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The OLPC in green and white  (Source: The OLPC Wiki)
Nigerian children get caught up on the Internets with porn

One of the aims of the One Laptop per Child (OLPC) project is to give the underprivileged new opportunities and experiences they otherwise wouldn’t have. Interestingly enough, some school children are using their laptops to browse pornographic Internet sites.

According to a Reuters report, a reporter at the official News Agency of Nigeria discovered pornographic images on the donated laptops from a U.S. aid organization. It is unclear whether or not school children were actually caught in the act of browsing such websites.

"Efforts to promote learning with laptops in a primary school in Abuja have gone awry as the pupils freely browse adult sites with explicit sexual materials," reported the News Agency of Nigeria.

Perhaps in response to the discovery of the OLPC’s side features, a representative for the laptop project said that the computers will now be fitted with filtering software.



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RE: In a country where Aids runs rampant
By Master Kenobi (blog) on 7/23/2007 10:53:21 AM , Rating: 4
To get it out of the way. I'm not a mod. Notice it says (blog). :)

Now, I'm talking IED's, I'm talking communications for the various warlord factions that roam the country. Nigeria is a recruiting ground for terrorism, militiants, and other nutty groups out there, much the same as many of the countries just like it.

I also have to point out this is a United Nations effort, and well the UN is a joke as is this project. This is more for the PR than substance. Give in 5 years, and see that education standards in this country have not improved, if anything they might slightly decrease. Laptops do not help their education, give them modern text books, modern schools, a computer lab with desktops, etc....


RE: In a country where Aids runs rampant
By TomZ on 7/23/2007 11:02:58 AM , Rating: 1
I agree with you that OLPC is just another PR/feel-good project that will amount to nothing in the long-term. Education requires a real investment in schools, teachers, etc. - you can't just throw a bunch of $100 toy computers at kids and expect miracles to happen.

All you have to do is look at computer utilzation at US schools, especially elementary schools, to see how critical computers are. At the schools in my community, there are 2-3 computers in each elementary school room. And I have yet to ever see them powered up when I am there dropping off or picking up my kids, visiting for open house, etc. I even asked the teacher once if they work - they do - they just have no use for them.

Granted, computers are more important as kids get older, but they are not essential. It's important to remember that there was no Internet and computers up until recently, and somehow, education happened anyway. I'm not saying that computers aren't helpful, but they are not essential, and for sure, they don't replace "real" things that are necessary for education, e.g., schools, teachers, books, etc.


By Ryanman on 7/25/2007 3:11:35 PM , Rating: 1
They're kind of important at my age, say. The problem is that a lot of kids my age don't use them correctly... I believe there was recently an article on this.
And when we DO try to use them corrextly, the filters are absolutely crippling. Ever tried to make a WWII powerpoint but have every picture or article about a gun filtered out?


RE: In a country where Aids runs rampant
By omnicronx on 7/23/2007 11:40:52 AM , Rating: 2
And i totally understand there are various warlord factions that roam the country. But what makes you think these factions do not know how to make this IED's in the first place? They are not going to be asking the kids "hey kid go look up on the net for us how to blow up a house". You have a very valid point that in the wrong hands the internet can be a weapon, but not in the case of these children. So regardless if you think this program will work or not, these kids deserve the same chances all of us in North America get day in day out. The program just started, give it a chance!

As i previously mentioned


RE: In a country where Aids runs rampant
By Master Kenobi (blog) on 7/23/2007 11:52:48 AM , Rating: 5
Laptops for these kids isn't the answer. I'm not sure what is so hard for people to understand here.

Essentials for Education
-Modern Text Books
-Educated Teachers
-Schools with proper facilities
-Modern Curriculums
-Transportation to and from school
-Foods served at school
-Supplies like pencils, paper, rulers, etc...

Now when they are having a hard time with all of the above in the majority of their schools, do you really think for a second that laptops will magically help?

The answer, is no.

Your right, these kids deserve the same chances as the rest of us, so stop giving them laptops in grade school (NO SCHOOL IN THE USA DOES THIS) and instead give them stuff from the above. We have COMPUTER LABS in the USA, and we use them, give them computer labs in the schools and let them use them. This "One Laptop Per Child" thing is all marketing and PR. Only the UN could come up with such a retarded initiative.


