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OLPC a Hit in Remote Peruvian Village

ScuttleMonkey posted more than 6 years ago | from the whatever-turns-your-crank dept.

Education 187

mrcgran writes "The Chicago Tribune is running a feel-good story about the effects of OLPC on a remote village in Peru. 'Doubts about whether poor, rural children really can benefit from quirky little computers evaporate as quickly as the morning dew in this hilltop Andean village, where 50 primary school children got machines from the One Laptop Per Child project six months ago. At breakfast, they're already powering up the combination library/videocam/audio recorder/music maker/drawing kits. At night, they're dozing off in front of them — if they've managed to keep older siblings from waylaying the coveted machines. Peru made the single biggest order to date — more than 272,000 machines — in its quest to turn around a primary education system that the World Economic Forum recently ranked last among 131 countries surveyed.'"

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A shining path to success... (4, Insightful)

Harmonious Botch (921977) | more than 6 years ago | (#21809644)

Which may worry some people in power when impressionable children have access to all kinds of corrupting influences. "Daddy, what is 'capitalism'?" or "Teacher, why don't I have freedom of the press like my friends in America?"

I predict some kind of censorship - under the cover of 'protecting' them, of course - within a year.

Re:A shining path to success... (3, Informative)

MPAB (1074440) | more than 6 years ago | (#21809698)

Was the title [wikipedia.org] chosen intentionally?

Re:A shining path to success... (-1, Offtopic)

packeteer (566398) | more than 6 years ago | (#21809826)

[QUOTE=Miscreant]I agree completely with everything you said, as i do the same, but im not vegan. Aren't Trans fats worse for you than saturated though?[/QUOTE]

Not exactly. Saturated fats have a bad rep. They are bad however because they are the most difficult macro nutrient for your body to use. Many of the original studies that condemned saturated fat were actually testing TRANS fat (which is a saturated fat, artificially saturated). Many people now believe that saturated fat is not entirely bad and maybe beneficial if you eat it in MODERATION. It all seems to make sense to me, moderate and you are ok.

I would guess filling your face with burgers is probably not a good way to get saturated fat. However many people avoid eating things like cheese and nuts because they contain saturated fat. I don't think that is such a big deal as long as it is in moderation and part of an overall healthy diet.

I have heard of some vegans and vegetarians finding that their health improves to a level better than when they ever ate meat or purely "healthy" veggies when they finally eat more "less healthy" veggies such as nuts.

Re:A shining path to success... (1, Funny)

packeteer (566398) | more than 6 years ago | (#21809846)

whoops posted the wrong post to the wrong forum...

Re:A shining path to success... (1)

Harmonious Botch (921977) | more than 6 years ago | (#21810476)

Sure, but only because it was a pun. I have no interest in Maoists.

Re:A shining path to success... (4, Interesting)

TrippTDF (513419) | more than 6 years ago | (#21809724)

and I think your comment gets to the heart of what the OLPC is supposed to be- a liberating device that can bring the internet to everyone, regardless of geographic location... what if one of these kids turns out to have the brainpower of an Einstein or a Hawking? If they have internet access, the world may be able to recognize them in ways that it couldn't before.

Re:A shining path to success... (-1, Flamebait)

mh1997 (1065630) | more than 6 years ago | (#21809786)

If they have internet access, the world may be able to recognize them in ways that it couldn't before.

You mean like on their own amatuer porn site?

Re:A shining path to success... (4, Insightful)

palegray.net (1195047) | more than 6 years ago | (#21809940)

The older I get, the more convinced I become that many people gifted with truly exceptional intellects are frequently so discouraged by life that they essentially withdraw from society, functioning at what might be considered a "bare minimum" for most of their lives. I guess you could say the lucky ones find themselves in the right place, at the right time, with the right opportunities to excel presented to them. Sometimes all it takes is one opportunity.

On the other hand, the world has always been this way, and always will be as long as we're human in terms of how the word is defined now. It's sad to think about what might have been lost already in our brief history, so I like to focus on the good in this world. In my opinion, any efforts geared toward bettering the education of a society are worthwhile.

Re:A shining path to success... (4, Insightful)

mr.hawk (222616) | more than 6 years ago | (#21810402)

The older I get, the more convinced I become that many people gifted with truly exceptional intellects are frequently so discouraged by life that they essentially withdraw from society, functioning at what might be considered a "bare minimum" for most of their lives.

I think you could easily generalize this to include any individual that is not in the right place. Doesn't matter if it's maths, sports, crafts, arts, music or whatever else their good at. A good environment which fosters diversity and recognizes special skills makes all the difference.

Unfortunately it's probably impossible to cater to those that fall very far from the center of the mainstream.

What I'm trying to say is that society should - IMHO - constantly strive to encourage and recognize diversity.

Re:A shining path to success... (4, Insightful)

msuarezalvarez (667058) | more than 6 years ago | (#21809732)

Did you think of all that in the designated free speech zone?

Re:A shining path to success... (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21809770)

If you think that Peru is a commie state, your level of education is quite low, we are a free country ( and we have largely defeated those murderous commie pinkos called shining path ( I spit on the ground just thinking about that nefarious name) we have freedom of press, better news reporting than the ones I see in the US, the education outside the big cities is largely low BECAUSE of the lack of government interest, try visiting peru soime day, the biggest source of corruption there is from the government, not the other way around.

Mod parent up (1)

MPAB (1074440) | more than 6 years ago | (#21809828)

I'm from Perú. This guy DOES know what he's talking about.

Re:A shining path to success... (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21809832)

Better reporting then the ones you see in the US? And what prey tell do you found this baseless opinion on? National pride and Ethnocentrism? Yeah, though so ...

