Recently Nicholas Negroponte, on leave from MIT Media Laboratory, took on this non-profit effort to provide a laptop computer to children in developing countries! The first release was in Cambodia and was featured a few weeks ago on 60 minutes. Watch it here: http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2007/05/20/60minutes/main2830058.shtml It was amazing to watch these children who had no electricity, no access to media, let alone computers. It took them a couple of hours, and they were exploring and enjoying their computers. They were commenting that it was ironic and powerful that the only light coming from these children's dilapidated homes was candlelight and the glow from their monitors.
There is a link to their website here: www.laptop.org . Much of the philosophy of this project is similar to our as Global Learners, technology enhances learning. Concerns could be similar as well. Their concern is hidden costs that go with this technology like wireless or batteries. Ours is kids not having the internet or personal computers at home. Another concern of theirs is theft. What if the laptops are stolen by older kids? I thought about that as well today as we were discussing video ipods being checked out and taken home by our students. If we put too many restrictions on the use of the technology, we are not allowing students to enjoy this technology to its full potential. Is loss/damage to equipment just a necessary risk we have to take?
There is an intersting side story to all this about intel getting into the same "business" of developing $100 laptops and creating competition for Negroponte.