Role of Laptops in Poverty Alleviation

After learning about OLPC and seeing their promotional videos I began to do a little more research upon the topic and found a great article from 2009 in the UK Guardian by Cory Doctorow that brought up many valid and positive points regarding OLPC and innovation of educational laptop use.

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While there have been many set backs to OLPC like scale backs and product design failure, it does not mean this project should fail or not be taken seriously. The innovation of being able to connect people all over the world with each other, not just through mobile phones, but also through laptops is priceless. Mobile phones are wonderful and have had great (positive) effects on many communities (rural included) bringing in education, food, health, and democracy though are not useful in disastrous times and can have great long term costs. While lap tops are more costly they only have initial costs and almost no operating costs although similarly to mobile phones connectivity can be an issue. This is an issue that is only going to be fixed in time, but that does not mean OLPC is set up for failure. IT is in all social groups and a crucial part of many people’s lives. The OLPC project is straying from the old school approach of aid that enables more poverty by creating dependency, and instead focusing on creating capital and skills through education. By connecting the younger generation together and teaching them about technology OLPC is creating a first step to break the cycle of poverty. Many great things have had glitches before they turn into masterpieces and OLPC has great potential to become one.


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