they can more openly critique the implementation management and government politics. Another important independent organization is called Open Learning Exchange (OLE) and is committed to universal access to basic education, with the goal to develop a worldwide network of local grassroots organizations. The organization is a global consortium with many of its members rooted in development aid and academia. OLE especially promotes ICTs in education, but is not exclusively concerned with the OLPC project. Some of the local centers are deploying XO laptops. 107 The organization provides organizational, technical and fund raising services and access to several free and open source libraries, educational and other software (Appendix 15: OLE Brochure). In 2009, OLPC started a volunteer program, addressing US American college students that were sent throughout Africa to help with the implementation of small projects. OLPC invested a total of 3.5 Million US Dollars in this project to send out 100 teams with 100 laptops each all over the African continent for a period of ten weeks. Wayan Vota, founder of the OLPC news website and former Director of Geekcorps,108 pointed out that ten weeks is a too short time to bring any long term consequences (OLPC News, 2009). He furthermore added that college students are not the right implementers as they "lack the experience to understand the nuances of change management that a new technology introduction requires" (ibid.). Finally he criticized that volunteers were
105There is a variety of different key-boards according to the different user-languages, as well. But in not all the distributed laptops in Peru had Spanish key-boards, which caused problems for teachers and students. 106There are local sugar labs in Colombia, Chile, Peru, Argentina and in the USA. These were chosen by the Sugar Labs community based on concrete project proposals and a 'business model'. The Peruvian local Sugar Labs is called Somos Azcar (, accessed 05-03-2012) and helped to translate the software into the two most common local languages Aymara and Quechua. 107The most active local group is OLE Nepal (, accessed 05-03-2012), which is a local NGO, founded in 2007, that started employing XO laptops in Nepal, translated the software to the national language, developed activities and materials according to the school curriculum, created concrete lesson plans involving the laptops, and trained the teachers in using the laptops in class. The project is partner with Nepal's Department of Education and currently employs the XO in 34 schools across the country. It is considered a demonstratively localized example of an OLPC employment due to it's comprehensive planning, field testing and documentation. 108Geekcorps is a project of the International Executive Service Corps (IESC) that designs and implements "innovative technology programs in remote corners of the world" (, accessed 02-22-2012).


only trained for two weeks in advance and questioned this one-time investment that was to substitute the support of small deployments. In 2010, the program was changed to involve students and young adults as volunteers for the time of a whole year, in the implementation process (, accessed 0222-2012). At the same time, OLPC launched the so called OLPC Academy, looking for Master and PhD students of the top universities, as interns in different areas and work opportunities in 16 participating countries (, accessed 02-222012). On the OLPC website there is no updated information though and it seems that the program was not continued in 2011.

OLPC's project evaluation

...the XO provides an opportunity for continuous learning, a potential source of psycho-social support in emergency contexts, and redefines participation and attendance in education. (OLPCF, 2010, p.16)

In 2010 OLPC published an Assessment overview of One Laptop per Child projects that mainly presented success stories of how OLPC gained "further understanding of how the XO laptops transform and adapt to work for children in different environments" (OLPCF, 2010, p.3). The information was drawn from the available literature, meaning that OLPC did not undertake any evaluation or assessment of their projects themselves, but gathered an overview of independent project evaluations and studies. In the assessment overview they allude to external data from eight countries, 109 and one paper from 2009 that provides a literature review 110 of project evaluations. The general conclusions that OLPC draw from these external evaluations are positive, illustrated with many examples, teacher and student statements, and statistical data. 111 The authors especially point out how the laptops increase and equalize access to educational resources, working as a community equalizer, bridging the gap within a community (ibid., p.8). It is also pointed out how materials and textbooks can be updated when they are digitalized, how valuable information can be added by providing links, and how for example games can be easily programmed with culturally appropriate references that
109The eight mentioned projects are situated in the Solomon Islands, Ethiopia, Birmingham (Alabama, USA), Uruguay, Australia, Haiti, Peru and Afghanistan. 110The authors explain that they gathered from three main sources: A Factiva news search; A search of the OLPC wiki site []; Email correspondence with relevant personnel in countries where the OLPC program has been implemented (Nugroho and Londsdale, 2009, p.4). 111Results of the evaluations will be presented, abstaining from a critical reflection at this point. The statements, made by OLPC in the above mentioned paper, will be examined in their pertinency and adequacy concerning the research in Peru, in the next Chapters.


can easily be modified and localized to other communities (ibid., p.11). The studies also show that the actual use of the laptops depends to a great part on the motivation, skills and adequate preparation of the teachers. As school attendance, student motivation, and access to learning outside of schools are reported to increase with the introduction of XO laptops, the communities and parents are said to be more involved, indicating a general enthusiam with the project (ibid., p. 14f). Finally the report states as a major impact of the OLPC projects the redefinition of childrens social support networks and connectivity at large with the global community (ibid., p.22). Children are said to build peer networks, with the help of such activities like chat, video recording, and music sharing, which enhance the collaboration amongst children. The problem of teacher capacity building and training, or the teacher's requests for more specialized and appropriate content is mentioned as a problem that should be addressed not by OLPC, but by the partners. Generally, it must be said that the OLPC Foundation did not review the current employments critically and most of the here presented arguments rather embody the representation strategy of the organization. Therefor, the arguments are not to be confused with in-depth assessments or descriptions of the reality of the project. There is a growing number of evaluations and reports about OLPC112 that mostly try to find measurements of learning impacts, and describe successes and shortcomings in the implementation process, teacher preparation, technical support, or frequency of classroom use. These findings will not be summarized here, but a review of reports concerning the Peruvian OLPC project, which present a more realistic estimation of the project's impact, will be provided in the next chapter.

112An overview with short summaries of these papers is gathered in the OLPC wiki (;;, accessed 02-23-2012).


Chapter 4: Una Laptop por Nio in Peru

This chapter will approach the One Laptop per Child project in the context of Peru. First, the Peruvian OLPC deployment will be outlined, pointing out the organization of the employment, technical details and changes of the original OLPC strategy. Then, two assessment reports will be reviewed, describing advances and shortcomings of the project. The dissemination of ICT use throughout the country, as well as the current state of the Peruvian education system, and the school curriculum will be examined to contextualize the Peruvian OLPC initiative. In a next step, various other reasons to purchase the laptops will be examined to approach the mind-set that informs this technology-led attempt to improve education. Then, the representation of OLPC Peru in the Peruvian media will be exemplarily analyzed, using a video that was streamed in the national television parallel to the introduction of the project. Finally, the identity, which is attributed to the future laptop users will be described.

The Peruvian OLPC deployment

The Peruvian OLPC project, called Una Laptop Por Nio (ULPN), is the largest employment to date, with around 800,000 XO laptops in distribution, 113 and is also one of the most controversially discussed ones. The program was started in 2007 and was publicly announced by the former Peruvian Minister of Education Antony Chang. 114 Two month later, a pilot project was started in the village of Arahuay, which was mentioned in Chapter 2. This pilot school became the flagship project for Peru, appeared in several television and internet news and advertisement spots and is proudly presented to foreign visitors.115 The pilot phase was accompanied by a group of technical and pedagogical specialists of the Ministry of Education as well as former OLPC
113According to the Peruvian ULPN program website there are 716,239 laptops distributed nationwide, in primary and secondary schools (, accessed 0302-2012). The OLPC wiki counts 850,000 laptops in Peru (, accessed 03-02-2012) and the OLPC website even states a number of 900,000 laptops for the Peruvian project (, accessed 03-02-2012). 114This announcement was criticized by the Peruvian professor for communication at the Catholic University in Lima, Eduardo Villanueva for providing false information (, accessed 03-02-2012). Especially the claim that the XO laptops had been used by other countries was not true. Villanueva then started writing a critical blog (, accessed 03-02-2012) dedicated to dispute the project and the public discourses that surrounded it. He repeatedly denunciated the Peruvian misinformation politics, where incorrect information about the project was proclaimed, and then uncritically diffused by the Peruvian mass media. 115The school can be reached in a day's trip, so that it is accessible to short-time visitors. I had the chance to visit the school in 2010, three years after the first introduction of the laptops.


learning consultant Carla Gomez Monroy who was involved in teacher trainings and also provided technical support. Monroys chronicle of her five weeks 116 in the school represented for long the only detailed report on the project and was frequently quoted by advocates to further promote the initiative. In 2008, the first batch of 40,000 XO-1 laptops was purchased and in the same year Peru made a commitment to purchase another 810,000 units. The last batch of 580,000 laptops adopted the new XO-1.5 laptops with updated software releases.117 The laptops include a custom activity pack, featuring approximately 40 activities (, accessed 03-05-2012) that were chosen by experts of the Ministry of Education and were installed on the laptops. The General Department for Educational Technologies (DIGETE) is the responsible office for the implementation of all projects that are concerned with technologies in education. Besides the ULPN project, they supervise other projects like Distance Education ( Educacin a Distancia), and the Huascarn project, which was established in 2004 and provided desktop computers to schools. Huascarn can be seen as the predecessor of the ULPN project, but, as Mr. Becerra, former Chief Educational Technologies Officer of DIGETE, states, has not had major impact on the quality of education (Becerra, 2010). During the first stage of the ULPN project, laptops were provided especially to 'oneteacher' (unidocente)118 and 'multi-grade' (multigrado)119 schools in the remote countryside, because these schools were considered most in need as they are situated in the poorest areas of the country. Laptops were handed out to all students of grades one to six in a one-to-one manner. My field research was exclusively dealing with those rural schools, where a laptop was provided to each child. In a second stage of the ULPN program, which started in 2010, the laptops were provided to schools instead of individual students as part of Technology Resource Centers (CRT), "where teachers and students may have access to ICT and additional technologies at their own pace and in their own terms" (Becerra, 2010). This means that the OLPC implementation strategy was fundamentally altered to reach more schools.
116Monroy accompanied the first phase of the pilot in june and july 2007, the chronicle can be accessed on the OLPC wiki (, accessed 03-05-2012). 117For more information concerning the software releases deployed by OLPC Peru see the OLPC wiki (, accessed 03-05-2012). 118In these 'one-teacher' schools there is just one teacher who teaches all the children of grades one to six in one single classroom of up to twenty or more children. The work of these teachers must be considered as especially challenging due to the great differences of the students' levels and necessities. 119'Multi-grade' schools mostly feature two or three teachers that teach mixed classrooms with children of two or three different grades.


However, by changing the strategy the laptops were made available only inside classrooms in a shared way.

Figure 16: The XO-1, and Figure 17: The XO-1.5 HS.

In addition, in 2011 the XO-1.5 (or XO-1.5 HS high school edition) version of the laptop, featuring a standard Spanish keyboard instead of the children's version that is part of the XO-1 design and has much smaller keys, was implemented in public secondary schools (, accessed 03-05-2012). The goal is to provide all Peruvian public schools with laptops, and a number of selected schools120 with additional technology, such as Educational Robotics modules,121 and school servers that function as a 'local cloud', where additional materials can be downloaded. These servers also provide internet access where it is available. In addition, one conventional laptop and a multimedia projector shall be provided to the selected schools, "to allow teachers to project contents when required" (Becerra, 2010).

Project evaluations
"The implementation as planned of the 'Una Laptop por Nino' program was not enough to overcome the difficulties of a design that places its trust in the role of technologies themselves. The use of technologies in education is not a magic and rapid solution through which educational problems and challenges can be solved with the simple acquisition of technological devices and systems." (Severin et al., 2011, p.1)

Two larger studies about the ULPN project's impacts have been conducted since it was initiated. Carlos Laura and Edgar Bolvar, from the Peruvian Economic and Social
120The schools that were selected to receive additional equipment are mostly the bigger secondary schools, with 100 or more students (Appendix 16, Field note: 08.11.2010). 121The Educational Robotics modules include sets of Lego Mindstorms that have been mentioned in the previous Chapter.


Research Consortium (CIES) conducted case studies in three different schools and published their results in 2009. A research team of the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), the Peruvian Ministry of Education, and a Peruvian NGO named GRADE is working on an extensive multi-year evaluation. The first brief results were published in 2010 and 2011, and a more exhaustive report, documenting the data that was collected after 15 month of implementation in 319 rural primary schools, followed in February 2012. Neither of the studies reported any major improvements in learning as effect of the introduction of the XO laptops. In addition there are smaller investigations by students122 as well as several personal reports by volunteers 123 and OLPC employees like Ivan Krsti.124 The IDB reports are based on a variety of qualitative 125 and quantitative126 data that was collected in 2009 and 2010, used the method of random selection of a number of second-graders127 and sixth-graders from each of the 319 schools. The 2012 report states that with the ULPN program the use of computers in schools and at home has increased, but the time allocated for reading or homework has not increased with it, meaning that children did not spend more time educating themselves (Christia et al., 2012, p.15). The results do not indicate statistically significant effects on students' motivation toward attending school, 128 even though this
122Two research papers were provided to me by the Catholic University in Lima, but did not provide any significant data and will not be further mentioned here. 123There are several blogposts by volunteers that have been gathered on the OLPC news website. Christoph Derndorfer, who is the editor of, provided a review of three different OLPC projects in South America (Uruguay, Paraguay and Peru) having visited each country for two weeks in 2010. He identified six criteria for successful implementations of ICT for Education projects in developing countries: infrastructure, maintenance, contents and materials, community inclusion, teacher training, and evaluation (, accessed 03-01-2012). His report about the Peruvian project stated several shortcomings in the implementation process, technical issues and the lack of sufficient teacher training and started a heated discussion about the project. 124Krsti was involved in the implementation planning for XO laptops in 2008 together with the Peruvian Ministry of Education and wrote a short article about his visit to the pilot school in Arahuay (, accessed 03-01-2012) describing it as a miracle. 125A goal of the study was to explore the impact on attitudes, practices and perceptions of principals, teachers, students and parents, as well as to document the implementation process and explore the first experiences, reactions and results of the distribution of computers (Santiago et al., 2010, p.4). 126The quantitative part of the study included: communication and math tests, classroom observations, student interviews covering the perception of the school, the use of laptops at school and at home, and knowledge on laptops, and questionnaires for families, teachers and school principles (Santiago et al., 2010, p.4f). Furthermore, in 2010, log files were extracted from the XO laptops to objectively assess use patterns (Christia et al., 2012, p.11). The applied achievement tests in math and reading used items drawn from previous national standardized examinations. I mention this because these national tests were often described to me as particularly problematic as they do not take into account the different realities of children. 127The choice of second-graders is problematic, because according to my experience the laptops were not used in first and second grades of most schools. More information about the laptop use in the schools that I visited will be provided in Chapter 5. 128The method that was used to obtain information about the motivation applied "an instrument that was designed following the Intrinsic Motivation Index inventory" (Christia et al., 2012, p.11).


was anticipated to be an effect of the laptop introduction. Neither did the researchers find positive effects on math and language skills, which is explained with the absence of a clear pedagogical model that links software to be used with particular curriculum objectives (ibid., p.16). The only positive effects were found in measurements of abstract reasoning, verbal fluency and processing speed. 129 According to the researchers this suggest[s] that increased interaction with technology improved general cognitive skills (ibid., p.17). In their conclusion, the authors point out the need for better in class instruction to increase student achievement in the curricular areas. Laura and Bolvar focus on the teacher as crucial factor of the laptop employment and therefore concentrate on the different points of views of teachers about the continuities and changes of their pedagogical work due to the incorporation of the XO laptops. 130 The authors list a number of barriers and facilitating factors for the integration of the XO laptops into the process of teaching-learning ( enseanza-aprendizaje). Four areas are detected as barriers for the success of the ULPN project (Laura and Bolvar, 2009, p.51ff). First, the trainings for teachers are insufficient and lack methodological strategies for the laptop use in class as well as adjustments to the pedagogical necessities of the teachers, and therefore have low impacts. Second, the teachers lack experience and general knowledge of the technology, as well as technical problem solving skills. The frequent change of teachers and their double-role as teachers and school principals aggravates their working conditions. Another aspect mentioned is the problem of discipline that frequently arises with the laptop use in class. Third, the technological infrastructure is deficient as there is no service to repair the laptops and many become unusable. Moreover, the laptop and student ratio is often not proportional. The teaching materials are not appropriate for the context and there is often no connectivity to the internet. Fourth, there is a general lack of technical support and monitoring which leads to frequent technical problems with the laptops. As facilitators for the ULPN project (ibid., p.61ff), the authors mention the beliefs of the teachers, who change their attitude towards technology, value the laptops for their pedagogical work, and perceive the benefits for teaching and learning. Accessibility in
129A methodological note states that 'non-verbal abstract reasoning' was measured using Ravens Progressive Matrices (Christia et al., 2012, p.2). Furthermore "the verbal fluency test intends to capture language functions and the Coding test measures processing speed and working memory" (ibid.). 130The study is based on qualitative methods, such as semi-structured interviews, field observations and standardized classroom records.


terms of permanent access to the laptops as well as information sources, supplements and feedback facilitates the professional development of teachers and brings about children's personal initiative to work in groups, according to the authors. The positive disposition of students vis--vis the laptops increases their interest to participate in school, as well as their interaction and help amongst each other. The children were observed to rapidly learn how to use the laptops. The generational divide between teachers and students creates a difficult situation for teachers who cannot teach what they do not know. Finally, the access to the laptop's pedagogical resources at any given moment and the investigative capacities that it encourages were also seen as facilitating factors. The two studies show a different reality from that which is portrayed in the OLPC assessment overview (presented in Chapter 3). Even though the study by Laura and Bolvar as well as the first IDB publication were already available when OLPCF published their assessment in September 2010, they were not mentioned at all.

