Why can't I get one for my child?

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.

Why can't I get one for my child?

Postby Seano » Sat Nov 29, 2008 4:45 pm

Nobody seems to see the significance in the fact that every "laptop" computer for kids available here in the US is really not a laptop, but a cheap LED screen with a couple of games on it. But no one seems to think it's odd that I can't get this computer for my child without being forced to pay for one to be donated. Why is MIT making computers to give away for free in other countries, but I can't get one for my child without having to pay double to fund the giveaway project? What if I want one of these for my kids, but don't want to donate one? Somehow I guess I'm supposed to feel guilty because I don't want to be "in on" the whole deal, and that in itself sours me on the whole thing. Not trying to be insular, not trying to be selfish, not even trying to be patriotic (even though that's not a bad thing): I am just trying to find a computer that will give my child an advantage, and I think this is it--but I don't want to buy one for some other kid. I guess I'm ranting, but it doesn't seem fair to blackmail me into buying two of these things, one of which I won't see, just because I live in the US.
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Re: Why can't I get one for my child?

Postby ektoric » Sun Nov 30, 2008 3:22 am

I believe your question is one of Economics vs. Entitlement.

The Economic view is the balance of supply and demand to settle on a fair price. If there is demand (you want it, and are willing to pay $X for it), and someone can supply it (it costs them $Y to make it), and they intersect ($X > $Y + $Z, where Z is the cost of doing business), then somebody somewhere is going to have it for sale. Go to ebay. You'll find some that you can buy, and all your money will go straight to the ebay seller, none to any other kid in some far off country. (If the ebay seller decides to donate some of their money, that's frankly out of your control :wink: )

The Entitlement view is that once you have met some criteria, you feel that you deserve object A (whether that be a physical object, a service, or whatever thing of value). Perhaps the criteria this time is that the laptop is available to be had by somebody in the world, and you exist in the world, so therefore you are entitled to it, at least under the same circumstances as that other someone was able to get it.

Lets track down the Entitlement line a little further. That other kid in the world, how did they get it? They didn't pay $400, heck, they didn't even pay $200! They just got it handed to them for free! How did they get it for free? They got it from their school system buying a whole batch of them and handing them out. Sure, a little might be subsidized here and there by a G1G1, but the vast part of the bill is bought and paid for by their school system.

So, if you really want to feel Entitled to one, then you shouldn't feel entitled to pay $200 for it. You should feel Entitled to get one for free from your kid's ISD! MIT is not quite the direction you should be venting, but at the next school board meeting, be sure you speak up! Demand that your ISD buy an XO for all the kids! Your kid attends their ISD, so they Deserve an XO! But with education budgets as it is, probably the only way your ISD will be able to afford it is if they sell municipal bonds or raise property taxes.

Therefore, if you want your kid to get a free XO, your best bet is to vote to increase property taxes on your house.
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Re: Why can't I get one for my child?

Postby ektoric » Sun Nov 30, 2008 4:26 am

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Re: Why can't I get one for my child?

Postby Met01 » Mon Dec 01, 2008 12:08 am

i agree with what the parent said above, and i disagree with OPLC's statment on the value spent per per child for education, those are numbers. I dont see how a child here is less deserving than a child in Africa. Me when i see this i feel there is a big opportunity for inner city kids or any kids to have this product.

Also to quote the explanation OPLC gave "The participating governments or organizations will then distribute the XO laptops in a non-profit manner to their schools or participants." now "in a non-profit manner" mean that these governments or organizations going to have to pay for this? if so then its not really the same if we lobbied to get Free ones from you're organization, or they have to buy them and then give them Free to the children.
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Re: Why can't I get one for my child?

Postby jakeosx » Mon Dec 08, 2008 9:38 pm

Met01 wrote:i agree with what the parent said above, and i disagree with OPLC's statment on the value spent per per child for education, those are numbers. I dont see how a child here is less deserving than a child in Africa. Me when i see this i feel there is a big opportunity for inner city kids or any kids to have this product.

Also to quote the explanation OPLC gave "The participating governments or organizations will then distribute the XO laptops in a non-profit manner to their schools or participants." now "in a non-profit manner" mean that these governments or organizations going to have to pay for this? if so then its not really the same if we lobbied to get Free ones from you're organization, or they have to buy them and then give them Free to the children.


the non-profit part means the governments won't turn around and try to sell them to kids. the laptops are paid for by either the governments or the donations (or more likely a combination of the two) to reach poor kids.

as for why not here in the USA? or anywhere where 'here' isn't getting them? the above poster is correct, if you think they are a good idea (and really, they are a great idea) then you should be talking with your school board, state senators, etc, about these.

keep in mind, as was light heartedly said above, they laptops are not free. never have been, never will be. someone has to pay for them. if you want them in your school district, that someone will likely include you.

and MIT does not have anything to do with this program. this program was started by MIT proffessors, but it is a stand along organization now.

i do suggest pursuing OLPC's here in the States, for ALL kids. I think they would be a great asset to learning.
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Re: Why can't I get one for my child?

