One Laptop Per Child

LaptopAccording to the New York Times, MIT's Nicholas Negroponte is gaining momentum in his efforts to revolutionize how we educate the world's children by producing and distributing a $100 laptop.  Driving his efforts, One Laptop Per Child, reached an agreement on Tuesday to provide these machines to all 1.2 million schoolchildren in Libya.  (Tentative agreements are also in place with Brazil, Nigeria, Argentina and Thailand.)   

Check out pictures of the prototype some of which include handcranks that can provide an eight-hour battery with "...a minimum of 1:10 ratio of cranking to use e.g. one minute of cranking gives you ten minutes of use."  While it won't have a hard drive, it will have a built in video camera and wireless broadband. 

Although One Laptop Per Child claims to be a nonprofit, I'll be darned if I can find the "donate now" button." 

Two points of special interest from the Times coverage that deserve either much comment or none:

It is possible, Mr. Negraponte said, that Libya will become the first nation in the world where all school-age children are connected to the Internet through educational computers.

To date, One Laptop Per Child has received mixed support from the American computer industry...However, both Intel and Microsoft have been publicly skeptical about the idea and have proposed competing low-cost educational computer projects...Mr. Negraponte said Microsoft refused to sell its Windows software to the project at a price that would make it possible to include in his system.  As a result, his laptop will come with the freely available Linux operating system, which is becoming increasingly popular in the developing world. 

Susan Herr

Posted at 6:29 AM, Oct 11, 2006 in Education | Permalink | Comment