I recently came across an AMAZING article about One Laptop Per Child and their quest to give a thousand Motorola Zoom tablet PCs to kids in Ethiopian.
As some background, DVICE.com writes:
The new $100 XO-3.0 has been ruggedized for the rough handling a kid is likely to give it, and includes a wraparound cover that seems inspired by the iPad2’s Smart Cover. In a stroke of genius, the removable cover has a built in solar panel and battery so you can leave it outside to charge while continuing to use the tablet indoors.
While it isn’t exactly going to get you to dump your iPad, the XO-3.0 is pretty well equipped considering its low cost. The 8 inch screen is driven by a Marvell Armarda processor with 512-MB [of] RAM and 4-GB of storage. Most importantly, the tablet has extremely low power consumption, and can get its juice from a number of different sources. Even if you use a hand crank generator, you’ll get about 10 minutes of computing for every minute of cranking. Operating system will be either Android [or] OLPC’s own Sugar OS.
The article states:
Rather than give out laptops (they’re actually Motorola Zoom tablets plus solar chargers running custom software) to kids in schools with teachers, the OLPC Project decided to try something completely different: it delivered some boxes of tablets to two villages in Ethiopia, taped shut, with no instructions whatsoever. Just like, “hey kids, here’s this box, you can open it if you want, see ya!”
OLPC founder, Nicholas Negroponte, describes what happens next.
“We left the boxes in the village. Closed. Taped shut. No instruction, no human being. I thought, the kids will play with the boxes! Within four minutes, one kid not only opened the box, but found the on/off switch. He’d never seen an on/off switch. He powered it up. Within five days, they were using 47 apps per child per day. Within two weeks, they were singing ABC songs [in English] in the village. And within five months, they had hacked Android. Some idiot in our organization or in the Media Lab had disabled the camera! And they figured out it had a camera, and they hacked Android.”
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OLPC is doing some amazing things, in the world and in education. Having a close connection with Ethiopia myself, this article strikes me. What an inspirational story. Check out the site to learn more and how to get involved.