[Editors note:  any mistakes in this post are the editor’s, not the contributor’s.  PB] Nicholas Negroponte, chairman of One Laptop per Child (OLPC), originally wished to provide inexpensive laptops to poor children in developing countries. That seminal vision is now being realized in places like the rural community of Gaire in Papua New Guinea where the deployment of laptops is attested to by the canonical images of eager children gazing upon their new devices.

Yet from the beginning some observers wanted low-priced individually-allocated laptops distributed in developed countries too. One commentator said “To have the United States be the only country that’s not in the OLPC agenda would be kind of ridiculous.” Indeed those were the words of Nicholas Negroponte, himself.

So we now have pictures of engrossed young students at the elementary school P.S. 5 in the Bronx in New York City. The blog OLPC in NYC is documenting the project and it says that in the pilot school, P.S. 5, “every child will receive an XO laptop”. Teaching Matters, an educational non-profit, is donating XO laptops to selected NYC classrooms. Laptops have already been placed in the Kappa IV middle school in NYC as reported in OLPC News.

School laptop programs have sometimes endured resistance, criticism and abandonment. For this project specific goals have been outlined:

The purpose of the pilot is two-fold. First, we want to determine if the OLPC device can significantly lower the cost of technology access for schools by lowering the total cost of ownership (hardware and ongoing maintenance.) Second, we will test this environment in conjunction with a curriculum designed to improve teacher practice in the teaching of writing. The curriculum has been designed to take best advantage of one to one computing environments.

The NYC laptop story was covered in the New York Sun. The city of Birmingham, Alabama, also has a pilot program with XO laptops.


  1. I had an overwhelming feeling of warmth as I read on this particular blog. I am a firm believer that if every child in the states were to have their very own computer (to do work with online or offline), it would literally increase a child’s perception of education as a whole. In today’s day and age, children are in total sync with the use of a personal computer. From social networking, video games, and online chatting, children can relate to the use of such a valuable tool. I think that if someone were trained at a very young age (at least 7-8) the fundamental advantages of having a computer (for scholastic activities), it would increase one’s diligence to get more assignments done on time. It would also decrease the amount of books and supplies one would have to bring to school. Eventually, if every child were to have the opportunity to have their own laptop, the only use of a pen and paper are for writing lessons and test-taking. What a wonderful would that would be: Better for the environment as well as better for our children.

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