GoGoNews, a site providing news summaries for kids, is developing an XO activity to showcase their news. Like the older NewsReader activity, it will offer regular updates from its online feed. OLPC plans to ship the activity with future XOs, in English and Spanish.
The activity is scheduled to be done by February. GoGoNews founder Golnar Khosroshawi says of the project “Together we will equip children with relevant technology and content, regardless of location, to promote learning and understanding, not just of academics, but of people, countries and cultures.”
Two weeks back, the Financial Times posted an essay by Gillian Tett about OLPC, titled “Billions of children could be transformed by cheap computers” (and later, “Why logging on should be child’s play”). The article eventually concludes that children’s lives could be transformed, and that being able to ‘log on’ to the Internet should probably be child’s play for all children — but was much more ambivalent than the titles suggest.
They ran a long reader response to the article the following week, which is worth sharing:
As a fellow anthropologist in the financial sector, I am surprised by Gillian Tett asking “Could the idea fly? Should it?” regarding the distribution of $200 connected green laptops to children in the developing world. I similarly question her implication that this is a local Latin American initiative by One Laptop Per Child, as part of a grand “intellectual vision” recently developed by neuroscientists.
In the 21st century, we cannot separate computer literacy from the traditional “3Rs”. The luxury of computer literacy is the competitive edge of the developed world’s affluent children…
One Laptop Per Child’s mission statement has no neuroscientific technobabble: to supply cheap, green, durable, connected laptops for “collaborative, joyful, and self-empowered learning … [and] a brighter future”. Currently, 2.1m XO computers have been deployed to children and teachers worldwide in Latin America, Africa and Asia.
For Ms Tett to ask “if” or “should” this happen is like asking if the horse Goldikova should race. The little green laptop has legs – and it’s a winner.
Happy new year to the OLPC community around the world! Thank you for your part in everything we have accomplished in 2010 – from our new initiatives in Gaza, Argentina, and Nicaragua to expansion of work in Peru, Uruguay, Rwanda, Mexico, Afghanistan, and Haiti.
Special thanks to everyone who has worked on the newest iterations of Sugar, and those who put on the grassroots events over the past year in the Virgin Islands, San Francisco, and Uruguay — all of which has helped connect some of our smaller projects and realize some of their educational dreams in new activities. We’ve launched our new website for the year, highlighting the stories from these and other deployments; this blog may merge into that site as well (and you can see blog posts appearing in its News section).
Irene Tham of the Straits Times, Singapore writes:
MOST would agree it takes more than a laptop to make a difference in a child’s life. But the man behind non-profit organization One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) – whose tagline is ‘Give a laptop, change the world’ – is not swayed by naysayers.
‘When people tell you that something is impossible, they usually have a vested interest in it not coming true,’ said Professor Nicholas Negroponte, founder of OLPC.
The organization aims to provide every disadvantaged child in Third World nations with a laptop. Its goal – and one which Prof Negroponte emphasized repeatedly – ‘is not a laptop project but an education project’.