The One Laptop Per Child project first hit our pages back in 2005, and has since made our guide to green laptops too. The basic premise is a simple, cheap and robust computer, known as the XO, that is designed as a learning device for children in the developing world. The rechargeable battery can even be powered by footpedal. However, while the technology may include green elements, it would be a waste of resources if it didn’t work as the learning tool it is supposed to be. Fortunately Rory Cellan-Jones over at the BBC has chosen to test the computer, and what better way to do it than hand it over to his 9 year-old son? The verdict turns out to be pretty positive:
I had returned from Nigeria not entirely convinced that the XO laptop was quite as wonderful an educational tool as its creators claimed. I felt that a lot of effort would be needed by hard-pressed teachers before it became more than just a distracting toy for the children to mess around with in class. But Rufus has changed my mind. With no help from his Dad, he has learned far more about computers than he knew a couple of weeks ago, and the XO appears to be a more creative tool than the games consoles which occupy rather too much of his time.
Of course the spread of computers and electronics to the developing world poses its own environmental conundrums, but in a world where you are increasingly either online or left out, it is hard to envision global equity without efforts to address the digital divide.
::One Laptop Per Child::via BBC::