One Laptop Per Child


As correspondent Lesley Stahl first reported last spring, the laptop, called the XO, was the brainchild of Nicholas Negroponte, a professor at MIT.”

Negroponte’s idea developed when he was visiting a village in Cambodia called Reaksmy.  With the help of his family Negroponte developed a school and soon introduced the students to computers as well as the internet. Every child in the town wanted to attend school and show their families what the computer was all about.  Negroponte then decided that he wanted to take this great idea and implement it into other schools around the world.  However, he understood that the standard computer used in the United States was too expensive for those in developing countries to acquire. This issue prompted him to create a cost effective and durable laptop that would be distributed to children in developing countries to increase their educational experience. This became “One Laptop Per Child” where people could purchase a laptop while also providing one for a child in need. This soon became an initiative that is sold to governments of developing countries for educational benefit.

Interacting with the Laptop

*Add Video Here


The reason that this computer failed was mainly due to how difficult it was to use. If the manufacturers really believed that they were going to give these computers to every child throughout the world they should have made the computer less complicating.  As a 21 year old I really struggled.  I also think that the computer could have had more useful and prevalent tools on it for education.“ A major reason for the failure of the OLPC program, which would account for its low distribution numbers, is the belief of the recipient nations that the laptops were not appropriate for them. When implementing new technologies, it is important to look at whether or not the technologies are appropriate for the target region in order to avoid unwanted consequences.”

“Two years ago he founded a non-profit organization called “One Laptop Per Child,” through which he recruited a cadre of geeks to design a low-cost computer specifically for poor children.” -article was written May 20th 2007

This computer was created with the idea that every person purchasing one would also have to purchase one for a child in a poor country.

Negroponte’s idea was that kids don’t need teachers to learn the how to use the computer. They can pick it up by experimenting on their own – with help from a friend.”


“Given the resources that poor countries can reasonably allocate to education— sometimes less than $20 per year per pupil, compared to the approximately $7500 per pupil spent annually in the U.S.—even a doubled or redoubled national commitment to traditional education, augmented by external and private funding, would not get the job done. Moreover, experience strongly suggests that an incremental increase of “more of the same”—building schools, hiring teachers, buying books and equipment—is a laudable but insufficient response to the problem of bringing true learning possibilities to the vast numbers of children in the developing world.” -Nicholas Negroponte

-Broadens children’s educational and technological horizons

-Includes features such as mesh networking and low power consumption that increases accessibility and portability

-Gives children access to educational resources and learning experiences

-Increased global mindset of students to communicate with and learn about other countries and cultures

-Can create a tool for entrepreneurship

-Increases independent learning through interaction and exploration with XO laptop

-Laptops are proposed to increase educational level of students and thus sustained economic growth

-Cost effective and durable laptop


“We cannot visualize a situation for decades when we can go beyond the pilot stage. We need classrooms and teachers more urgently than fancy tools.”Indian Education Minister

-Teachers and parents aren’t adequately trained to use and teach children to utilize the features of the laptop

-May not be teaching students realistic skills for future vocational needs in community

-Low quality processing and cannot be easily upgraded, which will most likely make the laptop obsolete after a few years of use

-Parents and teachers in developing countries may not effectively support the use of technology because they have to worry about basic needs over technology

-Most schools to not have the infrastructure to support technology when the primary needs for education are not being met

-Countries in need may not be able to afford this resource

-Those in charge of distribution may exploit their power and gain financially if not monitored

-No good way to measure benefits of costly initiative

-Little technological support after distribution for students

-Production causes environmental waste

Then and Now:



One Laptop Per Child compares with IPad and Tablet devices that are becoming widely used in classrooms across the world today because of their affordability, user friendliness and size. These tools have eclipsed the intentions of the XO computer by creator Nicholas Negroponte. In order to see the improvement between the two devices in user friendliness, they should be placed next to one and other in the Media Archaeology lab. If the XO computer remains on its own in the lab, there should be instructions or a key to distinguish icons so the user can explore the device to its fullest potential.

Works Cited:


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