one laptop per child

One project that is hoping to bring education to the developing world is the One Laptop per Child program.  It aims to give a $100 laptop (a technological feat in and of itself) that use innovative power sources (solar, hand crank, and pedal-power)to children in developing countries.  The idea is that community-access centers are not enough; each child should have their own laptop.  The organization’s rational is that once the child has ownership of the laptop, it will be something cherished more greatly and cared for, similar to how a child cares for their own pencils or doll.  I recently heard that Intel withdrew its financial and techincal help due to “philosophical differences.”  I’m sure those differences were related to Intel’s profit margin.  The laptops are designed specifically for children and have progams the children can use to learn on what the organization claims, a deeper level.  However, has it come to the point where every child in the developing world really needs a laptop?  Or is this just another “cool” idea from the developed world that is not necessary in the first phase of getting these kids educated and out of poverty?  There is no doubt that technology in these remote and impoverished areas can give these kids an opportunity to connect with the global community.  And in that hope and aspirations can develop.  But when their parents are struggling to get food on the table, will they spend their time cranking their laptop?  And how well can a laptop-based education translate into employment and opportunity in a community that has no other resources?  Many questions for an ambitious project…



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Filed under Communication, development

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