The one laptop per child project

Have you heard about the one laptop per child project? It’s a project that has generated a steady steam of international coverage that also caught my attention .
The XO laptop, previously known as the $ 100 laptop or children’s machine is a cheap laptop which is tailor made for children in the developing countries, to provide them with access to knowledge.

The laptop is developed by the one laptop per child OLPC a non profit organization created by faculty members of the MIT media lab, to design, manufacture and distribute the laptop and its software.
This laptop contains a flash instead of a hard drive and uses Linux as its operating system.
The internet connectivity question is addressed in a few different ways,The OLPC laptop
Includes the use of Wi-Fi, WiMax, 3G and satellites, as well as fiber, coaxial cable and plain old telephony.

It’s common that when a project sets out not only to change the world but also to change the future of computing, it’s sure to be at the center of lots of attention and not a little bit of controversy. This has definitely been the case for the One Laptop Per Child project, which has gained attention both for the right reasons,that include humanitarian goals and for the roundbreaking technologies it’s introducing to the developed countries, and for the wrong reasons of fixation on product pricing and assumptions about capabilities of the laptop.

The strongest argument in favor of this cheap laptop idea rests on the assumption that the greatest assets of a people are its children, and so the highest social priority is on the education of these children. Throughout disease, natural disasters, war and poverty, education features as the primary solution to the problem.

Most educators would argue that effective learning stems from a fundamental level of personal curiosity about a subject, and in a sense the ability to self-teach. The key point here is not so much what each child knows so far, but rather the perspective that they can bring to bear on a problem. It is well known from case studies that network learning, augmented by technology, computers and Internet connectivity, bears heavy fruit in academic terms.

Although Negroponte the founder and his team insist it’s purely educational, some critics think it’s a politically –marketed approach to a real problem as nearly half of the purchase price of a new laptop is taken up by the cost of sales, marketing, distribution and of course the profit margin.

At the Dell/National Federation of Independent Business Small Business Excellence Awards, Michael Dell spoke about the XO laptop during a question-and-answer session. He said that the laptop will be too underpowered to be of any use to children and won’t be able to handle necessary computing tasks. “The issue is not so much what does it cost, but what does it do,” Dell said.

In my opinion,the OLPC project is a good idea as there will be 100’s of millions of children in Africa, China, Indonesia, India and South America who will be able to have their own laptop to help them learn.

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