One Laptop per Child

It is nice when I am able to identify synchronicity in my life - when things connect and happen in an unexplainably convenient way. For instance Chase e-mails me about One Laptop per Child in Mongolia last week, including a news article and photos. Then today during Peace Corps Training there is an hour and a half session on One Laptop per Child (OLPC) lead by two representatives from the Foundation, telling us every detail about OLPC in Mongolia and even letting us play with half a dozen laptops ourselves so that we get to try them out. Then if that isn’t enough, I watch a TED video of Hector Ruiz (CEO of AMD) talking about his bold company initiative to have half of the world connected to the internet by 2015, which prominently mentions OLPC as part of that initiative. Needless to say, I am psyched about the possibilities for integrating OLPC into my work here in Mongolia and I am very impressed with the organization. Here are some key bullets that I wrote down during the Peace Corps presentation today:

• 20,000 XO laptops are being given out in Mongolia over the next year
• 1,000 were given out to 2 Ulaanbaatar schools in January
• 5,000 will be given out during this summer to various schools
• XO Generation 1 Laptops were created by MIT Professor
• The XO is designed to encourage child use and discourage adult use
• It is made to feel more like a toy than a laptop
• Company Partners include Google, AMD, Microsoft and Red Hat
• Kids being targeted are ages 6 to 12
• OLPC believes in a student-centered constructionism encouraging children to explore their laptop by doing what feels intuitive, staying self-motivated and being assisted by a teacher in a guideline, not step-by-step, manner.
• Each XO laptop can be connected to any other XO laptop wirelessly
• If one XO is connected to the internet, any other XO can connect through it
• The battery life of the XO is 15 hours
• Each XO be charged by hand crank, an outlet, or even solar power
• Version 2.0 of the XO is currently completely touchscreen

In short, the One Laptop per Child Initiative is flippin’ awesome and I am way excited to take part in it. I think it is a great tool for worldwide education and technological advancement and absolutely a step in the right direction. T0 learn more, visit OLPC at their website at