Several years ago Nicholas Negroponte helped co-found the Media Laboratory at MIT. It’s various achievements include advancements in software, hardware, and how humans interact with computers, but the most anticipated effort from Negroponte’s group of tech savvy individuals is the One Laptop Per Child project. The goal of the project is simple, “To provide children around the world with new opportunities to explore, experiment and express themselves.”
Initially started with the concept of producing a wi-fi enabled, open source laptop for $100, the project brought together giants of the tech industry to create something that had never been achieved before; a universally affordable computer for children in under developed countries in need of not just 21st century learning tools, but also access to information, the Internet, and each other. While the laptop was unable to be manufactured for $100, the parties involved finally settled on a design that would sell for just about $200. Even at that price, it’s not bad for a full-featured laptop that comes with it’s own office suite of programs, wi-fi Internet access, and a host of other features, including the ability to recharge the battery using a hand crank!
What’s an even bigger achievement, is that the OLPC (One Laptop Per Child) project is making the computer available for purchase here in Canada & the United States! And while you make your purchase, you can give a FREE laptop to a child in a developing nation. For $399, you can purchase one of the laptops for your child (or yourself!) and send one off to another child in need. Up to $200 of that is tax deductible, so while you aren’t technically getting a free laptop, you are giving a free laptop, after taxes. Time is limited though, as the “Get One Give One” program is only running until November 26th, which means there’s only 14 days left to spread the gift of technology, information, literacy, and creativity around the world.
I’ve looked through the specs on these…….I can’t help but wonder….with a new laptop in stores sometimes going for $400 and there being plenty of choices for $600…..I understand the part about donating so it will go to a third world country, but I’m wondering about the “buy one – get one” deal. I’m not sure many people accustomed to the hardware we have normally would find these all that much fun, unless they routinely want to check email while sittng on the beach.
I gave it a hard look, but there are too many other fun toys I want right now.
Yeah, but the point of the philanthropy isn’t to purchase yourself a piece of fully capable, loaded laptop. The idea is to provide a student in need with just the simplest of access to the Internet and tools that they will need in the 21st century. In fact, $400 dollars is a bargain when you consider that the laptops will rarely need upgrading, are built to be tough, and are highly secure from a virus standpoint.
I agree that people here in the U.S. might be put off by it’s limited features, but truth be told, most people just use their laptops for surfing the Internet from their couch, and checking e-mail, something that the OLPC is completely capable of.
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