ICT use in Peru

According to the World Bank (ICT At-a-Glance Tables:, accessed 04-25-2012), access to computers and the internet is growing slowly in Peru. The report of the Peruvian National Institute for Statistics and Information (INEI) of 2012 shows that access is still extremely unequal between urban and rural areas, as nearly none of the households in the countryside possess a computer or have access to the internet (INEI, 2012, p.6).
Year Lima metropolitan area other urban areas rural areas computers internet computers internet computers internet 2004 15,8 5,9 9 0,8 0,3 0 2005 16 10,2 10,6 1,6 0,4 0 2006 21,2 12,9 12,5 2,7 0,8 0 2007 26,9 14,9 17 5 1 0 2008 29,7 18,6 20,2 6,7 1,6 0,1 2009 34,7 23,4 23,5 8,6 2,2 0,1 2010 36 25,7 27,6 11,4 2,6 0,3
Figure 18: Section of INEI statistics: National Survey of Households 2004-2011.

The general expansion of ICTs in Peruvian households does not affect the rural areas. According to INEI, the level of education of the head of the family influences the access to ICT significantly (ibid., p.15). By the end of 2011, 26,4% of the Peruvians used the internet, the majority of the users were between 12 and 24 years of age (ibid., p.3). More 65

than half of the people used public places like internet cafs ( cabinas publicas) and very few (8,7%) accessed the internet at educational institutions (ibid., p.4). In internet access, the level of education also plays an important role, so that more than 80% of the population with university education, and 58% with higher (non-university) education use the internet, compared to 39,6% of the population that terminated secondary education, and only 15,5% with primary education (ibid.). For about a decade, the Peruvian state has made efforts to enhance computer use throughout the country, especially as part of educational strategies. The Huascarn project was the most ambitious project in applying ICT in the education sector, before ULPN. It was initiated with a pilot project in 2001 and was broadly implemented, having supplied 1,800 secondary education institutions with variable numbers of computers, by 2004 (Laura and Bolvar, 2009, p.25). Roco Trinidad (2005) analyzed the Huascarn project and criticized the technical fixation, which ignored the role of the educational actors, explaining that it is a myth to believe that just installing computers, connected to the internet, in schools of the less favored zones will reverse their backwardness, or the low quality of education (Trinidad, 2005, p.175). Like many other authors (e.g. Cuban, 1986; Zhao and Frank, 2003; Laura and Bolvar, 2009), Trinidad points out the importance of the teachers in innovation processes involving technologies in education. The perspective of teachers will especially be included into the analysis of the field research, in Chapter 5.

The state of the Peruvian education system

Like other Latin American countries, Peru consistently performs "below other regions in the world in international assessments of education quality" (Abt Associates Inc., 2008, p.5). Peru has established obligatory education from initial to primary and secondary school since 1993 and succeeded in raising attendance countrywide. Yet, illiteracy, particularly among the rural population, remains a significant problem. Currently around 30% of the 28.5 Million Peruvians live in rural areas. Since 2002 the country has seen a great economic growth and according to Bertelsmann the poverty rate has been significantly reduced.131 The regions with the lowest income, highest illiteracy rates and
131Poverty rates declined from 54.7% in 2001, to 48.7% in 2005, 44.5% in 2006 and 39.3% in 2007, but extreme poverty still remained at 13.7% in 2007 (Bertelsmann Stiftung, 2009, p.19). The report also mentions that poverty was uneven as it was reduced mostly in urban and coastal areas, while it remained in the Amazon region (more than 11%), rural areas and the Andean highlands. Furthermore the percentage of people living in shantytowns is very high in comparison to the Latin American average.


greatest disparities in access to and quality of education, also house the highest numbers of indigenous populations, speaking a great variety of different languages. 132 The official language of Peru is Spanish, so that literacy is understood in terms of reading and writing the national language. In the PISA study of 2009, Peru is categorized as one of the countries where an "above average impact of socio-economic background on reading performance" was detected (OECD, 2010, p.155). In an article, discussing the expectations on ULPN, Oscar Becerra, briefly describes the education reality in Peru:
"There are 8.6 Million students: 75% public, 25% private; 80% urban, 20% rural, 200,000 children attend almost 10,000 one teacher schools. Of a total o 490,000 teachers 65% are public school and 35% private; 83% urban and 17% rural. There are 75,000 Schools, 75% Public 25% Private; 52% Urban, 48% Rural. Pre-K & K coverage is 66.3% . Primary (1-6) coverage is 94.4 and 76.5% for secondary school. According to 2009 reports almost 80% children 12-14 have finished primary school (6th grade) and over 60% of 17-19 youngsters have finished school (11th grade). In all cases the trend is growing." (Becerra, 2010)

According to Becerra, the ULPN project in Peru and the strategy of providing Technology Resource Centers (CRT) aims at "systemic low impact long term improvements" letting "children and teachers have ICT available and explore it in a non threatening way" (Becerra, 2010). The project especially aims to provide equity and quality in education which are considered the two root problems of the education system that remain despite the increase in access. According to Becerra, the educational requirements of rural Peruvians can be summarizes as follows:
"[...] in order for them to evolve into successful adults, either if they decide to stay in the countryside, or go to a city, they need a holistic education that allows them to cope with the challenges of their lives, their everyday lives, that incorporate, whatever is modern and is understood as common knowledge today. And technology is essentially a part of it, so they should be able to use technology, for doing meaningful things in their environment." (Appendix 17: Becerra 1, 2010; transcript)

As I have shown in Chapter 1, there is another line of thought criticizing the idea that there is a common knowledge, which is significant for all people and necessarily modern, incorporating technology as an essential part of it. Becerra assumes that by using technology and by receiving the kind of education that fosters this technology,
132According to the Peruvian National Institute for the Development of the Andean, Amazon and Afroperuvian people (INDEPA) there are 71 ethnic groups, speaking 67 different languages and comprising a total population of 4.1 Million (data from 2009). The largest language family is Quechua, which is spoken by more than 3.3 Million Peruvians. The second largest language group is called Aru and contains Aymara, which is spoken by more than 443,000 people. As reference, an ethnolinguistic map is attached as Appendix 9.


people will be able to cope with any given situation and do meaningful things. It must be questioned if people can only do meaningful things when they are using technology and what a technology like the XO laptop serves for in the remote countryside, where there is no access to the internet and sometimes not even electricity. Becerra also brings up the aspect of free choice and equity, meaning that all the children should have the same possibilities, and therefore must be educated equally. He thereby confirms the universal claim of education, which is centrally determined by the urban national elites.

The national curriculum

The Peruvian National Curricular Design for Basic Regular Education (DCN) of 2009 determines competencies as an ensemble of capacities, knowledge and attitudes that should be developed in the children, instead of providing a strict curriculum with regard to contents. The capacities are to be developed during certain cycles instead of grades, meaning that superordinate goals of education are to be reached during a longer time period.133 The curriculum shall provide possibilities for diversification and claims to be open and flexible in order to be adapted to the different local realities and to provide contextually significant knowledge. It aims to reflect the intention of respecting the cultural and linguistic diversity of the country (Ministry of Education, 2008, p.9). The construction of knowledge by students forms the first principle of the underlying educational model, and thereby builds on the afore-mentioned constructionist education theories (ibid., p.18).134 The curriculum contains references to constructivist ideas and methods, especially stressing the 'learning to learn' principle that is accredited to Seymour Papert. The term appears on the one hand as part of psycho-pedagogical principles, emphasizing the necessity to develop communication skills. This concerns the interaction between teacher and student and, as the DCN is addressed to teachers, describes how students should be motivated, and how situations must be created that support the meaningful construction of knowledge, promote reflection and enable them
133There are seven cycles stretching from Initial education for children under the age of six (cycles one and two) where parents and the community play an important role besides the institution of the school, to primary education from grade one to six (cycles three, four and five) and finally secondary education from grade one to five (cycles six and seven). In this system grades and cycles overlap each other. Throughout these cycles, an integral development of the students in physical, affective and cognitive terms is to be reached and knowledge of the sciences, the humanities, technology, culture, arts, physical education and sports shall be gained together with the necessary capacities that allow livelong learning and the good use of new technologies (Ministry of Education, Peru, 2008, p.10). 134The theoretical basis and its founders are not named as such in the document, but the connection becomes obvious in mentioning the 'learning to learn' principle and the construction of knowledge by students.


to 'learn learning' and live together (Ministry of Education, 2008, p.18). The educational demands of the modern world and of globalization, incorporating scientific and technological advances together with the recognition of the diversity and unity of the Peruvian society, build a foundation for the pedagogical aims of this curriculum. Unfortunately, the education system is still confronted with the constant reproduction of inequalities and exclusion, as well as routine and mechanic practices, making it hard to achieve the required competencies for students and motivation of teachers, as stated in this document (ibid., p.20).

Reasons to purchase laptops for schools

Since 2007 the National Education Plan until 2021 (PEN) outlines a strategy to improve education.135 This document does not yet mention the involvement of OLPC in the plan, but emphasizes the importance of ICT in education due to the 'information revolution' (revolucin informtica) and the processes of globalization (PEN, 2010, p.23). As causal to this 'information revolution' it describes the scientific and technological developments together with new circumstances in the world economy, which bring about changes not only for the financial and productive world, but via mass internet access extend into everyday life (ibid.). In 2005 the Multisectorial Commission for the Development of the Information Society (CODESI)136 published the Peruvian Digital Agenda, a plan that outlines a directive for politics and strategies that need to be propelled by the public, the academic and the private sector as well as the civil society in general and has the goal to generate an 'Information Society' (CODESI, 2005, p.4). The paper describes the 'Information Society' (Sociedad de la Informacin) that shall be established as a society that is based on the access to information and knowledge, and will revolutionize the state, the law, the economy and the whole society (ibid., p.3). In this view, access to information represents a key democratic concept, as only the one who is informed can exercise his right to vote in the best way (ibid.). Another reason for urgent action is seen in the 'digital divide' (brecha digital) which is found between telecommunications users in urban and rural areas as well as between Peru and the neighboring nations (ibid.,
135There have been numerous such strategies prior and as well parallel to this one and none of them did succeed in revolutionizing Peruvian education so far. 136CODESI was formed in 2003 by several ministries, like the Ministries of Transport and Communication, of Education, of Health, of Work and Employment Promotion, of Economy and Finance etc. together with other organs and councils in the area of telecommunications and technology. More information about CODESI and its members:, accessed 03-07-2012.


p.4).137 Support for the ULPN project comes especially from the circles of people and organizations that are in one way or another involved with ICT based economy. The decision to implement the XO laptops in Peru's schools was based on the technical assessment of the potentials of the XO laptop by a collective that involved the president of the Private Council for the Digital Agenda (CPAD), Max Ugaz and the operations manager of the Professional Linux Institute for Peru, Ecuador and Bolivia ( Instituto Linux Profesional para Per, Ecuador y Bolivia ) Hernan Pachas.138 The appraisal of the laptop's abilities alluded to the observation that children learned to use them within ten minutes, demonstrated in an article published on the website of the Ministry (, accessed 03-13-2012). In his blog, Eduardo Villanueva vehemently opposed the council's recommendation to introduce laptops in Peruvian schools, pointing out the member's missing competency in terms of pedagogical understanding, to decide about a project that was said to have a pedagogical rather than technical goal. He further highlighted that the mentioned members of the technical assessment team of ULPN were at the time employees of the University San Martn de Porres in Lima, which is headed by the former Minister of Education, Antony Chang (, accessed 03-05-2012). The assumptions underlying the implementation of laptops in education can be understood in terms of how Peruvian elites embrace foreign ideals as part of a "global culture of modern schooling that flows across national boundaries" (Alamasi and Anderson-Levitt, 2001, p.25). Alamasi and Anderson-Levitt argue that from a 'cultural ideology perspective', national elites often embrace Western ideals willingly as a part of their process of modern state building. The authors also refer to another perspective, pointing out "that the power dimension controls the flow of pedagogical ideals [while the] cultural ideology ignores crucial power differences between countries" (Ginsburg cited in Alamasi and Anderson-Levitt, 2001, p.54). The embrace of the pedagogical ideals of the MIT by Peruvian education administrators can be traced back to a general
137Eduardo Villanueva criticizes the use of the term 'digital divide', pointing out that the divide is rather rooted in structural inequalities, including imbalances in education and culture, the lack of access to public and private services, as well as missing financial services (Villanueva, 2006, p.3f). He further explains that in the case of Peru, where there are internet cafes ( cabinas pblicas) in nearly every town of more than five thousand inhabitants, access is not the actual problem (ibid., p.12). 138I later met Hernan Pachas as an employee of DIGETE where he worked as the technical coordinator for ULPN.


influence of US American education ideals. 139 It is possible to perceive the introduction of laptops as a process through which the modern part of the Peruvian society, consisting primarily of urban inhabitants, who have often studied abroad and consequently return with foreign ideals, 140 try to integrate the underdeveloped and poorly educated rest of the country into the global system, where they should actively participate as global citizens. Introducing the speech of Mr. Becerra at the OLPC country workshop in May 2008, Nicholas Negroponte pointed out that both, the former Minister of Education, Antony Chang, as well as Becerra himself had visited the MIT in 1992 and learned about the educational ideals that are nowadays reflected in the Peruvian education system (Appendix 18: Video: Becerra, 2008).

Peru is advancing
The phrase 'El Per Avanza!' (Peru is advancing!) is the headline of a national campaign of former President Alan Garcia that one could read wherever the government provided new infrastructure, like access to electricity or water, constructed buildings and streets, or brought advances for the country's economy and provided employment. The Una Laptop por Nio program was accompanied by a media campaign under the same headline. To provide a short insight into the representation of the ULPN project I want to describe a video that was broadcasted in Peruvian television in 2007 and features the pilot project in Arahuay (Appendix 19: Video: OLPC Peru, 2007) The first scene shows the panorama of the Machu Picchu ruins, the cultural treasure, UNESCO world heritage and biggest tourist attraction of the country. These introductory images are supported by traditional flute music. Then the image in Figure 16 is gradually built up, displaying a traditional hut that could be somewhere in the mountains of Peru, with a woman to the left wearing the traditional dress and a boy to the right whose face is lit up by the light of what appears at last, the XO laptop. Next, the video features a children's song, with a phrase in Quechua, meaning 'I enjoy learning' (kusisqua yachani) as chorus. The song summarizes all the advances that children gain using the laptops, such as surfing the web, researching, discovering,
139Paulston (1977) mentions how the USA supported the expansion of the Peruvian education system after the Second World War. Nowadays the relationship between Peru and the USA is majorly based on economic relations, support for the 'war against drugs' and financial aid especially by USAID (TaftMorales, 2009). 140Many of the employees of the Ministry of Education that have been mentioned as well as other advocates of the ULPN program have studied abroad in the USA. Antony Chang and Oscar Becerra, for example, both hold a Masters degree in education from Hartford University.


writing, painting, and recording at any place, creating numerous things, working together in groups and sharing with friends.141

Figure 19: Video-still: OLPC Peru: El Per Avanza!