Just because you're 'brown' or a 'foreigner' doesn't mean you can provided an un-biased opinion or are less prone to ethnocentrism then Americans.

*sigh* ... cue Faux News jokes ...

Well, coward, I agree with the OP (3, Insightful)

WindBourne (631190) | more than 6 years ago | (#21809956)

The reason is that our press really is worthless now. They are VERY afraid of taking on the corruption within our gov. In particular, Sibel Edmunds has offered up all the info about the American Govs. interaction with Turkey, Afghanastan, pakastan, etc. So far, it has been shown that a number of congressman, and white house folks have taken money from Turkey. It supposedly includes, Delay, Rove, Cheney, Bush, Reid, etc. The problem is that W. and the DOJ have tied up Edmunds and prevents her from talking about it, or she will go to jail. She has OFFERED a 1 time deal to any major press of talking live about the issues. Why? Because she knows that she will do time after that, until the next president comes in. Edmunds would disappear (most likely to one of our off shore spots, and not the nice one at gitmo that was built for the press).

So, yes, the press in Peru were willing to report even when it meant their death, while NONE of the current American media is willing to simply broadcast Edmunds. They would not even be killed for it. IOW, our current American press is like you; a total coward. Oh, and Faux news does not even count as news. It is more akin to Pravda, than it is to any of the major news channel.

Re:Well, coward, I agree with the OP (1)

capnchicken (664317) | more than 6 years ago | (#21810186)

So you have a beef with the American press and you bring out a hot spot bullet point ... big deal. It's like you are showing me a piece of shit and a closed box and claiming that because you're showing me a piece of shit it means that whatever is in the closed box is not a piece of shit. For all I know, it could be just a bigger piece of shit.

Did it ever come across your pee brain that her story might have a few holes in it? It's sensationalist enough to already be IN A DOCUMENTARY [wikipedia.org] . But it doesn't mean it's credible (I'll give you that I don't know enough about it and will be checking out more of it later, but it's besides the point). Why disclose the NSA wiretaps or the whole Libby thing if our press is so scarred shitless? All you want is an excuse to bitch, and put non-Americans on a pedestal that they might not deserve, just because they happen to be NOT American.

Show the Peruvian journalists that have died for their stories, put up the proof about how great their journalism is. I believe that is what the GP is referring to.

Re:Well, coward, I agree with the OP (1)

tribecom (1005035) | more than 6 years ago | (#21810378)

Thanks for that lucid and well written rebuttal. I always love responses that begin with "I'll give you I don't enough about it ..." Then why fvcking reply? If you have to resort to comparing pieces of shit in a box to try to make your point, perhaps your point isn't worth making.

Re:Well, coward, I agree with the OP (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21810504)

That summary doesn't make sense, and smells of troll.

If the govt. were that big and powerful and evil, she would already have disappeared. Along with so many other people that have yet to disappear.

It's most likely that she's full of crap, or it'd be all over the damn news, as ratings equals money.

Re:A shining path to success... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21810198)

Ugh. Learn to spell, you dumbfuck retard. THAN is what you use when you COMPARE. THEN is for CONSEQUENCES. Better THAN, moron. And it's "PRAY tell", not prey, you chump.

Re:A shining path to success... (1)

rbanffy (584143) | more than 6 years ago | (#21810820)

Well... From what I see in my cable, I find CNN quite pale when compared to, say, BBC. I know it's a lousy example, but it kind of shows an important data point.

Re:A shining path to success... (4, Funny)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 6 years ago | (#21809836)

biggest source of corruption there is from the government, not the other way around.
Yeah, that's what he said: capitalism.

Re:A shining path to success... (1)

hcgpragt (968424) | more than 6 years ago | (#21810556)

Thank you!

Re:A shining path to success... (1)

Frosty Piss (770223) | more than 6 years ago | (#21809782)

Which may worry some people in power when impressionable children have access to all kinds of corrupting influences. "Daddy, what is 'capitalism'?" or "Teacher, why don't I have freedom of the press like my friends in America?"
And therein lies one of the biggest problems with this toy: Rather than a tool to teach basic education skills, it's primary use is as a political propaganda tool.

Re:A shining path to success... (0, Flamebait)

Catbeller (118204) | more than 6 years ago | (#21809852)

"Daddy, what is a union?"
"Daddy, what's a homer-segsual?"
"Daddy, why are we cutting taxes for the crazy rich?"
"Daddy, why was mommy tased?"
"Daddy, why did that soldier shoot that protestor dead...?"
"Daddy, why are we losing the house?"
"Daddy, why is Bush invading us?"
"Daddy, why did uncle Muhammed not come back from the American prison camp?"
"Daddy, why does god only love the USA?"
"Daddy, why did they blow mommy up?"

Knowledge. Keep it from kids until they're growed up right.

Re:A shining path to success... (0, Flamebait)

Catbeller (118204) | more than 6 years ago | (#21809878)

Forgot one:

"Daddy, why did the American soldier call me a terrorist sand n$%@er that wants to destroy Christians?"

I imagine that would come up a lot, OLPC or no.

