Talk:One Laptop per Child


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Windows switch?

I heard that the OLPC project was upping their specs to run windows. Why do we want to spread the collective power of a monopolist further? Shouldn't OLPC be committed to free software in order to prevent oppressive companies tying down the market? -- Anonymous

OLPC upgraded to the LX in large part because the availability of an L2 Cache, which greatly enhances Python performance. Microsoft had nothing to do with the decision. But being open means being open to all. --Walter 17:40, 30 April 2007 (EDT)


I think one of the more valid arguments for the implementation of OLPC laptops in developing countries is the laptop's foundations in constructivist theory. However, I think it should be more heavily documented on the website, this could mean how constructivism enhances child learning, and teaching strategies. In other words, the overview should include direct statements drawn from theory (in the Learning Learning section, the Beyond School section, and the Educational Content section). Moreover, the site seems a little self-indulgent naming only Alan Kay and Seymour Papert. Even the constructivist page is poorly written naming pioneers that I've never heard of. There has been so much rich academic research on constructivism and technology that to me, it seems foolish not to include it.

To me, Ernst von Glasersfeld, Jean Piaget, John Dewey, Immanuel Kant, Thomas S. Kuhn, Robert B. Kozma, Jonassen, they are also pioneers that have all made outstanding arguments that could thoroughly improve your website's argument. I'd suggest expanding your references.

Feel free to expand them here (one of the reasons we have a wiki). --Walter 17:41, 30 April 2007 (EDT)

Feedback from the future

Top 10 Concerns from the kids using the device.

Basic Needs

Has anyone thought that it's more important to give the starving African natives water, food and shelter (not to mention steady power supplies) than a [bleep] laptop? Goddamn trust-fund activists.

Yes, that's Bill Gates's opinion. So how about him giving them health care and water, and us giving them laptops, and microbanks giving them investment capital for new enterprises, and everybody else doing what they do? All at once, instead of bickering about which comes first. Would you really rather curse the darkness than teach people to make candles? Ed Cherlin 20061001 12:49 UTC-7:00

Making the Case for the Integration of ICT with Sustainable Development to Promote a Community Oriented Development Model

Removing the unnecessary hate-filled language of the above commment the issue needs to be addressed.

An integrated strategy is needed that considers ICT tools like OLPC as enablers to develop complementary programs that promote sustainable development in Africa in terms of addressing basic needs. The innovative thinking of the OLPC is inspiring however I think the top down national strategy is problematic in that it leads to a one size fits approach that dehumanizes people and causes many social problems and ills. Alternatively with the rise of Internet we have the potential to set up a distributed system which gives the community more autonomy to determine its own affairs. This includes designing an educational system that fits with its needs.

Education should not be considered an entity to itself but rather an integral part of the development program. We already seem many examples of students being entrepreneural and groups promoting that but this needs to be developed further. Schools need to be transformed and downsized so that higher education is more community relevant and community oriented. There needs to be less focus less on the three rs and learning by rote and more on integrating complex knowledge systems, technologies and ideas into a community specific approach to solving a problem that is relevant to the urgent needs of underserved communities. The organization I work for oneVillage Foundation envisions schools as integral parts of the community development stategy itself via what we call Multipurpose Communiy & Unity Centres.

With distruptive technologies such centres have the potential not only to function as learning centers, but also as to: - Converge grassroots efforts to solve challenging local problems with use of ICT for information collection, networking and analysis. - Provide renewable power for the facility and potentially for the larger community. - Develope experimental sustainable & integrated farming programs that are improved and replicated to other regions as best practices through the aid of ICT. - Provide training on constructing schools and other community building with locally available building materials using eco-friendly building practices where the students can learn as they help build their own schools. - Enable entrepreneurs to blossom by using the net to train, inspire them with examples of best practices from around the world and provide them with global support networks they otherwise not have access to.

So I am wondering how OLPC might fit into a community oriented development as an alternative to the top down educational approach put forward by Negroponte. The plan we envision centers on education but does much more by applying multi-use design to the design of human systems using a ecosystem model. The existing pyramid type approach denies how life realy works and so it leads to many more problems than it solves. The alternative model is used by the ecological design movement and is key to the construction of sustainable built environments as well as the sustainable production systems and organizations that must complement them. Development itself will not achieve its goals unless it reconfigures and adapts itself to a more ecosystem based approach.

