This week, a paper I wrote about the One Laptop Per Child project and recent studies of its deployments in Sub-Saharan Africa was published by InterActions, the UCLA Journal of Education and Information Studies. Here's the abstract:
This article is an analysis and literature review of the One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) program within the education sector, particularly the deployment of X-O laptops in the continent of Africa. While the project was created to address a specific issue - the digital divide - and undoubtedly had a significant impact in the field of technology, it has specific limitations: it reproduces a Western ideology of individualistic technology use and relies on a strict framework which fails to take local needs into consideration. Moreover, research on technology use in education, beyond X-O laptops, has focused mainly on developed countries. The article concludes that technology is not the panacea for education as envisioned by OLPC; moreover, its rigid mission goals and lack of independent studies ultimately hinder its aim of reducing the digital divide.
You can read the entire paper online here.
For more about how laptops are actually used in developing countries, the New York Times has an excellent video that documents a Peruvian village's four-year attempt to obtain electricity and Internet access.
[Photo by One Laptop Per Child / CC BY]