OLPC research/papers


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Please list papers to include in the research list. This includes any work on OLPC deployments of XO laptops, one-laptop-per-child deployments involving other hardware, deployments of Sugar emulators or Sugar on a Stick, and other projects involving child ownership of laptops. Please try to note in the summaries which of the five pillars each project supports.

For 2011-2012 research and evaluation material review go to OLPC 2011-2012 research/papers



Sage July 2011

A study of Bahrain, Jordan, and UAE education and knowledge-based abilities of their students; mainly focused on secondary schools with and without ICT interventions. older students, inconsistent ownership and saturation, good Internet connectivity, some use of open source.

Cristia 2010

Julian Cristia, Pablo Ibarraran, Ana Santiago, Eugenio Severin, Inter-American Development Bank; Santiago Cueto, GRADE (2010). [http://www.econ.yale.edu/conference/neudc11/papers/paper_302.pdf The Short-Term Impacts of the One Laptop per Child Program: A Randomized Evaluation]

Punchline: a thorough randomized study of ~300 schools in Peru, in which roughly half of the students took machines home. Preliminary results three months after deployment: significantly improved relations b/t teachers and parents and students, no significant changes in math/reading or truancy, slight drop in student interest in everyday classwork. Study did not evaluate development of new skills, though notes that naturally some were developed.

This is an excellently designed study, careful in its error analysis, clear about distinguishing observation from interpretation. A followup was expected to get more data a year into the deployment (revisiting schools in Oct-Nov 2010) -- looking forward to the resulting paper.

Earlier research


Bentley 2007

Bentley, C. (2007). The OLPC Laptop: Educational Revolution or Devolution? Proceedings of World Conference on ELearning in Corporate, Government, Healthcare and Higher Education (pp. 647-652).

Punchline: “An implementation program that helps governments provide a curriculum, set up learning partnerships, and evaluate the laptop program is proposed.”

Bhatta 2008

Bhatta, S. D. (2008). Tackling the Problems of Quality and Disparity in Nepal’s School Education: The OLPC Model. Studies in Nepali History and Society, 13(1), 17-48.

Punchline: ICT-based teaching and learning approach is suggested as a means to tackle the problems of quality and disparity. The OLPC model is adopted as a viable approach, but dependent on four simultaneous areas—“digital content development, teacher preparation, network and power infrastructure development, and government capacity development” before it can reach full potential.

Clark (unpublished)

Clark, J. (n.d.). OLPC and the US: The Factors.

Punchline: Unpublished. Paper surveys the general environment and factors affecting the OLPC program in the US and suggests possible large-scale implementation strategies.

Kennedy 2007

Kennedy, I., Pass, D., & Cadir, R. (2007). One Laptop Per Teacher: Content and Curriculum for (in-service) Teacher Training. TECHNOLOGY AND TEACHER EDUCATION ANNUAL, 18(5), 2564.

Punchline: “This paper proposes structure and content for in-service training of teachers in the use of OLPC,” thus called one laptop per teacher (OLPT). Focused on teachers using the XO to learn and collaborate

Kraemer 2009

Kraemer, K. L., Dedrick, J., & Sharma, P. (2009). One laptop per child: vision vs. reality. Communications of the ACM, 52(6), 66-73.

Punchline: The OLPC vision though noble and well-intentioned “is being overwhelmed by the reality of business, politics, logistics, and competing interests worldwide.”

Niles 2006

Niles, R. (2006). A study of the application of emerging technology: teacher and student perceptions of the impact of one-to-one laptop computer access.

Punchline: Study based on a case study of high school students and teachers. Study revealed 6 salient findings. 5 of the 6 findings “suggest that technology had changed teaching and learning, and helped to create a paradigm shift in the teacher and student roles.”

Nussbaum 2007

Nussbaum, B. (2007, September 28). Where Are The Teachers In The Debate Over OLPC? Business Week. Retrieved from http://www.businessweek.com/innovate/NussbaumOnDesign/archives/2007/09/where_are_the_teachers_in_the_debate_over_olpc.html

Punchline: This is a newspaper/magazine piece. It highlights that the teachers are left out of the OLPC debate and emphasis and evaluations have been largely student-centric so far.


Camfield 2007

Camfield, J., Kobulsky, A., Paris, J., & Vonortas, N. (2007). A Report Card for One Laptop Per Child. Closing the Digital Divide via ICTs and Education: Successes and Failures. joncamfield. com/writing/Camfield_Report_Card_for_OLPC. pdf, 6, 2008.

Punchline: OLPC effectively developed a “relatively” affordable laptop with features that could be beneficial for developing countries; however, the project appears significantly flawed as an education-based development project aimed at mitigating the digital divide between developing and developed countries.

An early paper before any large-scale deployments had been started. Practical suggestions made have been incorporated into the project.

Leaning 2010

Leaning, M. (2010). The One Laptop per Child Project and the Problems of Technology-led Educational Development. High-Tech Tots: Childhood in a Digital World edited by Ilene R. Berson and Michael J. Berson (2010), Information Age Publishing: Charlotte, NC

Punchline: The paper critically examines the OLPC project and identifies 3 areas of criticism: 1) program is grounded in technological determinism, (2) not sensitive to local context or conditions thus seem like a “colonial” approach, and (3) program is largely constructed as a technological project and not as an educational project. Suggestions are recommended for future implementations.

Useful suggestions, some incorporated in current OLPC deployment guide.

Purington 2010

Purington, D. (2010). One Laptop per Child: a misdirection of humanitarian effort. ACM SIGCAS Computers and Society, 40(1), 28-33.

Punchline: Paper assails the OLPC project as a grandiose project that misdirects needful and scarce dollars to an unsustainable technology project. Speculates that the project is too expensive to implement even if desired.

This paper is largely philosophical - the author did not talk to OLPC deployments or draw from details of actual implementation; criticism levelled against the idea in the abstract.

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