“Innovation Where There Wasn’t” Nicholas Negroponte

IaaC Lecture Series 2012-13

Nicholas Negroponte is an American architect best known as the founder and Chairman Emeritus of Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Media Lab, and also known as the founder of the One Laptop per Child Association (OLPC).

In 1967, Negroponte founded MIT’s Architecture Machine Group, a combination lab and think tank which studied new approaches to human-computer interaction. In 1985, he created the MIT Media Lab with Jerome B. Wiesner, a pre-eminent computer science laboratory for new media and a high-tech playground for investigating the human-computer interface. In 1992, Negroponte became involved in the creation of Wired Magazine as the first investor contributing, from 1993 to 1998, with a monthly column: “Move bits, not atoms.” Negroponte expanded many of the ideas from his Wired columns into a bestselling book Being Digital (1995), which made famous his forecasts on how the interactive world, the entertainment world and the information world would eventually merge.


Uruguay’s OLPC program: Impact and numbers – The Next Web

…As a matter of fact, one of Plan Ceibal’s goals was to provide each school with a wireless Internet connection which the XO devices could use, in addition to installing outdoor connectivity points in public places.

While early studies pointed out difficulties in that respect, a recent consultancy report co-authored by Canadian educational change expert Michael Fullan notes that virtually all schools now have Internet access, with initial connections being progressively replaced by optical fiber.

This new report also touches an interesting point by calculating the financial burden of Plan Ceibal, which is not as high as you may think…

Read the article here.

Rwanda ranks among top IT countries on the continent


Pupils of Kimisagara Primary School in Kigali using laptops during a lesson. Rwanda is among top 10 African countries in ICT usage. The New Times/ T. Kisambira.

Original post and photo from NewTimes

Rwanda has been ranked among the top 10 countries in Africa that are in better position to benefit from new information and communication technologies.

The 2013 Networked Readiness Index, released on Wednesday by the World Economic Forum (Wef) and European Institute of Business Administration (INSEAD), considers several aspects, including a country’s market and regulatory framework in advancing ICT for inclusive development.

INSEAD is one of the world’s largest graduate business schools, with campuses in Europe, Asia and the Middle East, as well as a research centre in Israel.

The survey that assesses the capacity of 144 developed and developing economies to leverage ICT for growth and well-being, ranks Rwanda top in East Africa, 6th in Africa and 88th globally with a score of 3.68.

Mauritius ranks first in Africa and 55th globally with a score of 4.12, followed by South Africa on 70th (3.87), Seychelles (79th with a score of 3.80), Egypt on 80th position scoring 3.78, Cape Verde (81st with a score of 3.78) and Rwanda.

The report, titled “Growth and Jobs in a Hyper-connected World”, recommends that national policies in some developing economies are failing to translate ICT investment into tangible benefits in terms of competitiveness, development and employment.

The Global Information Technology Report 2013 says Finland comes first in the world with a score of 5.98, followed by Singapore with 5.96 and Sweden with 5.91 in the third position.

The findings dwell on each country’s ICT infrastructure, cost of access and the presence of the necessary skills to ensure an optimal use, use of ICT among governments, business and individuals, business and innovation environment, the political and regulatory framework and economic and social impacts accruing from ICT.

“Despite initial concerns that ICT would hasten the deployment of resources towards developing countries, the benefits are now widely recognised as an important way for companies and economies to optimise productivity, free up resources, boost innovation and job creation,” said Beñat Bilbao-Osorio, senior economist, global competitiveness and benchmarking network, WEF, and co-editor of the report.

ICT usage

The survey states that despite progress, Latin America and the Caribbean still face connectivity challenges, while sub-Saharan Africa ICT usage remains very low, even though nations continue to build ICT infrastructure. In the Middle East and North Africa, ICT investment and use is sharply divided.

The report recognises Rwanda’s efforts to transform its agrarian economy into a knowledge-based one by 2020, using ICT.

“Rwanda’s ICT investments in education, partnerships with foreign universities and the laying of fibre-optic cables have created a conducive environment. Services such as E-Soko, a mobile service that allows farmers to check market prices for their products, have already improved the daily life of many Rwandans,” the report says.

It adds: “With the help of these new technologies, Rwanda intends to capitalise on its central location in Africa and act as a hub for banking, financial and outsourcing services.”

