Thursday, July 16, 2009

Great posting on the One Laptop per Child

Of course the same could be said of many a library project. Human personnel and incentives are critical.
At the end of the day I am still asking myself if the computers are worth the money spent on them. The cost of the laptops was about $2300, enough to pay the tuition for 23 students for a year. Jes and I plan on using them occasionally, but I suspect that after we leave they will be relegated back to the stockroom. The computer teacher may use them to illustrate networking, but without commercial software, he can’t use them regularly in his classes. I am afraid that in the case of MCV the tech project has failed. In many ways the OPLC laptops at MCV illustrate why high-tech projects are so risky. The computer required charging, a difficult proposition with intermittent power, no converters, few plugs, and no power strips. The laptop design also failed to accommodate the population to which they were given. These inconveniences, combined with a lack of prerequisite computer knowledge, doomed the project and wasted thousands of dollars. This example would seem to demonstrate why appropriate technology should be embraced and high-tech projects dismissed. However, living in Malawi I have been exposed to a perspective which also should be given credence.


HT: Kim Dionne... great blog!

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