I have an OLPC XO computer in my house here in Iowa, but it wasn’t designed for me. The XO was designed for children in developing countries. I just received a link to a posting in the Generation YES blog where Sylvia Martinez is discussing using XO computers in Peru.
In October of 2007, it was announced that Peru had decided to be the second country to commit to purchasing XO computers for their children. They committed to purchasing 40,000 then and another 250,000 in 2008. This is a country of 28 million people where the per capita income is $3,375, and 51.6 of its population is identified as poor (Wikipedia, 2008).
Now, I have read articles from authors like John Dvorak (PC Magazine) who say that it makes more sense to spend money on feeding the children than buying them computers. I will spend some time discussing this in a future post but for now, I want to say that people will ALWAYS be hungry and just feeding them is not the way to bring about change. It sounds heartless, but unless national officials look for new ways to change the status and knowledgebase of their children, they will always be poor. Bringing the Peruvian educational system up to the 21st century can be the beginning of a significant change for Peru. Computers won’t cause the change by themselves (as we have seen in 2.5 decades of computer use in our schools) but they can be a start.
Now I know that the video at the top of this posting is in Spanish. Just in case “No hablas Espanol,” here is the link to the article which contains a transcript of the video. The beauty of having the transcript is that I have run it though the Google translator to give you a crude translation. Now don’t make lots of nasty comments about the inaccuracies of the translation (no, go ahead and make some comments so that I know that I am not just talking with myself here). I KNOW that a machine doesn’t translate as well as a human, but “Yo hablo un pocito de Espanol, pero no mucho.”
Reportaje NAPA 26: OLPC, laptops en Arahuay
Report NAPA 26: OLPC, Laptops in Arahuay (Google Translated)
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