7 days left to give a child an OX laptop
November 20th, 2007

child with laptop
There is an old saying among people who are veterans of confronting the problems of the world’s children: You only save one child at a time. For all the commenting, analysis, discussion and opining about the current OLPC promotion, it wonderfully meets the wise criterion of that saying. If you want to give a one child an OX laptop, click here, and do it by November 26.

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Comments
1 - ok

What exactly is a laptop saving children from?

2 - John L

Judy, the OLPC project is a good start in the right direction, but we can do better. NComputing is delivering mass computing for a fraction of OLPC’s cost.

Computerworld Magazine said recently: “Forget the OLPC… the NComputing device can be manufactured for just $11 for its X300 model, which can support up to seven users, and $35 for the L200 model that can support up to 30 users.” NComputing has hooked up over 1/2 million kids to date.

I think we’ll continue to see more and more in this direction, including cheap “village wireless.” Perhaps one of the main structural hurdles is leadership: many of these corrupt governments have an interest in keeping their people / villages cut-off from the outside world.

As to the question in the first comment, my view is that because a laptop is a connection to the internet, it saves a child who does not otherwise have access to the internet from both isolation and ignorance.

I agree with the second comment that there will be a variety of individual computers. The OLPC has, I think, done a great deal to speed the access individual young students have to online knowledge — to learning skills, information and ideas. If only in raising awareness of the possibility for a child to have such a device, the OLPC project has already done significant good. And one child at a time it is fulfilling that possibility.

4 - jeannie

“……….What exactly is a laptop saving children from?…………”

Answer: ignorance

5 - ok

Judy …

Negroponte has also said that the OLPC is a mass immunization program against ignorance. But ignorance of what?

This isn’t a trivial question, since curing the world of ignorance sounds a lot like the mission of the missionaries.

We are certainly ignorant of many things that third world cultures value. What would the U.S. do if another country decided to cure them of their ignorance?

More importantly, ignorance focuses on the content the children will have access to when the real impact of these laptops will be the ways in which they completely reshape the social, political, and spiritual fabric of their society – for good and for bad regardless of the content.

The range of meaning from from Webster’s dictionary for “ignorance” includes: 1. destitute of knowledge, 2. unaware, uninformed, innocent, guileless, 3. uncivilized, backward, unenlightened.

The OPLC inoculates against #1 and #2. My Mother made this point with the story about fellow in 18th century Africa who ran from village to village yelling the warning “the slavers are coming,” but no one paid any attention, villagers were hauled off to slave camps — because they did not know the meaning of the word “slave.”

The Internet does not take the form of a mission like that of missionaries who seek to convert to a doctrine – or at least not to one doctrine. Everyone has their mission online and all who are connected have access to the same open pages (except where blocked by authorities who do have a mission). My guess and hope is that the children who get the OPLCs and other connections to the Internet will not only learn about other cultures but teach the rest of us about theirs.

Definition #3, it seems to me, is about the “reshaping” mentioned in the final paragraph of the above comment. Certainly it is a very new experience for humankind to expect all children to grow up with shared knowledge and connection to an open network into which anyone can put anything. This is happening, fast! OPLC is a way of bringing more children into the global commons sooner. Perhaps before long a #4 definition of “ignorance” will be: lacking access to the Internet. In my view, that definition already applies, and is already reshaping the fabric of society. OPLC will not become the cause reshaping; it is a device of inclusion.

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