One possible way I envision organizations like OVF working with OLPC is in developing a whole network of community scaled projects like the Unity Center concept mentioned above, set up around the world to test out a more community centric approach for distributing the OLPC. This could complement the top down approach put forward by Negronponte.

Comments from students in graduate education course

In EDUC5860 at York University in Toronto we discussed this initiative and would like to offer the following perspectives.

reading these comments one wonders whether these students have taken the time to do some basic research and familiarize themselves with the OLPC project and the Predecessors of OLPC. They are the same kind of ill-informed comments that we see in the OLPC FAQ and OLPC Myths.
It would be more helpful if you were to be more specific in your critique. Walter 22:01, 12 June 2006 (EDT)

Response from students:

Our postings were offered in the spirit of open expression of thoughts and questions regarding this interesting initiative. We were disappointed that our comments were described as ill-informed (which designation was also assigned to OLPC FAQ). If our impression that the program is intending to unify the global community is accurate, we anticipate that any misunderstandings anyone posts will generate responses that are supportive and illuminating for all interested parties. We are very interested in digital technology and the ways in which paradigms are shifting because of it, and would sincerely appreciate guidance in finding answers to our questions.

In regard to the criticism above, one of the features of a wiki is the facility with which they enable one to make links in order to reference ones's sources. In the postings below, there are numerous assertions, e.g., "without ensuring a trained and available teaching infrastructure, students will have difficulty in understanding and accessing the technologies", that are not obviously grounded, e.g.: Where is the evidence that students need a teaching infrastructure in order to understand technology? Where is it stated that OLPC is advocating that teachers should not be trained? Walter 01:47, 13 June 2006 (EDT)

Group A

The goal of the OLPC is to provide global access to technologies that empower students to 'explore, experiment and express ' themselves. A terrific goal, but before we rush in, perhaps we should pause and consider how to operationalize this strategic plan so as to ensure it's sustainability without incurring unexpected negative outcomes.

For instance - without ensuring a trained and available teaching infrastructure, students will have difficulty in understanding and accessing the technologies. Without a technical infrastructure, keeping the technology working and up-to-date will not be feasible and the project will quickly become irrelevant.

Pedagogically, we need to consider how these experiences with computer technology will enrich students' lives initially as well as in the future - does a momentary interaction over a year or two significantly impact the lives of children as they mature?

Is it the aim of existing educational systems to explore, experiment and express one's thoughts, or is this a radically new concept that is specific to western curriculum? If it is new, does it make sense to specific cultures? Would they choose to use technology for these purposes? If we do this, will it inadvertently undermine the goals and values of education in developing nations, particularly where the concept of the individual may be very different than in industrialized nations?

While we want to minimize the digital divide so that developing nations can begin to participate more equitably in the global arena - let's do so responsibly and cautiously, involving members of participating societies in setting the goals and parameters by which the success of this project will be measured.

Group B

This project initiative by Nicholas Negroponte was in part inspired or based on the constructivist theory by Seymour Papert. The assumption is that: "Giving children good things to do so that they can learn by doing much better than they could before” (Papert). Access to the OLPC computers will create better efficiency in performing various tasks such as calculating and word processing. Access to technology will provide opportunities for students to be exposed to newer forms of technology; hoping to one day teach students to be more competitive on a global scale. From one perspective, this project will help assist in bridging the digital divide between developing nations and first world nations.

The OLPC project has been implemented with good intentions; however, it opens the door to more questions and concerns.

Some considerations:

• The Western approach to education may not be a priority for developing communities where issues of sustainability are of fundamental importance.

That isn't a question of Western vs. some other educational approach. It is clear that an appropriate curriculum for village children has to include the basic reading, math, and science, languages (local and international), and then subjects relevant to village needs as well as to jobs in the outside economy. So: health, nutrition, agriculture, crafts. And also civics (how local government is supposed to work, and how it actually works) and the politics and economiics of poverty around the world. Among other things. More important is teaching how to learn, or rather not teaching children (who are sponges for learning everything around them) to stop learning. Ed Cherlin 20061001 14:49 GMT-7:00

• The necessity to ensure a tech-based infrastructure is in place in each local community since in many developing areas, access to the Internet is not readily available.