Postby auntiejamie » Sat Dec 13, 2008 7:44 pm

I think generosity should start at home. There are many, many poor children in the U.S.. These laptops should be distributed to the underpriveleged kids in our country first before going to other countrys. I understand kids in other countrys may be worse off than in the U.S.. But I will make sure a kid in my country gets one before I would purchace one for a kid in another country.
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Re: Why can't I get one for my child?

Postby cyngold » Mon Dec 15, 2008 12:44 am

ektoric wrote:I believe your question is one of Economics vs. Entitlement.

........

So, if you really want to feel Entitled to one, then you shouldn't feel entitled to pay $200 for it. You should feel Entitled to get one for free from your kid's ISD! MIT is not quite the direction you should be venting, but at the next school board meeting, be sure you speak up! Demand that your ISD buy an XO for all the kids! Your kid attends their ISD, so they Deserve an XO! But with education budgets as it is, probably the only way your ISD will be able to afford it is if they sell municipal bonds or raise property taxes.

Therefore, if you want your kid to get a free XO, your best bet is to vote to increase property taxes on your house.



ABSOLUTELY BRILLIANT RESPONSE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I am an educator in Buenos Aires, Argentina, working in a school improvement project with about 300 disadvantaged children between 2 and 16 years of age (so poor that if they don't come to the school they don't eat that day, can you even imagine that?) so I believe that education is the key to resiliency and future success in life.

My response to this parent is - quite respectfully - just buy the "get 1 give 1" and pretend you paid $400 for the one laptop you'll get (it is still the cheapest thing ever). Otherwise... just get a regular laptop and install all the kid software you can get (Riverside has great stuff and it is developmentally appropriate as well: Millie's math house, Bailey's book house, Sammy's science house, Trudy's time and space, Stanley's sticker stories) and be done with it. That way you don't have to worry someone's forcing you to help a fellow human being. You'll pay about 3 times as much the cost of two XOs but... your child will get his/her laptop, loaded with fun educational resources.

To the ONE LAPTOP PER CHILD folks: thank you for seeing above and beyond your own home... we are all a family under one sky. I wish you incredible success in your work.
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Re: Why can't I get one for my child?

Postby AuntiMame » Mon Dec 15, 2008 11:50 am

Many people have said this far more eloquently that I can, but here's my $.02 in simple language:

Please don't confuse the idea of distributing the laptops free to kids with the notion that the laptops are free. Governments, non-profits, and school districts pay for the laptops. The money for those laptops comes from somewhere: taxes, donations to a non-profit, municipal bonds, etc. While the machine's manufacturing price is very low (approx $200) it is not free!

As Ektoric wrote, if you want your kid(s) to receive a laptop get your school board, local government, or a non-profit group involved and help them raise the money necessary to pay for the laptops that are distributed. Or get an individual laptop through Give1Get1.

Aunti
http://www.XOExplosion.com
Silly name. Great stuff for your XO laptop.
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Re: Why can't I get one for my child?

Postby The Real World » Thu Dec 18, 2008 3:07 pm

You know my company does a lot of charity work; but the means to do so come from somewhere – and that somewhere is the sales of our products. In side the price of every product we sell is the cost of the charity we do. Our customers don’t ignorantly question why we are doing this charity work thus causing an increase to the price of the product we are selling it. They simply want the product and we are selling it; if the price is acceptable to them they buy.

This is no different; the laptop coats X amount to make and the organizations charity costs Y. If you want the product they are selling then you have to pay both X and Y bundled together in price Z. Want the product pay Z don’t want the product walk away, its not for sale for any other price.

But don’t worry; understand that this is an non-profit origination. If they where a regular company interested in simply selling products you would have to spend Z for this laptop anyway. The Y component would simply go to paying fat cat CEO salaries and bonuses. Instead the Y component is going to help children a lot worse off then even the most pore children in the US.

Look at it this way; would you have felt better if they simply masked the chartable work in the price of the product like most other companies do? If they sold the XO over the internet for the $399 and said that’s just what it costs?

The only problem here is that the origination decided it would be a good idea to pass along the good feelings of the charity work they are doing to their customers. They could have simply sold it for the $399 and not said another word like most there companies would. But instead they are trying to make you feel good by letting you know that for ever laptop you by some pore child gets one too.

So what is it that your complaining about; you feel slighted that they are being upfront with you? That they are trying to include you on the fine work they are doing instead of just taking your money and doing what they please with it?

That sounds to be a stupid thing to be upset about. I say by the laptop for the $399. That’s what you would be paying for it if it came from a for profit company and just be happy that your helping to make the world a better place for another child as well as your own.
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Re: Why can't I get one for my child?

