it.gen.nz

Writings on technology and society from Wellington, New Zealand

Friday, October 5, 2007

One laptop per child

Laudable aim or inappropriate toys? The OLPC foundation aims to distribute one laptop to every child in the world. Of course, that’s hopelessly impractical with laptops costing about $1,000. But what about $200? Or even $100?

The laptop has been designed and is available. It’s nothing like a traditional Windows machine, or a Mac for that matter. It runs a version of Linux, and there is a special key to see the source of whatever you are looking at, be it program or web page. Kids are encouraged to change things and see what effect that has, and they can restore the laptop to its original state with a button if they get it wrong.

A reviewer for the New York Times has got his hands on one – and he likes it. Have a read.

Update: the good people over at geek.com have a great post summarising the laptop and drawing lessons from it about laptop design. Perhaps some of what this ‘toy laptop’ does is sufficiently advanced that we will see it in our machines in the future!

posted by colin at 6:05 pm  

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