By TomZ on 7/23/2007 12:06:29 PM , Rating: 2
I completely agree, and to that I would add that OLPC is another case where someone with technology is promising a "silver bullet" to solve the education problems of developing nations. I put such solutions in the same category as snake oil. Even if the intention is non-commercial, money spent on worthless initiatives robs resources and delays investment in real solutions.


RE: In a country where Aids runs rampant
By omnicronx on 7/23/2007 12:32:47 PM , Rating: 1
Who are you to tell the world that laptops are not the answer? Have you done any long or short term testing (let alone anyone)? Have you gone to Africa yourself and had some hands on experience in teaching these kids?

The goal of these laptops is to get it to kids that can not or will not get any of the things that you have listed.
Up to date textbooks, and books will cost a hell of a lot more than a few $99 dollar pc's for the classroom. Of course these children are not getting everything they need, but i think laptops are the best way to get these children at least some learning tools.

If you can think of a better 100$ way than by all means my ears are open.

P.S I would also like to remind you these are not american children, so stop comparing them. Please compare apples to apples, not a apples to oranges. I do not see why this program offends you so much, it is not paid by your precious tax dollars.
This is not just a UN initiative either, it was conceived by a US company and now has the support of Intel after they also tried to get into the market but backed off because of public outcry.


RE: In a country where Aids runs rampant
By TomZ on 7/23/2007 12:40:30 PM , Rating: 3
1. It offends me because it is a waste of money. Developing nations can afford waste even less than the US - it is even more important for them to use their available resources wisely.

2. Intel's involvement is due to their commercial interests - your implication that Intel endorsed the idea for other reasons is incorrect.

3. If you give laptops to kids without any educational infrastructure around it, guess how much it will help education - practically zero. The only thing they'll "learn" is ways to use it for entertainment purposes, e.g., the subject of this article.


RE: In a country where Aids runs rampant
By omnicronx on 7/23/2007 1:05:13 PM , Rating: 1
Ya well your baseless comments offend me. Once again you are basing anything you have to say on the fact that you think "THESE WILL NOT HELP THE CHILDREN".

HOW DO YOU KNOW! you don't, you are not in education, and you are not economist or you would have shoved it in my face already. You have no expertise at all whatsoever in this field, why should anyone take your opinion seriously.

There has been no testing on whether or not this will help the children, so why not give them a chance. GIVE THEM ATLEAST ONE RESOURCE
quote:
If you give laptops to kids without any educational infrastructure around it, guess how much it will help education - practically zero.

So your saying yourself these kids have absolutely nothing, and you are willing to take away the only thing they have, whether it helps them greatly or not?

And who the hell cares if its wasting money, its not out of your pocket. Of course intel is doing this for PR, but its not your money, and they wont be giving that money to charity if they were not doing this. Your whining about money makes just about as much sense as whining about how much the new york yankees pay in salaries, not your money, none of your business.


RE: In a country where Aids runs rampant
By TomZ on 7/23/2007 1:25:48 PM , Rating: 2
Why do you think it is smart for developing nations to gamble hundreds of millions of dollars on something so unproven? Hundreds of millions of dollars that could otherwise be spent building more schools, hiring more teachers, buying more books, etc. - i.e., other things that are proven beneficial for education.

Maybe there should be some studies first? No, they decided there was no time for that. Just field trials to test out the communication infrastructure. They'll do studies post-mortem to figure out if there was any educational effectiveness. But by that time, the money will be potentially wasted.

In the US, and I'm sure in other developed nations, we have a lot of experience with computers in education. And still, we have not got to the point where we put the computer as the #1 tool for education, have we? Have you heard of any schools closing, teachers losing their jobs, to computers lately?

The problem with we techy-type is that we think, often incorrectly, that technology can solve all the world's problems. OLPC is no silver bullet in this repect.