The Internet is not necessary for learning, and the focus of the OLPC project is rather community. What specific infrastructure concerns do you have here?

• Any Western development effort in developing countries has the potential to become problematic because it can become very complex (given the social, cultural, and economical factors that must be taken into account).

Namely complex in what way?

• The hidden costs for sustaining such a project (for example: software programs, tech support/maintenance, and training).

The programs are maintained by their users, which includes the children. That is the beauty of free and open source software. User support for free software has always been cheaper and more available between users, but there is no harm if someone in a given region learns to support and maintain the laptops, and uses that skill to make a living.

Communities in developing countries are struggling to survive; "advancements" like OLPC will prove to be unsustainable unless they help to solve more immediate, pressing problems within these communities. We must remember that the penetration of technologies into developing countries are not always useful for the locals and may eventually be abandoned.

To complement immediate relief, such communities also need ways to help themselves. Otherwise more immediate relief is needed very soon, and the community never heals.
I don't think you've given enough credit to developing nations here. Developing countries are using technologies in ever-increasingly innovative ways. Technologies are not always useful, but it's rare that they wont take on these technologies and create new uses for them themselves if only they were given an opportunity to do so. For example, people are using mobile phones in ways Westerners would never have dreamed: all you need is a SIM card (not even a phone), and you've got yourself a new business, a form of credit, and a way to communicate with others.

Group C

It is human nature (and easy) to predict failure when new visions are presented. We are very excited about the possibilities that could flow from the implementation of this initiative. We also look forward to seeing how the experience impacts the individuals and communities who participate.

Of most importance to us is the pedagogical software that will be used. We support the concepts of flexibility, choice, and mutual respect among all participants as opportunities evolve.

Group D

We think that children in developing countries have greater needs than having laptops. However, we also believe that giving access to laptops could potentially have positive impacts.

The $100 laptop would change the way in which the children in poor countries learn but we don’t think that such initiative would necessary revolutionized education. The project will likely help students to have access to more information and increase their knowledge as well as to end isolation that many poor nations are experiencing. Technology itself is not a solution to educational problem, it’s only a tool. Would it be more revolutionary to build additional schools, hire more teachers, offer free education and give students the basic learning tools they need? Most likely.

You're forgetting that almost HALF of all children in Africa do not even have access to education at all. Something rather than nothing is of course revolutionary. They also stated in the overview that they never intended to be against the building of schools, and training of teachers. But if all the new schools, and all the new teachers still teach in the same way (behaviouristic, teacher-centered teaching), I fear the children will not be 'empowered'. The laptop at least provides a means to force change in teaching styles as well.

The $100 laptop would have social, political and economic implications. However, as Clotilde Fonsea writes, the impact that technology have on our lives depends on social, political and economic decisions, not on the potential of the technology. She writes that it depends more on issues and decisions that are more political and ethical than technological, because, as is historically evident, technological developments have not necessarily benefited all. Progress, as Paul Kennedy has observed, "benefits those groups or nations that are able to take advantage of the newer methods of science, just as it damages others that are less prepared, technologically, culturally and politically to respond to change." Unfortunately we don’t believe that most developing countries are culturally and politically able to respond to change very positively. We think that it could damage some nations. We also think that the $100 laptop could bring knowledge and awareness too quickly to certain nations.

That's awful thought: "knowledge and awareness too quickly to certain nations".

We believe that it would be extremely difficult to establish such project. Many places don’t have the infrastructures to have internet access. Many don’t have electricity. The government of each country will also need to form teachers and have access to tech “specialists” to resolve issues. We think that the project would be technically feasible in certain areas (with electricity and connection) but not in most cases.

...Foot power...

Is it not logical that the machine can be charged by the simple process of walking by inserting power generation capacity in shoes.

Prof. Paradiso at the MIT Media Lab has studied such "parasidic power" systems extensively [1]. Unfortunately, there is not enough power generated by such mechanisms to meet the requirements for the Laptop. Walter 09:24, 6 May 2006 (EDT)

Hand Crank

I've heard that the hand-crank has been taken out of the design, is this true? And what is the reasoning behind the change?

