Thursday, April 8, 2010

One Laptop Per Child

Imagine if every child in the world, no matter their economic status or level of poverty, was given the access to a fully functional, internet capable laptop. Wouldn't this be an amazing accomplishment? The One Laptop Per Child Association, Inc. is a U.S. non-profit organization whose mission involves providing computer access to even the world's most impoverished children. Their vision is simply revealed in their name, to provide each child with a laptop (One Laptop Per Child). Mission statement: "To create educational opportunities for the world's poorest children by providing each child with a rugged, low-cost, low-power, connected laptop with content and software designed for collaborative, joyful, self-empowered learning. When children have access to this type of tool they get engaged in their own education. They learn, share, create, and collaborate. They become connected to each other, to the world and to a brighter future." You can visit the One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) homepage for basic information about the organization's efforts-

OLCP is not a laptop project, it is an education project. The organization wants to provide laptops to children to give them increased opportunities for learning and growth. The laptop created specifically for this mission is the XO laptop.

The XO is a learning tool specially designed with children in mind. It is about the size of a small textbook, made of durable materials, and flexibly assumes a variety of configurations: standard laptop, e-book and gaming device. Edges are rounded, display are ultra low power and ultra-high resolution, and it includes internal speakers, microphone, camera, and wireless antennas, with external headphone jacks, 3 USB ports, a battery that can be charged by AC outlet or DC solar panel, and an SD slot for photo, video and other media content. It also includes a standard keyboard with keyboard "shortcuts" allowing for easy navigation when the laptop is in e-book or tablet mode. The average expected life span for the XO laptop is around 5 years, and they are undergoing both factory and field testing to determine further lifespan estimations. Photo from

OLPC puts emphasis on software tools for exploring and expressing, rather than instruction. For this reason, the XO laptop features a unique type of interface, called Sugar. Sugar is specifically designed for children and is meant to facilitate learning through creativity, expression, sharing and collaboration, and reflection. It is a "Zoom" interface that captures children's world of fellow learners with graphic representations of community, connection and activity. To learn more about the specifics of Sugar, visit the area of the OLPC website-

OneLaptopPerChild Flickr Photostream

The countries receiving laptops from the OLPC effort are many. Four of the most prominent areas to pilot the first XO laptops were Peru, the Middle East, Rwanda and Uraguay. You can view all of the OLPC deployments, as of March 2010, here: GoogleMaps OLPC Deployments
Children are benefitting greatly from OLPC's mission. For the very first time, children in regions which may have never been able to have access to computer technology are now being given the opportunity to an endless supply of activities which foster creative learning and development. OLPC has a Flickr photostream that is frequently updated with highlight photos and videos of children using the XO in the field. Visit on Flickr for a look at how the XO is helping children learn in ways they may have never dreamed.

You can help give children the opportunity to learn with an XO by becoming a part of the OLPC movement. You can donate one or more unused laptop at You can also host your own fundraising drive or just spread the word to your friends and colleagues. Even the smallest donation or amount of participation can go a long way. The more people that get involved, the closer OLCP will get to fulfilling their mission statement: One Laptop Per Child.

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