The use of the most common indigenous language, Quechua, spoken by more than four million people in Peru, shows how especially the indigenous population that is commonly described as the poorest and most disadvantaged shall participate in the advances of the modern era. The rest of the video displays in picturesque terms how the children of Arahuay (the pilot school that was mentioned above) become 'digital natives' (nativos digitales), which enables them to work with the XO laptops. The children are described as being more interested, more active and open. The former Minister of Education, Antony Chang explains that "the laptop is a powerful learning tool, it is another learning instrument, another learning resource, it is a potentially increased book for a better learning, but it will not replace teachers, but it will help them" (Appendix 19: Video: OLPC Peru, 2007, min 7:00). The laptop is meant to bring educational equity, integrate the remotest and poorest areas of the country into the modern world, and bridge the 'digital divide' between public and private schools. 142 Finally, the pilot project's function is to help evaluating the "benefits and scopes of ICTs educational use, based on the learning to learn principle, in accordance with the national education policy guidelines, which seek to develop students' skills, abilities, capacities and values to succeed in life and contribute to the development of the country" (Appendix 19: Video: OLPC Peru, 2007, min 8:02). Unfortunately, an assessment report about the pilot project was never published. The Peruvian Ministry of Education displays in simple terms how
141A translation of the song is included in Appendix 19. 142The disparities in educational quality are especially high between these different school types.


the project aims to integrate all Peruvians in a society where children continually learn anytime and anyplace, alluding to the concept of lifelong learning. 143 The 'learning to learn' (aprender a aprender) principle plays an important role as it shall enable children to independently keep "learning without being taught" (Papert, 1980, p.7) and to thereby develop themselves, and at the same time help to bring forward the whole society. With the ULPN project, the Peruvian government and especially the Ministry of Education represent themselves as modern, developed and eager to tap into the potential of further economic growth, teaching their citizens to continually learn and become economically competitive. The capitalist labor system and the ongoing globalization are not being brought up as ambivalent topics, as the big problem is rather seen in how to integrate all citizens into one system. The access to ICT shall be enhanced through the education institutions, so that students can develop certain capacities and abilities by using ICT. The laptop is represented as a powerful learning tool, an instrument, a resource, a potentially increased book, and a help for teachers. This representation replicates the view of technology as a neutral tool that has been broadly criticized by Bowers, who wrote that "microcomputers mediate the educational (cultural transmission) process" (Bowers, 1988, p.27) in such a way that they provide decontextualized data as the basis for thinking and thereby produce a view of the individual as disconnected from the past, autonomous and self-directed (ibid., p.75). The campaign of the Peruvian Ministry of Education reinforces an idea of progress as a linear process that can be enhanced with the help of computers expressing the latest and most modern embodiment of progress.

Identification of laptop users

"We choose the one-teacher and multi-grade schools because they are usually the poorest, so those children are the more marginalized, the poorest among the poor. So beginning with them we are improving the overall quality of education and give the ones that are the bottom of the latter, to go one step ahead, and then we can go the next step with the whole education improved. So that was the criteria for choosing them, it's the more challenging, the most challenging of course, but the problem is if we do not begin with them we will never reach them." (Appendix 17: Becerra 2, 2010; transcript)

As stated by Becerra and in the above video, the ULPN project aims to integrate the
143This concept of lifelong learning can be understood in different ways and it is used as a catch phrase by different organizations. The Worldbank and OECD bring forward mainly economic arguments that force people to constantly keep up-to-date to not be overwhelmed with the rapid changes in the economic and especially the labor system, while organizations such as the United Nations and UNESCO support a vision of lifelong learning that focusses more on the development of the individual and is not so much oriented on the needs of the labor market.


poorest and marginalized into the developed and computer-literate population. It can be seen as on side-effect of the official communication, that the stereotypical laptop users identity is primarily portrayed as marked by their devastating living conditions and by what they are perceived to lack. As the above video explicitly shows, the indigenous population in the countryside is being addressed directly. Unfortunately, the specific problems of the indigenous populations, other than the lack of education in occidental terms and their general poorness, are not further addressed. This results in a general confirmation of the perception of the social position of the rural and indigenous population as backward as well as an ignorance of the importance of the local context, the native language, and the connection to past traditions as valuable sources of knowledge. The challenge that Oscar Becerra points out, consists in that the most marginalized cannot be reached. They are often beyond the reach of the dominant state discourses and hence cannot easily be controlled either. Going one step ahead, can mean to come one step closer to the urban centers and become available to their program of national development. State education can be understood as a standardization process through which all citizens are bound to a national identity. The diversity of Peru makes this process especially difficult.


Chapter 5: The XO in a Local Context

The analysis in this chapter has a double focus. On the one hand it describes the educational situation of Peruvian rural schools. On the other hand it investigates changes that come with the introduction of the XO laptops as they are perceived by the teachers. The analysis builds on data from the field study and other materials to contextualize, explain, emphasize and enrich the presented data. First of all, the two regions, where the field study was conducted will be introduced. Then, the analysis will focus on the educational needs of children in the countryside as they were mainly expressed by teachers. Starting from this needs assessment, efforts to meet these needs made by the Peruvian authorities and by other organizations are discussed. The discussion also includes historical references to provide an understanding of the role of the local educational needs and the struggles that have accompanied the various efforts. The XO project is reviewed in this context as one effort to enhance educational quality and equity. Finally, the processes of adaption and appropriation of the project by teachers in the local context are discussed and in conclusion, the role of the XO project as a 'modernizing' project is explained.

Puno and Madre de Dios

The two regions, where this study was conducted, provide an indication of the cultural and social diversity of Peru.144 They are very different in geographical terms and from the structure of their population. The region of Puno, bordering Bolivia in the south, stretches from the Andean plateau to the high jungle, where the region of Madre de Dios starts and spreads down to the deep jungles of the Amazon until it meets the border with Brazil. Puno is considered one of the poorest regions of Peru, while Madre de Dios experienced a major economic growth and the reduction of extreme poverty over the last years. This development is probably connected to the settlement of extractive industries such as mining, wood cutting, as well as agriculture, and fruit production. Furthermore the new international highway Interoceanica that extends all the way to the Brazilian border, has brought possibilities for trade and therefor economic resources. Consequently, Madre de Dios receives a great number of migrants from other parts of the country, such as the highlands of Puno, or the neighboring region Cusco. Leaving their communities of origin, these migrants come for work and bring with them the
144A personal map, which shows the exact locations of all the schools that I visited, can be accessed via google-maps: (last edited 05-02-2012).


traditions, customs and mentality of the highlands, where many people survive on subsistence agriculture, the breeding of animals, like Alpaca, 145 and fish at the shores the Titicaca lake. While this population increase presents one challenge for the region of Madre de Dios, another challenge is that the highland communities on their part suffer from the increasing exodus of people, which destroys their cultural and economic basis.146

Figure 20: Peru: Departments according to poverty level, 2010.

In the jungle regions of Madre de Dios, there remain some more or less isolated groups that are not part of the dominant economic system and are not accounted for in the statistics on economic growth (FUNPROEIB Andes, 2009, p.305). Like most jungle regions, Madre de Dios has an extremely low population density of 1,4 per km. In Puno, as a region with mostly rural population, the population density is also quite low with 18,7 per km, compared to the central region of Lima with 258,1 per km (INEI: 2009, p.23). In Puno there are many regions in the countryside where the people speak either of the two most common indigenous languages, Quechua or Aymara, while Madre de Dios counts a number of smaller language groups of which some are in danger of extinction (FUNPROEIB Andes, 2009, p.329). As a consequence of these characteristics
145The Alpaca (an Andean relative of the camel) can be kept at 3,500 m (11,500 ft) to 5,000 m (16,000 ft) above sea level, and is therefor very important for the highland people in Peru. It is significant for the spiritual life, is celebrated and used for rituals (in some places, the fetus of this animal is buried once a year together with other offerings for the earth), and provides very dense and warm wool. 146The function and social as well as economic importance of the rural community ( comunidad) will be explained in more detail below.


and particularities, the two regions have very distinct educational needs. I spent the greater part of my fieldwork in Puno and will especially focus on this region to determine how the local needs contrast with national education plans and curricula. The case of Madre de Dios will provide a second example that will be used for comparison when appropriate and to demonstrate the variety of educational needs within the country.

Local educational needs

During the field research I was especially interested in finding out about how people perceive the school as an institution that provides a certain kind of knowledge and transmits a cultural heritage. Since most of my available the interviewees were local teachers, the perspective that is proposed in this paper especially reflects the views of the local teaching staff, but also those of children and parents in the rural areas. Furthermore specialized insight and background information was obtained through interviews with cultural experts147 and several staff of the Ministry of Education, 148 provided specialized insight and background information. The central question I asked in every interview was: What kind of education do the children need in the countryside? The answers were very diverse and rather than quoting each one of them, this paper will give a synthesis of the arguments. For a more intimate account and to let the actors speak themselves, in their own words, I have edited a short video 149 that can be seen as a first overview of the answers (the video and a transcript of the English subtitles are attached as Appendix 20 and can also be viewed online:
147I define cultural experts as informants that provided specialized background information about the way of life, traditions and living conditions of the place. They were qualified to provide such information due to their education and work. Two of the informants that I determine as experts are anthropologists and worked in different projects for cultural affirmative and rural education. The third one is an employee of CARE Peru, an NGO that will be introduced in more detail below, and works with several village communities. 148I spoke to one local and one regional expert, who were involved in the implementation of the One Laptop per Child (OLPC) project. Furthermore, two of the interviewees worked in the Department for Primary Education (Direccin de Educacin Primaria) and were also involved in rural educational projects. Finally I talked to various staff of DIGETE, including a regional coordinator and the former head of this office, Oscar Becerra. A list of the interviewees that provides more background information is attached as Appendix 10. 149As methodological note must be added that the editing of the video provides a certain emphasis and is at the same time reductionist. This emphasis is intended, presenting to the reader an overview of the arguments that were most interesting and important to the author. The edited video that is presented here must be understood like a written collection of interview statements, which are compiled to bring forward different arguments. Elisabeth Mohn has proposed a useful framework for the work with video material and proposes using video recordings as a form of field notes (Mohn, 2006). Unfortunately, most of the video material that was produced during the field work could not be included into this analysis due to the lack of time.

77 The teachers in this video all work in different rural schools150 in Puno. In summary there are five major themes that can be identified from the teachers' statements, concerning what kind of education the children need: 1. An education that primarily focuses on basic operations like reading, writing, and mathematics. 2. A personalized and individualized education that takes into account the diversity of the children's backgrounds, their individual development, and allows to teach diverse age-groups together in 'multi-grade' classrooms. 3. An education that is contextualized, thereby adequate for the local context, reviving ancestral knowledge and values, and focuses on strengthening the local identity of children. 4. A practical education, meaning an education that is directed towards vocational education and production, and serves as a preparation for life. 5. An education that includes new technology and modern scientific knowledge. These five categories were selected as the most important aspects of education, summarizing the most common topics that were mentioned by teachers. 151 In the next step, the elaborated categories will be analyzed in more detail, taking into account the interview statements, other data that has been acquired during the field research, and providing additional contextual information, especially concerning the efforts that have been made to allow this kind of education through different national programs as well as projects involving various non-governmental organizations.

A basic education
As one of the main questions of the interviews as well as the inquiry on the 'cultural domain' of education, I asked about the most important knowledge, competencies and
150Two of the interviewees are working as accompanying teachers as part of the Strategic Program for Reaching the Learning Goals (PELA) and work in several schools, which means that they have a an insight into the school reality of various schools. Their statements were included because I found that especially the PELA teachers have a greater understanding of different school realities and mostly see local problems and challenges in a more profound way than some of the teachers that only work in a single school environment. The statements of these two groups are placed side by side as they are talking about the same local context. The PELA program will be explained in more detail below. 151The order of statements does not resemble a quantitative significance, but was chosen to structure this Chapter, ensure readability, and to highlight contextual connections. The themes cannot be seen as exclusive either as several of the teachers mentioned more than one.


capacities that children should acquire. Teachers and parents alike, named the three major practices of reading, writing, and mathematics. I also asked that question while working with the children in the different classrooms that I visited, to find out how they perceive school. These three mentioned topics were again named most frequently. The commented results of the survey on these topics are attached as Appendix 21 (teachers, question 1; parents, question 2; children). 152 The importance of the three basic skills shows the role of the school as an institution to acquire the most common and universal occidental cultural techniques. Other items that were frequently named will be discussed further below.

Figure 21: 26 teachers: tag-cloud 2, including items with at least five counts.

Figure 22: 15 parents: tag-cloud 2, including items with at least ten counts.

Figure 23: 14 groups of students: tag-cloud 2, including items with at least five counts.

In the international ranking of the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) 2009, Peru remains on one of the lowest places in reading performance (OECD, 2010, p.29)153 even though scores have improved significantly since 2000 (ibid., p.40).
152The methodology that was used to generate these data is explained in Chapter 2. 153Peru performs equally low in writing and mathematics. The topic of reading performance is chosen for


Since 1994 the Ministry of Education in Peru tests students nationally and has recently been "moving towards universal testing of students and exit exams" (Abt Associates Inc., 2008, p.5). FUNPROEIB Andes154 and UNICEF (2009) criticize that all standardized language tests assess the reading comprehension only in Spanish, disregarding the maternal languages of the children (FUNPROEIB Andes, 2009, p.586). Consequently the performance of students is lower in regions with bilingual characteristics. Peru still counts illiterate population which is concentrated especially in the regions of the Andes (PRONAMA, 2011, p.6). A great problem is functional illiteracy, meaning that people do not understand what they read. Most people in the countryside do not read habitually, so, due to the disuse, they often become illiterates again. Reading and writing in Spanish are necessary preconditions for the participation in the national society, which is based on the Spanish language and on rather occidental ideals. The headmaster of a school told me the story of how the population of the village where he was teaching was not allowed access to education until the 1930s. He said that they had to fight for the right to be educated, and people lost their lives for the sake of education (Appendix 22: Esteban 1, 2010). Wagner (1982), in her account of the historical developments of schooling in Peru, writes that although the rural population had the right to education, they were hindered by big landowners (Wagner, 1982, p.36f). During the 1920s, villagers started to build their own schools and hired teachers, who were sometimes killed by the landowners (ibid.). In some areas like Ayacucho, for example, this fight continued until the 1960s (ibid.). 155 Wagner also explains how under the reign of president Legua (1919-1930), efforts to modernize Peru were made involving major help of their primary ally, the USA. During this time, an education system was established following the model of the North-American school system (ibid., 33f).156 With the progression of industrialization, resulting in a growing migration to the cities, there was a more pressing need to educate greater parts of the society.
exemplification, because it allows to point out short comings in student testing. 154The Foundation for Education in Multilingual and Multicultural Contexts (Fundacin para la Educacin en Contextos de Multilingismo y Pluriculturalidad, FUNPROEIB Andes) is an international civil organization based in Bolivia that implement socio-educative projects to benefit indigenous people and organizations in particular. 155Wagner further describes how the refusal of landowners to provide education for 'their Indios' was expressed in such sayings like: 'Indio leido, demonio encarnado', meaning 'reading Indio, embodied devil' (Wagner, 1982, 37). 156According to Wagner, the plans and curricula for this education system were developed with the help of US-advisors and US-teachers were employed to implement modern methods for teaching (Wagner, 1982, p.34).