To me, the hand-crank seemed like a wonderful addition. Making the laptop able to operate independently of power infrastructure seemed to me to be an integral feature, considering the intended recipients of the laptop.

6/2/2006 - khassounah - hand crank's new location: The hand crank is still there, just moved to the ac adapter. This question just earned itself a spot in the FAQ page.

You might like to check out the proposal $100 Laptop per Pixel

Uses of the Green Laptops, beyond Youth Education....

...some uses will boost the economy, social & political welfare of the countries quite faster than expected, as they will be used for many purposes, or you think the youngsters will not lend the laptop to their own parents & grandparents?


The adoption of these Green PC´s at any country will permit:

1.- EDUCATION: A quantum jump in quality of education as it permits every child, youngster, and adult to have its own PC, with access to all free textbooks, encyclopedias, educational games, etc.

2,- REMOTE WORK: Will permit the development of policies of NOT EXPORTING WORKERS but IMPORTING JOBS, as India, China, and some other countries are doing by doing remote jobs over Internet, also rural population can stay at home to avoid urban saturation.:.

3..- MEDICAL & HEALTH SERVICES: In Australia where distances to neighbors is measured not in feet, but IN HOURS OF FLIGHT, medical doctors have developed systems to counsel with their clients through Internet; the application of such techniques might put the health services within reach of the rural and small communities population, without building expensive installations all over the Nation.

4.-JOBS FOR DISABLED & ELDERS: It might also bring counseling about Problems in: Homework & Study, Domestic & Familiar, Entrepreneur & Small Business Owner, Social, Tourist & Governmental activities, which might be given by disabled, elders, and parents of “special children”, using their Green PC´s or phones.

5.- INDUSTRIAL/TECHNICAL DEVELOPMENT: It might also help to promote a national computers and software industry, by contracting such it´s manufacture & assembly at the nation.

6.- NEW "MOBILE" SOCIAL NETWORKING PARADIGM: It might also help to birth a new idea of networking without a WAN/Internet connection. With so many devices even today being WiFi enabled, few applications use point to point communication in networking technologies like Instant Messaging and Gaming. Instead they often rely on a central server that is running on the "Internet" at large. The idea of creating an adhoc internet that is not connected to the global internet per se, has profound implications and is more likely to take hold in 3rd world countries where Internet access has not infiltrated the majority of areas. On top of that, this on-the-run internet creation would be FREE! no charges for connections or data transfers, just power needed and provided by the handcranking. With money being a major issue for access in poorer countries, the idea of creating their own internet seems exciting. -.--.-.-.-.-. Now I see why the Government Electrical Utility of Mexico - C.F.E. ( is working in devices to permit "Data / Power" (data transmission over power cables) to build a new Net. -- 16:38, 31 March 2006 (EST)

Thanks for your attention. I will be grateful for a true, clear, brief, and practical answer to this message, with your opinion and suggestions, along with a fair opportunity to participate in the development & benefits of the exposed concepts.

Truly yours, Ing. Dagoberto G. Flores-Lozano Consultant in Industrial & Systems Engineering, jobless. Ex Research Fellow & University Professor. Ex- Ford Foundation Scholar. Aguascalientes, AGS, MEXICO

One of the reasons we are designing the project as a laptop rather than a desktop is so it will be in vivo--part of all aspects of life, not just life in school. We have been talking with numerous parties about using the laptop within the context of, for example, rural health, entrepreneurship , etc. While our (OLPC's) focus is on children learning, we hope and anticipate that third parties will help some of the types of intiatives your describe emerge.


We should really add a Myths section

Like the one I just put up. Because there is a lot of hate from ignorant people who seem to agree with everything Bill Gates says.--FazzMunkle

Like what? c´mon write up your piece -- 00:18, 17 March 2006 (EST)

I listed some that answer some myths recently in the news. How did I do? Are they too biased? I wanted to be as genial as possible. Please make helpful changes if any of what I said is inaccurate or inappropriate. --FazzMunkle 00:27, 17 March 2006 (EST)

While it would be fun to track all the myths, it would be more productive for the children we are trying to serve to focus our energy on positive ideas for the project. --Walter

Keep it or toss it? Because if someone wants to toss it I won't feel bad about it--FazzMunkle 04:59, 17 March 2006 (EST)