RE: In a country where Aids runs rampant
By omnicronx on 7/23/2007 2:01:20 PM , Rating: 2
First off i think you need to become a bit more informed,
http://wiki.laptop.org/go/OLPC_myths
They do not claim that this is the so called silver bullet as you have been calling it.

quote:
Hundreds of millions of dollars that could otherwise be spent building more schools, hiring more teachers, buying more books, etc. - i.e., other things that are proven beneficial for education.

I think your sentence should finish with two simple words, 'In America'. Other than that it applies to nothing, Africa is not the America so for the last time stop comparing the two. What works for your country will not necessarily work for others, and vice versa. The main difference between the two are these children actually want to learn, and i can not say the same about American children these days. So if nobody is willing to shell out the billions instead of hundreds of millions to get these kids books, teachers, etc.. why not go for the next best thing. Nobody says a laptop replaces books, teachers etc.. but to say they will not help them at all, and it will be more of a negative than a positive is plain stupid. I think it is a win if they get these kids interested in something, and actually get them to interact, which once again, is better than nothing.

quote:
Maybe there should be some studies first? No, they decided there was no time for that. Just field trials to test out the communication infrastructure. They'll do studies post-mortem to figure out if there was any educational effectiveness. But by that time, the money will be potentially wasted.


Wow so many things to say about this one.
1: Nobody has done anything like this before, so if anything this is a stepping stone to start a chain reaction such as push new things such as communication infastructure on the government
2:post-mortem? what the hell are you talking about, what does waiting for the kids to be dead have to do with anything, and how would you learn anything from that regardless.


RE: In a country where Aids runs rampant
By TomZ on 7/23/2007 2:18:01 PM , Rating: 2
Funny you would mention Africa. I was thinking about Africa too, in this context. One of the things I thought was amazing was the leadership school that Oprah Winfrey built for "only" $40M. In my opinion, initiatives like that are what can help developing nations, not technology toys like OLPC.

Oprah built a school for $40M that will educate hundreds of students per year that would otherwise not have any education at all. Don't you think that will have a lot more impact than distributing the equivalent cost in OLPCs?

You keep arguing that giving kids OLPCs is better than giving them nothing at all. And I agree with that, but it's not the point! The point is that money that is being spent on OLPCs could be better spent building more schools, hiring more teachers, buying books, etc. The money is being spent, why not spend it on something known to be worthwhile?

Also, I never said that giving them OLPCs would be negative. It is negative only relative to giving them something that will be certainly truly beneficial for education, like giving them education itself! What could be more beneficial than that?

RE port-mortum, I'm saying that it will be studied after the OLPC program has ended, not after the kids have died. Sheesh.


RE: In a country where Aids runs rampant
By omnicronx on 7/23/2007 3:04:45 PM , Rating: 2
I am done arguing,

quote:
The point is that money that is being spent on OLPCs could be better spent building more schools, hiring more teachers, buying books, etc. The money is being spent, why not spend it on something known to be worthwhile?


my final point is, the money needed to do what your are saying is atleast 1000 times more than what is needed for this laptop initiative, if the money were there i would say go for it, give them the teachers they need, but it just is not there. I believe this is a great stepping stone in that direction, to getting all kids the schooling they need, but it has to start somewhere, and will never happen all at once.

one final thing is that although it is great what oprah is doing, it only effects a tiny fraction of the kids in need, even if 20 or 50 of these were to open, the OLPC would probably still touch countless more children, and allow more people to at least have some learning access.


By wordsworm on 7/25/2007 3:39:06 AM , Rating: 2
Omni... just 1 regular school text book costs about $100. For the price of 1 regular school textbook, these students have the vast libraries available on the Internet at their command. They have a voice. They can communicate with each other. No person of any intellectual capacity would argue against the laptop program. It's the best initiative in the history of education since the textbook, pencil, and paper. There's no point in arguing points with people who believe Oprah's program is better than this in either scope, breadth, or importance.


RE: In a country where Aids runs rampant
By Ringold on 7/23/2007 2:26:39 PM , Rating: 3
quote:
HOW DO YOU KNOW! you don't, you are not in education, and you are not economist or you would have shoved it in my face already.


The bleeding-heart lefty has given me my first laugh of the afternoon, many thanks, many thanks.

