One Laptop Per Child

Dec 6th, 2007, 09:07 AM
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One Laptop Per Child

Here is another program I have been seen a little about. it is at and the idea long story short is to get the inexpensive laptops into the hands of children in emerging nations.

has anyone participated in this program? what are you thoughts?

I have gotten helpful info in this group on Kiva, so am anxious to hear any experiences
waynehazle is offline  
Dec 6th, 2007, 07:03 PM
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Wayne, I hadn't heard of it. Thanks for calling it to my attention.

An easy and mentally stimulating way to do something to help others is to take the vocabulary quiz on An in-law of my sister's worked on it; I find it quite addictive. I should probably think of a harder word than addictive, though...
Leely is offline  
Dec 7th, 2007, 03:52 AM
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60 Minutes repeated their earlier show about the XO (kisses/love) 'puter this past w/e. Negroponte (inventor of) indicated they'd be making these available to American parents for their kids. The stipulation is they add $200 to the purchase price in order to provide another XO to a child elsewhere in the world.
sandi is offline  
Dec 7th, 2007, 05:17 AM
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I think the whole thing is an amazing idea -- getting inexpensive, durable, easy, collaborative computers into the hands of underprivileged kids.

If you choose to try the buy-one-give-one option, be aware that this is NOT a regular PC or a regular MAC, it is a different operating system. And since some of the best features are supposed to be collaborative, it wouldn't be effective to have one kid with one computer, it's really intended to have a cluster of kids all with computers together.

ann_nyc is offline  
Dec 7th, 2007, 07:41 AM
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Here's my 2 cents, and that's about all it's worth.

I've read the info provided by the referenced web site. One quote from it - ""A computer uniquely fosters learning learning by allowing children to “think about thinking”, in ways that are otherwise impossible."" This double talk reminds me too much of progressive educational patter. They give/gave us new improved teaching practices like "New Math". "Collaborative" computing kids, huh? Sounds just like another fancy word to impress me. So for me, this is one strike against it.

What is the advantage of a laptop over a book, pencil and paper? Would it not be only that a laptop could communicate with the world via the internet? If so, then how many of these laptops will have internet access? Wait, ok, it doesn't matter they can still "collaborate". Sure.

So, I'm some skeptical that laptops are an efficient use of limited funds. But why not try it, sounds like a nice project for our Hollywood show biz types to put money into and get involved with.

As for American kids liking it. Considering all of the many computer toys we have, I doubt if it would be given any attention. But hey, just my 2 cents.

regards - tom
cary999 is offline  
Dec 7th, 2007, 09:19 AM
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I donated a laptop using their Give One Get One program. For $399 you get two laptops, one for your own use (or to donate) and one that is donated to poor children.

In my opinion, any program that helps to educate poor children is useful and should be supported.
RBCal is offline  
Dec 7th, 2007, 11:22 AM
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From what I recall of discussion this morning on the Today show, this unit has it's own proprietary operating system. No XP, Vista or Mac! Cannot use Google and some other limits.

So if considering for your own child, this might not be the best option (then again, it might be as an introduction).

In countries where these are being distributed, where children rarely go to school all day (if daily), there aren't enough teachers, etc. this unit affords a child with their siblings or a group of children a learning experience or "collaborative" environment - teaching one another!

Even if only the basics, at that price, seems a worthy donation.
sandi is offline  
Dec 7th, 2007, 11:39 AM
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It uses LINUX and Microsoft is developing software to use on it. Included is word processing and other software as well as a built in camera and microphone.

It comes with WIFI and the Give One Get One offer includes a 1 year subscription to wireless internet which is supposedly worth $350.

Thus, you can use Google and access the internet.
RBCal is offline  
Dec 7th, 2007, 12:13 PM
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RB - thanks for clarifying. I was listening with half an ear while getting ready for work.
sandi is offline  
Dec 7th, 2007, 01:11 PM
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Hi Friends,

I am invloved with a lot of community service work here in Sri Lanka in health care, hunger and literacy mostly through Rotary. One of our key areas of focus is education and children. While providing some computers to schools is useful, I can assure you that giving laptops into the hands of individual kids will be a waste. Much more needed are simple things like books, a pair of shoes, chairs, tables, blackboards....