I moved it to its own page OLPC_myths, but in some regards, this is more the stuff of the blogsphere than the wiki. It would be appropriae to include links to the sources, in any case. --Walter

Right. Good idea. I've got the link to the article where Bill Gates says the laptop doesn't have internal storage. Most of the myths are common ones I've heard in general conversation. And I figured you guys have heard them too. If anybody can provide links to good examples of these that would be cool. I like the more consise explanations you guys put in. Lots better than my own which bothered me, yet I didn't know how to say them in another way. --FazzMunkle 13:40, 19 March 2006 (EST)

MUST haves

As software you MUST have: (in the local language AND in English both):

-A spelling program with savable levels.

Disagree. I was an excellent speller in the days before computers and I did no special drill outside the regular spelling classes that everybody did. However, I did read, and read, and read. My parents would buy books by the box from charity shops. The OLPC is like my parents. It gives each child boxes and boxes of books. The only problem left to solve to make this true is digitization of books. Since the OLPC supports Evince and the DJVU format, this can be done by simple scanning of paper books, no OCR and fonts required.
As a side note, most of the world's languages are more or less phonetically spelled so spelling is a minor issue for them. The notable exception for the OLPC, China, already has its own well-proven techniques for teaching literacy and a western-developped spelling program would not contribute much.

-A program to learn to read, based in syllables. -- 17:25, 31 March 2006 (EST)

This is a reasonable idea but it needs to be flexible enough to handle non-English languages. In some target languages a single glyph represents a syllable, in others, it is multiple glyphs and in others it is a glyph along with codes for diacritics. This probably means that adults speaking the native language need to be able to input the words and define the syllable boundaries.

-An arithmics program with savable levels (like the old Davidson program "Mathblaster in search of the spot" for example.

This type of software is so simple to create that novice programmers build it in a day. But it is of limited effectiveness and doesn't really fit into a constructionist educational environment.

-A speaking beginners language program with multiple savable levels and clear graphics like the old Scholastic program "Mi primer Diccionario de Ingles".

No idea what this is but a dictionary is a good idea. So is some ebook content with Javascript so that mouseover on a word will pop up a tooltip with a translation or definition.

-A simple worded Encyclopedia like the old IBM's "Worldbook 1999" with more graphics added.

This has to be written by people speaking the native language. We could help by providing an English example which they could translate, correct and adapt.

_A music program that can also play mp3. Or better a ogg. player.

Definitely OGG Vorbis because space is precious. But recording OGG Vorbis is also important because different cultures have different musical tastes. And if you want to embed educational content in the music it must be done locally.

-A simple drawing program with colors and effects.

Effects are not needed. The chat application allows SVG drawings but a stripped down version of Inkscape would be a good idea so that kids can do mapping, design drawings, etc.

-I remember a nice program called LOGO´s (Turtle), in which you programed a drawing turtle. -- 17:25, 31 March 2006 (EST)

  • LOGO? Is that language still being used? When I was a young teenager, it was easier for me to learn BASIC. Also, I think a drawing program with lots of functions (for the older students: to draw charts, diagrams, presentations) is more important than including a full music program. 07:33, 6 April 2006 (EDT)

---given that Seymour Papert is involved as an advisor, I'd imagine LOGO would be available. one hurdle would be linguistic, many of the commands I'm familiar with make sense as English words. But I agree that LOGO or BASIC (I'm inclined to support logo over BASIC) would be a better use of space than an mp3 player. Music is nice, but if i have to hand crank it, id think twice about that.

-Some logical games like chess, mastermind, lights etc.

-Some educational competitive games to be played among 4-8 member teams, in the Boy Scout tradition, to promote human contact, teamwork, leadership, to earn points by answering questions with precision & speed. Truly yours: -- 17:25, 31 March 2006 (EST)

This is a formidable technical challenge since it would require the wi-fi mesh network and limit the distance the participants can move from each other. I.e. no paper chase type games.