First off, this is welfare. It's not cold hard cash in hand, but it's almost the equivalent -- it's a fish. We've given these third-world children a fish without teaching them how to use a damn fishing pole. They didn't have to work for it, so in the aggregate they're not going to appreciate these tools. The fact that they arent used widely anywhere else in the world seems a solid enough statement from the educational community that they're not valid instruments. Even if they were, I haven't heard of massive Nigerian teacher education programs to learn how to effectively teach using these laptops.

And since I really do have economics creds, allow me to point out the general failure of welfare programs in almost every form they've ever taken. One can pick in general terms any country that's implemented significant public welfare programs and just watch as it erodes cultural standards such as work ethic and desire for economic liberty. In America's poorest areas it has turned places like (parts of) Detroit in to third world countries, not motivated to do anything but blame others. It engenders dependence on government.

Giving these kids laptops may make bleeding-hearts like you feel better about the world but they're just wasting financial capital. Don't give me the "they're cheaper than textbooks" bullshit because India has been rock-bottom poor for years and it's pretty amazing they have one of the worlds premier engineering schools -- and stuff it full of their own students. And if you want to know what would be a better immediate expenditure of money for these Nigerian kids, the World Bank (or perhaps it was the IMF) found by studying it's many projects around the world that the most beneficial thing that can be brought to even the poorest, most destitute area is reliable electricity. They found that once in place clean water, food and economic activity follow on their own unaided. And that's what they really need -- economic activity. Economic growth solves all ills; soothes and moderates a nations political situation, reduces crime (gets people off the street), improves health, improves education, etc, etc. All of which can be seen with a history textbook that manages to incorporate decently economic history along with social and political history. Historian's don't know very much about economics, and it's clear in such books, but the trend is there for you to see. Ex: What gave the world the Nazi party? Hyper-inflation.

Well, I rest my case. I've yet to ever truly, deeply save a lefty friend from the depths of bleeding-heart liberalism with economic facts and figures, dont suspect I'll be able to now. (Though I have managed to get several Democrat friends to an extremely uncomfortable point (for them, amusing for me) where they know they're wrong but can't bring themselves to be "cold hearted" on economic issues and would rather just be wrong.) Can't say nobody told you, though.


RE: In a country where Aids runs rampant
By Ringold on 7/23/2007 3:03:36 PM , Rating: 2
I like being rated down instead of being countered with an argument proving massive state welfare has made Europe more competitive, or how the 1994 (or was it 95?) weflare reforms didn't get millions off welfare rolls and in to jobs, or how lasseiz-faire capitalist policies have hindered economic growth in the BRIC states and how that growth hasn't led to improved quality of life -- not just there, but everywhere growth occurs. Or in this case, how this laptop give-away differs significantly when American schools broadly dont use it and the few (high schools) that have tried it have had nothing but headaches from doing so. I guess rating down is easier then using facts or established theory to create a counter-argument.. sort of like.. how giving a laptop to an African kid is easier than thinking long and hard about structural reforms or infrastructure improvements.


By Master Kenobi (blog) on 7/23/2007 3:23:04 PM , Rating: 2
Yes, because we hide from the facts that destroy our claims. This is a typical stance of many hard liners.


By brandonmichael on 7/25/2007 3:24:08 PM , Rating: 1
I think you were rated down because you said "bullshit"


RE: In a country where Aids runs rampant
By omnicronx on 7/23/2007 3:18:12 PM , Rating: 2
Welfare haha, i knew that would come into play eventually.

quote:
The fact that they arent used widely anywhere else in the world seems a solid enough statement from the educational community that they're not valid instruments.


Its not being sold in other countries for a reason mr economics, even countries with poor people such as china, Thailand, Pakistan etc etc.. The countries themselves are not impoverished totally, they still have their low, middle and high class. Most African countries on the other hand do not and are mainly made up of impoverished families who can not afford pretty much anything.

All i want you to do is compare apples to apples, do not bring up nazi germany, do not bring up the united states, they have nothing to do with this. And as for brining up this being 'welfare' once again, this is not your tax dollars why the hell do you care!