Speaking to The New Times, yesterday, Alex Ntale, the director of ICT chamber at Private Sector Federation, said: “it’s a testimony of what good governance and strong private sector can achieve with commitment and support of responsive public institutions.”

Rwanda has been on several occasions ranked among the most dynamic performers when it comes to ICT development globally.

Last year, the International Telecommunication Union report named Rwanda, Bahrain, Brazil, Ghana, Kenya, and Saudi Arabia as developing nations with strong dynamic ICT markets because of  catching up fast in efforts to bridge the ‘digital divide’.

To advance ICT growth, Rwanda plans to establish an ICT park that will be a base of technological investments, including training, industries, research and development. The country has also laid a robust 2,500-kilometre national fibre optic cable that seeks to enhance access to various broadband services and the National Data Centre.

“Individual countries need to identify the digital divide gap in order to fulfill long-term growth, competitiveness and innovation targets,” said Bruno Lanvin, the executive director INSEAD and co-editor of the report.

To maximise the country’s ICT infrastructure, Rwandan information technology students and fresh graduates are actively engaged in software applications, thanks to kLab innovation centre—an open technology hub for IT entrepreneurs.


Contact email: frank.kanyesigye[at]newtimes.co.rw


Learning how to learn – Rodrigo Arboleda at TEDxCMU

Rodrigo Arboleda is Chairman and CEO of One Laptop Per Child Association (OLPCA), a not-for-profit entity seeking to provide equal opportunity of access to knowledge to small children in Developing Nations and in some communities within the USA. OLPCA’s mission focuses on socio-economic and cultural change via education, with primary interest in children of 3 years and up. Arboleda is in charge of worldwide operational issues related to the project. More than 2,700,000 laptops have been distributed so far to children in 41 countries and in 21 languages including many indigenous languages. Arboleda has been also a Visiting Scholar at the Media Lab of MIT, where he worked on the Digital Nations Consortium project and on the Education for Peace initiative, E4P. He has served also as a Board Member of the 2B1 Foundation, which made possible some of the projects developed at the Media Lab. He was born in Medellin, Colombia and completed his Bachelor Degree in Architecture at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), in 1965.

In the spirit of ideas worth spreading, TEDx is a program of local, self-organized events that bring people together to share a TED-like experience. At a TEDx event, TEDTalks video and live speakers combine to spark deep discussion and connection in a small group. These local, self-organized events are branded TEDx, where x = independently organized TED event. The TED Conference provides general guidance for the TEDx program, but individual TEDx events are self-organized.* (*Subject to certain rules and regulations)

3,000 more kids with XO laptops in Nicaragua

Ciudad Sandino, Managua, Nicaragua – Thursday, April 4, 2013. The Zamora Teran Foundation delivered about 3,000 laptops to elementary students as part of the One Laptop per Child Program.

Zamora Terán Foundation delivered 3000 computers to the same number of children of 10 public schools in Ciudad Sandino as part of its “One Laptop per Child”.

According to the president of this organization, Josefina Maria Teran, with this delivery  30,000 children across the country already have their own XO computer to facilitate their learning process.

In total 101 schools across the country have benefited from this project. The program includes training for teachers on issues of educational innovation to improve the learning process. Besides, 108 teachers from schools in Ciudad Sandino also received their XO computer, a tool that promotes a change in the teaching-learning process.

Thus Ciudad Sandino became, according to Zamora Terán Foundation, the first community in the department of Managua digital. In the rest of the year they expect to deliver 10,000 more computers throughout the municipality.

OLPC about Aakash

In view of certain recent statements, One Laptop Per Child Association, Inc (“OLPC”) would like to clarify that Mr. Satish Jha has not been affiliated with OLPC since August 31, 2012. Mr. Jha does not represent OLPC or any of its affiliated entities and the views expressed by Mr. Jha do not represent the views of OLPC or any of its affiliates.

OLPC has always encouraged projects expanding the learning opportunities of children in the developing world including the Aakash initiative in India. OLPC is dedicated to providing the world’s children with access to an innovative education. OLPC supports all efforts dedicated to this end and it encourages the makers of the Aakash initiative to continue to explore such educational initiatives. Moreover, OLPC applauds the efforts of the Government of India as it continues to examine new and innovative ways to educate the children of India.

OLPC was created to design, manufacture and distribute educational laptop computers to children around the world. Inquiries related to any existing or future OLPC projects should be directed to OLPC, which is based in Miami, Florida.

