I’ve been following the One Laptop Per Child project for a couple of years now, getting more and more excited as it progressed toward becoming a reality. And now it’s here. I’m excited because it combines three things (perhaps three out of the big five things) that I’m very passionate about:
- The laptops are designed primarily to be child-centered educational tools
- They are for children in developing countries with limited access to technology
- They are built entirely on an open platform, using all open-source software.
When it was announced (about a year ago) that the laptops would not be available for sale in the United States, I thought it was a good idea — the last thing wealthy Americans need is another gadget for our toy-saturated children. But then, leading up to this holiday season, the OLPC foundation announced the Give One Get One (G1G1) program: You pay for two laptops — one is sent to your child and one is sent to a child in a developing country. It started as a limited-time program, available only for two weeks in November. Recently, however, they’ve extended it until the end of December.
This is a great idea, and we’re participating — with some help from our extended family, Grady will be getting one of these laptops for Christmas (good thing he can’t read this yet), and one will be given to another child in his name. I think it will be a great way to introduce him to the idea of helping others in the world, especially in what is supposed to be a season of generosity, giving, and sharing with those in need (According to legend, St. Nicholas originally only visited poor children).
Anyhow, if there’s a child on your Christmas list, and you’re looking for a meaningful gift with potential to make a difference in the world, consider this one. You can read more about the history and philosophy of the program, as well as specs on the computer here, and you can order them through the G1G1 program here.