In his talks about the One Laptop Per Child project, Nicholas Negroponte makes the point that marketing and distribution is a large cost they planned to do without.
Rather than sell single units, their plan is to sell millions of the little green boxes directly to national governments who will then take care of getting them to students.
At least that used to be the plan. According to the chief connectivity officer for the project, the OLPC group may sell individual machines, possibly through an established online marketer like eBay.
However, the public will get a special deal: buy two, get one. Not one free. One. The second one would go to a child in a developing country.
But the transaction wouldn’t end with the purchase.
The aim is to connect the buyer of the laptop with the child in the developing world who receives the machine.
“They will get the e-mail address of the kid in the developing world that they have, in effect, sponsored.”
Great idea! I’d love to see US schools buy OLPC machines for their own students and those in other countries, and then establish connections to help both groups learn and grow.
It’s also one more way to emphasize that edtech is not about hardware and software and networks. It’s all about communication and learning.