Re:A shining path to success... (1)

phoebusQ (539940) | more than 6 years ago | (#21810200)

Yeah, I'm sure you know all about it.../rolleyes
Seriously, I know you're trying hard to be inflammatory and I'm taking the bait, but until you've actually been there, you really don't know what you're talking about.

gook, slope, hun, kraut, injun.... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21810604)

...the names change, but the actions..never. So why don't you tell him what a "good haji" is? How about explaining why they don't keep a public "body count"? Why is it they are skewing the US casualty figures by not counting guys who croak once they hit the medevac plane on the way out? What happened to the one trillion in "lost" dollars that good ole rummy was reporting on on September TENTH, 2001? Why are they building the world's largest embassy and a slew of permanent military bases when they keep claiming that we are only over there temporarily? Who are the badguys again, the sunni, or the shia? What is the predominant sect in Iran again, and in Saudi Arabia? And is there any sort of democracy in Saudi Arabia, can they vote in new rulers yet, can women vote or even drive, when do they get put on the terrorist axis of sometimes evil and sometimes they aren't list? On exactly which date did Saddam Hussein switch from being an ally against Iran to the "badguy"? Why is it the dove hunters company was allowed to keep doing buiness with Iran with nuclear projects right up until recently, even if we had sanctions against Iran? On exactly which date did Osama bin Laden stop being a full time paid CIA asset, and who gave that order? Why are new grunts still being told by recruiters that Saddam was allied with him and part of the 9-11 attack, and that the US is in Iraq as revenge for that?



You want more, there are hundreds, and those are just some of the more fluffier low-rent surface level inconsistencies. In other words, you are being played for a fool, wake up man, you're a *tool*.



BTW, you just lost your civilian gun ownership rights, welcome to the wonderful world of being a war veteran. Oh, you didn't hear about it? One single negative anything and they classify you as "mentally incompetent" and it is now illegal for you to purchase or possess, you and hundreds of thousands (probably millions, along with kids today who got prescribed meds for ADD and ADHD-whoops, mentally unstable for life flag) more going all the way back to the remaining WW2 vets.



Have a nice day

Re:A shining path to success... (1)

hedwards (940851) | more than 6 years ago | (#21810896)

Actually the GP had a good point. What does happen when a child runs into that kind of propaganda? While it is hardly a popular viewpoint to call Arabs sandniggers, the term does exist and it is one that I wouldn't personally use outside of discussion of epithets. A lot of similarly disgusting words can't be discussed because they are constantly being censored without any particular thought as to the context. But hey, I've got karma to burn.

The bigger issue is that there are a lot of neo-nazis, supremacist groups, jihadists, crusaders, anti-semites and separatists of all types, and at some point any group of people suddenly accessing the internet are going to want to know the answers posed by individuals on those sites, regardless of whether or not they are in the group.

I wouldn't personally interpret that comment to apply to any particular group of people, but regardless of which group, the questions of that sort will come up at some point, and having independent study aids will always come with the risk of students learning things that are out of context or just plain wrong.

Re:A shining path to success... (1, Interesting)

Catbeller (118204) | more than 6 years ago | (#21810042)

Right back atcha: Flamebait was the original poster implying that OLPC would open up the students' world to let them learn about the commies and leftists that rule their world.

The real lessons are about the IMF loans, US historical interventionism, and a vicious right-wing establishment trying to manhandle the world into their control. When we control the horizontal and vertical, we filter out our nasty little secrets. The OLPC is much more likely to open people's world into how we mess with them, not how Che Guevarra was Satan's puppy. Hence my laundry list of questions, for the sarcasm impaired, of a child who actually reads about modern world history. Our hands are on most nastiness kids are experiencing in a lot of countries. A little light on the cockroaches won't hurt. But man, does it make the rightists squawk.

Re:A shining path to success... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21810320)

Uncle Mohammed, what's an atheist?

Re:A shining path to success... (1)

tehBoris (1120961) | more than 6 years ago | (#21809866)

"Daddy, what is 'capitalism'?" or "Teacher, why don't I have freedom of the press like my friends in America?"

Uhhhh... last time I checked, peruvians [wikipedia.org] already had these.

Re:A shining path to success... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21810404)

Thats what people should do before saying something stupid... check wikipedia if they dont know what they are talking about

Re:A shining path to success... (1)

MBCook (132727) | more than 6 years ago | (#21809974)

If it takes a year, don't you think it will be too late. Some of the kids will have already learned the concepts by then. They'll share the knowledge. Other kids (and adults) will hear about these concepts, and research them. Don't you think they'd notice that what they used to be able to look up, now they can't? Don't you think they'd question this?

If they wanted to do that, then a year is far too long. It will be too late by then.

Re:A shining path to success... (2, Informative)

gad_zuki! (70830) | more than 6 years ago | (#21809988)

Huh? Are you crazy or ignornat? Peru is a capitalist country since about Fujimori's term in the 80s. The "shining path" that you slyly mention in your post title is a failed marxist movement. I cant imagine the various olpc countries having such a problem with the olpc, especially Perum perhaps with the exception of libya. Peruvians know that communism is a bad idea, doesnt scale, and has been a worldwide failure which usually leads into massive human rights violations and mass starvation, comrade.

Re:A shining path to success... (1)

MPAB (1074440) | more than 6 years ago | (#21810080)

Fujimori's term was in the 90s, and he dismantled both communist guerrillas (Shining Path and MRTA). In the 80s we recovered democracy after a communist dictatorship in the 70s that confiscated lands and enterprises only to ruin them afterwards. Still, both governments in the 80s were economical and political flops that led to a brutal inflation and let the guerrillas run rampage and vietnamize the country.
In his second consecutive term (95-2000), Fujimori's government became a demagogue cleptocracy that successfully erased his previous achievements.

Re:A shining path to success... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21810346)

Don't worry, noone will ask a teacher that question.

Attack of the Reality-based Community (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21810440)

Considering all media outlets in the USA are owned by one of three mega-conglomerates, I must have failed to see when the US acquired a "free press". With all the sound and fury over the "liberal media" which fails to take conservatives and their hardcore corruption and plundering of America to task, I must have missed when the press became "free".