Rodrigo Zamora interview at Clix CNN Spanish

Rodrigo Zamora from the Zamora Teran Foundation was interviewed by Guillermo Arduino from Clix CNN in Spanish about the One Laptop per Child program in Nicaragua.

Here the video:

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Nicholas Negroponte: Re-thinking learning and re-learning thinking

Published on Mar 19, 2013

Re-thinking learning and re-learning thinking

Nicholas Negroponte, Technology Visionary and Founder, One Laptop per Child

What if we have learning all wrong?

In this thoughtful, provocative keynote, Professor Negroponte explores the implications of the work of One Laptop per Child (OLPC), the non-profit association he founded in 2005. Distributing 2.5 million rugged laptops around the world and seeing how impoverished children use them has provoked Professor Negroponte into re-considering much that we take for granted about how children — and all of us –learn.

The industrialisation of schooling, he argues, has replaced our natural wonder of learning with an obsessive focus on facts. We treat knowing as a surrogate for learning, even though our experience tells us that it is quite possible to know about something while utterly failing to understand it.

And compounding this is instructionism’s fatally flawed belief that anything can be taught and that there is a perfect way to teach everything. If we have learned one thing from OLPC, it is that the human mind is too rich, complex and wonderful for that.

This lesson does not apply only to children, and it does not apply only to developing countries. Children can — and do — learn a great deal by themselves before they have their natural curiosity extinguished, too often by school. And those children grow into adults. So how would our education systems and our adult lives be better, if we focused a little less on measuring what we tell people and a little more on understanding how they discover?



Sugar News: Summer of Code 2013 / Twitter from the Journal / XO Physics Book

1. We need to finalize our application to Google Summer of Code by the end of next week. I’ve put a rough draft of our application in the wiki (See Summer_of_Code/2013/Application). Most important is to finalize our list of project ideas and mentors. Please add your ideas to the wiki to Summer_of_Code/2013.

2. Martin Abente (with a little help from his friends) has gotten the beginnings of a Twitter Web Service working from the Sugar Journal. Simply invoke the Copy-To Twitter menu item, and your Journal entry is sent as a tweet. There is some work to be done in registering the service per user and some housekeeping regarding pulling replies into the comments field of the Journal, but it is already in pretty decent shape, thanks to the Web Services framework that Raúl and I developed last month. (I am hoping that the framework is reviewed and accepted into Sugar so that it will be easier for people to test and enhance it.)

3.  Guzmán Trinidad has written a book about Physics on the XO (See Física con XO). It features many of the projects that Guzmán and Tony Forster have been developing, using a combination of Measure and Turtle Blocks.

by Walter Bender


By Christine Horowitz

One Laptop per Child Facilitator, Walter G. Byers Academy

The methods of teaching reading and writing have changed very little over the past decade.Proven pedagogy such as guided reading circles, modeled writing sessions and read alouds continue to dominate classroom literacy time, and for good reason. They are highly effective tools that increase student achievement. Why, then, do we want to ‘mess things up’ with the integration of technology when it hasn’t been a necessary component to literacy success in the past?

The answer is twofold. First, recent studies have shown that literacy goal achievement is further increased when using available technologies (Rose) and, second, the XO laptops ensure each and every student has the technology available – 100% of the time.

The blended literacy model adopted and being implemented by Project L.I.F.T. schools and the One Laptop per Child program bring a natural, effective partnership in the classroom that can boost literacy goals for students in grades one through four. The XO laptops ensure that the technology component is continuously available to every child so that the methods outlined below are possible. As an added bonus, the partnership will also increase digital and media literacy skills that are so necessary for our students to be college and career ready.


The XO is an excellent tool that can engage students in independent reading practice while the teacher is working with a small group or reader.

-Have students use the XO to access online, leveled reading support programs

-Students can use the Speak Activity to sound out difficult words for themselves


Using the XO as a ‘spoken book’ can offer read aloud opportunities beyond a teacher’s capacity that are more individualized to student level and interest. Free online read aloud sites provide teachers and students with engaging readings dictated by skilled orators.



www.barnesandnoble.com (choose KIDS and ONLINE STORYTIME)



The Get Books Activity allows the student to access thousands of free books in rich text, PDF or HTML formats. Further, teachers can access and/or load leveled books on the XO machine.

