The article we read for class this week, The ICT4D 2.0 Manifesto: Where Next for ICTs and International Development, mentions the One Laptop Per Child programs as an example of ICT4D (pg 6). OLPC is an example of ICT4D 2.0, because it focuses on the needs of of poor communities and takes the realities of their situations into consideration. By distributing low-cost, low-spec, robust devices to poor communities, access to internet is more feasible. Putting low cost laptops in schools is much more pragmatic than the telecommunication centers in rural areas (as was done during the ICT4D 1.0 phase), because it takes into consideration what people actually will use, want to use, and how they will use it.
OLPC has a blog with a lot of success stories and examples of how OLPC is improving the lives of children in developing countries, improving education, and helping us move closer to the UN Millennium Development Goal of universal education.
I think it’s important to look at critical evaluations of these programs, so that we can have a holistic understanding of the OLPC program and to learn from the successes and failures. OLPC is an excellent idea and has seen a lot of success, but obviously there are flaws. Check out this World Bank evaluation of a OLPC program in Sri Lanka, here.
To learn more about OLPC check out their website blog here.