Your comments are far more right wing than mine are left wing.


By NEOCortex on 7/23/2007 4:55:57 PM , Rating: 2
I know you want people to find the perfect mirror situation to this one in Nigeria, but I just don't think that exist. So instead people are trying to use there own personal experience and knowledge to judge the merit of this program.

For example, I was home schooled growing up. I was taught (by my mom) basic subjects, such as reading, writing, arithmetic, history etc. If I wanted to learn something else, it was up to me to take the initiative and start looking into it. Although I did have a computer in the house (a 386), it was books I turned to when I wanted to learn a new subject. The only thing I learned from using a computer when I was a kid was computer programming, which was only to further my gaming interest. Just in case you were wondering, I came out just fine and I am now getting an engineering degree in graduate school.

Computers and the internet have progressed since then obviously, but I don't think they are anymore educational then they were back when I was a kid. For every educational or helpful website there are 100 websites with porn, flash games and general garbage. And since these PC's aren't anymore specifically geared towards education then the average PC over here in the states, I just don't see how kids in other countries are magically going to get the kind of education that they need from them.

I'm curious, what makes YOU think this program will work? You say that kids in Africa are different than kids in the states, and for that reason they will somehow be more interested in learning. I say kids from all over the world are much more similar than you think and that unsupervised and uneducated, they will most likely end up using a computer to look at porn or something else trivial.

Oh and I took a look at the Wiki link you posted for the OLPC, and I can't help but read the criticisms section. Some very good points are made there, especially in the "good use of money" section.


RE: In a country where Aids runs rampant
By Ringold on 7/23/2007 5:48:56 PM , Rating: 1
Typical; ignore elements of the big picture the mosaic it paints doesn't jive with your own stance.

You're correct, Mr. Non-Economist, that the OLPC isn't sold in those other countries, and also correct that many aren't as poor as Nigeria. That means absolutely nothing; by having more purchasing power, for an equal relative portion of their budgets they could simply afford more powerful/expensive laptops for their students. In America for what we spend per student per year we could easily afford to give every student an extremely powerful laptop. The fact that it doesn't happen, and the fact that most college classrooms consist of students listening and taking notes by hand (often from powerpoint slides -- but the issue isn't One Projector Per Teacher) seems to suggest that it's not needed. Again, I reference India, who produces excellent world-class students at very low cost -- all without a laptop.

And honestly, I don't care too much, but do take a lower opinion of Intel and other corporate partners who bitch and complain about the lack of skilled American workers but bend over backwards to throw money oversea's instead of here at home when what foreigners need are jobs and what we need is educational reform.


By TomZ on 7/23/2007 6:04:50 PM , Rating: 2
I figure the compaining about lack of skilled American workers is mostly justification for their push to raise caps on H1B visas, which tech companies want to use to provide a larger domestic employment market and/or lower total payroll costs.

Whenever I have had personally to hire qualified engineers here in the US, it was never a problem to find applications, although I've not had to hire hundreds of engineers at a time.

I just think that if there was such a shortage of qualfied workers, it would drive salaries higher to the point where it motivated additional people to train to enter the field, thus solving the problem. So I have to wonder if it is only the cost of the labor that is a problem for these companies.


By wordsworm on 7/25/2007 3:31:06 AM , Rating: 2
These laptops cost about the same as 1-2 new textbooks. With these laptops, they can read all the textbooks they need, and more. They're cheaper than traditional materials, not more expensive.


By TomCorelis on 7/25/2007 12:46:41 PM , Rating: 2
I think the question we need to be asking is, "How well is the OLPC being used to supplement or replace these Essentials for Education?"

With OLPC, you can conceivably evaporate the need for textbooks and school supplies, as the laptop handles that. Of course, without a proper learning infrastructure (as in, the rest of the list) OLPC *is* more of a waste. Not to say that it's worthless, but if these machines are just dumped on kids then it will be a much smaller percentage of kids and people (the more curious, enterprising ones) who will get any kind of measurable learning experience.

I'm trying to stay out of this debate as it seems to have evolved into a flame war, but this is my two cents.


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