Wow, I really must have missed something here. But it seems that the powers that be in India believe that a $47 notebook (laptop) is definitely within reach with the ultimate goal set at a cool $10. Now, I am not going to even pretend to understand or even speculate into just how wild this actually sounds. Instead, let’s the value of having notebooks in the classroom.
I have seen first hand what the guiding hand of an involved parent can do with a young one learning the computer. Eyeballing, selecting and double clicking their way into the future, my niece can out-pace many kids twice her age with a mouse – did I mention that she is five? Take this and then bear in mind that when she gets into grade school, she will have a solid head start as she has been well versed in old school learning techniques as well, not just dropping her in front of a computer.
On the other side of the world, the OLPC project is working to make sure that all kids regardless of age or financial situation will have access to a computer for their development. But has this initiative also considered the little extras like balanced nutrition, a well rounded curriculum? Sure doesn’t seem like it…
So truly, whether or not India can indeed, produce a cheaper notebook for students, doesn’t really seem to matter as much as meeting the needs of other areas that reflect how a student does in class; eating well, plenty of sleep, etc. At the end of the day, it feels like the common sense priorities have been lost in the shuffle here someplace.
And in the meantime, I would point to my niece’s success with understanding basic computer use as having more to do with the basic needs mentioned above being met, rather than making sure she has ready access to the computer itself. I believe she would have proved to be just as capable with other learning tools should a lack of higher technology become unavailable. So go for it with your OLPC. I have no problem with it but at the same time, I remain skeptical if we are to believe that it is to become a cure-all to the ails of the world’s children. Let’s spend that same money on more common sense items first instead, both at home and abroad.