BTW, the OLPC is a flop. The device is buggy, it can't carry non-Latin character sets, which I guess is irrelevant since the keyboard is too small even for a child's fingers. And, the boobs in charge can't even get any devices produced, much less sold. The device went from $100 to $200 to it's current price of $400 for two (one being purchased by a future disappointed customer in America, the other "donated"... allegedly).

There was recently a big article on teh OLPC [pcworld.com] which lays bare the entire failure. Not surprisingly, it didnt get any play on Slashdot, since they are tied to the OLPC failure.

Then there is also the Washington Post's piece [washingtonpost.com] which likewise exposes that mean old reality.

Reality just seems to be biased against both conservatives and FOSSies. Not surprising, since they have the same selfish and unrealistic mindset.

Education (3, Insightful)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 6 years ago | (#21809670)

Education is extremely important. All those saying "well, what they really need is better medicine, food, etc." what I have to say is: Give a man a fish and he'll eat for a day. Teach a man to fish and he'll eat for the rest of his life.

Re:Education (2, Funny)

phillips321 (955784) | more than 6 years ago | (#21809708)

i'd like to see how fishing is done with a laptop....(even though i agree with your comment)

es:Pesca (5, Insightful)

tepples (727027) | more than 6 years ago | (#21809784)

i'd like to see how fishing is done with a laptop
  1. Read articles about fishing in Spanish Wikipedia [wikipedia.org] .
  2. Explore the articles' references.
  3. Teach yourself to fish.
  4. Catch fish.
  5. Sell fish.
  6. PROFIT!
Am I missing a step???

Re:es:Pesca (2, Funny)

autophile (640621) | more than 6 years ago | (#21810002)

5. Sell fish.
6. PROFIT!

Am I missing a step???

5 1/2. ????

Your Slashdot card is hereby revoked.

Re:es:Pesca (1)

akijikan (994811) | more than 6 years ago | (#21810810)

you're missing ??????

Re:Education (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21810130)

That's why I told'em to throw in car battery with that computer thingy. Peeps gotta eat, too.

Re:Education (3, Funny)

eln (21727) | more than 6 years ago | (#21809720)

Give a man Internet access, and he'll surf porn all day and starve to death.

Re:Education (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21809916)

If that were true, Americans must not have internet access otherwise obesity wouldn't be such a problem.

Re:Education (0)

fbjon (692006) | more than 6 years ago | (#21810020)

Insightful? Now look here, how many of you slashdotters find that you surf porn to the detriment of any other activities? (sex excluded)


Porn is great and all, but damn, there really are better and more interesting things to do with spare time, and it doesn't take that long to realize it, once you're over 16.

Re:Education (1)

rbanffy (584143) | more than 6 years ago | (#21810924)

By creating that opportunity, we could remove any genetic tendency for it from future generations. Would be wonderful.

Re:Education (1)

sound+vision (884283) | more than 6 years ago | (#21809766)

There are much more effective ways of teaching than just throwing them laptops. You can't jump straight from a pre-Renaissance style of living into the computer age. What we should rather be doing is setting up decent schools that teach them skills they can actually use to benefit their country and lives TODAY. They don't need computer skills or the internet. They need the skills to set up their own power and water infrastructure, and the knowledge to set up an effective society and system of government. Computers will follow once these are in place.

Re:Education (2, Insightful)

msuarezalvarez (667058) | more than 6 years ago | (#21809856)

So you want to teach the kids how to set up power plants and water infrastructure?

Re:Education (1)

Catbeller (118204) | more than 6 years ago | (#21810000)

Now that they have access, they'll teach themselves.

Re:Education (4, Insightful)

MBCook (132727) | more than 6 years ago | (#21809932)

I'll ignore all the normal arguments (like the fact there are other groups working on that kind of stuff). Let me ask you this:

Which is better? A disruptive technology now, or an infrastructure in 40 years?

If you give the kids laptops now, they learn to learn. They learn some physics. They learn some science. They learn some this, they learn some that. They are like renaissance people, learning a little about everything. They get the benefit of being able to look up the solutions other cultures have come up for to fix problem. They can improve their world in the next few years, even if in small ways. As they get older and more kid go through things, things improve. Some kids break out of the cycle, and they may decide to help donate to get others out.

Option two is to put up schools. We'll ignore the problem of keeping the funding going. You make the schools. If you can get the kids into the schools and get them to keep going (read the article to see how the OLPC is doing this), it's still 9 years to get the kid into the high-school range. They are limited by whatever materials they get. By the time they make a difference in the world, it may be 20+ years. It's a very long term investment. In the mean time, things won't change too much. Without the ability to go look up how someone solved problem X, they are forced to reinvent the wheel sometimes, slowing progress.

People have been trying the school option in the US and basically every other country on Earth for a long time. Charities have been setting up schools in poor countries (in Africa, South America, and other places, for example) for easily 30 years. Yet those countries still have these problems. Now we have a way that may improve things faster.

Worst case scenario: the kids stay in school and things happen the old-fashioned way.

All this ignores more immediate stuff. People in little villages would have to make pots, and toys, and many other things. There are people who, if given access (through eBay, for example) 10-100x what those people sell the things for right now. All they need is access to the market. It wouldn't take much of that to improve the lives of many people, spreading the wealth as they improved their lives.

