I was surprised to read that Birmingham, Ala. is spending $3.5 million dollars for some 15,000 computers for their students from 1st to 8th grades. The project also includes a wi-fi system for the students. This is the first US school district that has purchased OLPC computers for their students. This change of direction by the OLPC indicates that the computers will also be sold in the US as well as to foreign countries. In a press release it states:

Mayor Larry Langford arranged the deal for 15,000 laptop computers at almost $200 apiece. Since then, Negroponte has announced that he will launch One Laptop Per Child America to sell the laptops in the United States.

On Friday, Negroponte named political consultant Mike Ford of Washington the head of the U.S. project. Birmingham is the first item on Ford’s list.

Birmingham officials, who spent much of last week in Boston at a One Laptop Per Child seminar, are trying to figure out how, exactly, to deploy 15,000 laptops to all first- through eighth-graders in the city school system.

After hearing stories from other countries that have the computers – Nigeria, Brazil and Uruguay, to name a few – Birmingham educators at the seminar said it may not be as easy as handing them out to every child all at once.

One Laptop officials said it would be next to impossible to send all the computers to Birmingham at once. The machines will likely be shipped in phases, they said, as they were in other countries.

Hopefully these computer purchases will help the OLPC gain momentum throughout the world and increase sales as well.

Comments welcome.

Full article is here.

[tags]olpc, computers, us, sale, Alabama, Birmingham, computers, laptops, machines, shipped, [/tags]