Just a thought...

Points of views and questions about the OLPC project. What should it be? How could it be better? Where is it needed most? Ask your questions here and let your opinion be known.

Just a thought...

Postby technocultured » Sun Jan 27, 2008 8:52 pm

I think trying to distribute one lap top per child is a little ridiculous, not in the sense that it cannot be done, but in the sense that it should not be a priority. The children and families from underdeveloped countries are in need of food, clean water, shelter, preservation of their basic human rights, and quite possibly electricity... not a laptop. Before beginning to teach and encourage them to have an ecological footprint as large as a first world country, give them their basic needs so they can survive to see their future and shape it. Yes, education is profoundly important, but education does not have to be associated with technology.
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Re: Just a thought...

Postby davek » Mon Jan 28, 2008 3:07 am

What you're not considering is that many families in "underdeveloped" countries HAVE the basic requirements you list. They may not have food, shelter, etc. on par with the developed world's extravagant (and often wasteful) standards, but their needs are satisfied. There are many other programs underway trying to help provide those basic needs to those that lack them. Are there enough? No, of course not.

IMO, this program hopes to satisfy a more sophisticated but also critical need. It's about feeding undernourished imaginations. If you accept the premise that education and self-fulfilment are universal human rights, then knowing how to access, share, and use information using modern tools is a necessary prerequisite to assert those rights. This program is about expanding horizons, about teaching children (and through them parents) how to tap the enormous reservoir of global knowledge we casually take for granted. Where this program touches could allow a generation to leapfrog over old habits, resource limits, cultural barriers.

I don't think all technology is productive, and joining the global info cloud is not the answer to a lack of basic needs. But this program and others like it may in the end be one of the best investments we could make in securing a decent future for everyone. Humanity has a tough road ahead, and we need everyone educated about the issues and on the same page. Access to knowledge has to start somewhere, and for at least a few kids OLPC is the key. It's a small start, but this program has my support, and I wish I could do more.
Cheers,
dave k
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Re: Just a thought...

Postby Pecisk » Mon Jan 28, 2008 6:36 am

technocultured wrote:I think trying to distribute one lap top per child is a little ridiculous, not in the sense that it cannot be done, but in the sense that it should not be a priority. The children and families from underdeveloped countries are in need of food, clean water, shelter, preservation of their basic human rights, and quite possibly electricity... not a laptop. Before beginning to teach and encourage them to have an ecological footprint as large as a first world country, give them their basic needs so they can survive to see their future and shape it. Yes, education is profoundly important, but education does not have to be associated with technology.


How people get food? They buy raws and vegetables, then make food. Where they get more information how to do that properly? From cook books. But why not from computer? Recipes floating around internet like crazy and lot of people like to share them.

How people get to know where to get clean water? You can get clean water almost everywhere, you just have to know where to look. Again, you can get info from books, but why not internet?

I think problem with such attitude is mostly because of rooted vision of "computer is entertainment, not tool" in Western society. Really, let's take a look what teens and pupils does in computer classes. That's right, playing around YouTube, MySpace, etc. Because their basic needs are fulfilled. And even adults use computer time rather ineffectively.

However, child with XO in rural village can do miracles, literately. He will exchange more actively with information, he will try to use information to help his family. Of course, not everyone will be nice guy, but mostly from experience computer and networking thought me how to share and build know-how using information sharing.
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