Again, Peru received support from the USA. Wagner describes this support as part of a larger US effort to secure the supply of raw materials and protect the investments made by US entrepreneurs in the region (ibid., p.39).157 With the processes of industrialization, traditional power structures continued to break up in the countryside, and a massive expansion of the education system emerged. These processes aggravated the unequal development between cities and rural areas as the urban education sectors were generally prioritized, for many of the following decades (ibid., p.45). Nowadays, Peru has reached broad saturation of primary education, but the problem of inequality and low quality of education especially in the countryside remains. Efforts to solve the problem of low performance in reading, writing, and mathematics, are made for example with the above mentioned Strategic Program for Reaching the Learning Goals (PELA) that mainly assists teachers in the countryside and focuses on initial education and the first two primary school years. To raise the quality of teachers and to overcome the problems that they face especially in 'one-teacher' and 'multi-grade' environments, accompanying teachers visit the schools twice a month. During the field research, I spoke with three PELA assisting teachers and one local PELA coordinator, who explained that they support teachers and children likewise, helping with methodological strategies and curricular planning, as well as the development of materials.158 The PELA program has been running since 2009 and is financed by the Ministry of Economy and Finance (Ministerio de Economia y Finanzas). The goal is to reach measurable and statistically significant improvements in the basic capacities. There are several other programs that aim at the same goal, but none of them is implemented in all schools. These programs are normally limited to so called 'target institutions' (institucines focalizadas). In a case study on the quality of education, Abt Associates Inc. analyzes three successful programs and states that "having a teacher aide, making teachers talk among themselves of their problems, may have important results on education outcomes, as teachers can get answer to their particular problems, rather than universal, centrally design and massive teacher training programs" (Abt Associates Inc., 2008, p.7). The results show that further to the empowerment of teachers, a very important point is "the integration of the public school to the social life
157At the same time, the USA was preventing the spread of communist forces (Wagner, 1982, p.39). 158The PELA assistants work in three phases: first, diagnosing the situation in school and assessing the work of the teacher; second, observing and finding out where there are shortcomings in the development of the children; third, demonstrating new and better methods to the teacher and helping to improve the teacher's work.


of their town" (ibid., p.88). Therefore the two main points of intervention are the training of teachers in service and the inclusion of the community and the families. The teachers mostly recognize the need to permanently train and improve their teaching methods, but according to an employee of a Regional Educational Board (DRE) the budget for in-service training of the teachers is not sufficient. Furthermore, most training courses do not build on each other, so that some teachers get confused by the different approaches and the teaching practice is not consistent. The headmaster of a school highlighted another problem of these trainings:
"We receive these trainings, but we are not using the knowledge to teach the children, we are not sharing with the other teachers. Much ego is there between us. So this is the problem, we are not sharing with our educational community. But we receive much training about the use of methodology, the pedagogical practice in other countries in comparison, many things. But everything is separated, there is lack of sharing." (Appendix 22: Esteban 2, 2010; translated by author)

The motivation of the teachers also depends on their economic situation and since the teacher salary is relatively low, around 1,000 Peruvian nuevos soles a month (which is less than $400), many need a second job to support their families. In addition, teachers are not reimbursed for facing costly travels to the often remote schools.

An individualized education in a diverse environment

When I talked to Mr. Becerra, and asked about the special problems of 'one-teacher' and 'multi-grade' schools in the countryside, he said that these were generally the less desired schools, so that any teacher would try to migrate to a better school. Consequently the quality of the teachers was very low and in addition, some of the schools were "weeks away from the closest civilized place" (Appendix 17: Becerra 3, 2010; transcript). During the field research I found that the daily problems, which teachers face in the rural areas of Puno and Madre de Dios were various and cannot be easily summarized. The remoteness of many places and a lack of transportation make it difficult for teachers to reach the schools.159 Some teachers choose to live in the schools during the week and visit their families in town on the weekends. Others, who make the long journey every day, depend on the few possibilities of transport and often need to hurry home directly after the classes, so that they cannot get into close contact with the local population and
159As I described in the Chapter 2, one of the teachers that I accompanied was going nearly 100 kilometers by bus every day to reach his school.


parents. As a result, the relationship between teachers and the community is often perceived as insufficient by the teachers. The need to involve the local community and especially the parents into the process of educating their children was mentioned as a major problem by many teachers. In order to fulfill this requirement, the parents need to be informed and oriented, making them aware of their educational duties and rights. This is done by teachers during meetings with the parents, but many teachers lamented about the lack of interest in and support for the children's education. One of the contributing factors to this problem is often the low level of education, or illiteracy of the parents themselves. Another reason for the lack of priority attributed by parents to their childrens education, seems to be the lack of economic resources of many households, and the resulting poverty and work migration of family members. A result of the increasing migration is the abandonment of children, who are left with their grandparents or elder siblings. A serious consequence of the poverty is the bad alimentation of the children, which results in low levels of concentration, so that the children have difficulties in learning and memorization, as was explained by the last speaker in the video (Appendix 20: Video, statement 6). To solve this problem, the Peruvian state provides school lunches, which mostly consists of rice, noodles, and potatoes. Every day lunch is cooked by one or two mothers on a rotating basis. This may not be sufficient however. Some children, coming from very remote places, leave their homes early in the morning without breakfast and walk long distances to the schools where they then fall asleep during the lessons. Furthermore, many children need to help their parents in agricultural and farming activities. The teacher Elena160 summarized the situation:
"For me personally, as a teacher, I think that they need an individualized education, because each child needs support, every child is a world of its own. They come from different families, and this zone is a place where not all the parents stay with their children. [...] They generally leave the children with their grandparents, or uncles, or some other people. In the worst cases they even leave the children all alone, and someone watches them from a distance and they have to take care for themselves and their brothers and sisters. And they come from very far sometimes, then one goes to the college, the others to the primary schools. There is no filial love from the heart and no support in the homes, the parents do not care, do not ask: 'How was the school? Let me see, let me help you.' This doesn't exist here. The parents when they come home from work at 4 or 5 in the afternoon they go home together with their children, maybe cook a soup or something like that and go to sleep, because they are tired. They do not give this support to their children. We as teachers talk a lot of course, make meetings with them and explain them the importance of their
160All names of the informants are pseudonyms.


support, but the parents say that there is no money here, no work, so how are they going to support their families, pay their houses etc., so they need to travel to other places to work." (Appendix 23: Elena, 2010; translated by author)

Another problem that is not adequately met, especially considering the preparation of the teachers, is the special characteristics of 'multi-grade' and 'one-teacher' schools. The teacher education does not address the challenges of these working conditions. In an interview with the head of the section for primary education of the National University of the Altiplano (Universidad Nacional del Altiplano , UNAP) in Puno, I was told that the curriculum does not include a preparation for a 'multi-grade' and 'one-teacher' classrooms, but rather focusses on education by subjects and grades, which one will rarely find in the countryside (Appendix 24: Walter 1, 2010). The Educational Project for Rural Areas (PEAR)161 supports teachers of these schools in lesson planning and helps to form educational networks (redes educativos) where they can exchange their experiences and assist each other in lesson planning. Roger, an employee of the Department of Primary Education, who was involved in this project, pointed out the successes:
"[...] there was a very traditional practice, where the teacher was standing in front of the children and did his work without respecting their differences, so it needed a lot of effort, because this pedagogical practice has been transformed in a participative way. I think there was a lot of necessity to reconsider this situation, with some strategies, with a different way of seeing the classroom, with a distinct relation between teacher and children, in a climate that permits dialogue, communication, reflection, the best conditions for the families to participate. [...] I think what we have seen there was spectacular, because it produced a change and we have heard that it would be almost impossible, at least very difficult that this comes to realization, but it was achieved. A thing that looks so very complex, that one teacher with six grades, with 18 or 20 children can work in a way that is simultaneous and distinguishing, respecting their differences, promoting the participation of the community, generating works in networks." (Appendix 25: Roger 1, 2010; translated by author)

Unfortunately, the implementation of this project is also limited to 'target institutions', so that not all the teachers receive the required support.

A contextualized and intercultural education

Due to its great linguistic diversity, one of the main issues for Peru's education is the education in maternal languages. Quechua and Aymara are co-official languages in the areas where they predominate, but often they are neglected in school education. In her book Making Indigenous Citizens, Mara Elena Garca (2005) describes the 'Indian
161The projects exists since 1983 (under a different name) and seeks to take into account the complexity of the rural context that has been widely ignored by the Peruvian elite. The key element is the training of and assistance for the teachers, who need to be especially prepared for these working conditions.


problem', which is shorthand for the cultural, economic, and political legacies of conquest and colonialism and occupied a privileged position in debates over the very meaning of Peruvian nationality and the program for Peruvian progress (Garca, 2005, p.63).162 Concerning education, the main question for Garca is how the 'Indians' were transformed into citizens through the educational system (ibid.). Wagner (1982) writes that since the Spanish conquest, the extent to which the indigenous population was considered in national politics, depended on whether it was useful or necessary for the ruling elites (Wagner, 1982, p.11). Therefore institutionalized education needs to be regarded in the greater context of political and economic development (ibid.). Garca (2005) further describes how since the 1980s, intercultural education was "strongly promoted by multilateral organizations (e.g., the Wold Bank, Inter-American Development Bank, Fondo Indgena) and international funding organizations (e.g., German Technological Institute GTZ, Oxfam Maerica), Peruvian intellectuals, among them linguist, anthropologists, and progressive educators" (Garca, 2005, p.78). She further writes that with the renewed attention by the state in the late 1980s and early 1990s, policies for Intercultural and Bilingual Education (EIB) were nationally adopted and "quickly subsumed into state education reform projects promoting national diversity", but were never adequately funded (ibid., p.79). The political agenda for EIB was however implemented as a top-down approach and did not respond to the specific needs of educators, parents and children (ibid., p.80). Garca moreover points out that EIB did not establish a separate educational project, but "reflects only a 'diversification' of the existing national curriculum" (ibid., p.81). The Peruvian laws guarantee its citizens an education in the maternal languages, which shall also promote the valuation and fortification of their own culture, respecting the cultural diversity of the country (Benavides, et al., 2010, p.68). Officially, 'interculturality' ( interculturalidad) constitutes a general principle of education, which should be implemented in the educational system in general (ibid.). But in practice, the EIB is offered only in primary education in the rural areas (ibid.). 163 FUNPROEIB Andes and UNICEF published a
162Garca (2005) describes the succession of different solutions to this problem which are often grouped under the term 'indegenismo' and commonly concern language and education (Garca, 2005, p.63). She mentions different phases of these developments and is especially concerned with the role of the state, intellectuals and nongovernmental actors in determining the place of Peru's indigenous population" (ibid.). 163Only 37.7% of all the students with an indigenous maternal language attend an EIB school (Benavides, et al., 2010, p.68). Furthermore there is no consideration of the maternal languages in secondary education at all and most of the children in urban zones speaking indigenous languages are disregarded.


Sociolinguistic Atlas of Indigenous People in Latin America ( Atlas Sociolingistico de Pueblos Indigenas en Amrica Latina) in 2009 and examined the increasing loss of Andean languages in most province capitals (FUNPROEIB Andes, 2009, p.582). During the fieldwork I experienced that people living near big roads, or in villages near the town of Moho, capital of the province of the same name, tend to speak more Spanish, so that the children are growing up bilingually and are more confident using their second language. Teachers use the maternal languages mostly to make the introduction of Spanish easier.164 According to Garca (2005) "intercultural methodology promotes the maintenance of indigenous languages and the teaching of a second language (most commonly Spanish), as well as the acceptance of and respect for cultural difference" rather than "utilizing indigenous languages only as a way to ease the transition to Spanish" (Garca, 2005, p.78). I was told by several teachers though that many of the parents did not want their children to learn indigenous languages in school. 165 This view is probably connected to the low prestige that is associated with these languages. 166 The results of the survey amongst parents (see Figure 19) contrast with this view, as most of the parents did categorize the maternal language (Aymara) as very important. 167 Some did mention that the children already knew Aymara and therefor it was more important to teach Spanish in school, but many parents also said that the children should be able to read and write in their maternal language. 168 Edwin, from the Department for Primary Education pointed out that the teaching of the maternal languages shall enable the children to think in different ways, to become conscious that they construct their thinking in their maternal language, and thereby reconfirm their identity, culture and language (Appendix 26: Edwin 1, 2010). Language remains important, not only during
164The native languages, Aymara and Quechua, were used when teaching the smallest children, and mostly when the children grew up monolingually, meaning that they did not speak any Spanish. But as soon as the children understood Spanish, the use of the native languages in class declined. 165The predominance of Spanish in the Peruvian society has a direct impact on the perception of the rural people, who want their children to learn Spanish, to be able to participate in the greater society. Nevertheless, most children respond better when they are addressed in their native language and during the first years of schooling the teachers need to talk Aymara or Quechua to be understood, so it is very important that the teachers speak those languages, as was explained especially by the PELA accompanying teachers. 166Garca states that according to activists "much of the problem of indigenous marginalization lay in the cultural and linguistic discrimination they and their languages face" (Garca, 2005, p.81). 167Twelve out of the fifteen villagers that I talked to in the district of Moho, wanted their children to learn Aymara, the local native language. One man even said that he did not want to know anything of Spanish, because it was from the time of suppression and suffering (Appendix 21: parents, question 2). 168It must be mentioned that the indigenous languages were translated into the latin alphabet only in the late 20th century (Quechua in 1975, Aymara in 1985), because they used to be purely oral languages (FUNPROEIB Andes, 2009, p.584). Accordingly, there is not much literature available in these languages and as was mentioned earlier, the people do not have the habit of reading.


the process of socialization and in daily life, but also for the processes of knowledge transmission from generation to generation, and as a major part of the identity construction of individuals. My first interviewee, a teacher in the city of Puno, said that the languages of her parents were dying, because nobody spoke them in the city, people had prejudices and all parts of society discriminated against them. In her view, the bilingual education was ineffective and parents found it obsolete to have their children learn to read and write Aymara or Quechua, as there was no literature, no newspapers, no radio or TV programs in those languages available (Appendix 27: Conversation note: 12.05.2010). The use of the indigenous languages is mostly limited to villages and households. Some of the schools that I visited had old textbooks in Aymara or Quechua, but they hardly used them in class. One of the teachers that did teach in Aymara said that sometimes she needed to buy materials, because the Ministry of Education provided very few EIB teaching materials, which needed to be compiled and adapted (Appendix 28: Miryan, 2010). Most interviewees agreed that it was very important to speak and understand the native language of the children, but even the teachers sometimes do not speak it properly. Teachers can however apply for studies in EIB, if they wish to add this to their teachers qualification, which often comes with extra financial and temporal cost.169 But the system of contracting and nominating teachers seems not to take into account the very basic skill of speaking the local language as was explained by Julin.
"When the teachers leave the pedagogical institutions, what they know is basically pure theory. For example: 'I go to work as teacher in a Quechua-zone, but I do not know how to speak Quechua, my children speak only Quechua and I do not know how to communicate. So I as an authority cannot communicate and I get upset, because they do not understand me.' Until today the practice is like that, they are not being given an appropriate orientation. For a rural zone that has Quechua or Aymara as maternal language there should be only and strictly teachers with these characteristics and we are not fulfilling this. The Peruvian norms do not consider this. It is because the people that work in the Ministry do not know about these problems, they do not know the reality, or they simply do not want to see this reality." (Appendix 29: Julin 1, 2010; translated by author)

Upon speaking to the teachers about how children learn about their culture, customs and traditions, the importance of the school as a place for the transmission of cultural knowledge was highlighted. Teachers considered the school equally important to parents, and the local festivities (marking the progression of the seasons and celebrating the many local patrons) in teaching children about the local traditions and

169In most cases, the additional qualification for EIB is studied on the weekends.



Figure 24: 22 teachers: tag-cloud 2, including items with at least five counts.

