What’s special about the One Laptop per Child XO (http://laptop.org/en/laptop/) computer is that it is designed for children in third-world countries. The XO is a very impressive piece of consumer electronics engineering. It includes a number of breakthrough implementations: low power consumption, a display that’s easy to read in the sunlight, a built-in camera and microphone, a flash disk, child-friendly user interface and applications, and mesh networking – each laptop acts as a wireless network router as well as receiver.
I ordered my OLPC computer using the Give One/Get One program. For $399, you receive one XO laptop for yourself and sponsor one for a child somewhere in the developing world. Mine arrived before Christmas. It would have been great to know where the “sponsored” one went and when it arrived.
My goal: test the XO laptop to see whether it might be useful for the Girls’ School (http://urdt.net/girlsSchool.html) in Kagadi, Uganda – where 240 girls (8 to 17 years old) from low-income, rural households participate in a unique, successful, and proven educational program. Their co-curriculum includes the approved national curriculum plus applied courses in organic farming, appropriate technologies (solar, computers, internet, water treatment, sanitation, etc.), radio programming, journalism, drama, music, gender/sex education, and visionary leadership training. The curriculum also incorporates a two-generation approach – students empower their parents with the skills they learn and, through “back home” projects, work with their families to improve their family’s living conditions and increase their incomes. This seems to me to be an ideal application for these hardy, laptop computers that the students could use on campus and take home with them to enrich and empower their communities.
How did it do?