-A simple yet powerful programming language along with a beginners' development environment and a simple tutorial on the basics (Python fits the bill perfectly), and instructions on how to learn to modify the software on the computer. The kids should be able to hack their own devices; most will never go beyond little scripts (maybe making a program to calculate finances for their mother's store), but some might develop surprising new things. --mchua

How is a illiterate non-English speaking child of 6 years old going to be able to operate this new device? It can only start through simple, clear, cultural-neutral graphics combined with the local language, plus a lot of repetion I think. I also has be fun; please do not overshoot in on the otherside with too many cartoon characters etc!

one laptop/alphaSmart

I own an I book, but I love using the AlphaSmart to enter data and type articles. At a later date I connect a usb cable and download onto my computer to edit my work or insert it into a data base. using the one laptop per child in conjunction with a shared community computer would increase the possibilities of its use. it would be important to have a universal usb type connector. Thanks and good luck on this project. F toppa

Any lessons from that PC from India to teach to read & write?

Maybe I am wrong, but I remember a small tablet type computer was developed & used at India, to TEACH TO READ & WRITE!!!...

Clearly, you don´t have to know how to read to operate it... Any LESSONS for our OLPC Lap Tops???? Any brief answer will be appreciated --Dagoflores 00:01, 1 May 2006 (EDT)

Are you talking about the Simputer? --mchua


In the day before I heard about this project two people who do alot of traveling by foot and bike and hitchiking mentioned intrest in aquiring a laptop.

One person who is walking cross country jokingly said that he was going to stop answering his email untill he found an off the grid computer, And the other person asked if I had found any that people had tossed up at school. (everyone is moving out)

But I think it would be amazing to make these machines availiable to the wider public, at least on a small scale. The image that is coming to mind is very much out of the hitchhikers guide to the galaxy.

I dont know if this was a good place to put this or not, but i think that it is really something to be taken into consideration.

Problems with $100 Laptop

The $100 Laptop has problems:

1. It is like creating a $100 motor-car for developing regions. A product from one context is transferred to a very different one without re-conceptualizing in any significant way. What would be interesting is a relevant learning eco-system, with a computing unit as a part of it in some way - perhaps as a laptop. Imagine how much more a child would learn if she or he were given an "intelligent baseball", that would give information about its trajectory (spoken or otherwise) everytime it was thrown. It is not a wholly trivial concept, since a communications satellite, for example, is quite like an "intelligent baseball".

I fail to see what the problem would be if we could create a $100 automobile. But never mind. Your baseball is too special-purpose, and wouldn't be able to talk that fast. Computers are the most general learning devices we have. It would not be difficult to take two time-stamped views of a baseball in flight (the networks have dozens of cameras at professional games) and create a 3D animation of its path. Or you could get the views locally with cameras connected to the computers. Ed Cherlin 20061001

2. The failure of Media Lab Asia should have convinced us that seeking social change via technological breakthroughs is best pursued without the patronage of big government. If the laptop is going to distributed by governments through some sort of "extra-market" mechanism, an economist might find it interesting to build a model of the dynamics via which actual distribution will occur, which, to put it euphemestically, will in the end generate an unofficial purchase price for the laptops, if the governments are indeed going to be subsidizing them.

I don't know what wrecked the Media Lab Asia, but it was certainly not the technology or any lack of opportunity to apply it. Ed Cherlin 20061001 19:14 GMT-07:00

IBM PC As Model

Any mass-distribution model needs big players to achieve economies of scale. For example, the machine was "bidded out" to Quanta, a big laptop maker. Other components of the project can be "bidded out" similarly. In this regard, OLPC can perhaps learn from what IBM did in propagating the PC. (Raffy 5-24-2006)

small pic

put better pictures in here!

dont know, but do you think that every1 has a 7" monitor? do i expect too much when i expect at least that i am able to enlarge the pictures to a proper size? go for it!

There are"full-size" pictures on the download page of the website. Walter 21:41, 6 June 2006 (EDT)

category list template

This is an experiment to see if a template can insert a category list into a page.



These are pages of some relevance to developers. Some are more relevant to systems developers such as the people building Sugar. Others are more relevant to application developers who are working with the OLPC Python Environment.

See also Category:Software development.



Sociocultural insertion

I have some experience with using technology as a support to learning in a developing country (I have worked in Mexico on this subject). The easy part of the problem was always the technology. It was also not so difficult to get the money to buy the hardware. What was damn difficult was the meaningful insertion of technology inside the children's environment.

