Tuesday, December 13, 2005

The $100 Laptop has arrived

MIT has developed an inexpensive laptop that will revolutionize learning in the third world. In future blog entries, let's talk about how this may help EO students develop learning relationships with the rest of the world.

From the article;

Digital magic for millions: Will cheap laptops create active learners or “green box” slaves? by Tran Le Thuy, posted December 9, 2005

TUNIS, Tunisia – Justin Mupinda hurried up to the crowded stall at the Tunis World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS). “I want to see this device with my own eyes,” he said. He was among the thousands at WSIS who were curious about what was fast emerging as the biggest technology story of the event — a laptop that costs only $100.

The laptop — hailed by its developers as a technological breakthrough — was proudly displayed at the UN Development Program stand, with the slogan “One laptop per child.”

“I like it,” said Mupinda, a Zimbabwean IT expert and country coordinator for WorldLink, an organization campaigning to bring a million personal computers to schools in Africa. “It’s a good start toward getting more youths using ICTs” (individual computer terminals).

Mupinda’s enthusiasm is shared by many people eager to bridge the digital divide between poor and rich countries. “Our university has 25,000 students and it would be wonderful if all of them could have laptops to access the Internet,” said Alain Capo Chichi, manager of Cerco, an education project in Benin.

In Tunis, journalists covering the launch of the $100 laptop, developed by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), frequently used the word “magic” in their questions about the device. And indeed, to many it seemed nothing short of magical. Not only is the green-cased notebook-size laptop incredibly cheap, it also has wireless connectivity and a hand crank allowing it to operate without electricity.

In the article one question that comes up is where will the content come from? The question sounds like a great opportunity for Region 19 students to begin thinking about how they might develop simple programs to teach foreign students subject matter of interest.

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