Android phone because they would need something they could hack, which is indeed what they are doing.
It got me thinking again about a couple of the comments made by people at the Learning Without Frontiers conference. Specifically, Evan Roth (see Evan Roth, Graffiti Research Lab) who wants children to have computers they can hack and David Braben (see LWF11 - David Braben, Founder, Frontier Developme...) who remembered his own formative years when computer systems came with programming manuals. How can we give children a way in to programming with current systems?
On of my favourite quotes is from Arthur C. Clark:
Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.But I often say to my students, that one of the jobs of a computing teacher is to open the magic box and show them the smoke and mirrors inside. The problem is, current operating systems generally do too good a job at hiding what is going on but, as I've said elsewhere, while the computing industry is saying, "Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain!", I want teachers to lift the curtain and show pupils what the levers do. All sorts of things conspire, however, to make this difficult, for example the managed systems that most schools use where you can't install any software and even tweaking a system setting is difficult/impossible.
I think David Braben's Raspberry Pi project could be extraordinarily useful in this respect but while we are waiting for it to arrive, how do we give children the opportunity to hack systems? How do we let them gain the experience of coding that came with early micros like the Spectrum and the BBC Micro? Or I suppose I should have started with the basic question - do you agree that children should be encouraged to re-configure or re-program their own devices and devices available in schools?