MIT’s One Laptop per Child Movement Sponsored By Google

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MIT’s One Laptop per Child Movement Sponsored By Google

MIT’s plans for a $100 durable laptop to be distributed to the children of the world were announced today with pictures of the laptops and the distribution plan. Nicholas Negroponte, chairman and co-founder of the MIT’s Media Lab, confirmed that five countries are already putting plans in place to distribute as many as 15 million of the devices. Those target countries are Brazil, China, Egypt, South Africa and Thailand.

The One Laptop per Child movement, which was launched by the MIT Media Lab, is a non-profit org with the mission to give laptops to the children of the world via local governments purchasing and distributing the laptops. The group plans to change today’s global teaching limitations with the program. Negroponte explained “This is not teaching as we know it; only part of our learning comes from teaching. Much of it comes from curiosity. These are tools that can help cultivate that learning process.”

One Laptop per Child, which innocently enough forsees only a 1% loss of the laptops due to theft, has taken the lifestyle and hardships of the ‘third world’ into consideration with the design of the laptop prototype. The Linux OS based laptop is built of weatherproof rubber and includes a manual crank to recharge the battery if there is not power source available.

Interestingly enough Google is one of the corporate sponsors of the program, along with AMD and RedHat, which brings to mind an interesting obstacle, Internet connection. Let’s take Brazil for example. In Brazil, the average DSL connection runs about $38 a month via Brasil Telecom, and then you need to pay a provider, like Terra, about $10 a month. Plus, there is the modem, which has to be purchased via the provider, at around $130. Given the average family wage of two or three salary minimums per household (about $220 to $330 a month) and the increased inflation, telephone and energy prices which have escalated more following the PT / Lula scandals, a DSL connection in Brazil is more or less impossible for the average family to pay for. Dial-up services can be even more expensive, since the user is charged per minute by both the phone company and the provider. Sure, Wi-fi spots may be available in certain sections of Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro, but those select areas are of the elite or maybe even the middle class, not the majority percentage of the needy (diferencia social).

One solution brings Google into the picture, with Global Google Wi-fi or the GoogleNet. If Google, in the next three years can fund the research behind building these wi-fi ready inexpensive laptops, they more than likely will be able to offer a global wi-fi service by then. With rumors of the GoogleNet and Google Wi-fi in the works and their latest partnership with NASA, I highly expect Google to announce some sort of global wi-fi or satellite based Internet connection for the world’s poor to be announced once this One Laptop per Child program becomes a reality, which it hopefully will. Funded, by Google AdWords.

Loren Baker
Loren Baker is the Founder of SEJ, an Advisor at Alpha Brand Media and runs Foundation Digital, a digital marketing strategy & development agency.
Loren Baker
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  • Chris Lindgren

    Hoping this becomes a reality is the exact word to use. That seems to be the same fuel driving this project lots and lots of hope. Unless my view of reality is so completely skewed this project will never go anywhere. Add all the variables in the equation to make this reality and I dont think that the odds are good. It will be fun to watch and see it.

    By the way my company is going to unveil a $79.00 laptop that not only has a hand crank but it also converts static electricity and the suns energy into food for the children. I got the idea from watching a Feed the Children commercial where I saw thoursands of hungry children and I thought wouldn’t it be awesome if we could pull energy from the air and convert it to food plus give these children the internet access they are craving for.

  • Nicholas

    It’s a wonderful dream and I hope to see some great things from it. It’s sad that the previous poster has given up on hopes and dreams, remember, to say ‘at least I tried,’ is not something common of large organizations, and I think it’s the attitude of champions.

  • Tim Chambers

    I hope it happens, but I fear that many will simply use their net access to sell their laptops for cash on eBay.

  • Fusion75

    I see more phishing scams and virus’s to come of this.

  • Gerry Hurley

    Well three of the first four comments sure show what a mountain the world’s poor have to climb. The whole point of this initiative is that though not every laptop will achieve the results, on the aggregate the return on effort should be staggering. Their thinking meshes with the ideas of “The Fortune at the Bottom of the Pyramid”. Great work and good luck!

  • Some dude

    Chris Lindgren,

    I hope one day you become poor and have no education to get a job, or worse yet, think if your children were in their position, and THEN see people who’re well off and educated say comments and jokes such as yours. Then I’d like to see what you’d say?

    So, these guys have lots of hopes and some great ideas. The best of luck to them, and hopefully they will succeed. If there’s anything to say from our end, it would be to shut up and help, instead of being negative and trying to bring these people’s hopes down.

  • Gray B.

    I’m with Gerry. Tim, even if a ton of folks did sell theirs (and if the material wealth of lots of third world kids and families increases, i’m okay with that), still imagine 1 out of 100 third world kids with a computer with learning programs, wikipedia in their language, and if…just what if, internet access, the ability to blog, ask for help. I’m an optimist on this subject.

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  • Patch

    What a beautiful idea. Good luck to OLPC.

  • Richard K. Marshall

    About time. Once this happens maybe we can straighten out AAA.

  • Ana

    This sound like a great Idea, by the way I am doing a report on this for my political science class and i think that this is a great topic. If any one can e-mail me any information that people should know about this Project please do so at:

  • steve

    Even if some kids do sell their computers on eBay or just the local village marketplace, the computers will go to someone else who can use the computer, most likely another kid who can’t afford a $500 desktop.

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  • laptop reviews

    it will note be 100$.