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Q&A: OLPC Talks Past, Present and Future

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July 22, 2009 8:41:07 PM

You know what... I don't get it. Shouldn't we be teaching much of these people how to grow crops properly so they don't starve and die? Don't we have enough 3rd world PC users in China and India? I... I don't get it.
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July 22, 2009 9:16:09 PM

fulleYou know what... I don't get it. Shouldn't we be teaching much of these people how to grow crops properly so they don't starve and die? Don't we have enough 3rd world PC users in China and India? I... I don't get it.


honestly, that was pretty brutal.

i think what OLPC is trying to do actually gives me a shred of hope that humanity can make it. its been a long time since ive seen a company do something as selfless as they have. i just hope that their OLPC's catch on, and people dont misunderstand what the laptop is for, and maybe, just maybe, we as humans can get back onto the mind track that we need to work together, learn together, and not focus on how to kill and profit from death, but to learn to profit with people instead
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July 22, 2009 11:57:24 PM

People need to quit thinking OLPC has been a failure so far. 1 Million laptops shipped to children in poor countries is more than anything Intel has done.

Sure Acer and Asus might sell more laptops each than OLPC, but OLPC most likely has sold more laptops to POOR children in POOR countries than any of Samsung, MSI, Dell, HP have sold netbooks to RICH adults in RICH countries. OLPC is simply a totally different target group.

What OLPC needs to do now, is accelerate the development of XO2, replace XO1 with XO1.5 as soon as possible, thus target $150 per laptop price for XO1.5 as early as within a few months, to ship a few million of these, compatible with XO1.

Though the most important part of the project now should be the ARM powered XO2 project. That has to cost below $100, that has to be supported by Obama and other courageous politicians. XO2 needs to run Google Chrome (as soon as it's available open source later this year), educational applications need to be web apps (that work offline using Google Gears and can be spread using WiFi Mesh as well). OLPC needs to facilitate the availability of much more educational contents to all the children of the world. Not only in the form of educational web apps for Google Chrome on $100 XO2, but also in the form of organizing a system so teachers more often record videos of their classes, and that students can find ways to download those videos and watch them. Video of classes, educational documentaries and cartoons are very powerful medium.
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July 23, 2009 12:02:07 AM

You also need to quit thinking teachers are against this project. 1% in Ethiopia might have been planted by some Intel PR people to act like they complain about it. The fact that education and teachers in Ethiopia are absolutely terribly bad we won't take into consideration.

99% of OLPC teachers are very excited, exctatic, and have very positive opinions about the OLPC project. Simply look at the hundreds of videos on http://olpc.tv that show you exactly what Teachers think, what students think, what parents think and what politicians think.
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July 23, 2009 1:51:33 AM

It's not that teachers are AGAINST it, but if they aren't trained on how to use and teach with them then they will ignore them. The OLPC assumes very little responsibility in training - as seen in the above comment where they say "if the country owns OLPC fully"; in other words OLPC supplies the latptop and it is up to the country to get the teachers to use them.

Is the mission just to distribute cheap laptops or enable people to use them... the focus seems too heavily dependent on the distribution side. When Tom's asked how will they measure their success, they essentially gave a non-answer. He said "our metrics are very different".... but then didn't say what they were.

Negroponte is an egomaniac as evidence by his isolation of Intel and recently blasting of Windows - it's as if OLPC's sucess is more important then the mission's success. If a for-profit manufacturer can make as cheap (if not cheaper) netbook, why not work with them on an OLPC variant? It's time for him to swallow his pride and learn it's not about who makes the laptop, it's about making sure they can be used effectively... OLPC is best served training and ensuring that these tools are used as opposed to manufacturing them.
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July 23, 2009 7:55:51 AM

CharbaxPeople need to quit thinking OLPC has been a failure so far. 1 Million laptops shipped to children in poor countries is more than anything Intel has done.Sure Acer and Asus might sell more laptops each than OLPC, but OLPC most likely has sold more laptops to POOR children in POOR countries than any of Samsung, MSI, Dell, HP have sold netbooks to RICH adults in RICH countries. OLPC is simply a totally different target group.What OLPC needs to do now, is accelerate the development of XO2, replace XO1 with XO1.5 as soon as possible, thus target $150 per laptop price for XO1.5 as early as within a few months, to ship a few million of these, compatible with XO1.Though the most important part of the project now should be the ARM powered XO2 project. That has to cost below $100, that has to be supported by Obama and other courageous politicians. XO2 needs to run Google Chrome (as soon as it's available open source later this year), educational applications need to be web apps (that work offline using Google Gears and can be spread using WiFi Mesh as well). OLPC needs to facilitate the availability of much more educational contents to all the children of the world. Not only in the form of educational web apps for Google Chrome on $100 XO2, but also in the form of organizing a system so teachers more often record videos of their classes, and that students can find ways to download those videos and watch them. Video of classes, educational documentaries and cartoons are very powerful medium.


Nicely put.
IBM and ARM seem more appropiate to mass produce dirt cheap^decent processors for such a product to me.
The cheaper the better also. =D

ego-ponteIt's not that teachers are AGAINST it, but if they aren't trained on how to use and teach with them then they will ignore them. The OLPC assumes very little responsibility in training - as seen in the above comment where they say "if the country owns OLPC fully"; in other words OLPC supplies the latptop and it is up to the country to get the teachers to use them.Is the mission just to distribute cheap laptops or enable people to use them... the focus seems too heavily dependent on the distribution side. When Tom's asked how will they measure their success, they essentially gave a non-answer. He said "our metrics are very different".... but then didn't say what they were.Negroponte is an egomaniac as evidence by his isolation of Intel and recently blasting of Windows - it's as if OLPC's sucess is more important then the mission's success. If a for-profit manufacturer can make as cheap (if not cheaper) netbook, why not work with them on an OLPC variant? It's time for him to swallow his pride and learn it's not about who makes the laptop, it's about making sure they can be used effectively... OLPC is best served training and ensuring that these tools are used as opposed to manufacturing them.


I found your discussion quite interesting. A teacher in my school pushed for as many classrooms to have digital projectors and electronic touch boards to display them on., and Cisco (if I remember properly) gave laptops to every teacher (well... meant for the students, but whatever. Cisco threw a lot of money at thy old school). Some teachers took the program on, and used properly, a couple classrooms eliminated the use of textbooks. It appeared to be a superior education to me personally (plus with two classes I just had the teachers load all the saved info on a USB drive).
However... Most teachers didn`t use them, and many rooms had several thousands dollars in hardware going to waste, simply because they didn`t want to learn how to use the technology (was the reason for most).

BTW... Promethean > Smartboard.
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