To put it in another way, people, even outside the USA, do not live on trees. They have complex lifes (yes, even in small villages!), obligations, calendars and relations. In most cases there already is a public teaching system in place, and it alread has its own materials, its professors, its buildings... the big question, that so far I have not seen answered, is how does the OLPC fit in? Has anyone actually bothered checking whether a teacher working in (example) rural Albania actually wants one of these things? Or n of these things in his classroom? Believe me, if the teacher does not want them, they will never be used in schools.

I have the terrible impression that the OLPC is being designed by people that are designing for themselves: for (with all due respect) industrial design jocks, computer geeks, pedagogists... but not for children. It scares me to see such a large project rush in production without ONE SINGLE FIELD TRIAL. And you want to make millions!

(not that I don't like the machine. I will be first in line to get one to play with. But I am one of those computer geeks that I mentioned before, not a child in Brasil or a professor in Albania).

(baffo wrote this)

Baffo, while I appreciate your comments, I think you are misinformed about what we are trying to do, how we are trying to do it, and with whom we are collaborating. I recommend you begin by reading David Cavallo's article on "Models for growth—towards fundamental change in learning environments".

(baffo insists, he obviously has some axe to grind) OK, I am reading it, and I am not so impressed by this statement: we cannot simply tell a school system that it is wrong, and then expect everything to fall into place. Like, duh. Anyway, this seems to me a savagely US-centric piece of writing. Take, for example

Many people are beginning to reject the dominance of standardised tests and the resulting pressure on children and disfiguring education [21, 22]. Moreover, many are beginning to recognise that perhaps the greatest casualty of standardised, institutionalised schooling is children’s creativity and joy in learning. Observing the harm to their children’s spirit, many parents are increasingly turning to alternatives, including home-schooling in a variety of manifestations. 

This should be prefixed with a large In the USA, - in most parts of the world, "people" really like standardised tests, and have no interest for home schooling. And the harm to the children's spirit... my eyes fill with tears. Is this supposed to be an academic article? Anyway, I continue reading. The real-world examples are more interesting than the preceding vaguely theoretical part, IMHO. As witnessed in other programmes, where the school director was most involved, the projects progressed better. Amen! The Bradesco story is really an exemplar, very interesting.

But really, why Kuhn? Or, why just Kuhn? Why not also Feyerabend, Popper, Lakatos or Giordano Bruno or Aristotle? (I am just dropping names here, but if you pull Kuhn out of your hat, there should be a reason). And why the fuzzy philosophy at the beginning about change, Toyota, GM, whatever?

Anyway, what suprises me is that the most interesting part of this article is perhaps the collection of practices in it: the workshops, the activity with the professors and with the students. These practices, seems to me, cannot be formalized or fixated because they will depend on the specific local social and cultural conditions, on how people relate to institutions, on the role of schools etc. These design practices, whose output is activities and frameworks for activities, are what (at least so far) I have not seen as a very visible part of this project. Your whole communication is about the incredibly cute hardware platform and the incredibly smart software platform, not about the incredibly deep plan for testing and deploying the devices.

But maybe I have been reading the wrong propaganda, could this be?

Small display compared to whole width

Why the display so much smaller than the case of the laptop? From the specifications published at , the case is 193 × 229 mm, while the display is only 152.4 × 114.3 mm. This leaves 39% of the total area, much of which can be occupied by the creen if the speakers, microphone and camera are made smaller and moved, and if the whole case depth is incorporated into the lid. -

Alas, you have the cart before the horse. The size of the display is driven by the need to optimize the LCD manufacturing process. We've then tried our best to minimize any additional footprint, but we do need room for speakers, a microphone, the camera, the game controllers, and protective bumpers. If you have ideas about how we might better package all of this, we'd love to see some sketches. --Walter 17:46, 30 April 2007 (EDT)

Is OLPC dead b4 it arrives?

1)The foundation has done a great job in funding the technology development and to fund distribution. What must be realized is that any advances, as with Linux, will appear on computers from corporate offices to schools of the developed world.