Re:Education (1)

nude-fox (981081) | more than 6 years ago | (#21809902)

yep makes sense

just like this one

build a man a fire he'll be warm for a night, set a man on fire and he'll be warm for the rest of his life

Re:Education (1)

arb phd slp (1144717) | more than 6 years ago | (#21810134)

Education is extremely important. All those saying "well, what they really need is better medicine, food, etc." what I have to say is: Give a man a fish and he'll eat for a day. Teach a man to fish and he'll eat for the rest of his life.
medicine is an even better example than food for why OLPC is important. The way to provide healthcare in the long term is to make it so the graduates of local schools are capable of attending a university and medical school. It will be decades before the effects of this disruptive technology are visible.

(Typing this post on an XO)

Re:Education (1)

DrSkwid (118965) | more than 6 years ago | (#21810234)

He'll eat until the fish run out, then wonder what he can do now he's destroyed the ecosystem, that's if he hasn't died of mercury poisoning first.

ob (3, Funny)

Hognoxious (631665) | more than 6 years ago | (#21809672)

Huh? I thought they'd concluded it was a meteorite? [guardian.co.uk]

Too early? (3, Insightful)

DefenderThree (920248) | more than 6 years ago | (#21809740)

I hate to be a buzzkill, but I think it's too early to start praising the success of the XOs just yet. Kids love new things, especially things that look like toys. It's no surprise that they're getting so much attention right now, especially since they just came in. Let's see a story in a few months or so about the Peruvian XOs and their educational benefits once the novelty wears off and the laptops start having problems that the kids will have to fix.

Re:Too early? (3, Interesting)

HaloZero (610207) | more than 6 years ago | (#21809792)

And in this we'll see the XO version of a 'geek' - the power user who is more apt at correcting an outstanding issue with the OLPC than his or her peers. He has a problem, and it's fixed. His buddy has the same problem. 'Hey, let me look at that for you.' Fixed. Social skills on the up-and-coming, hopefully more successful than the rest of us.

Christmas eve and I'm in the office. What a fucking loser.

Re:Too early? (2, Interesting)

Frosty Piss (770223) | more than 6 years ago | (#21809844)

Let's see a story in a few months or so about the Peruvian XOs and their educational benefits once the novelty wears off and the laptops start having problems that the kids will have to fix.
From the article you didn't read...

50 primary school children got machines from the One Laptop Per Child project six months ago.
And...

For every 100 units it will distribute to students, Peru is buying one extra for parts. But there is no tech support program. Students and teachers will have to do it. "What you want is for the kids to do the repairs," said Negroponte, who believes such tinkering is itself a valuable lesson. "I think the kids can repair 95 percent of the laptops."
Like most computers these days, looks like repairs are "remove and replace".

Re:Too early? (4, Interesting)

DrSkwid (118965) | more than 6 years ago | (#21810348)

One interesting feature of Mumbai life I recently witnessed is the pavement mobile phone fixing shop; soldering iron, some manuals, a few broken phones and it's a working handset from a box of scrap.

Re:Too early? (3, Insightful)

hey! (33014) | more than 6 years ago | (#21810828)

One interesting feature of Mumbai life I recently witnessed is the pavement mobile phone fixing shop; soldering iron, some manuals, a few broken phones and it's a working handset from a box of scrap.


Child's play, really, for the country that produced Srinivasa Ramanujan.

The most exciting thing about this project is the number of potential geniuses in the world who heretofore have had little or no access, or only one way access to information.

Re:Too early? (1)

Nethemas the Great (909900) | more than 6 years ago | (#21810726)

I wouldn't be quick with such talk. You seem to not realize that it's the western kids that are so completely jaded (thanks Madison Avenue) and treat things as ten minute novelties. These laptops are going into societies where a box of crayons is coveted as gold.

Re:Too early? (1)

couchslug (175151) | more than 6 years ago | (#21810832)

"Let's see a story in a few months or so about the Peruvian XOs and their educational benefits once the novelty wears off and the laptops start having problems that the kids will have to fix."

The geeks among them (there will always be geeks) will use the working lappies to learn how to fix the borked ones, and that will be just as valuable to them as similar experience was to us.

A nice rebuttal (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21809748)

Some mean spirited folks have been praying the OLPC is a disaster. Yes the OLPC has competition now from Intel and ASUS, but those programs wouldn't have existed without the OLPC. I hope in years to come OLPC is a huge success. Negroponte deserves karma for trying something that can help many lives. The naysayers meanwhile can should back to their Plasma TVs watching American Idol.

OLPC and Universal Health Care (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21809752)

Most of the talk on tech sites has focused on Microsoft trying to stuff their unwanted OS onto the laptop and getting the hardware specs increased to handle their OS, but there is a strange and sad reaction that I see to the laptop that mirrors the reaction to universal health care:

Poor people are supposed to be poor.

You can't have winners in life when there are no losers. Poor people are supposed to be sitting around in filth like Michael Palin in Monty Python and the Holy Grail. And poor people are supposed to sit around in public hospitals for hours waiting for substandard care and dying early. That's their job in life.

How can a white middle to upper class American feel smug about themselves when poor people are getting the same care as they are and have access to information technology to better their lot in life?

Re:OLPC and Universal Health Care (1)

Catbeller (118204) | more than 6 years ago | (#21809972)

And the public hospitals are being demolished in New Orleans, along with the public schools. The Heritage Foundation large and in charge, telling the poor to get the hell out.

Re:OLPC and Universal Health Care (4, Insightful)

chatgris (735079) | more than 6 years ago | (#21810106)

> How can a white middle to upper class American feel smug about themselves when poor people are getting the same care as they are and have access to information technology to better their lot in life?

They can't when they might work hard to earn their better care and technology, and others just think they are entitled to it because they are poor. I scrimp and save every penny to put myself through school, without any government assistance or student loans. I don't smoke or drink. The "poor" students at my university, who go out to pubs a couple times a week and smoke, put spare time into volunteering, then complain about being too poor to pay for education, expect taxpayers (like myself) to fund their lifestyles for them.

