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OLPC founder, Negroponte, has a few words for Intel on low-cost laptops

Nicholas Negroponte, founder of the "One Laptop Per Child" initiative, accused chip maker Intel of undermining the OLPC by selling its own cut-price laptop, the Classmate.  Negroponte claims that Intel is trying to drive him out of the market.

According to BBC, Negroponte said that Intel hurt his mission in trying to distribute laptops to kids in developing countries "enormously".  Intel's chairman, Craig Barrett, has denied all claims of undercutting Negroponte's mission, stating, "We're not trying to drive [him] out of business. We're trying to bring capability to young people."

Though the hardware specifications differ between Intel’s low-cost laptops and Negroponte's, OLPC founder believes that the main problem is that his machines use AMD processors, Intel's main competitor. "Intel and AMD fight viciously," he told CBS. "We're just sort of caught in the middle."

Professor Negroponte also claimed that Intel has distributed marketing literature to governments entailing negative aspects of the One Laptop Per Child and outlining superior aspects of the Classmate.  Some of the literature had titles such as "the shortcomings of the One Laptop per Child approach".  Intel responded by saying that it was just making comparisons between the Classmate PC and the other device in the market.

Countries have until May 31 to place their orders for the first round of PCs.  The launch price will be $175 but the goal is to get them down to $100 each.  Intel is taking orders for the Classmate for over $200 each.

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RE: Economics 101
By jskirwin on 5/21/2007 9:38:18 PM , Rating: 5
Teaching starts with teachers - not with hardware.

Actually it starts with parents. Kids in South Korea, Taiwan and Japan have much less exposure to PCs in the classroom, yet they outperform US kids significantly in all subjects.

Children don't need technology to learn: they need parents who check their homework and pass along good, solid learning skills.

I'm all for techno fixes whenever possible, but when it comes to education, I'd rather kids read - and learned from - books.

RE: Economics 101
By hermitd on 5/22/2007 5:35:33 AM , Rating: 3
very true. I wouldn't compare the education i had in India with education here in the UK. We learned with teachers and not with computers yes there were computers but most of the teaching was in class rooms with a teacher and a board and a set of books and i think i turned out okay. i keep hearing people whin about education here is so tough on children. We had bloody tough education (we studied stuff in class 2 - 3 which is taught here in class 6 - 7 if not later).
Computers are a good learning too but there is a time and a place. Kids need to learn basics before getting hands on computers otherwise they will never learn know to write forget do multiplications / divisions the hard way.

RE: Economics 101
By Wonga on 5/22/2007 5:59:14 AM , Rating: 3
Very true. I've had first hand experience with teaching skills in the UK today (being a supplier of IT equipment to schools just over a year ago), and I can say without a doubt that a huge number of teachers use IT equipment to make their lives easier, not to give the children better education. Much of the time, the children are sent down to the computer cluster room and are told to browse some pre-built web site containing childrens' education programs. Whether this is down to the teacher's own personal decision to get away from actually engaging with the kids, or whether they are forced into giving the kids a load of hours a week in front a computer is unclear, but my honest opinion is that education is suffering as a result.

Even when I was in school over 5 years ago we were often taken down to the computers to learn such things as DRAMA and RELIGIOUS EDUCATION! Now someone tell me how that couldn't have been done in a classroom? And like I say, that was 5 years ago...

Anyway, contrary to my rant above, I do think these laptop schemes are good, as long as the schools in those countries don't go down the same path as the UK and use IT equipment just for the sake of it.

"It's okay. The scenarios aren't that clear. But it's good looking. [Steve Jobs] does good design, and [the iPad] is absolutely a good example of that." -- Bill Gates on the Apple iPad
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