2) when one looks at the costs, one must realize that the cable and satellite companies and the cell phone providers give away the technology because the greatest cost (income) is in the band width and access. Searching the Internet one now finds $100 computers, not OLPC-but that will come. So countries that want to distribute the olpc need to consider the infrastructure support and not the technology (hardware and software)

3) The developed world is going small, from desktops to laps to cell phones. Think i-pod, mp3 and downloads. Think text msg and small screens (little kids are exceptions). Think thin clients with virtual worlds such as croquet, 2nd life and metaverse, think Neal Stephenson´s Diamond Age. think smart mobs, txt msging, movies on i-pods and courses delivered virtually.

4) In developing countries, children are critical income earners so families can eat. Think portable, like MP3 so work and learn can be combined. Think adult literacy.

In all the world, we say children are our future, an investment. Yet investment¨is something that can be liquefied (think Hernando deSoto and wall street). Children are seen as a cost even though we say investment. Again, another infrastructure cost is that which will allow kids to be released as income earners so that they can learn

between the money for social release and the cost of the band width (note the word cost), the technology costs are a microdot. But hardware and bricks are easier to fund than people who can walk away with no return to the investor, public or private.

March 15, 2007, tom abeles (tabeles at

On the contrary, we think we can achieve economies when it comes to providing connectivity--especially in light of the mesh network--that keep our mission within reach. --Walter 17:49, 30 April 2007 (EDT)

Turn SubliminalMessages off

Where is says:

"Children—especially young children—do not need to learn about IT and certainly do not need to be fluent users of WORD, EXCEL and POWERPOINT—They are not office workers. However, picking up these skills, having grown up with a laptop, will be readily accomplished."

It should say:

"Children—especially young children—do not need to learn about IT and certainly do not need to be fluent users of the OpenOffice suite, EVOLUTION, or MS-Word —They are not office workers. However, picking up these skills, having grown up with a laptop, will be readily accomplished."

It is obvious: As you state, in the Software section, the project has developed around the use of Linux (for many practical reasons) and not Windows. We ar not talking about Microsoft here. And no one knows how much will the ms office suite (let alone other privative educational soft) for the laptop will cost, once the windows version works fine and with dual boot.

So, please change that misleading sentence.

The text is not a subliminal message about Microsoft or Windows™; it is a message about the relevance of business applications to the needs of children's learning. Like it or not, "WORD, EXCEL and POWERPOINT" are the exemplars of business applications that are taught to children. Why use a peripheral example, such as EVOLUTION, that will be nothing but an obscure or opaque reference to most people? --Walter 18:17, 13 January 2008 (EST)

Update required?

I just finished translating the article into Russian and tt seems some parts of it requir updates. I.e. it says: "Help us review the new OLPC website. We have versions in English US, and Spanish." Aren't there many more localized versions available at the moment? --Biarm - 9, February 2008

Obsolete link to mailing lists

The current link on this page to "mailing lists" -- seems to be obsolete. It says "no public list". From the Mailman page of lists is: or Fholson 07:24, 5 June 2008 (EDT)

wiki admin, Please fix "Getting involved" section

One_Laptop_per_Child#Getting_involved has bad links

  • should link to Participate, not the older Getting involved in OLPC, and
  • remove link to non-existant OLPC Idea Pool (ideas are cheap, project needs implementation)
  • should link to , not obsolete Jobs at OLPC.

The simplest and easiest-to-maintain fix is shrink this whole section to

Click the "Ways to participate" link in the "about olpc" navigation to go to the Participate page.

-- Skierpage 23:06, 20 August 2008 (UTC)


A better magazine theme would make the blog nicer.:)

Shouldn't we mention Open Community Project, Open Hardware Project next to Open Software Project?

Suggestion: OLPC and the OLPC Educational Initiative eventually evolved into managing an Open Community Project, Open Hardware Project and Open Software Project with as objective to further foster the R&D of the XO in line with Agenda21 and Millennium Development Goal nr.2: Bringing Universal Primary Education.--SvenAERTS 10:54, 14 June 2012 (UTC)

Shouldn't we mention the 2 intro video's part 1 and part 2 ?

Suggestion: "There is also a comprehensive description of the project in Wikipedia." -> "There is also a comprehensive description of the project in Wikipedia and 2 short minute video's on the principles of the OLPC educational initiative, Part 1 and Part 2."--SvenAERTS 11:58, 14 June 2012 (UTC)

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