Wednesday, May 13, 2009

one laptop per child

i guess i never did this post either...

I think the concept of One Laptop Per Child should be our ULTIMATE goal, however deploying diffusion strategy NOW should not be an IMMEDIATE goal. I think when it comes to technology and developing countries, it becomes a "What came first?" equation. Do we give these countries all the technology they need in order to develop faster and remove themselves from poverty and war, or do other things like food and government intervention need to come first in order to achieve the level of technology desired? I believe the latter strategy must be deployed.

In my opinion, I don't think the issue is "will these kids be able to use this?" as much as "is this practical in these child's lives now?" is. Referencing Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs, food and shelter comes much before entertainment and mental stimulation. I think our eagerness to see these countries in Africa get on a fast track towards 1st world status has blinded us to the actual needs of these countries. While OLPC may be slightly practical in nations such as South Africa, who have a greater deal of development, it would gain much less momentum in a nation like Sudan. I think instead of asking wealthy nations to contribute to the program, ask them to contribute to one meal per child, or one home per family.

Disregarding my beliefs that One Laptop Per Child should not be our first initiative in Africa, I do believe in what it is trying to establish. Even though these children receiving the laptop may have no idea how to use it, there is a level of curiosity that I guarantee will be generated. I think that by sparking even the smallest bit of curiosity in what this machine is, and how it works, the rest will come. Getting these children started early in the processes of research and learning will be so beneficial for countries and will breed a new generation more eager to change their current situation.

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