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Friday, September 05, 2008

One Laptop per Child, at Amazon in November will be participating in the Give One and Get One incentive program of the nonprofit group One Laptop per Child (OLPC).

From first link above:
The nonprofit organization started Give One, Get One as a way to raise money to send laptops to schoolchildren in poor countries. The idea is that a person pays for two of the XO laptops developed by OLPC. One is sent to the buyer, and another is donated to a child in a developing country.

I've been really interested in this project for the past few years and am interested in the impact it will have as the program broadens. It's been reported that some donators who can, will buy two and donate both. That is just awesome; I think the computer is awful cute. You can see a brief animation of it here.

Reportedly, and quite believably, kids really are reacting in a great way to having this tool. I'm still however pondering potential problems at the level of the child's family for one thing. Probably not big serious things will happen but I've seen sad things happen when a parent or perhaps a sibling or other relative, who didn't have the benefit of a newer generation's technology reacts to the younger one. Probably it is the pessisimist in me but as I said, I have observed it, it happens. Of course most of the reports are going to reflect the good stuff. You can read about student and teacher reactions to this tool at the LaptopGiving site. The main site for OLPC is here.

Take a look at the older posts on this label, to see how much this little computer has changed. :)


Semavi Lady woofed at @ 9/05/2008 01:03:00 AM | Permanent link | (0) Comments

Friday, December 07, 2007

One Laptop Per Child -Revisited

Photo from OLPC -
I initially wrote about the "One Laptop Per Child" (OLPC) project over a year ago.

Right now, the project is still a charity, and there are still many questions I have on the program and will it sink or swim, but I have a lot of faith in the kids. The use of the computers works something like homeschooling, where kids are naturally motivated because of the nature of the medium. The project has a December 2007 "Give one, Get one" incentive which provides machines at a discount and people are buying and donating both machines to the project. :)
OLPC has asked affluent American individuals and charitable groups to buy machines and donate them to children in poor countries. Participants in the Give One Get One program pay $400 for two of the machines - one for their own use and the other to be donated. Participants also receive a year of free wireless Internet access at hundreds of public hotspots operated by T-Mobile. A separate program, called Give Many, encourages charities to pay for hundreds or thousands of OLPC laptops. (source
The design of these little laptops has changed somewhat since the original pics I saw over a year ago, and the interest in the project as demonstrated by foreign governments has been a bit... reserved. has a report on it, and mentions some of its problems (the Nigerian criminal that is trying to sue the charity project has a lot of #&^@^%!). Those who can, probably will if they are aware of the program, for the rest of us, if donating some machines is within the scope of a charity that we know, maybe suggest the charity to donate? According to OLPC, donors are able to designate where the machines they donate are to go.

And, of course, the homepage of the project is worth a visit!

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Semavi Lady woofed at @ 12/07/2007 03:03:00 AM | Permanent link | (0) Comments

Sunday, September 17, 2006

One Laptop Per Child - So Much to Ponder

The $100 Laptop.

One Laptop Per Child
Cute machine! A prototype from "One Laptop Per Child" Project

Julie at DeafDC Blog writes on the subject of One Laptop Per Child… Possible? The cultural questions she poses are among the first things I pondered when I first found information about the project at MIT site last year. Deafness & disability combined with a fascination with science, technology and fondness for animals created ready misunderstanding and rifts where my own family did not always understand nor tolerate my differences in whatever they felt was the 'norm'. It was easier for me to focus on things with which I could be skillful and truly it was the only way to go because as a handicapped child, things others took for granted were difficult for me and often others had no point of reference for understanding.

Browsing and reading from a junior encyclopedia or piles of National Geographic magazines was far more interesting to me than watching TV with my mother and siblings when I could not always hear well enough to understand the words spoken on the programs. My mother's frustration with my differences when I was in grade school included the fact that at one point, I had read every single horse story available at the school library during one of the genre binges I entertained at the time - My instructor had no idea what grief this would cause me in my family when she shared my delight in reading with my parents at one PTA. My father was delighted, but I could not understand why that was such a problem for her -- I had the longest list of 'books I read' among my classmates. :D My sibs didn't have much interest in reading and that just seemed more 'normal' to her. :)

So it is with that background, I wonder about conflict within families, even if the conflict has something to do with better education. There are cultures where females are just not expected to expand their worlds and when they do, they become alienated. Children are quick studies in accepting and seeking new technology, but how will it affect their relationships with their families in third world countries? Will the kids be safe with this technology, could something happen to them if they are alone with one of these machines and another person wants it? It's very easy for me to imagine how technology or pursuit of it could backfire in some ways, while on the other hand there are benefits and advancements to be had.

Will it be welcome? You can find stories such as this one in India providing another aspect of food for thought.

Parents usually are role models and provide guidance to their kids, maybe more so in some cultures than they are in some modern cultures. Kids that understand things far beyond their parents at much younger ages may lose the guidance that they need due to a widening communication and cultural gap between the kids and parents. Painful memories... Parents that didn't get an opportunity at a good education are not always supportive of the achievements of their children when they don't understand those things.

Anyway, the technology is promising. Problems to come?
For now, it's all speculation.

One Laptop Per Child
The first prototype I saw last year

One Laptop Per Child
Another prototype

I think education is a good thing and I hope that in communities receptive to the "One Laptop Per Child" program, that great advancements can be made by first opening up the minds and curiosity of those who will benefit most.

To read more about the project, to see a FAQ and more images, go here to

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Semavi Lady woofed at @ 9/17/2006 09:36:00 AM | Permanent link | (0) Comments