A lot has been said here at DailyTech about the XO Laptop and the lofty goals of the One Laptop Per Child Foundation (OLPC). The original goal was for the OLPC’s XO notebook to sell for $100 per unit, which never materialized with finished machined costing nearly double that amount.
Despite the cost issues the XO notebook has had some sales with Peru ordering 260,000 of the notebooks for use in its schools across the country. Peru faces some significant obstacles in the roll out and use of the XO notebook including teachers who lack what would be considered a quality education in most countries to towns and schools without electricity.
According to Technology Review, Peru is committed to the program and may even order more XO Notebooks if the program works well. What we consider poor here in America is often far from what other countries consider poor and this is very much the case in rural Peru where homes have no electricity and often no running water.
Part of the program of providing the XO notebooks to towns and villages in Peru involves providing solar power or generators to charge the notebooks. Most of the places the XO will see duty in Peru don’t have Internet access. One of the main components of the XO for its use in education is digital copies of books. Many students in the very poor Peruvian communities have never owned a book.
To keep digital content up to date on the XO notebooks teachers download updates for the Education Ministry office one per month when the pick up their paycheck according to Technology Review. The initial Peruvian test project was conducted in a small town with a previous Internet connection via satellite called Arahuay, described by Education ministry officials as “not poor enough” to actually receive XO Notebooks in the full program rollout.
Children in the town say they use their XO notebooks to send email, play games, take pictures, draw and perform calculations. The town internet connection is slow with web queries described as taking several minutes to execute.
A father of one of the children in the town said about is son using the XO Notebook, “He knows how to use the computer--he knows how to use every part of it [the XO notebook]. Above all, it is more knowledge for him."
Peruvian educators say what they hope to give children in Peru from the XO Notebook is hope and the opportunity to do something else with their lives other than to become farmers if they desire.