New York Times tech writer David Pogue has a great overview and review of the XO Computer (aka $100 laptop).
This machine and the whole One Laptop Per Child project has been battered around by a variety of critics but in the accompanying video, Pogue makes a great point for all of them.
I can see why the bloggers are a little bit snarky about this laptop.
But think again. This laptop is not intended for the snarky bloggers. This laptop is intended for poor kids in other countries. And for that, I say, it’s amazing.
He also notes that solving the technology problems was nothing compared to the human ones.
No, the biggest obstacle to the XO’s success is not technology – it’s already a wonder – but fear. Overseas ministers of education fear that changing the status quo might risk their jobs. Big-name computer makers fear that the XO will steal away an overlooked two-billion-person market. Critics fear that the poorest countries need food, malaria protection and clean water far more than computers.
(The founder, Nicholas Negroponte’s, response: “Nobody I know would say, ‘By the way, let’s hold off on education.’ Education happens to be a solution to all of those same problems.”)
While I hope this promotion helps to kick start the OLPC project, the primary advantage to all this is that it will hopefully make people in this country more aware of global education issues.
And more open to this kind of inexpensive technology designed specifically for learning, instead of a re-branded generic business machine.