It’s not hard to find stories of college professors who ban laptops from their classrooms, usually due to their fear (probably justified) of students not paying attention to their lectures.

However, you wouldn’t think that teachers in countries that have purchased the XO machines from the One Laptop Per Child project would be forbidding children from using them.

But that seems to be exactly what’s happening in Ethiopia, ironically for essentially the same reasons as those in our universities.

The Ethiopian school system like Rwanda’s, is designed around rote memorization – the teacher copies material to the board and students write it down in notebooks. Then there is a national test that determines progression in the educational system – a test based on the ability to recalled the memorized facts.

This model is very teacher-centric. Teachers should have all the knowledge, and students, by cultural definition are there to listen, not to question, and will not be as smart as teachers until they have passed the national test.

An education model where teachers are the source of all knowledge.

Learning completely centered around standardized testing.

Technology added to classrooms with little teacher training and no integration with the curriculum.

Sounds very familiar, doesn’t it?