Students can perform shared readings while text displays on each XO laptop. Students can toggle between the story and the Speak Activity in order to have difficult words sounded out for them or they can access Wikipedia Activity to investigate topics that they read about. ESL students can use the Words Activity to translate newly learned words from/to English and multiple languages.


Teachers can use the built in ‘ad-hoc’ network to connect with students and guide writing instruction. They can also share writing assignments in real-time and several students can collaborate on a single document, including creating graphic organizers together.

Beyond Activities-based guidance, students can use the XO to share writings via the Internet. Studies support the idea that providing a wider audience for writers (i.e. blogs, wikis) encourages students to be more conscientious writers. Also, blogging, creating web pages and other forms of digital media give students real-world experiences in which to write upon and the potential for large amounts of feedback from a varied audience (The Journal).


The XO is a useful tool for early elementary students as it supports phonics instruction. Students can type in letters, letter blends and words and hear them repeated back, even changing the speed of playback, if necessary. Spelling and vocabulary can be reinforced through a variety of Activities, including a concentration-like game and those that reinforce individual letter sounds and blends.

Captura de pantalla 2013-03-13 a las 22.01.49


Using the powerful little XO machine for literacy in the classroom is a natural fit that can take every student to a new level of learning literacy.  Add in the important 21st century skills of collaboration and digital media literacy and a teacher can have a hugely successful literacy program that fully engages every student with the learning process.


Rose, David. “The Role of Technology in the Guided Reading Classroom.” Scholastic Teachers. Scholastic, Inc., Oct. 2004. Web. 30 Jan. 2013.

“The Journal.” Content Delivery in the ‘Blogosphere’ –. N.p., n.d. Web. 27 Feb. 2013.

Rodrigo Arboleda at TEDxCMU

Some of the brightest minds at Carnegie Mellon University and beyond gathered together on campus recently, ready to take their turn on stage. More than 450 attendees appreciatively took it all in, at the fourth annualTEDxCMU event.

This year’s theme was ‘Spark.’

“Our goal is to inspire each and every one of our 450-plus attendees — to create a spark of ideas that will spread, and ignite people’s minds with brilliance,” said Ketaki Desai, master of public management student at CMU’s Heinz College, and president of this year’s event. The team built their list of speakers based on several factors, including subject matter and passion. They assembled both men and women from diverse fields that would best represent the CMU population.

Rodrigo Arboleda: chairman and CEO of One Laptop Per Child Association, a not-for-profit that has distributed more than 2.7 million laptops to children in 41 countries, was one of the featured speakers. At the end of his presentation he received a standing ovation.

photo (4)


OLPC Brings 1-to-1 Laptop Program to 7 North Carolina Schools

A collaborative effort between One Laptop per Child (OLPC) and Project LIFT has delivered 2,000 laptops to seven schools in North Carolina’s Charlotte-Mecklenburg School District, with support from the Knight Foundation, who brought together and funded the project.

The local Charlotte group, Project Leadership and Investment for Transformation (LIFT), is a community initiative working to improve outcomes and eliminate education disparities for minority and low-income students in the West Charlotte corridor.

Rebecca Thompson, OLPC facilitator at Bruns Academy, said that the laptops will directly assist LIFT schools in reaching their goals for students to be 90 percent on grade level and 90 percent achieving more than one year’s academic growth in one year’s time. These goals are to ensure that when students arrive at the feeder high school, West Charlotte, 90 percent of them graduate.

Students have utilized the XO 1.75 laptops via Sugar-based activities facilitated by OLPC on-site coordinators, according to Thompson, with activities ranging from basic document software to beginner computer programming.

“This initiative provides families with access to technology, information, and increased academic engagement,” Thompson said. “We have already seen such a positive impact with so few machines. We look forward to seeing our work transform the community and see the full impact of the project.”

To help integrate the laptops into each teacher’s daily lessons, teachers were offered multiple zone-wide and site-specific trainings. Each participating school also houses a facilitator to help guide teachers for maximum curriculum integration.

The LIFT zone schools included in the OLPC program are:

Charlotte marks the second project in recent years for OLPC in the United States. The first project, also funded by the Knight Foundation, was in Miami for 500 children in a single school.

Based on the successful results from the first year of that project, Knight approached OLPC to undertake the larger, multi-school program in Charlotte, according to a release.

