PCs for the world’s children

I've pointed before to stories on the "Give 1, Get 1" program for Americans to help get laptops to kids in third-world countries, but this one in the Washington Post goes in-depth and shows the scope of the challenges. One challenge for the MIT people behind Give 1, Get 1 is competition at home. What Intel and Microsoft are doing to seed new markets around the world, though, is a benefit too. "By the end of the year, Intel [for example] will be running laptop pilot programs in schools in 30 countries with an eye to figuring out what kind of software services, Internet connectivity, local educational content and technical support are needed." There are also projects by Microsoft and NComputing (spinning off of eMachines). But the MIT program is focused more on children's education than on markets, its leaders say. What do they see in it for kids? "[Nicholas] Negroponte and [program president Walter] Bender believe that playing with their own laptops will engage children's intellects, spark creativity and provide an outlet for self-expression." Bender told the Post that, like vaccines, laptops aren't a cure. Vaccines allow bodies to manufacture cures; laptops alow brains to engage in education, to manufacture learning. [See also my earlier post on this.]

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