The One Laptop Per Child initiative’s little green laptops include the typical eMail, word processing, and graphic software–but TamTam, a piece of open-source software that allows children to create their own music, is central to the group’s educational mission, reports the Wall Street Journal. TamTam incorporates dozens of sounds and instruments from around the world. It has caught on in rural Thailand, where some children there formed a band that plays traditional Thai music using the OLPC computer. TamTam’s approach to teaching music is rooted in the Western child-development theories of Dr. Seymour Papert, an influential MIT scholar in mathematics, cognitive science, and education. Dr. Papert popularized the concept of "hard fun," in which children use play to push past the boundaries of what they know. The TamTam suite celebrates explorations, says Dr. Richard Boulanger, a professor of music synthesis at Berklee College of Music. He is currently working on an OLPC sample library that will allow anyone to download sounds to use for recordings. "Children are really good at exploring and trying things, and learning by trying," he says. "This is how children will learn to paint with sounds and color with sound."

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