OLPC in South America
With more than 800,000 XO laptops having been distributed on the continent so far, South America represent the largest concentration of active OLPC projects in the world. Uruguay is the first major country to achieve full 1-to-1 saturation after having finished the distribution of approximately 400,000 XO laptops to every primary school pupil and teacher [...]
. If there’s one country that has taken the notion of “one laptop per child” very seriously then it’s Uruguay. As mentioned in the OLPC in South America introduction to date the country has distributed approximately 400,000 of OLPC’s XO-1 laptops, thereby equipping every single pupil and 18,000 teachers of its public primary education system [...]
The OLPC project led by ParaguayEduca is without a doubt a very impressive and effective operation. The organization’s focus on getting the infrastructure right in combination with their extensive teacher training and support as well as their knowledge about the effective use of the XOs in the broader learning context makes for a very strong project. In all of these areas other organizations and projects – regardless of whether they’re using OLPC XOs or other devices – can definitely learn a lot from ParaguayEduca’s experiences. Hence it’s great to see them already collaborating and sharing with Uruguay’s Plan Ceibal and the larger OLPC and Sugar communities. The core question over the next year or two will now be whether the current approaches, processes, and structures can be made to scale efficiently
Undoubtedly Peru’s Una laptop por niño offers many valuable lessons for ICT4E projects however in the grand majority of cases these will be how NOT to do something. There is no doubt that of the three South American countries I visited, Peru is the most physically challenging environment for a nation-wide 1-to-1 computing in education project. Even with a perfect implementation this would be a difficult undertaking, and with the plethora of issues and problems that the project’s execution has exposed, the results and impacts – or lack thereof – are bound to be underwhelming.
This is not to say that everything about Una laptop por niño is bad. It has undoubtedly opened enormous possibilities for thousands of teachers and pupils which will come up with interesting and creative ways to use the XOs and learn a lot in the process. Yet there’s no doubt that the majority of teachers and pupils as well as other stakeholder such as administrators and parents will hardly see any benefit from the initiative.
. After providing an overview of OLPC in South America as well as compiling in-depth articles about the current status of the projects in Uruguay, Paraguay, and Peru it’s now time to wrap things up. Hence the 5th and last article this month will look beyond the three countries I described in the past few [...]