One Laptop Per Child
I had the opportunity last week to meet with some of the staff for OLPC the other day. We get a fair number of questions about OLPC through the MIT OCW feedback link, and I’d read some of the criticisms coming out–largely that it is a first world solution to third world problems and that cell phones and PDAs were going to become the platforms of choice in developing regions. I have to say that I am really impressed by the vision and ambition of the project, and it probably isn’t getting a fair shake by some of the critics. The computer itself is really cool of course and seems very accessible to even new computer users, plus all the software for it is open source and all the content provided is free. One thing I hadn’t heard before, the thing that may be even more impactful than the laptops themselves, is that the project is committed to ensuring broadband access for any regions where the laptops are distributed. I’m used to thinking of MIT OCW as an ambitious project, but we’re blown away by what these guys and gals are trying to achieve.