During the last decades, the transmission of contextually significant knowledge has gained more importance in schools, taking the cultural background of the children into greater account. Two thirds of the parents also considered the knowledge of the Andean culture as very important (see Figure 19). Parents especially mentioned the local customs and festivities that used to be very distinct in the region of Puno, and explained that it was important to learn about the life of their ancestors and the natural conditions, to value the local culture and find an orientation for life in it (Appendix 21: parents, question 2). There are several regional and local initiatives to preserve the cultural diversity of the country. As a result of efforts to decentralization in the education system 171 that experienced a revival in 2002, the regions have the possibility to propose a Regional Educational Project (PER), which is carried out by the Regional Educational Boards (DRE). These projects reflect the regional necessities and focal points concerning the content and aim of education. The PER of Puno explicitly criticizes the missing possibilities for participation of civil organizations and institutions in the politics of national development (DRE Puno, 2006, p.12). In addition to this critique, the processes of globalization are viewed as problematic as they increase inequalities, instead of providing possibilities and chances for economic growth (ibid., p.9).
"The process of globalization has signified for the developing countries their unequal insertion into the world economy, producing acute economic crises, and with serious social effects, principally for the most vulnerable population, the ethnic minorities and population in rural zones. The educational effects manifest in educational inequality and a deficient education, which does not adapt to their necessities, and which is not proportionate to the capacities and
170Commented results of the survey are attached as Appendix 21 (teachers, question 2). 171The UNESCO has published a paper on the decentralization of education in 2005, stating that in Peru "the responsibilities of the national government, the Ministry of Education will be more a political than an administrative body without schools directly under its responsibility" (UNESCO, 2005, p.45). The Ministry is still responsible for the "promotion system for teachers, but decisions in this regard will be decentralized" (ibid.). Furthermore, major strategic projects, including "decentralization; introduction of new technologies at school; education policy and curriculum development; the EFA [Education for All] national plan; the adult literacy programme; and the teacher remuneration and status development plan" remain the responsibility of the Ministry (ibid.).


basic knowledges for the life of the children, nor for adult life." (DRE Puno, 2006, p.9; translated by author)

The PER of Puno explicitly criticizes the national education policies, especially concerning the lack of adaption to global developments, and aims to generate a regional curriculum, which is pertinent and relevant for the local and global context, focused on regional development and linked to the economic sector. In Puno, the attachment to a common, Andean cosmovision (world-view) and culture, which is different from the occidental orientation of the national culture, is especially dominant. The mechanism of forcing a western (occidental) culture upon people with institutionalized education and thereby suppressing the local and individual identity, has been mentioned by several authors like Paulston (1977), Wagner (1982), Salas (2005) and Trinidad (2005). The PER states that Puno is characterized by its cultural diversity, with the presence of ethnic groups, speaking Quechua and Aymara, in addition to the hispanic-occidental population. The occidental culture is perceived as dominating the others, as it is spread through official education, generating discrimination and alienation, and causing the loss of the cultural identity (DRE Puno, 2006, p.22). The PER for Madre de Dios also mentions the cultural diversity of the region, emphasizes equality in education and promotes participative approaches. It does not criticize globalization or the national policies as does the proposal from Puno, but also includes the promotion of EIB, which shall ensure the variety of languages and strengthen local group identities (DRE Madre de Dios, 2004, p.46). A main regional focus is put on environmental education and biodiversity, which is connected to such topics like pollution, sustainability and resource management, and is to play a more important role in school (ibid., p.41). The statements of teachers concerning the local educational needs reflect these particularities, so that teachers from Puno especially pointed out the importance of Andean and ancestral knowledge, while the special significance of environmental education was referred to by interviewees in Madre de Dios. A reason for the concern of teachers with environmental issues could be the ongoing destruction of the Amazon rainforest that alarms many local people and seems to become part of their collective memory. Regarding the intervention of the government in environmental issues, a local teacher criticized that 'environmental education' was only a label, because the same government that promotes this education was selling the land to international enterprises that destroy the forests and pollute the environment (Appendix 30: Vladimir, 2010). 89

In many regions, the administrations are creating Regional Curricular Projects (PCR), which shall offer a curriculum that is regionally adequate, promote participative possibilities and communicate a profile of the students, which is mostly bilingual. In Puno, this PCR takes into account local and ancestral knowledge and technologies. According to Edgar, it was created in collaboration with actors in the field of education and the civil society, and responds to the demands of parents as well as students (Appendix 31: Edgar 1, 2010). As another teacher states in the video (Appendix 20: Video, statement 3), this curriculum contains for example 'Ethnomathematics' (Etnomatemtica),172 which are culturally specific forms of mathematics, representing different paths of reasoning, and involve much more than the mathematics, which are based on Mediterranean traditions and were taught in schools worldwide after the colonial era (D'Ambrosio, 2001, p.308). This curricular project receives foreign financial help from the European Union and is especially supported by CARE Peru, but unfortunately it still lacks resources (Appendix 29: Julin 2, 2010). The project is still a proposal and needs to be validated and put into practice, which will require financial resources, materials and specialized teacher trainings. The regional curriculum tries to solve the problem of combining local, ancestral knowledge with the scientific, global and universal knowledge that is promoted by the policy-makers in Lima, who create the National Curriculum Design (DCN), which is often carried out without a sufficient adaption to the context.

An practical education for work and for life

Several of the teachers that were interviewed had very clear ideas of what the education for work should look like. They proposed to include workshops on tailoring, textile, embroidery, carpentry, fishing, agriculture, and animal breeding. As the fifth speaker in the video (Appendix 20: Video, statement 5) proposes, there should be more interrelation with the community, so that young people see a perspective and possibility to find work in the countryside. The community ( comunidad) of the Andes173 must be
172Ubiratan D'Ambrosio, a Brazilian Emeritus Professor for Mathematics at the State University of Campinas (Universidade Estadual de Campinas, Sao Paulo, Brazil) describes that 'Ethnomathematics' "reflect the knowledge and behaviors of people from diverse cultural environments", help to develop greater respect for diversity, and reaffirm or restore "the cultural dignity of children" by connecting to their reality (D'Ambrosio, 2001, p.308). 173The 'ayllu' or community (comunidad) is a social phenomenon that still exists in some of the Andean regions of Peru, in both Quechua and Aymara speaking regions. Bolin defines the ' ayllu' as kin group, lineage, or indigenous community with a territorial base and members who share a common focus (Bolin, 2006, p.179). Furthermore it can be understood as any political group with a local boundary and stands for the basic social group into which Andean farmers and herders have


understood as a greater social context that is comprised of several households and is based on reciprocal work relationships (Bolin, 2006, 17). Communities provide shared land for their members, which is divided into parcels and cultivated by the single families with the help of other community members. The community holds meetings where important topics are discussed174 and organizes communal work like the construction of water-pipes or other necessary infrastructure. In addition, communities function as representatives and communicators towards the state organs (Ministry of Education, Peru, 2009, p.4). The community relationships play a vital role for the wellbeing of the people since they structure the production, and the use of natural resources. Salas writes in his book Cultura Andina (Andean Culture, Salas, 2005) that the Andean vision of work is multidimensional, including the economic, as well as a social, ethic, religious, aesthetic, affective and emotional dimension. There is no hiring, sale or purchase of workforce, which are perceived as giving way to the alienation of slave, feudal, or capitalist work (Salas, 2005, p.145f). The practice of work outside of the community represents for the Andean people a dehumanizing exploitation, the effect of a colonial and racist philosophy that originates in the dominant occidental society (ibid., p.146). This capitalist vision of work is unidimensional, only based in economic terms, and originates in a medieval Christian vision of work that defines human activity as essentially productive ('making'), creative and transforming nature in the image of the work of god (ibid., p.142). In contrast to this, the Andean cosmovision (world-view) departs from a universe, including the world and humanity, that is essentially organic and alive and reproduces according to a biological model (ibid.). This is most figuratively represented in the image of the ' Pachamama', the Great Mother, or Mother Earth. Bolin writes that people have a bond with the earth and regard it as an honor to tend the fields and cook the food she provides (Bolin, 2006, p.139). Wagner (1982) analyzes the central values of the Andean culture and states that work in itself and especially in the community is very important (Wagner, 1982, p.55). She even writes that the idea of the individual is nearly unknown within the community as people are always seen as part of a greater communal totality (ibid., p.56). In Peru, the community as social institution has already suffered for a long time from
traditionally been organized (Bolin, 2006, p.161). 174I visited such a community meeting in the district of Moho. Much of the discussions was in Aymara, so I could not follow all the arguments, but I still got an insight into communal organization. In the case that I witnessed, regulations for the pasture of animals were discussed and a family was sentenced to pay a fine, because they had violated the regulations (Appendix 32: Field note: 28.05.2010).


disintegration as many people migrate to the cities in search of paid work. This migration changes the social structure in the countryside and makes it more difficult for the people to survive and to keep up their traditions. As a consequence, the cities are constantly growing while the countryside is depopulating. For the people coming from the countryside it is very difficult to find jobs in the cities, and many of them labour as unqualified workers, or end up coming back to the countryside. The Peruvian society in general tends to socially exclude the rural population, and especially indigenous people.175 Many of the villagers seem to accept this negative image and seek to leave the countryside which appears to be the only way to improve their living conditions and social situation.176 The underlying problem of discrimination was explained to me by a member of the Department for Primary Education in Lima. He described a very open racism that is inscribed into the everyday language of the people (Appendix 25: Roger 2, 2010).177 For him, Peru carries a cultural baggage that needs to be overcome to form a society of acceptance, respect, and diversity. Another reason for the difficult situation of education in the countryside, is the general focus of Peruvian education towards higher education, meaning that the ultimate goal is to study at a university and become a 'professional'. 178 As a consequence to this striving for higher education, the knowledge that is taught in most schools is often perceived as purely theoretical and not useful in itself.
"We are forming ourselves in a condition of consumerism, we are teaching to
175Torero et al. (2004) describe "discrimination and exclusion related to ethnicity, culture, physical appearance and religion" as a notorious but at the same time subtle phenomenon and say that "[i]ndigenous or ethnic minorities are more likely to be poor than any other group" (Torero, et al., 2004, p.1). The authors provide an overview of the numerous studies that have been conducted concerning different types of discrimination in Peru (ibid.). In general, the notion 'indigenous' must be considered a conflicting term. 176During the already mentioned community meeting I was talking to an elder woman who told me that those who had money sent their children to study in the city and the other people stayed in the countryside, working until they died (Appendix 32: Field note: 28.05.2010). I witnessed several such statements during my fieldwork. Many of the parents that I surveyed also said that they wanted their children to leave the countryside (Appendix 21: Parents, question 1). 177This form of racism becomes appearant in the everyday language of people that contains a great number of terms that are in one way or the other connected to ethnic and social backgrounds, such as: "serranos, indios, cholos, negros, blanquiosos, pitucos, chinitos", labeling the highland residents, Indians, people of Amerindian racial ancestry, people of black appearance, light-skinned people, posh people, and again Indians. Some of these terms cannot actually be translated (Appendix 25: Roger 2, 2010). 178It was often mentioned that the ultimate goal of education was to become a 'professional'. Professions that were often mentioned are lawyer, doctor, or engineer. During my conversations with parents I found that nearly all of them wanted their children to leave the countryside, have a different life than they have themselves. Many said that the children should study at a university to improve their living conditions. Some parents even said that the best would be if their children left the country to achieve a better economic situation (Appendix 21: Parents, question 1).


the children mathematics, history - histories that were never ours and mathematics that they will never put into practice. These things are not practical, they are just theoretical, so when someone terminates secondary school in reality he doesn't know anything, it is like he hadn't studied, for the most he knows to read and write. He has a certificate of his studies and that's it. Everything is aimed at continuing with university studies which a maximum of 10% or less actually do and the rest start to train for jobs, to be employers, or start sporadic jobs. Some migrate to other cities where they carry out jobs that are very secondary, like unskilled day-laborer, tricyclist, or taxi-driver and it doesn't seem right that they have studied for this." (Appendix 29: Julin 3, 2010; translated by author)

This lack of usability of schooled knowledge results in parents sending their children to school just to fulfill their obligation, as a teacher mentions in the video (Appendix 20: Video, statement 6). There is a tension between the need for academic knowledge that allows children to continue studying secondary and higher education, and the lack of practical applicability. Since 2005 the program 'education community' ( comunidad educa) has been created to focus on the rural 'multi-grade' schools with the goal to overcome the divergence between schooled knowledge and practical necessities. This project aims to include the local community into the educational process in the way that parents are invited to schools to teach practical skills like pottery, weaving, carpentry, or cooking local foods (Ministry of Education, Peru: 2009). Also, NGOs like PRATEC 179 or CARE Peru180 host projects involving the local community and the parents actively. In some of these projects, parents and community are even involved in curricular decisions, but this requires a long process of discussion and negotiation. Although many of these projects are very well documented181 and show positive results, the education system has not yet made sufficient efforts to integrate these practices in a systematic way.

A modern education
During the surveys (see Figure 19 and Appendix 21), ten of the fifteen parents that I
179The Andean Project of Peasant Technologies ( Proyecto Andino de Tecnologias Campesinas , PRATEC) accompanies different NGOs and groups of peasants in projects that aim at cultural affirmation and especially focus on the diversity of agriculture in the Andean region. They propose for example to restore the school gardens where children can learn to plant local vegetables that used to be part of an integral education (Vsquez, 2009). 180CARE is an international NGO active in over 70 countries worldwide, which is especially concerned with poverty reduction. The organization works in Peru since 1953 and supports different projects in poor and excluded communities. In the education sector CARE develops decentralized proposes for local and regional development. 181The publication by the Ministry of Education (Ministry of Education, Peru, 2009) provides an overview and many case examples of the Education Community. Furthermore there are publications by PRATEC on topics of rural education (e.g., Vasquez, 2003; PRATEC, 2004; Oba and Traverso, 2010).


spoke to, mentioned the importance of technology, explaining to me that it was especially conducive to becoming a 'professional', which most of the parents wished for their children. It was mentioned that this knowledge was especially important for the new generation, who need to learn how to write with a computer, to use the internet, to communicate with and learn about the world, to get informed and to be up to date. Many of the children (eight of the fourteen groups) also considered 'computation', learning with and about the laptop as an essential part of the school. This reflects the impact that the OLPC project has already had on their perception of the school, the knowledge that it transmits, and the promises that this knowledge holds. In her analysis of the Huascarn project,182 Trinidad (2005) points out that the concept of just incorporating technology, does not bring schools closer to modernity. For Trinidad, the 'human factor' is central to the process of innovation, together with the cultural, social and economic context (ibid.). Teachers, as the central contributors to any innovation process in schools, have to carry out the assignment of shaping this new generation and transmitting a knowledge that is often foreign to them. Laura and Bolivar (2009) describe teachers as the main actors of the OLPC project, because they are the principal observers, executors and evaluators. They observe the fear of teachers to get lost in the information overload and to stay alone with the novelty and the many unexpected difficulties. The process of adoption of the laptops is delayed by the lack of competence of the teachers, who are diagnosed as 'non-natives' of technology (Laura and Bolvar, 2009, p.70). Furthermore, it is not enough for teachers to know how to use the technology, but they must also be prepared to integrate it into the curriculum. The importance of teacher qualification is also recognized by the Ministry of Education as having a crucial role to play in using the XO laptops for pedagogic purposes and improving the quality of the teaching and learning process (, accessed 03-14-2012). The training of teachers is one of the main obstacles for the OLPC project of Peru. I participated in several trainings and courses for teachers 183 and interviewed a regional coordinator from DIGETE who was responsible for three different regions. 184 She found
182As was mentioned in Chapter 4, the Huascarn project massively provided computers to schools, but did not have the expected effect of revolutionizing education. According to Trinidad (2005) the project ignored the need for teachers to be prepared to use technology in the classroom, instead of just making it popular amongst students (Trinidad, 2005, p.15). 183A list of all the fieldwork activities can be found with the map: (last edited 0502-2012). 184As the number of specialists was increased in 2011, she coordinates only one region now.


that teachers responded very well to the new technologies.

