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I recently read a review of the One Laptop per Child (OLPC) – Laptop that was written by a 12 year old. This computer, previously known as the $100 Laptop or Children’s Machine, is an inexpensive laptop computer intended to be distributed to children around the world, especially to those in developing countries, to provide them with access to knowledge.
These rugged, low-power computers contain flash memory instead of a hard drive and use Linux as their operating system. Mobile ad-hoc networking is used to allow many machines Internet access from one connection.
The 12 year old, went by the name S.G., concluded his review of the OLPC by making the following comments:
All in all, this laptop is great for its price, its job, and its value. It is almost perfect. Just speed it up, give it a little more battery charge hold, and you have yourself the perfect laptop. I’m sure kids around the world will really love, enjoy, and cherish these laptops. They will be so useful. This program is truly amazing.
By the way, GREAT JOB S.G.! on the article, it was very well done…
However, while is sounds like the OLPC will perform and do what children would like it to do, I have concerns about it’s use. I recently read that after inspecting the web surfing habits of one of its users they were able to determine that it had been use to surf several pornographic sites, hardly an educational lesson you would want a small child have.
Which brings me to a much larger question… Just because technology can be provided to someone, doesn’t mean that it is going to be used by them to enrich and enable their lives.
A gun in the hands of a trained law enforcement officer is a way of keeping the peace. However, that same gun in the hands of a criminal, will only lead to crime.
Technology without the training and guidance to use it…is useless. If I am not taught how to use the technology and shown some ways to take advantage of the benefits of that technology…What good is it?
It is easy to give away the hardware, but it takes a major time and dollar commitment to show someone how to effectively use that hardware, to better their lives.
I would like to know your thoughts?