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Why Do You Ask?

From asking questions that require an answer To asking questions that require a conversation.

Monday, November 12, 2007

OLPC - What Could You Do?



One learning child. One connected child. One laptop at a time.The mission of One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) is to empower the children of developing countries to learn by providing one connected laptop to every school-age child. In order to accomplish our goal, we need people who believe in what we’re doing and want to help make education for the world’s children a priority, not a privilege. Between November 12 and November 26, OLPC is offering a Give One Get One program in the United States and Canada. During this time, you can donate the revolutionary XO laptop to a child in a developing nation, and also receive one for the child in your life in recognition of your contribution.
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I see this as a great idea in several ways, obvious and subtle.
  • A "needy" student will receive a laptop based on the generosity of someone from the USA/Canada.
    • Students around the world can connect with other students and information.
  • The donor gets one too.
    • Can connect with students around the world.
    • Can get access to WiFi from T-Mobile hotspots ($350 value - pretty cool).
    • First-hand understanding of how the laptop can work, so we can know what the teachers/students from third-world countries can do.
There are a couple things I would like for educators and OLPC supporters to consider:
  • There are thousands of students in the US whose families might be in a similar condition as the students who will receive the laptops elsewhere.  I know we are the most wealthy country in the world, but there are still families and children who live well below the poverty level and go to bed hungry.  Could people who participate in this, somehow donate the laptop they get to keep to a deserving student?  Could something be done in our own country?  I have read the reasons behind not including the USA students in this program, but what about a grassroots effort?
  • Why couldn't T-Mobile, AT&T, or some other wireless service, provide students and teachers with free data packages for use in an educational setting?  Perhaps the use of cell phones in classrooms could take hold if there was no cost to access the web, or IM, or text message during specific times of the day.
Overall, I think Negroponte has a vision worthy of support and participation.  How about you?

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