"[...] because for them it is a necessity, and not just for them, but for all professionals. And they also take the duty of teaching the future citizens of the 21st century, which are not of our generation anymore, so they are very different to us. This implies that the teacher needs to get trained for that generation, and they cannot repeat what was taught in the earlier years or during the formation that the teacher had. So what we need to do is to continue to innovate ourselves and change our attitude. That's what we give to the teachers, continuously accompanying and motivating them, so that they reach good results and good products." (Appendix 33: Anna, 2010; translated by author)

As implementation strategy, the Ministry of Education provided a standard one-week training course to each teacher of all the laptop-schools, throughout 2009 and 2010. However, many of the teachers were contracted for just one year, so that the next teacher, who started working at the school the following year, was not trained in the use of the laptops (Appendix 29: Julin 4, 2010). The failure to place teachers according to their skills, may it be in the use of the latest technologies, or in understanding the local language, points to shortcomings in the organization of teacher employment. 185 The Peruvian education system does not seem adequately organized to meet the needs of schools, not even as part of the programs for improvement of education. The laptops always arrived before teachers were trained, which often resulted in them being locked away. Teachers with prior computer knowledge generally faced fewer problems, even before the trainings, and were more confident in trying out the laptops. But a large number of teachers had no considerable prior practice in using these technologies. 186 Recently, teacher training in Peru covers an introduction to computer technologies. But computers are not widely used in teacher training. Basic computer skills are currently instructed in separate computer classes, and the teacher schools are still far from incorporating computers into all their basic courses (Appendix 24: Walter 2, 2010). Therefore, teacher education does not sufficiently prepare them to use computers in the
185Teacher employment used to be coordinated centrally by the Ministry of Education in Lima, but in the course of the decentralization processes this task shall now be performed by regional and local administrative organs. However, these responsibilities have not yet been fully applied by the regional and local administrations (Appendix 26: Edwin 2, 2010). 186I was not able to comprehensively survey teachers on their computer use, but from the interviews and questionnaires I found that there are teachers, who never use computers and have never used the internet before (Appendix 34: Questionnaire). Of the 31 teachers that I surveyed, seven did not use computers at all, eleven had been using computers for up to two years, eight between five and ten years, and three for more than ten years. Moreover, nearly one third of the teachers never used the internet. Most teachers said that they write their reports for the Ministry of Education with a computer. In Moho I witnessed how these reports were compiled in a copy shop, where the teacher fills in some data. Consequently, the claim that they use it for administrative work does not actually imply that teachers know how to use computers, or educational software.


classroom, and even though the ULPN program claims to be a long-term intervention, none of the universities or higher educational institutes possess XO laptops to introduce them to future teachers. In addition to the training courses organized by DIGETE, I visited several other courses of one or two days duration, involving regional and local specialists as well as volunteers. These regional and local initiatives are meant to reinforce and revive the existing knowledge of the teachers, but many participants visited the training for the first time without any prior knowledge to build on. Many teachers had great difficulties at the beginning, not knowing how to turn the laptop on or off, how to start and exit the activities. Consequently, trainings often could not exceed a very basic introduction of the different activities with some brief suggestions on how to use them in the classrooms. The guides for teacher training from DIGETE (Appendix 35: Teacher training guide, 2009 and 2010) focus on the educational use of the programs, to enable teachers to integrate the laptops in their classes. When I asked the regional specialist about the difficulties during trainings, she did not seem to notice them:
"It's not so much like that, we have a guide of training and the strategies as such, so with those we get good results, in the training there is no major problem or difficulty. There are good products when we develop the training. The detail is that when they get back to their place of work there are many schools that still do not have electricity. The other thing could be that sometimes a single training is not enough, they always need a teacher accompaniment [...] because sometimes it is new for them, they do not feel secure to apply it. So what they request is just that, continuity and to continue training themselves." (Appendix 33: Anna, 2010; translated by author)

Anna furthermore pointed out the importance of decentralized continuous trainings for a sustainable improvement of teaching. Laura and Bolvar (2009) mentioned the danger that training programs can turn to ends in itself, and the skills are not applied and transferred to the different assignments and problems, beyond the program and timetable of computer classes. Even though most teachers that I spoke to considered the trainings as very helpful, many still regarded themselves as lacking the sufficient knowledge and skills to integrate the laptops naturally into their classes, and asked for more training and continuous help. Everyone is aware that the teacher trainings alone are not sufficient to sustain this project, but strategies and personnel are missing to provide a continuous accompaniment for teachers. DIGETE had 12 specialists for the whole country when I arrived and has lately increased the number to 26, so that now there is one responsible for each region. Every region normally employs specialists in


ICT, who attend a training with DIGETE and then pass on their knowledge to the local specialists of the UGELs. They are responsible for providing pedagogical assistance and technical help to all the schools in their district. 187 The request for a better support concerning technical problems was very common among teachers. At the time of my field study eight of the twelve schools that I visited had laptops that there were broken or deactivated and could not be fixed without exterior expertise (Appendix 36: Schools). A local specialist for the district that I visited in the region of Madre de Dios, said that much depended on the initiative and agility of the teacher (Appendix 37: Roxana, 2010). Some had raised money to run power generators to be able to use the laptops in places that did not have electricity. One of the teachers that I visited, regularly collected all the laptops to charge them, because the electric cable of the school was robbed and many children did not have electricity in their homes. He was very engaged in the project and offered trainings and support to the other teachers, explaining to me that the teachers had to overcome their fear and needed to start exploring the laptops on their own.
"Last year we were called in a small group, not for everyone, to this training and we know that the teachers of the countryside do not know this part, which is the informatics, and computers. What they know is normally the typewriter. In my group we were 25 teachers plus the trainer, who was in front of us. [...] On the first day it was something new for me, this XO, something different and strange, different from the computers that there are. I was analyzing it all the day and in the night until a certain hour, to see what is similar to another. So I was exploring it, in other words. The following day, I was an additional help for the others, so the trainer asked me to come and help her with another course one week later, in a computer centre, which was a training about this. So I gave a course last year in december. [...] I trained 25 teachers and there I met the problems which they had when they did not know how to handle it, they did not know how to turn it on and off, how to move the mouse, enter activities, they did not want to explore, it was missing. [...] They said they were afraid, and never got hold of this machine, they have never done this." (Appendix 38: William 1, 2010; translated by author)

Another obstacle to the positive impact of the ULPN program lies in the supply of materials in accordance with the school curriculum and the local context. The general need for more teaching materials that was often mentioned could in theory be overcome with the implementation of the XO laptops. To provide educational materials for the laptops, DIGETE hosts a group of developers for educational laptop materials. When I
187According to the data which I received from DIGETE, 13 of the 64 primary schools in the district of Moho, in Puno, had received laptops. Two of the teachers that I visited were recently contracted, and not trained, because the new local specialist had not been trained either. The administration of Tambopata, in Madre de Dios offered technical assistance to 56 of their 82 schools, of which some are situated far into the jungle and difficult to access. Data about the schools and maps of the regions and district with the exact locations of schools can be downloaded from the website of the statistics office of the Ministry of Education (Unidad de Estadistica Educativa del Ministerio de Educacin, ESCALE;, accessed 04-20-2012).


asked one of the employees about the development of educational materials, she said:
"Basically the first thing we think about when doing an educational material with any of the XO activities is to think: 'Which is the competency? For which grade? Which cycle will it belong to? So at first we focus on the DCN which we handle for the primary level. If there are some materials that do not go in accordance with their reality, like the printed books, it is because they [the teachers], when the materials arrive, have to contextualize them to the reality. This is another task. During the missions of supervision I have found that they contextualized in some regions. I others they do not and use the materials just like that. But this is the factor teacher, he is there to contextualize, or use it just like that. So in our case, for every activity we do an educational material." (Appendix 39: Eva, 2010; translated by author)

There are two types of materials that DIGETE is developing: fichas (index cards) and fasciculos (booklets), or autoinstructivos (self-instructive materials). The index cards explain each activity step by step, illustrating an example, including an idea for application, with explanations and screen-captures. 188 The booklets provide greater scenarios where different activities are combined with the aim to animate the children to research and explore certain topics, and express their findings and ideas about them. These booklets are written in a language that addresses the students directly and thus enables them to study autonomously, as if they were substituting the teacher. In addition, there are images, videos and a collection of poems and books by Peruvian authors that DIGETE provides stored on the laptops, and teachers can access a virtual portal PerEduca (, accessed 05-01-2012)), which is also available offline for USB memory sticks. 189 The virtual material features a collection of pictures, worksheets, and texts according to the curricular areas. The index-cards and booklets about the use of the XO laptop are grouped in a separate category, and none of the other materials is directly connected to any of the laptop activities, nor does it suggest the use of XO activities. The laptop is used only as a storage device for most of the materials. DIGETE did not develop or modify any of the activities that were chosen for the distribution of the XO laptops.190 While pointing out during their training courses how easy it is to create learning materials with the various programs, no presentations have been included using Etoys, the animation software Scratch, examples of geometric
188Index-cards and booklets can be downloaded together with more extensive step-by-step explanations of fifteen activities and the teacher's guidebook (, accessed 04-21-2012). 189Some teachers that I met did not possess a memory stick and could not access those materials, though. 190There are 40 activities, chosen from the activity bundles of Sugarlabs, of which some were not even translated into Spanish. The examples of some programs like Scratch and Etoys feature stories, games and adventures in languages like English, or even German, and rather few in Spanish. The laptops are distributed with the original software build from the Sugarlabs community, which was not touched by the Peruvian project leaders.


figures made with Turtle Arts, or interactive materials and games, which would directly address the Peruvian children. These materials have to be developed by the teachers, because it is their duty to appropriate, contextualize, and diversify all the materials provided by the Ministry. Julin, the regional specialist, highlighted this to be a significant obstacle for the teachers and sees the problem of ULPN in the disconnection between the national curriculum and the XO.
"On the one hand the DCN should be diversified and all that, but it is not happening, in practice the DCN is being carried out like it is. On the other hand there is the XO. For example if I am a teacher in a classroom, when the ministry comes, in form of UGEL or DRE, they supervise me in complying with my curricular programing, but they do not supervise me in the use of the activities of the XO. [...] I see that there is a separation, a divergence between the DCN and the XO. For example in mathematics, if I want to teach units, there should be a program according to the DCN, any of the activities, but it should deal with units, like for example the turtle. But it should be ready made, otherwise I have to teach to the children the commandos of the turtle first. But what will I teach them? To operate the turtle, or what is important to me, the topic, be it fractions, or units. There is a divergence, and I suspect that, if we continue like this, the teachers will not use the XOs. Because it needs a lot of dedication from the teachers and we see that still they do not engage that much, for the multiple problems that they have, economic mostly, and time." (Appendix 29: Julin 5, 2010; translated by author) "We need to produce more materials, little programs, just for one lesson and safe them in a database, to collect more and more, so that the teachers can search for a topic and find materials and there will be reinforcement, more time and dedication and they will elaborate more with the children." (Appendix 29: Julin 6, 2010; translated by author)

Materials and activities should be ready made for the use in the classroom, so that teachers can directly experience their benefits and familiarize with them. 191 Giving examples to the teachers can help them to understand, imagine, and then even create another material or session themselves. Julin further pointed out that there were annually competitions in Puno, where educational materials were collected and sent to the Ministry of Education in Lima, but they had never been published or made available (Appendix 29: Julin 4, 2010). Another problem is language, since the laptops provided almost no materials in the indigenous languages, which must be seen as a major shortcoming. Within Peru there are now independent initiatives to develop and provide materials in the local languages,
191During a conversation with two Finnish volunteers, who helped in implementing the program, I was also told that one of the great problems was the lack of useful educational software, because the Free Software community was not experienced in developing programs for educational purposes. Consequently, for them, to use technology in the classroom meant to use as little technology as possible, because the technical problems always severely slowed down the lessons (Appendix 40: Conversation note: 17.03.2010).


but this is not widely supported or sponsored. In Puno, a group of volunteers and Free Software activists started translating the basic elements of the Sugar software into Quechua and Aymara.192 I discussed the question of who should create and provide contextualized materials, with Roger. He pointed out the importance of regional policies and described how to distribute the materials:
"The regions do have very clear defined politics which respond to a regional project for education, regional objectives and strategies. And there is also the task to produce educational material with local content, so we are not in a production that implicates very complex processes. We are talking about the production that usually is being done by the teacher, recompiling narratives, collecting stories, documentaries, photographies of places in the zone. So with the use of the laptops this can easily be transferred into materials. We are not yet connected by internet to be able to share them, but even disconnected we could share those very good strategies. For example the accompanying teachers they can travel with a USB, filling the laptops with narratives, histories, and with materials that the teachers develop, of how to use this lectures, how to work with the materials, so this we need to stimulate and expand, these are aggressive regional politics. [...] There are specialized people in the regions, there are technicians, there is previous experience in the production of materials. We are not talking about regions that have never before produced materials. So I think we did not act logically here, we did not focus well, and the laptop is a reminder, it can easily be a material to provide stories in their native language" (Appendix 25: Roger 3, 2010; translated by author)

None of the accompanying teachers of the PELA program that I met, had received an introduction to the laptops, although they regularly visited the schools to improve teaching quality. Edwin said that plans to integrate ULPN into the PELA program had been postponed due to other priorities, even though these two programs had the same focus on rural 'one-teacher' and 'multi-grade' schools (Appendix 26: Edwin 3, 2010). The implementation strategy of the ULPN project does not yet involve other, previous programs. It remains isolated and disconnected from the already existing efforts for educational improvement and does not take into account experiences that have proven to be successful. Experiences like the local educational networks ( redes educativas) that were established as part of the Educational Project for Rural Areas (PEAR), which I mentioned above, should help to exchange teaching experiences and encourage teachers to help each other
192In 2008 a first step in translating the software to Aymara was made by a group from Bolivia (, accessed 04-25-2012). There are several terms that do not exist in Aymara or Quechua, which makes the translation very difficult. In 2010 I participated in the Sugar camp in Puno that continued the translation, and in 2011 another translation marathon was organized (, 04-25-2012). It will take much more time though, to translate all of the Software. At the moment, 9% of the software was translated to Aymara (, accessed 04-25-2012), and 15% to Quechua (, accessed 04-25-2012).


in preparing and planning the lessons. Unfortunately these were only intensely promoted and implemented in the project schools, so that relatively few teachers profit from these meetings.193 The PeruEduca web portal also features a forum and a community, which is mostly used by urban teachers, who have an easier access to the internet. Therefor, even though there are several materials and possibilities to learn and exchange experiences about the utilization of the laptops, most of them exist rather theoretically and do not practically apply to the rural reality. To enhance the teachers' motivation to become informed and prepared for the 'new millennium', the Ministry of Education, in November 2007, offered a bonus of PEN 457.50 (around USD $150) for the purchase of a laptop to teachers. This effort to provide each teacher with a laptop and make them Teachers of the XXI Century (Maestros Siglo XXI: una laptop para cada docente (, accessed 04-21-2012), was to contribute to their personal and professional development, and to enable teachers to improve the education system. 194 I met one of the teachers, who acquired a personal laptop and we talked about his computer use:
"For my personal use I also have a laptop, to do my documents, and also to do my reports for the higher instances. It is practically like a pen that I have, without this I cannot do anything. [...] The bonus from the Ministry made this possible for us. [...] And I learned with this more or less the things that I had ignored before, I did not know anything. But it came to be very valuable for me, be it to turn on the machine and use it to write, before I worked with just this [points to pen and paper]. Now I work with a laptop and just now the printer comes to be very valuable, you cannot do anything without this either. [...] Three years ago, I had much fear, even to touch it, I thought it would break, or something would happen and I was very afraid. [...] But it came to be something that you can enter, touch and handle, and learn little by little. But it is difficult when one doesn't know, like what things it has, i did not even know how to turn it on or off, it was difficult. But with the time, with the daily practice I succeeded, to become a part of this world as well. (Appendix 22: Esteban 3, 2010; translated by author)

He also pointed out that internet access at the school would be valuable in enabling teachers, who spend their weeks in remote rural areas, to use their free time to explore
193A General Educational Law ( Ley General de Educacin, no. 28044, source:, accessed 04-22-2012) made these networks part of the decentralization process of the Peruvian education system. The networks are meant to be instances of cooperation, exchange and reciprocal help for the teachers, and can also represent a group of schools in negotiation with other state organs. In most interviews they were not mentioned even when asked about how the teachers planned their lessons, where they searched for materials, or whom they asked for help. 194Representatives of various big ICT firms and Chang, the former Minister of Education, signed a letter of commitment to offer an affordable laptop computer to all the teachers of the country.


