[Oberon] Re. OLPC - One Laptop Per Child

John Drake jmdrake_98 at yahoo.com
Wed Dec 13 22:47:11 MET 2006

--- Bob Walkden <bob at web-options.com> wrote:

> > -----Original Message-----
> > From: oberon-bounces at lists.inf.ethz.ch 
> > [mailto:oberon-bounces at lists.inf.ethz.ch] On
> Behalf Of 
> > Aubrey.McIntosh at Alumni.UTexas.Net
> > Sent: 13 December 2006 15:06
> > To: ETH Oberon and related systems
> > Subject: Re: [Oberon] Re. OLPC - One Laptop Per
> Child
> > 
> > On 12/13/06, easlab at absamail.co.za
> <easlab at absamail.co.za> wrote:
> > >
> > > OLPC_Human_Interface_Guidelines sounds good and
> I think some of
> > > its ideas will go into other products. But the
> original 
> > idea of villagers
> > > who are 100 km from mains electricity having
> computer access seems
> > > likely to fail.
> > >
> > 
> > Do those same villagers have cell phones?
> > 
> Many of them don't even have easy access to clean
> water and basic
> healthcare, and their children don't have classrooms
> or pencils or
> paper. Quite what they're expected to do with a PC
> is beyond me.
> Bob

And yet many do have access to cell phones, 
electricity, computers ect.  Check out this 


There people in 3rd world countries (many of them
African) sign up for micro loans.  These loans
have a 99% repayment rate.  And yes, they
sign up themselves over the internet.  Suprised?
Internet access is not that uncommon in poor
countries, although most use cybercafes.  (And
yes, some abuse this which is why we get so much
Nigerian "Help me recover the former dictators
billions" spam.)

As for pencils and paper, this could actually
help alievate that.  Countries have to spend
money buying new pencils and paper every year.
And textbooks go out of date.

The main issue would be would they get enough
from the technology to justify the initial 
expense?  I think the average American child 
with a laptop does more with MySpace than
anything else.  But the inclusion of 
Squeakland is promising as it encourages
end user programming.  As Papert once said
"We should teach kids to use computers rather
than teaching computers to use kids".

As for the clean water deal, there's an
easy way to make a water filter using nothing
more than clay, coffee grounds and some
cow dung.  Perhaps someday some child in
a poor country may run across this information
on a laptop. ;)



John M. Drake

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