I agree it's a whole different ballgame in Africa. But on a domestic scale, when I do without to save up so that I can get something better, it doesn't automatically mean that I should subsidize those who spend all of their disposable income, or subsidize those who think that us "nerds" are stupid for all of our hard work when they regularly go out and party.

I don't have a social life, I work very hard to look after myself, save diligently, and as such I am well off financially as compared to my peers. Now I should just give my money to others?

And yes, I'm white and male. I apologise, because it seems lately that it's something I should be ashamed of. Even though I started off with less than most of my peers.

Re:OLPC and Universal Health Care (1)

antiseptic_poetry (1022107) | more than 6 years ago | (#21810928)

They can't when they might work hard to earn their better care and technology, and others just think they are entitled to it because they are poor.

The point of the GP (and this thread in general) is that *everyone* should be entitled to education and heathcare, regardless of being rich and poor. You've kind of missed the point haven't you.

I don't have a social life, I work very hard to look after myself, save diligently, and as such I am well off financially as compared to my peers. Now I should just give my money to others?

Wow, what an incrediblely "me-me-me" attitude. I take it you're either incredible self-centred or a vigilant anti-socialist. Either way, I'm guessing you're an American.

Re:OLPC and Universal Health Care (5, Insightful)

Cal Paterson (881180) | more than 6 years ago | (#21810224)

You can't have winners in life when there are no losers.
You really, really need to learn some economic theory. To put it bluntly and briefly: one party does not have to lose in order for another to win. Go read Adam Smith.

Re:OLPC and Universal Health Care (1)

i.of.the.storm (907783) | more than 6 years ago | (#21810410)

*whoosh!* GP was saying that that mentality is a sad reaction to the OLPC, not that that's what he believes.

Re:OLPC and Universal Health Care (1)

gomoX (618462) | more than 6 years ago | (#21810934)

While he reads Adam Smith you should go read some newspapers.

I'm sure technology helps, but... (1)

palegray.net (1195047) | more than 6 years ago | (#21809848)

Quoth the headline: "Peru made the single biggest order to date -- more than 272,000 machines -- in its quest to turn around a primary education system that the World Economic Forum recently ranked last among 131 countries surveyed."

I suspect there may be other issues at play here aside from lack of computing resources. Many nations have fewer technological resources than the USA, for example, but somehow manage to maintain reasonably well educated populaces.

Re:I'm sure technology helps, but... (0, Redundant)

Frosty Piss (770223) | more than 6 years ago | (#21809886)

Many nations have fewer technological resources than the USA, for example, but somehow manage to maintain reasonably well educated populaces.
That's because computers are not needed to teach basic education. In fact they are not needed to teach advanced education either. These little toys are a distraction from the actual educational needs of these people, and primarily serve to satisfy Westerners need to worship technology over knowledge and make us all feel good about our Consumer Lifestyle that the rest of the world pays for.

Re:I'm sure technology helps, but... (3, Informative)

Catbeller (118204) | more than 6 years ago | (#21809950)

A communication link is not a toy. They can learn to read and write and pledge allegiance to their flag, but they previously only could learn what was fed to them. Now they can read EVERYthing. They don't need no, education... Not going to be a comfortable century for the Catholic Church and government censors.

Re:I'm sure technology helps, but... (1)

Frosty Piss (770223) | more than 6 years ago | (#21810204)

A communication link is not a toy. They can learn to read and write and pledge allegiance to their flag, but they previously only could learn what was fed to them. Now they can read EVERYthing. They don't need no, education... Not going to be a comfortable century for the Catholic Church and government censors.
What you are describing is a propaganda tool, not an educational tool. These kids need to learn to read and write and do math and understand mechanical concepts before they hit the Interweb to start and read political blogs.

Re:I'm sure technology helps, but... (1)

harlows_monkeys (106428) | more than 6 years ago | (#21810336)

A communication link is not a toy. They can learn to read and write and pledge allegiance to their flag, but they previously only could learn what was fed to them. Now they can read EVERYthing

So their education will be what they randomly find on the internet? That doesn't sound like a recipe for success.

The internet is a great educational tool, with guidance. But is that guidance going to be provided in Peru, or are they just throwing hardware at the problem of their poor educational system and hoping that it magically does something?

Re:I'm sure technology helps, but... (2, Insightful)

palegray.net (1195047) | more than 6 years ago | (#21809976)

I completely agree with the sentiment of your post. If I had to make up a short list of things Peru might need to better their educational system, it might include such novelties as:

* More teachers.

* Better educated teachers.

* Better teaching facilities (nice laptop, too bad you don't have a desk).

* Improved teaching materials (textbooks from 1843 don't really cut it, although good books don't have to be this year's edition, either).

I could always be wrong, but I don't think I am. Sadly, the short list above describes what's also needed in many inner-city school systems in the United States. Ever visited a public high school in south Atlanta? They probably need as much help as some third-world nations.

Re:I'm sure technology helps, but... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21810260)

Ever visited a public high school in south Atlanta? They probably need as much help as some third-world nations.
South Atlanta is a third-world nation.

Re:I'm sure technology helps, but... (3, Informative)

emilng (641557) | more than 6 years ago | (#21810226)

What a sad cynical viewpoint you have.
Who are you to say what the educational needs of "these people" are?
Should they only be taught the skills they need to stay poor as another poster put it?
The goal of the OLPC and any good education program should not be to somehow inject students with information in the hope that they learn something but to enable them to discover the joys of learning on their own.