the internet and to improve their computer knowledge. When they join their families in town on the weekends, there is not time for that (Appendix 22: Esteban 4, 2010). Unfortunately, they will have to wait for internet, since, as of 2010, the plans of the Ministry of Education did not include the small villages. According to Mr. Becerra, three to five percent of the Peruvian schools were connected in 2010, comprising a total of two million students or 30-40% of the students nationwide (Appendix 17: Becerra 4, 2010; transcript).195

Appropriation strategies: teachers dealing with the XO

"We are trying to figure out how to encourage the teachers to use the computers more. Our main strategy is paradoxically not to press them to a certain way of using. What we try to tell them is: test the machine, you sit and try to think of where to go with it, if you find that it fits your teaching style and it can be useful in the classroom, then go ahead. If you do not, do not use it in the classroom, but try it at home, when you're alone, try to familiarize yourself, find how it made be good for. So we are not telling them: it is good for doing this or that, which will probably frighten them and stress them more and close the door, we want them to open the door, even if it's a slice, small crack." (Appendix 17: Becerra 5, 2010; transcript)

How do the teachers use the machines? How do they appropriate this medium for their teaching practice? And how do the children respond? These questions shall terminate this inquiry into the OLPC project, in Peru. The twelve schools that I visited in the southern Andes and jungles of Peru may represent only a slight insight into the diversity of educational reality, but the observations and conversations will still help to describe how teachers treated the laptops, what they believed this machine could contribute to school and how they tried to use the laptops in meaningful ways. First of all, the children did not always take the laptops home, 196 since in many schools the problem of who will be made responsible in the case of loss or damage, caused teachers to prefer to lock them away in schools to ensure their longevity. Some teachers were afraid that they would have to pay, if they wanted to leave the school and had to hand over the exact number of functioning laptops to the next teacher. This corresponds to information I obtained at DIGETE, that the institution had no responsibility for the laptops once they were distributed and stolen laptops were a problem of the schools
195The present solution, using satellite antennas is very expensive and there were no plans to further expand the distribution (Appendix 17: Becerra, 2010; transcript). 196Four of the schools always kept the laptops locked inside the school building. Another three to four allowed their children to always take the laptops home, and the others only allowed it to some children, leaving out those that were to little, or to troublesome, or only when they had a task to do (Appendix 36: Schools).


(Appendix 16: Field note: 08.11.2010). In one school I was told about the case of theft of twelve laptops and only the older children still had their devices, which they kept at their homes for safety reasons and only took to the school sometimes when they were used in class (Appendix 41: Field note: 26.10.2010). Other schools had a shortage or surplus of laptops due to the varying numbers of students during each school year (Appendix 36: Schools).197 The laptops had been provided to each school once, according to the number of students. Any broken or lost laptop, was counted as a laptop less for the school and the future students. For example, when I broke the screen of my XO laptop, it was not possible to repair it in Puno, because there were no replacement parts in the UGEL or DRE, so that it had to be sent back to DIGETE in Lima. This proves that, despite the claim that the laptops could be locally repaired, it is the normal practice to send them back to Lima, and it can take up to several months until the laptops get back to the villages. Some teachers expressed that they trusted neither the children nor the local population to handle the laptops with sufficient care. 198 At some of the schools, teachers had established a kind of ritual, to wash the hands before touching the laptops, at others the laptops looked noticeably dirty. Many teachers mentioned that the children already knew how to use the laptops and claimed to be taught with the computers. This created a difficult situation for some teachers, especially those who were newly contracted and arrived to laptop schools without receiving the appropriate training. Many teachers felt limited by their lack of knowledge and insufficient qualification and had greater fears than the children when confronted with the novelty. One example for such fears was the case of the laptops needing to be reactivated once a year, using a safety key - a measure to prevent robbery - and many teachers were waiting for some technical personnel to arrive and help them.199 Disregarding all the technical problems, many of the teachers did use the laptops in classes more or less regularly.200 Concerning the use of the laptops, the
197Another reason for the varying numbers of students is the working migration of the parents, of which some move to the coastal areas for seasonal labor and take their children with them. 198The parents had to be informed and sensitized, and where the laptops were given away to children, mostly the parents had to sign papers, passing the responsibility on to them. 199At one school there were 15 laptops deactivated. The teachers had received the activation key on a USB memory stick, but did not succeed in reactivating the laptops themselves. I received a new key from the UGEL and managed to activate most of them, but the new software image could not be installed with it. Due to these problems with the reactivation of the laptops, some schools had only recently started using them, and sometimes I witnessed the many initial technical problems, rather than getting an inside into regular teaching practice with the laptops. 200I did not get sufficient data on the frequency of use, as many teachers did not answer this question in the questionnaires. But it can be stated that very few teachers do use the laptops on a daily basis. Many used them one to three times a week (Appendix 34: Questionnaire).


headmaster of a school said:

"[The programs] they are very general, and maybe they can be programmed for ages or grades, according to the levels and rhythms of learning of the children. But it is not programmed yet, it should be for children of the first and second grade, or together with those of the sixth. I think this could be organized much better with groups of activities, so that they have more specific tasks. [...] Well, there are many people saying that they are only playing, and they do not learn anything, but this is not true. Yes, they do learn. It seemed to me very good, the topics that they have lead us to, with the portal Peru Educa. This helps a lot for literature, grammar, there is history, mathematics, the children respond very well. [...] Everything that one can find inside there, one can take to turn into objectives. With all those materials they can construct. A little we think now that everything needs to be the XO. But, no, it is like the delicacy that you give to the children. But also it should not be routine for everyday, because they will get tired of it, I have the impression. The incorporation should be systematic and little by little. (Appendix 31: Edgar 2, 2010; translated by author)

Up to five of the twelve schools used the laptops during 'computer-classes' rather than integrating the activities into their regular lessons.201 One of the schools appointed a teacher who taught each grade twice a week, on a rotational basis, covering all the different subjects with the laptops. In effect, he was the only teacher at that school, who used the laptops in classes. When all children of the school were taught together in one classroom, all school teachers assisted all students, helping especially the smaller children with greater difficulties to solve technical problems. 202 It was frequently mentioned that the laptops could not be used for the lowest grades, so that children of grades one and two were normally not using them in class. The teachers explained that children needed to know the basics, like the alphabet before starting to use the laptops. When the small children demanded to use the laptops they were mostly left to play autonomously.203 Roger, explained the differences that he found between teachers using the laptops:

201As I mentioned in Chapter 2, it is likely that teachers changed their teaching routines during my visits, so that some of these observations may not exactly reflect the routines of teaching reality. Also their answers to my questions and in the questionnaires can be distorted, but I think it is appropriate to assume that teachers would rather present to me, what they believed was the best way to use the laptops. 202The most common daily problem with laptops was the touchpad, sometimes it was just dirty, or needed to be reconfigured. There were laptops with broken keyboards, and some were in English, so that children did not find the letters. The camera, or sound of some laptops would not work, or the diary could be saturated and needed to be emptied before the child could open an activity. Furthermore, children could always enter other activities during the classes and would not know how to exit it again, or play music, or disturb the class. 203I gathered a great number of screenshots from the diaries of the laptops, displaying which activities had been used, but due to the short time I was not able to analyze them, and will not be able to state valid quantitative information on the use of the laptops. With these screenshots I could control, whether the teachers really had used them as frequently as they said, and I found that most of the small children of grades one and two hardly ever used the laptops.


"I can divide it in 3 or 4 big groups: In the situation where there is a teacher with units to plan a session, manage the strategies, use of adequate materials, the laptop when it arrives integrates into his logic of working and boosts it. The rest of the experiences has different levels. There are groups where there are very young people and one can observe initiatives. There are groups where one can see teachers that have many years of service, so this process is more complicated, and within this group there are some that interpret it like an invasion, like a heavy load, and some see it like a challenge, something interesting. So in this group of age we find to opposing positions, some that get involved and others that feel this is another weight. In all those groups the children have the same reaction, the children are like promoters or the driving force of the technology, they empower themselves very fast with the machines and establish relations of learning and shared learning processes with the adults. The advances depend on the type of teacher." (Appendix 25: Roger 4, 2010; translated by author)

All the teachers that I spoke to said that the laptops were a great opportunity and were meant to help them in educating the children. They described the reaction of the children as very good. The children were described as being more 'awake', interested, talkative, they were more animated to work, would concentrate easier, could acquire information and 'be informed', and would explain things to teachers and one another.
"They are more awake, they ask more, want to learn more, discover every time better. They want to learn all the programs, little by little. Like that they discover and they come to like it. In the majority they like it. They always claim to be taught with the laptops." (Appendix 42: Lida, 2010; translated by author) "The laptop can help with some specific activities, because they can be concentrated in what they are doing. For example here we have the calculator, we have memorize, which they love. We take photos, we start with synonyms and antonyms, or use what has been prepared for this machine so far. So the children are focussed and concentrated doing a determined activity. There are various activities that the children love, and there are others that they do not like." (Appendix 38: William 2, 2010; translated by author)

The teachers mainly used the laptops to access educational materials, such as texts, which are stored on the laptops. Many said that they used the Wikipedia activity to introduce new topics, but it was also mentioned that many of the texts were not adequate for children, because they were too complicated (Appendix 43: Sergio, 2010). Other activities that were frequently used were: write, paint, record (to record video, audio and photos), the calculator, and several games like memory, puzzles, or Sudoku (Appendix 34: Questionnaire).
"Most of all we use it for communication and logics, mostly the programs like Sudoku, write, then, to draw and paint. And the games like puzzles. And then there is a program where they write a word and it speaks. The children like o take photos the most. Among them they take photos and also they interview each other." (Appendix 44: Maria, 2010; translated by author)


In the localities where the children were allowed to take the laptops home, I found that they especially used the them to exchange music, which they recorded from televisions and radios. Furthermore they were taking many photos of themselves, their friends, or visitors like me.204 The more advanced activities like Turtle Arts, Scratch, or Etoys were only used by few teachers in class, because they were considered too complicated and it took much more time to explain the activity to children. The teacher William said that the children did not like those complicated activities either (Appendix 38: William 2, 2010). Many of the teachers saw the aim of this project in the introduction of the technology, to familiarize the children with technology itself, so that they would not have fear using computers. This was seen as an essential capacity, especially when children were going to the cities. Mr. Becerra also mentioned the value of knowing how to use technology:
"We expect that they will be less frightened by technology, so when they get to a place where technology is, technology skills are a must, they will not be afraid to learn, or they will even know how to do it already. So if these turn 13, 14, 15 years old and they get to a internet cafe they know how to find their ways through computers, because even when they might be different, they are familiar with how they work." (Appendix 17: Becerra 6, 2010; transcript)

To learn the use of computers, with the help of the XO laptop seems to be an end in itself, maybe even more than supporting educational processes, which was the original scope of the project. The laptop was often characterized as a tool ( herramienta), an instrument, and a teaching material (Appendix 45: Cultural Domain), clearly showing an understanding of this technology as mostly neutral, which must be considered as highly problematic, remembering the insight of scholars like Bowers (1988), mentioned in Chapter 3. The laptop is mainly classified as a teaching material and is considered superior to the other materials, 205 which teachers normally used. Furthermore, it is understood as a gateway to a new cultural sphere, meaning the world of information and the global communication networks.
"This will help them to get to know the laptop, the handling and use of it, so that later they won't have problems with it. It will be easier to use it where they
204Unfortunately I did not have the time and possibility to analyze the great quantity of photographies that I downloaded from the laptops. It would be very interesting to get a greater insight into the selfrepresentations of these children, who would normally not have a camera at home. The quantity of photos that emerge with the laptops can be considered a great novelty, and I suspect that this profoundly changes the identity creation of the children, who can portray and perceive themselves in a way that their parents did not know. 205Many teachers used natural materials, like stones, leafs, or different seeds together with the textbooks, posters and worksheets that were provided by the Ministry of Education. Few teachers mentioned the use of other media, like television or radio.


may, because if I take a child and I put this machine in front of him and he has never been in touch with it or with a big computer, it will be different. Even with a big computer this child will not need a lot of help anymore, or much orientation, it will be more like a guide for him, because he already knows how to handle it." (Appendix 38: William 3, 2010; translated by author) "This can be a part of the life that the child knows and maybe already help to find a work. Knowing to do documents, they do not need to prepare at a university. It is something essential for everyone, and this knowledge can offer an economic resource." (Appendix 38: William 4, 2010; translated by author)

The access to this modern world, based on science and technology should enable the children to exceed their current living conditions and was considered a very important modern-day skill. As another teacher formulates it:
"Someone will say that if we do not use computers and do not enter this world of computation, we will become another illiterate, a modern illiterate, or a functional illiterate, so to say." (Appendix 46: Hernan, 2010; translated by author)

Regarding the daily problems, teachers mainly perceived their own lack of knowledge as the main problem and none of them questioned the general concept of sending laptops to the schools. They criticized the organization of distribution and the deficits of technical assistance and training, or pointed to other problems like the lack of electricity, when I asked for problems in using the laptops.

Conclusion: The educated Peruvian must be computer-literate

"We have succeeded in offering many really committed teachers and many bright children the opportunity to realize their potential. Since we haven't selected the qualified ones, now that everybody has the opportunity, we will find the best ones, no matter what. We will not miss the better ones because everybody is receiving one, so we are really proud that we have reached the poorest schools and the poorest teachers and students with a technology resource that they would not have accessed in their whole lives." (Appendix 17: Becerra 7, 2010; transcript)

Roco Trinidad (2005) writes that people know about the power of media, they want to pass from the possibility of 'seeing' (television) and 'hearing' (radio), to connecting directly to other countries and people, to acquiring knowledge, which implies obtaining a share of the power, to be different and modern, and able to progress (Trinidad, 2005, p.15). Referring to Rodrigo Montoya, she brings up a Peruvian contemporary myth of the school, saying that the school, by offering the knowledge of reading and writing allows the children to move from a life in darkness to the light (ibid., p.13f). 206 The
206Not to know how to read and write constitutes a life in darkness (night) and to move from this darkness to light is possible through progress, meaning to abandon the night and move towards the day (Trinidad, 2005, p.14). To begin this transit, one needs to wake up, to open one's eyes and to reach this waking up it is necessary to read and therefore to go to school, then one cannot be fooled anymore


prestige of education in the rural areas results in identifying its absence as blindness. Trinidad introduces a term in Quechua that refers to those who gained access to education, awiyoq, meaning 'those that have eyes' (ibid.). She continues to say that with the age of communication, this myth arrives at a new dimension and finds its counterpart in the media, especially the new technologies like computers and the internet. If education continues to enable the head to think, the eyes to see and to read, and the mouth to express oneself, now with an extension of the media the mouth speaks better, the eyes see further to the spheres of the local and global, and the head knows more, especially acquiring knowledge about modernity and progress (ibid.). Nowadays, the knowledge that was gained from traditional education is not sufficient anymore and needs to obtain a value that is gained through new technologies (ibid.). In this perspective, the laptop is not only a tool to enhance learning and get access to information, but it becomes significant in building the cultural basis for a 'new' society. Many teachers considered themselves as insufficiently equipped to prepare the new generation for the coming 'Information Age'. But this task seems to be automatically fulfilled by the mere exposure to the XO laptop, as children learn to use it with such great ease. The distinctive feature of this modernizing project seems to lie in the way in which it fosters the process of becoming more and more accustomed and familiar with the new cultural forms of learning and knowing. Through access to the laptop itself, the seemingly abundant information that it provides, and the forms of communication that it introduces, the poorest and most marginalized shall be integrated into the developed and computer-literate population. The promises that it makes and the desires that it raises, mark the laptop as a 'miracle tool' (Debray, 1996), but the future of the rural laptop generation is unsure, because these promises cannot be fulfilled in the local sphere. The project points away from the local towards the global sphere and situates the world of possibilities and their fulfillment outside the local context. In this study it has been shown how with the introduction of the XO laptop, computer knowledge is emphasized as essential for all humanity, exceeding the significance of the written word as the main paradigm of literacy. With this emphasis of computer-literacy, the Peruvian OLPC project does not yet lead to improvements of local living conditions, nor does it have a measurable positive impact on the quality and equity of education in terms of providing equal opportunities. Rather, it may further the gap between computer-literate and -illiterate people and thereby continue the process that has


