Alice Rawsthorn follows up on her earlier pieces on OLPC with an short, sweet article in yesterday’s New York Times. “A Few Stumbles on the Road to Connectivity” offers a summary of OLPC’s work and development over the past three years. She touches on many of the changing expectations about the project, by supporters and detractors, over the years, noting that initial detractors worried we would distort the commercial market, or impede other humanitarian projects. But both commercial and other humanitarian projects in education and technology have grown, even in countries where OLPC has reached every school and is a significant part of the annual education or technology budget.
The larger story, often lost in the drama of competing yet similar programs, is the global change wrought by universal connectivity projects. UCPN, Ceibal, Canaima, Connectar Igualdad, Magelhan, Aakash — all are variations on the essential theme. That will soon have transformed education in most of the world. The question is, which regions will still be left out?