I think this is a great program because it mirrors my own early interest in computers. We were using the Commodore Pet computers in the computer lab in elementary school. Even with the primitive cassette tape drives and monochrome green monitors of the day it was enough to inspire me to want to have a computer of my own more than anything else in the world. Now did I NEED to have a computer? I don't think so. But as someone reading a site proclaiming "News for nerds, stuff that matters" the need to worship technology goes hand in hand with knowledge. Without a computer at that age I probably wouldn't have had the exposure to the immense amount of knowledge that pushed me in the direction that led me to become a professional developer.

With the OLPC which you called a "little toy," students can shoot photos, make movies, draw, create music and even learn to program. Given these opportunities that they wouldn't normally have I think there is a much better chance of the students growing beyond where they would be with only being taught the bare minimum basic education.

Re:I'm sure technology helps, but... (0)

Frosty Piss (770223) | more than 6 years ago | (#21810486)

Who are you to say what the educational needs of "these people" are?
Who are YOU?

Re:I'm sure technology helps, but... (1)

Cal Paterson (881180) | more than 6 years ago | (#21810278)

Yeah, I never learnt anything from wikipedia either. Computers are useless!

Re:I'm sure technology helps, but... (1)

Antique Geekmeister (740220) | more than 6 years ago | (#21810788)

Please don't complain about how the peasants don't need fancy museums when what the laptop gives them is the electronic equivalent of chalk and a chalkboard to work with.

Having visited Arahuay in October. (5, Interesting)

jg (16880) | more than 6 years ago | (#21809860)

Carla Gomez's trip report had prepared me intellectually for what I would find when I visited in mid-October, but nothing can really convey the emotional impact. Here are some of the notes I took talking with the teachers. This was about 4-5 months after the trial started, using our B2 systems which were much slower and much inferior software. Sometime, maybe I'll have a few minutes to blog about it.

Impact on students and teachers in Arahuay

I took as complete notes as I could talking with each of the teachers in turn (unfortunately, I forgot to get their names); translation slowed things enough that I believe the notes are pretty complete, though it may have also introduced errors. They echo Carla's excellent report, but are now months later:

Two children have come to the Arahuay school specifically because of the laptops who would not have previously attended.

The children are sharing much more: they take pictures and videos and share them.

The children are teachers too.

The teachers see much improved conduct. One child (who often arrives hungry) who has been sad and aggressive now loves to work on the OLPC. He is working more with other children and his behavior has improved.

One of the children has vision problems; is cross eyed and has one damaged eye (Carla will remember the child, I'm sure). Using the laptop has improved the child's ability to focus her eyes and work.

Another teacher noted that small children, ages 6-7, are learning much faster. The web browser is the most popular/important activity, followed by the camera.

The activities they use most are the browser, paint, calculator, write.

The children use the internet to find information of interest.

One child, who is from Lima, has learned much in Arahuay and is very happy about the OLPC.

Another teacher said the children have changed: they have more concentration, mental ability.

The children's concept reception is much better than before. Despite the use of US keyboards (all we had at the time), the children have had little problem adapting, and have figured out all they keys.

A third teacher said the internet is the most interesting.

The children are showing more abilities, are more creative, their behavior is better.

The children were selfish about the computers at first, but now share and discover with them, showing the teachers and other students what they have discovered.

Children who had previously been interested in power (bully?) have forgotten power and are sharing.

The children are showing better attention and organization.

Students are learning about the world, and now feel part of it. They are now interested in learning other languages, which they had not wanted to do before. Creating a web site on Arahuay has made them feel part of the world. Impact on the teachers:

They have started to research topics on the internet and have practiced to use the computer.

The teachers have more ways to plan and improve the class.

Another teacher said the computer was wonderful for her. Information on the internet had improved both her and the children.

Their jobs are easier now.

One of the teachers asked for mind-mapper software, which they have used. We should install freemind on the servers and explore how feasible it is for packaging as an activity (it is Java based).

But the high point was the eight year old girl who came up to me shyly and gave me a kiss....

BTW, if anyone speaks Quechua or Aymara (or other languages), please help at: https://dev.laptop.org/translate/.

Please come help!

- Jim Gettys, OLPC

Re:Having visited Arahuay in October. (1)

Catbeller (118204) | more than 6 years ago | (#21809928)

You know, with so much to be negative about... it's so good to see this happening. And shining proof that people anywhere are ready to step up, given the shot. If you give children the tools, they will build you a new world. They don't need charity as much as they need access. They're going to surprise us all.

As for the we-should-worry-about-their-food-first crowd, well, appears Abraham Maslow still has something to teach us.

Re:Having visited Arahuay in October. (4, Interesting)

fv (95460) | more than 6 years ago | (#21809966)

Thanks for the notes, and I'm delighted to hear about the successes that OLPC is having (even if you haven't yet met your initial distribution goals). It is great to read articles like this one about improving the lives of thousands of kids in Peru.

Given the network capabilities of this machine, we are working to ensure that the Nmap Security Scanner [insecure.org] continues to work well on the OLPC. Maybe someday it can be included, though that raises the issue of kids using it responsibly. Still, it can be quite useful for debugging network connectivity issues as well as testing that their own machines are secure. A side effect of this work is that keeps Nmap lean and working well on low-resource PCs, phones, and PDAs besides the OLPC.

On Friday we received the three units we ordered through give-one-get-one and I've been playing with mine ever since! Yesterday I took and posted a bunch of pictures of the device [insecure.org] .

Keep up the good work!
Fyodor [insecure.org]

Re:Having visited Arahuay in October. (1)

CodyRazor (1108681) | more than 6 years ago | (#21809978)

Your comment about the child with vision problems made me think, if these children are spending most of their day in front of crappy lcds are we dooming a generation to poor eyesight?

perhaps a future e-ink screen or something like that might help...

