Thank you to the Verge for providing OLPC the opportunity to clarify some misperceptions about the OLPC Educational Program.
When Nicholas Negroponte, founder of the MIT Medial Lab, unveiled the XO Laptop in 2005, it was indeed the first laptop focused on education for children. The idea was revolutionary: OLPC was created to provide the most vulnerable children with a quality, 21st Century education. Today, 13 years after Mr. Negroponte announced his transformative idea, the need to educate vulnerable children around the world continues to grow and intensify, and therefore the need for the OLPC education program is increasing.
The XO Laptop created by OLPC remains one of the most innovative and rugged laptops to date, with extremely low power consumption and software designed to facilitate collaboration and learning. With more than 10 years in the hands of children, the original XO 1 Laptops still work. Many are powered by solar panels. “The batteries still work, the Wi-Fi still works, and amazingly, OLPC still cranks out the software images for it,” stated Sameer Verma, OLPC Community Leader and Member of Sugar Labs’ Oversight Board. OLPC products still work and the OLPC mission continues to exist. This is a testament to the validity of Mr. Negroponte’s vision and creation.
OLPC knows constructionism facilitates the greatest development of all children. Constructionism is the educational theory which states children learn best when involved in creation and experimentation. The XO Laptop is a unique machine designed to facilitate this kind of creative, engaged, collaborative learning for children.
OLPC is an education program, not a hardware startup. OLPC’s goal has always been to give children the tools and information they need to learn and to continue asking questions, in an effort to break the cycle of poverty, empower students and improve local communities. A quality education and access to information are basic human rights. OLPC has always been- and continues to be- dedicated to providing the most vulnerable children with these basic human rights.
The OLPC education program now includes a robust system of teacher training, technical support and training, as well as monitoring and evaluation services. In each community, OLPC works to engage a community of volunteers to provide ongoing support to the education program. The OLPC program in Nicaragua, implemented by the Fundacion Zamora Teran, developed this comprehensive system of support and is an example of educational excellence. OLPC works to support the entire educational community in an effort to create a sustainable transformation in education.
The Verge article incorrectly states there is little hard data about the long term impact on education. We invite you to read the evaluations on the OLPC program in Uruguay, where every primary student has access to a connected laptop computer. The program expanded to include preschool and high school students. We invite you to visit Nicaragua where more than 65,000 students are receiving a quality, innovative education thanks to the OLPC educational program implemented by the Fundación Zamora Teran. Come to Nepal to see students using the OLPC laptops in innovative and creative ways, thanks to the incredible work of OLE NEPAL. Learn more about the programs in Madagascar, Rwanda, Colombia, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Paraguay, Panama, and Cameroon, among others, where children are receiving a quality, innovative education, thanks to OLPC and its local partners. We invite you to take a moment to read the evaluations and resources listed below. You can also send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org and we will be happy to share additional evaluations of the OLPC educational program around the world. The OLPC educational program has the proven ability to transform education and give all students an opportunity to succeed.
OLPC is alive and well. OLPC continues to grow and change the lives of children, teachers and communities around the world. OLPC works closely with teachers and school leaders to improve teaching strategies and methodologies. OLPC trains local teams to provide technical support and to accurately measure the results of the program. Students improve academically and perhaps more importantly, students are motivated to keep learning and creating.
Thanks to the support of organizations and individuals around the world, OLPC continues to work to fulfill its mission to provide educational opportunities for the world’s most vulnerable children by providing each child with a rugged, connected laptop computer, loaded with content and software designed for joyful, self-empowered learning. OLPC will not rest until every child receives the education he or she deserves.
Thank you for your continued support for the OLPC education program.