marginalized the rural population due to their lack of relevant, modern knowledge. The knowledge that is fostered by this project is based on the 'scientific way of understanding' (Bowers, 2001, p.10) of occidental culture and disregards other knowledge and value systems with its claim of universality. Thereby, the project promotes a cultural legacy that is often external to the 'cultural knowledge systems' (Bowers, 2005) of the recipients. Local world-views and social community practices that were transmitted over many generations become obsolete in the larger context, as they do not correspond to the global digital paradigm. The frame of reference for defining the 'educated person' (Levison et al., 1996) moves further outside of the local and even out of the national context, defining the goals of education within the global sphere. As a consequence of the introduction of laptops into schools, communication with the help of computers is perceived as the new dominant form and procedure of communication, making people that do not know how to use computers 'modern illiterates'. Thereby, the OLPC project fosters 'mediological practices' (Debray, 1996) that further marginalize the oral traditions of local languages, and may even start to devalue the Spanish language, as with the introduction of these new practices, the importance of knowing English, to be able to communicate globally, is indicated. The knowledge and belief systems that correspond to the OLPC project gain their importance outside of the local context of the receiving communities and reinforce the identity of the rural population as uneducated villagers, due to their lack of computer knowledge. With the emphasis on global universal knowledge, a new concept of the 'educated person' (Levison et al., 1996) as a computer-literate person emerges. 'Preschool identities' (Norberg-Hodge, 2001) of children are rarely considered as the laptop users are collectively defined as poor children without prospects, who need to tap into their real potential with the help of the 'miracle tool' that shall initiate an educational revolution. Those that do not take advantage of this possibility are then stigmatized as not having the potential, or as being unwilling to make a change in their lives. Even though the producers of the laptops advertise the possibilities for collaborative processes, the individual becomes the main reference point of this project. Consequently, individuals must take the responsibility for improving their living conditions and strive for personal gain, regardless of their situatedness in a greater social context that includes obligations towards the family and the local community. It has been shown that there are alternative views on the individual that emphasize its connectedness to the natural environment and its social relationships. In contrast, 109

personal progress and the notion of development, which is mostly understood in economic terms and shall primarily bring possibilities of economic advancement in the global capitalist system, mark the 'mediological revolution' (Debray, 1996). The striving for economic improvement, which in the rural Peruvian context primarily exists in the aspiration for higher education and in becoming 'professionals', implies at the same time to leave the rural areas and move to the cities, or even leave the country. Regarding the problems that most villagers face in the cities, from the discrimination of their languages and culture, to the few actual possibilities, with most of them ending up working in lowpaid sectors, the promise of social improvement become questionable. A development of the rural areas, improving the living conditions of people there, seems inconceivable. School education, despite its aim to incorporate both locally and globally significant knowledge, often increases the alienation between local and global values. Although many people regard the transmission of their cultural heritage, ancestral knowledge, and local cultural practices, which are marked by local festivities, natural conditions, and agricultural and farming activities, as very important, they seek an alternative lifestyle for their children, which obliges them to leave their communities. Rather than gaining equal opportunities, it could become even more difficult for the rural population to participate in the greater society and global discourses, because they are defined primarily by their lack of knowledge. The rural Peruvian people are often treated as exotic remains of old times, who have not yet gotten on the road to progress and hinder the development of the country by sticking to their non-progressive beliefs. There is a remaining divide between national education models and local realities, which are expressed in the Regional Curricular Projects (PCR). The great majority of problems of rural schools span from missing infrastructure, frequent changes of teachers, their lack of dedication, knowledge, skills, preparation, time, and economic resources, to the differing living conditions and languages of the children, and continue to have a great impact on the processes of teaching and learning. The ULPN project does not address these local conditions, but emphasizes the need of 'modern' Peruvians to leave aside traditional forms of knowledge and community structures, and strive to integrate into the global capitalist economic system that promotes competition and depreciates mutual help and local reciprocity. Reviewing the 'biography' (Du Gay and Hall et al., 1997) of the XO laptop through the 'circuit of culture' (ibid.), it has been shown how the XO laptop was produced as a 110

digital medium exclusively for children, introducing to them the dominant cultural forms of knowledge production and social codes of communication. This was achieved by involving national education systems in the distribution network. The project was publicly presented as an adaptable tool to improve the living conditions of the poor by providing education in the form of computer skills and the access to globally significant knowledge. The children, as recipients of the laptops, were identified as the most important 'natural resource' (Negroponte, 2006) of each country, and as the boosters of economic change, disregarding their current living conditions, social and cultural context. This view of the identity of laptop users was accepted by the Peruvian elites that fostered this project. In the national and local context, the laptop was classified as an educational resource and support for the work of teachers, in the form of a culturally neutral tool and educational material. With its introduction, the laptop devalued other educational materials, because it possesses their features as it can be used to read, write, draw, calculate and provides a great number of other symbolizing procedures that were unavailable before, like recording video, taking photos and programming animations. Furthermore, it carries the promise of facilitated access to global information and communication networks. The potential to influence the way in which children gain their models of the world, which is highlighted in the constructionist ideas of Kay (1972) and Papert (1980), are not reflected upon, so that the laptops' influence on children's cognition and perception of the world are obscured. The laptops have come to define the significant knowledge and skills for society and to provide the means to acquire those. Consequently, modern scientific knowledge obtains a position as 'highstatus knowledge' (Bowers, 2005). During the processes of utilization, the issue becomes multifaceted, as there is no single form of consumption. Various aspects hinder the full integration of this medium into the process of education, such as the diverse technical problems, the lack of assistance to and preparation of the teachers, and the differences in understanding what this technologically enhanced education should look like. The policy and suggestions for the utilization of the laptops by the Peruvian Ministry of Education are appropriated by teachers, who decide whether to give the laptops to children, how and when to use it during their classes, according to their personal beliefs and technical know-how. As DIGETE emphasizes the strategy of not pushing the technology on to teachers, but rather letting them decide how to use it, teachers are subjected to a lack of orientation and correlation between the requirements of the curricular designs and the usability of the laptops in class. In the end, it highly 111

depends on the individual teacher, if and how the laptops are being used in class, which in effect leads to a great inequality in the use of the laptops. Consequently, the primary goal of enhancing the quality and providing equal educational possibilities to all children, cannot be reached. Rather than producing educated citizens for the 'new millennium', the OLPC project in Peru labels the people that do not possess computer skills as uneducated and without a future perspective. Recently, the new Vice Minister of Education Martin Vegas 207 pointed out that the use of the laptops does not guaranty the improvement of education, if there is no educational strategy behind it (, accessed 05-02-2012). The results of the IDB study, which guide the public discourse on the Peruvian project and other OLPC employments at the moment, 208 have shown that the mere introduction of this technology, without appropriate materials and involvement of teachers, does not yield educational advancement. The integration into the local context is still in process and as long as the various issues of schools and teachers in the countryside are not taken into account, the project will most likely remain a merely technological intervention. To provide a positive perspective at the end of this paper, as the laptops are now in place and it would be unreasonable to argument for their elimination, I want to point out that a truly contextualized use of the XO laptops might actually bring special advantage for the rural 'one-teacher' and 'multi-grade' schools. The laptop has the capacity to provide a great quantity of materials, but the quantity alone does not lead to a meaningful application and use of the materials. In classes, the laptop can allow teachers to keep single groups of children occupied with a certain task, and give them more time to attend to the children individually. Especially the observation that children remain concentrated when using certain activities could contribute to facilitating the work of the teachers. This positive impact however will only materialize if teachers recognize this potential of the laptop and experience positive effects of its' use. Therefore, adequate software and materials must be developed and most teachers need guidance in their
207The Peruvian government, and with it many of the leading administrative personnel of the different Ministries have changed in 2011 with the election of president Ollanta Humala. 208The Economist recently headlined the "disappointing return from an investment in computing" (, accessed 05-03-2012), while Nicholas Negroponte remains optimistic in giving children "hope, self-esteem, and an opportunity to learn", pointing out the increased cognitive abilities of children that were described as an effect of the project in the IDB report (, accessed 05-03-2012).


adaption and application. If the exchange of experiences between teachers can be further promoted, they will possibly feel less isolated with their problems and will be more willing to refine their teaching methods and try out new approaches. Furthermore, to actually change the educational situation in rural schools, the project needs to build on previous experiences that especially concern the local conditions, like the PEAR project. There is a lot of insight available on the specific necessities of rural schools and previous projects have already succeeded in supporting teachers in 'multi-grade' and 'one-teacher' environments and have involved the local community in the educational process. So, in order to really improve the education in rural areas, an education model needs to be emphasized that focuses primarily on the local appropriateness of materials, methods, and contents, and may include globally significant knowledge in addition. The teachers' understanding of children's capabilities and their connectedness or distance to the children's cultural and social background highly influences the way in which children approach the 'second culture' (Eisenhart, 2001) of the school. The cultural context of the children needs to be respected and valued, so that the knowledge that children acquire in schools can promote the 'continuity of community practices' (Rival, 1996).


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Figure 1: Impressions from field study, Peru 2010. (own photography) Figure 2: The circuit of culture. (source: Du Gay and Hall (et al.), 1997, p.3) Figure 3: Video still: Initiation in Kandangan village. (source:, accessed 02-17-2012) Figure 4: Laptop class. (own photography) Figure 5: Laptop class. (own photography) Figure 6: Material downloaded from a child's XO laptop. Figure 7: Photo downloaded from a child's XO laptop. Figure 8: Two kids sitting in the grass with Dynabooks. (source: Kay, 1972, p.2) Figure 9: Dynabook. (source: Kay, 1972, p.6) Figure 10: Frontispiece: LOGOTurtle. (source: Papert, 1980) Figure 11: Turtle activity. (screenshot of Turtle activity, Sugar software bundle) Figure 12: Video-still 1: OLPC Mission, Part 2: The XO Laptop, design for learning. (source:, accessed 02-172012) Figure 13: Countries with 500+ kids and teachers w/ XOs, June 2010. (source:, accessed 02-022012) Figure 14: Video-still 2: OLPC Mission, Part 2: The XO Laptop, design for learning. (source:, accessed 02-172012) Figure 15: What a difference One Laptop per Child makes! (source:, accessed 0217-2012) Figure 16: The XO-1. (source:, accessed 03-06-2012) Figure 17: The XO-1.5 HS. (Photo by Christoph Derndorfer, source:, accessed 03-05-2012) Figure 18: Section of INEI statistics: National Survey of Households ( Encuesta Nacional de Hogares) 2004 2011. (source: INEI, 2012, p.6) Figure 19: Video-still: OLPC Peru: El Per Avanza! (source:, accessed 0313-2012) Figure 20: Peru: Departments according to poverty level ( Agrupacin de Departamentos segn Incidencia de Pobreza), 2010. (source: INEI: Encuesta Nacional de Hogares Anual, 2009., accessed 06-242011) Figure 21: 26 teachers: tag-cloud 2, including items with at least five counts (Commented results of the survey attached as Appendix 21). 123

Figure 22: 15 parents: tag-cloud 2, including items with at least ten counts (Commented results of the survey attached as Appendix 21). Figure 23: 14 groups of students: tag-cloud 2, including items with at least five counts (Commented results of the survey attached as Appendix 21). Figure 24: 22 teachers: tag-cloud 2, including items with at least five counts (Commented results of the survey attached as Appendix 45).

Appendix 1: Video: Bishop, John (ed.): Initiation in Kandangan village. (source:, accessed 01-30-2012) Appendix 2: Video: Postman, Neil, 1998: Technology and Society, part 1/7. (source:, accessed 01-30-2012) Appendix 3: Video: Postman, Neil, 1998: Technology and Society, part 2/7. (source:, accessed 01-30-2012) Appendix 4: Cultural Domain: questions. Appendix 5: Field note: 13.04.2010. Appendix 6: Interview guideline. Appendix 7: Questionnaire in English and Spanish. Appendix 8: Cultural Domain: visualizations and picture sources. Appendix 9: Ethnolinguistic Map of Peru. (Mapa Ethnolingstico del Per, 2009, source: INDEPA:, accessed 06-05-2011) Appendix 10: Interviewees: background information. Appendix 11: XO Hardware & Software Summary Poster. (source:, accessed 02-02-2012) Appendix 12: Video: Negroponte, Nicholas, 2006: TED talks on One Laptop per Child. (source: r_child.html, accessed 01-30-2012) Appendix 13: Video: OLPCF, 2008: OLPC Mission, Part 2: The XO Laptop, design for learning. (source:, accessed 01-302012) Appendix 14: Video: OLPCF, 2007: OLPC Mission, Part 1: Principles and Child Empowerment. (source:, accessed 0130-2012) Appendix 15: OLE Brochure. (source:, accessed 02-01-2012) Appendix 16: Field note: 08.11.2010. Appendix 17: Interview: Becerra, 2010, transcript in English. (interview was conducted in English). Appendix 18: Video: Becerra, Oscar: The Starfish on the Beach. Why OLPC for the 124

poorest and most remote? and how? (talk at the OLPC country workshop, May 2008, source:, accessed 03-13-2012) Appendix 19: Video: OLPC Peru: El Per Avanza! English subtitles. (source:, accessed 03-13-2012) and Children's Song: Aprendo felz, transcript in English. Appendix 20: Video and transcript of English subtitles: What education do the children need in the countryside of Peru? Asking teachers in the rural zones of Puno. Recorded, edited and subtitled by author, Peru 2010. Appendix 21: Cultural Domain analysis: results of the survey amongst teachers, parents, and children. Appendix 22: Interview statements: Esteban, 2010, translated by author (including audio reference of the original statement in Spanish). Appendix 23: Interview statement: Elena, 2010, translated by author (including audio reference of the original statement in Spanish). Appendix 24: Interview statements: Walter, 2010, translated by author (including audio reference of the original statement in Spanish). Appendix 25: Interview statements: Roger, 2010, translated by author (including audio reference of the original statement in Spanish). Appendix 26: Interview statements: Edwin, 2010, translated by author (including audio reference of the original statement in Spanish). Appendix 27: Conversation note: 12.05.2010. Appendix 28: Interview statement: Miryan, 2010, translated by author (including audio reference of the original statement in Spanish). Appendix 29: Interview statements: Julin, 2010, translated by author (including audio reference of the original statement in Spanish). Appendix 30: Interview statement: Vladimir, 2010, translated by author (including audio reference of the original statement in Spanish). Appendix 31: Interview statements: Edgar, 2010, translated by author (including audio reference of the original statement in Spanish). Appendix 32: Field note: 28.05.2010. Appendix 33: Interview statements: Anna, 2010, translated by author (including audio reference of the original statement in Spanish). Appendix 34: Questionnaire results in English. Appendix 35: Teacher training guide, 2009 and 2010 (source: DIGETE). Appendix 36: Schools: background information. Appendix 37: Interview statement: Roxana, 2010, translated by author (including audio reference of the original statement in Spanish). Appendix 38: Interview statements: William, 2010, translated by author (including audio reference of the original statement in Spanish). 125

Appendix 39: Interview statement: Eva, 2010, translated by author (including audio reference of the original statement in Spanish). Appendix 40: Conversation note: 17.03.2010. Appendix 41: Field note: 26.10.2010. Appendix 42: Interview statement: Lida, 2010, translated by author (including audio reference of the original statement in Spanish). Appendix 43: Interview statement: Sergio, 2010, translated by author (including audio reference of the original statement in Spanish). Appendix 44: Interview statement: Maria, 2010, translated by author (including audio reference of the original statement in Spanish). Appendix 45: Cultural Domain analysis: results of the survey amongst teachers, summary of statements concerning the XO laptop. Appendix 46: Interview statement: Hernan, 2010, translated by author (including audio reference of the original statement in Spanish).