XO display vs. e-ink (3, Interesting)

mbrubeck (73587) | more than 6 years ago | (#21810064)

The XO screen has a 200dpi grayscale reflective mode that's a lot like e-ink. Comparing my XO to my friend's Kindle, the XO has lower contrast but much higher resolution. Both are quite easy on the eyes.

Re:XO display vs. e-ink (1)

ColdWetDog (752185) | more than 6 years ago | (#21810460)

The XO screen has a 200dpi grayscale reflective mode that's a lot like e-ink. Comparing my XO to my friend's Kindle, the XO has lower contrast but much higher resolution. Both are quite easy on the eyes.

Really? Where did you get your XO? Mine just popped up out of FedEx and it has a backlit color screen. Quite nice, actually, but my impression was that they were greyscale....

Did I miss something (again)?

Re:XO display vs. e-ink (1)

ColdWetDog (752185) | more than 6 years ago | (#21810550)

Well, what I'm missing is the the concept of RTFM. It's an interesting display. Appears as a greyscale with the backlight off and as a color display with the backlight on. Cool.

Re:Having visited Arahuay in October. (2)

CodyRazor (1108681) | more than 6 years ago | (#21810092)

Also made me think perhaps this will have such a great positive impact on education in the third world that people in the west will rethink our archaic education systems, which only instill and encourage poor social behaviour where this seems to do the opposite.

Thanks for sharing that (1)

theurge14 (820596) | more than 6 years ago | (#21810194)

That just made my Christmas.

And sorry, I don't speak Quechua or Aymara but I do know a few Elvish phrases. :)

Who would thought I was sentimental? (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21809894)

You know, it's almost enough to make an old geek cry, imagining these kids learning about computers and becoming proto-geeks, who otherwise might have lived their entire lives without ever seeing a laptop or using the internet.

A great news (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21809948)

So they'll be browsing Slashdot when they should be harvesting the crops. I welcome our new underage Peruvian overlords.

This story (1)

Daltin (1153533) | more than 6 years ago | (#21810012)

It makes me feel warm inside despite having no contact or influence with the OLPC project.

I bet its a hit (-1, Redundant)

nurb432 (527695) | more than 6 years ago | (#21810124)

As a new shiny laptop is much more important then lets say, food or medicine?

Re:I bet its a hit (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21810398)

Your post is redundant, and a standard argument used buy grumblers to slap around charities. It's not a matter of choosing one of the other. You can do both.

What is the impact on education? (2, Interesting)

supersat (639745) | more than 6 years ago | (#21810262)

While I'm a fan of the OLPC project (I'm writing this on my own XO laptop), and think it has the potential to improve education dramatically, the article didn't say much about how the laptop has affected learning. Sure, the kids love them, but aside from mentioning that many of them aspire to be something other than farmers, there wasn't much evidence presented that the laptop improved education.

Re:What is the impact on education? (1)

Loke the Dog (1054294) | more than 6 years ago | (#21810434)

Well, does anyone claim this will improve the learning? I don't know, i thought this was more about making education cheaper in the long run and all the other features as ways of making the children more aware of the world that surrounds them, and in that way being an important part of their education.

Call me Scrooge but... (0)

ray-auch (454705) | more than 6 years ago | (#21810538)

This doesn't sound all that healthy:

At breakfast, they're already powering up the combination library/videocam/audio recorder/music maker/drawing kits. At night, they're dozing off in front of them

My kids would (did once) do this too, on an ordinary PC - doesn't need any particular special kit. They don't get to do it now because they run into time limits etc. I've set those limits because I happen to think this behaviour is _not_ healthy or desirable (and IME leads to really tired, foul-tempered kids).

These OLPCs are most likely going into homes where the parents are not computer literate and will probably never learn as much about them as their kids. They won't be as able to restrict their kids and prevent them spending all their time on the computer instead of, say, going outside and kicking a ball.

Maybe this social experiment will turn out to be good for the kids - but from that quote above and my experience with kids, I'm skeptical.

So get this (-1, Troll)

mbstone (457308) | more than 6 years ago | (#21810562)

My kid wants a OLPC. But you can't just buy one. My kid isn't a good, African kid, she's a bad, American kid. So the units aren't available at Fry's or Toys'R'Us. There are maybe 4 or 5 of 'em on eBay. And if you want to buy from the manufacturer, not only is there no promised delivery date, but you actually are forced to buy two of 'em and donate one of 'em to good, African kids.

So I think I will get a used WinMe laptop, port Linux onto it, and give it to her until the supply of eBay OLPCs improves.

Oh, and another get-this: There are, intentionally, no support or service facilities for bad, American kids.

Re:So get this (1)

Antique Geekmeister (740220) | more than 6 years ago | (#21810876)

I suspect you think those cripples take all the good parking spaces, too. They've got enough to deal with: let them have a bit of help getting a cheap, grade school suitable machine. You've got access to better hardware in the junk bin of businesses replacing hardware, or your nearest supermarket bulletin board: these people don't.

Full report by Carla Gomez, with pictures (4, Informative)

kbahey (102895) | more than 6 years ago | (#21810822)

Elsewhere in this thread, you will find a comment [slashdot.org] by jg (Jim Gettys). It has many things that at first I believed to be exaggerations, or just a glowing review from an OLPC staffer.

But, I found that all of what he said is present in detail, and pictures, on Carla Gomez's OLPC in Arahuay [laptop.org] .

Really eye opening. Keep up the good work all.
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