The vision of OLPC about “Home Computers and Child Outcomes: Short-Term Impacts from a Randomized Experiment in Peru”

By Rodrigo Arboleda

On Wednesday February 27th, Reuters published the article Poor kids with laptops read less, do more chores in Peru -study“, based on the working document of the Inter-American Development Bank entitled Home Computers and Child Outcomes: Short-Term Impacts from a Randomized Experiment in Peru “. I would like to make some observations on the vision of One Laptop Per Child, of which I am CEO and President:


As an organization we know first hand this report, published by the IDB, which expressly states that it tries not to evaluate the One Laptop Per Child initiative or educational one to one projects. It is further known that the same organization designed an experiment using the OLPC XO laptop for children who do not belong to the OLPC program in Peru in order to understand and measure the impact of the computer in the home. Therefore, the experiment is different from a comprehensive intervention based on a one to one learning project, such as promoted by multiple organizations including OLPC. A comprehensive study involves the education system, teachers, family and community.

Like this experiment, numerous studies and research in the last decade by recognized academics (1) have shown that the provision of technology alone has no effect unless there is an appropriate intervention process. It is for this reason that the results of the experiment showed little effect and did not generate changes in reading habits, cognitive skills or academic achievement.

The OLPC program

Using the preliminary results of this experiment as a basis for governments to promote one to one learning programs is wrong because the objectives of the programs are many and varied. The plans for program implementation must consider the local objectives and context. The computer at home is just one element in those plans. What has been confirmed by experts is that technology alone will not make any difference.

Results in countries where the program is implemented

To illustrate this, consider two major projects within the ecosystem of OLPC. The first, One Laptop Per Child in Caacupé, was implemented by Paraguay Educa Foundation, which aims to make every child in Paraguay develop technological and life skills. The second project, in Colombia, which began with advice and funds from the IDB, has been implemented by the Barefoot Foundation. Unlike the project objectives of Paraguay, the Barefoot Foundation seeks to improve skills in the areas of Spanish and Mathematics in grades two and three of primary schools.

Both programs have developed implementation plans to meet those objectives and have articulated infrastructure, connectivity, awareness, community service, teacher training, logistics, maintenance and repair, and other elements to achieve their goals. Significant achievements have been reported.

First report of the IDB on One Laptop Per Child program Peru

In a report also published by the Inter-American Development Bank in March 2012, entitled “Technology and Child Development: Evidence from the One Laptop per Child Program” the report presents findings related to cognitive abilities, the results of the Raven test, which showed a positive impact. In this study, after 15 months of implementation of the program, with a sample of 319 rural schools (which is significant), children in the OLPC project in this country have an advantage on average of 5 months in the development of their cognitive abilities with respect to children who have not been helped by the program.

This study perhaps shows that when fully implemented, the OLPC program proves to be effective, develops skills and responds to the main premises of One Laptop Per Child. This study shows the difference of an isolated experiment of computers at home without a comprehensive intervention strategy that did not generate impact.

Latest report submitted by the IDB, Home Computers and Child Outcomes: Short-Term Impacts from a Randomized Experiment in Peru

It was an experiment conducted by the IDB, which gave away laptops for home use, to determine whether it would increase reading habits. In this case the experiment did not try to determine whether the One Laptop Per Child program outcomes were achieved but rather whether through the use of technological tools an increase in reading habits could be shown.

We would like to emphasize the one to one learning project led the Zamora Teran Foundation in Nicaragua. The Foundation, in partnership with USAID has developed an important strategy that includes literacy training and support to teachers, design and delivery of manuals, and a collection and delivery of digital resources for teachers, students and parents. This initiative has begun to yield significant results. The results and findings of this project let us reiterate that intervention strategies to achieve a real impact on education of children through the use of technology require a comprehensive intervention plan that involves all actors in the educational community that goes beyond the provision of computers.

For this reason OLPC continues to expand, to use the 7 years’ of acquired experience working on the integration of technology in education and social projects and to implement our philosophy: rethinking education.

[1] Harrison, C., T. Fisher, et al. (2002). ImpaCT2: the Impact of Information and Communication Technologies on Pupils’ Learning and Attainment.. Coventry, DfES

– Ting Seng Eng (2005). The impact of ICT on learning: A review of research. International Education Journal, 6(5), 635-650.

– Underwood, Jean D. M., British Educational Communications and Technology Agency, corp creator. (2009) The impact of digital technology : a review of the evidence of the impact of digital technologies on formal education.