Computers and Internet access are modern conveniences that many of Western nations take for granted, but almost impossible to obtain in developing economies. One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) has a plan to change that. OLPC is an organization dedicated to giving laptops to children in developing nations who might otherwise never experience such technology.
This device is more than just a laptop, it is both an e-reader and a gaming platform. The screen actually flips backwards and turns the laptop into a tablet. While in tablet mode, the screen switches to monochrome-mode, which makes it easy to read in direct sunlight and reduces its power consumption. A directional-pad and buttons located on either side of the screen may be used to flip pages, or they may be used to play video games while the device is in tablet-mode.
These laptops are more than just a cool toy—providing low-cost computers means providing access to education. OLPC has already delivered laptops to several countries, despite being only a few years old. Over two million laptops have been donated to several countries, such as: India, Paraguay, Madagascar, Nepal, Kenya, Afganistan, Uganda, and more. OLPC is connecting youth to the Internet and showing them a greater world.
Sierra Express Media (SEM) gives a real-world example regarding the benefits of providing these laptops to women of Uganda. In Uganda, women are largely ignored by the educational system. According to SEM: “Giving the little children the opportunity to see what their counterparts in other parts of the world are capable of achieving, via the Internet, should be enough of an incentive to make real progress.” By exposing them to a world where women are able to receive an education and become successful, they have the ability to realize their true potential.
The goal of the Global Text Project is to provide free textbooks to everyone in the world. These textbooks are available online, so without initiatives like OLPC our reach would be limited by a country's ability to access the Internet. The XO laptop will not only grant students access to our resources, but it will allow them to read the other digital material, should printing be too expensive or unavailable. Through our combined efforts, we have come one step closer to our goal of providing access to education around the world.
Jon Durden is s a junior at the University of Georgia. He is studying New Media and working towards an B.A. in English.