This year I am doing a wonderful project supported by the Rotary Club of Miami, Dadeland, Pinecrest to set up reading libraries in 60 rural schools.

Do have a look at our Tsunami Schools program at

Mohammed is online now  
Dec 7th, 2007, 01:22 PM
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... and a meal, as one of the winners of CNNs Heros (to be repeated tonight and probably again sometime) did for (believe the number 11,000) Kenyan children.

Steven Pfeifer, I believe his name, working thru a Mission. Once provided a meal, children came to school and had enough energy to learn, many for a full day. Previously, if they even came to school, were lethargic and not able to concentrate. Some would leave school mid-morning to find food.

Quite admirable all the winners of the Hero Awards, from around the world.
sandi is offline  
Dec 7th, 2007, 01:33 PM
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The purpose of the OLPC program is so that children can bring the laptops home to their families and parents to help them learn.

I find it surprising that anyone could criticise this. The UN provides food charity already. No one besides OLPC (and a program by Intel) is attempting to bring computer and reading literacy to the third world. How can people ever rise above poverty without education?
RBCal is offline  
Dec 7th, 2007, 01:57 PM
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There is no question that education (of all kinds) is the key. The question is how to do it. Is money/donations better spent on computers or books, pencils and paper? Did you read Mohammed's reply above?

However, perhaps some people will not donate for books because that is not "progressive" nor "technologically advanced thinking". So if the only thing they will donate for is computers, well, that's better than nothing (probably).

As for the UN, why are they not interested also in reading literacy? Very little money to be stolen from it? Or is handing out food a better way to keep control of a population?

regards - tom
cary999 is offline  
Dec 7th, 2007, 02:04 PM
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if books can be digitized, then it will not only save the environment but also cost. Books get tatty, though a computer licence for a piece of spftware is relatively simple to pass on within a school
Shumba is offline  
Dec 7th, 2007, 02:24 PM
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The advantage to the laptop over a book is that supposedly it makes it fun to learn. Bringing a book home to parents who can't read will do little to help them read. Bringing a computer connected to the internet with pictures and graphics and the capability of sending pictures and voice messages around the world makes learning entertaining.
RBCal is offline  
Dec 7th, 2007, 02:31 PM
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It was also pointed out that in villages without electricity, the parents love it when kids bring home a PC because it provides the only light they can get at night.
LAleslie is offline  
Dec 7th, 2007, 02:41 PM
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Mohammed and Tom make sense. We tend to be seduced by computer technology.

When my workplace was computerised in the 90s, we were told it was for the best because we would soon have a paper-less office. Very soon, we were using more paper than ever before, and the world still is.

Computers and the internet have vastly increased the amount of information at our fingertips, but the built-in obsolescence of both hardware and software and the expense of updating both mean it's wise if not necessary to have a paper backup. A tatty book can still be read, and also doesn't require electricity to read for much of the time.

afrigalah is offline  
Dec 7th, 2007, 02:47 PM
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Oh ok, use the laptops for light. Who's going to buy the $90 battery when it goes bad in two years?

regards - tom
cary999 is offline  
Dec 7th, 2007, 03:08 PM
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Actually - the innovative design and some of it's features are quite noteworthy (we have an early prototype at my office).

For example, power options include solar, pedal, and pull cord. It might not dazzle US kids who demand xbox 360's, but imagine what technology like this could do for countries Rwanda.
Toshi is offline  
Dec 7th, 2007, 03:43 PM
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Good evening Wayne:

I came across this young man’s BLOG, www bellybuttonwindow com about a month ago – as I recall he seems to be very involved in this project. I can not find exactly where he chats about it at the moment but he seems very approachable and I would contact him. He is funny and has some entertaining travel tips woven throughout the site.

I found this link on his BLOG, www olpcnews com which I did not originally see. I am too involved in many other projects so have not looked into this program but your post jogged my memory about this young man.

Laptops IMHO: I will say that I have given laptops (they need the carry cases too-plain, no logos) to several youth and young adults in Tanzania on an individual basis -- it has changed their lives for the better in many ways. They want laptops, they need laptops to actively partake in their education and achieve their goals.

Yours in Service, Den
Denbasking is offline  

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