I’ve been going back and forth about participating in this program–not because I don’t believe in the OLPC initiative, but because I felt that I’d only be purchasing it for novelty sake. Do I really need another computer?
Still, its size and “cute” factor are part of its charm, and it was brilliant for the creators to offer this chance to the public in the US and Canada to own one as well as donating one now that the machine is being mass-produced. It helps, too, that I did fall in love with it when I visited the OLPC offices this summer. 🙂
I also held back making my donation/purchase til now because I felt I’d still travel with my Powerbook anyway because I intuitively know all the folders and documents I reference when working on my dissertation. However, when I found out about the year of free T-mobile hotspot access, I realized I could save all my writing as Google documents and work from the wifi XO computer. But I didn’t reach for my wallet until today when I read this part of the Terms and Conditions:
Neither OLPC Foundation nor One Laptop per Child, Inc. has service facilities, a help desk or maintenance personnel in the United States or Canada. Although we believe you will love your XO laptop, you should understand that it is not a commercially available product and, if you want help using it, you will have to seek it from friends, family, and bloggers. One goal of the G1G1 initiative is to create an informal network of XO laptop users in the developed world, who will provide feedback about the utility of the XO laptop as an educational tool for children, participate in the worldwide effort to create open-source educational applications for the XO laptop, and serve as a resource for those in the developing world who seek to optimize the value of the XO laptop as an educational tool. A fee based tech support service will be available to all who desire it. We urge participants in the G1G1 initiative to think of themselves as members of an international educational movement rather than as “customers.”
I find that language fantastic and if there is anything I want to do in life, it’s to be part of a movement that advocates using technology in education and increasing access world-wide. If someone sees me with the laptop, they will surely ask about it and I can tell them all about Nicholas Negroponte’s mission. Even when I briefly mentioned this project in my Expository Writing class a couple of weeks ago, several students emailed me after to find out more about it and some have gone on to research open access user software for their final projects.
So I am off to place my order!