Postby ektoric » Fri Dec 19, 2008 1:28 pm

The Real World wrote:So what is it that your complaining about; you feel slighted that they are being upfront with you? That they are trying to include you on the fine work they are doing instead of just taking your money and doing what they please with it?


I understand the complaint. The issue is not about transparency. The issue is a Moral Circle issue. This is a very Confucian philosophy, as described by The Great Learning. OLPC has expanded their Moral Circle beyond self, family, and state to include the world. For most people, it is difficult to expand their Moral Circle beyond family.

To be honest, one's Moral Circle expands and contracts all the time, situation by situation. While I've expanded my Moral Circle in participating in G1G1 by buying 5 units, at the same time I contracted it by participating in G1G1 only and not making a straight up donation. Furthermore, I gave them to my immediate friends and family instead of donating them to my community's locally underprivileged children.

It is a rare person indeed who is able to expand their Moral Circle, and keep it expanded. But it is entirely possible, e.g. the religious leaders of our world. Unfortunately, I readily admit that I have not attained such enlightenment.
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Re: Why can't I get one for my child?

Postby rsraob » Sun Dec 21, 2008 8:30 am

One of the arguments of not selling the laptop is that the project is not for profit. But one has to realize not for profit does not mean not making any profits but rather use the profits to subsidize other sales

For example they can sell the laptops say for 300$ on the open market and sell them for 100$ in the developing world, making it cheaper for them to buy at the same time making it available for those who want to purchase it.

As the volume of the sales increase it will become cheaper and will be able to sell it for a lower price in the developing world.

If I have to pay over 300$ for buying a book reader in the form of Kindle I can certainly pay a 300$ for XO and there by subsidizing for those in the developing world
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Re: Why can't I get one for my child?

Postby psngray » Tue Jan 13, 2009 4:09 pm

I think the original poster brings up a good point. I don't believe that the intent of OLPC was to exclude the United States, even though they don't appear to be being deployed here. The concentration on third world countries is noble, but misses out on the advantages of deployments in the United States.

Other country's deployments could well benefit from any organized use XOs in any educational system. The US is swarming with developers and educators who could drive the development of all sorts of software and content that would be useful all over the world.

As to sales to private parties, OLPC is free to set their own price, no matter what they do with the "profit". Why they are not actively encouraging deployments through school systems in the US is a mystery to me. I intend to contact them about a deployment through a set of charter schools in New Jersey. I will be very interested to see how it is received.
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Re: Why can't I get one for my child?

Postby Kekogre » Wed Apr 01, 2009 11:18 pm

I am an educator in Buenos Aires, Argentina, working in a school improvement project with about 300 disadvantaged children between 2 and 16 years of age (so poor that if they don't come to the school they don't eat that day, can you even imagine that?) so I believe that education is the key to resiliency and future success in life.

My response to this parent is - quite respectfully - just buy the "get 1 give 1" and pretend you paid $400 for the one laptop you'll get (it is still the cheapest thing ever).

I am an American, and yes, I know exactly how it feels to know that if I don't go to school, I don't eat. I don't have to "even imagine it" I experienced it right here in the USA, can you imagine that?

OK imaginations aside, I understand and support the "buy 2 get 1" model. I am perfectly happy to buy 2, one for my "privileged" first world child and the other for "free" distribution. What I have a huge problem with though, is the unexplained disappearance of that program. It's still being advertised, but I darn it if I can't find anywhere to participate in that program. I'm allowed to buy 1 or more, (ie I'm allowed to donate as much $$$ as I like) but I'm no longer allowed to buy 2 and receive one. Hmmm. The problem I'm having is not being able to trust the good intentions of "first world" people to come along and fix problems from above like this. To be perfectly frank, the buy 2 get 1 idea seems brilliant, why has it disappeared??????? If I can't buy 2 and get 1, I can't believe the laptops actually work. Silly me, I thought part of the brilliance of this project was the potential for kids all around the world to have access to the same technology, and that this fact itself would serve to further the aim of cross-cultural social / political / intellectual cross-pollination, that kids all over the world would be using and enjoying and learning through the same gadget, they would therefor have a shared technological experience that could be the basis for or could nourish further commonalities. But, if I can't buy 2 "$100 laptops" for $400 and get one, I don't believe they work, I'm having a hard time believing they even exist.

Get back to me when I can buy 2 and get one, I really want one, but not enough to pay $500 for 1 on eBay, as that defeats the purpose, no? If they mean so much to the kids who get them, how is it not evil to buy one on eBay - what happened to the kid who had that laptop? Education worked SO WELL that she got so rich she decided to sell her laptop on eBay instead of donating it to a neighbor?

Until I can buy 2 and get 1, as promised, no thanks. I'm WAY not paying $400 or $40 or freaking $4 for something I now suspect might not work or even exist. Getting tech that is rickety and wonky won't help third world kids, or anyone else, neither will throwing $400 in a feel good hole. I'm not wired that way.
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