Jesus Followers Just Say No to OLPC

   
   
   
   
   
I am on the fence about the One Laptop Per Child project. I do think Nicholas Negroponte is a marketing genius, and I do thank him for pulling the digital divide conversation from the dark corner it was cast into after the dot.com dot.bombed, to front and center in international development.

Still, I wonder about the success of this project and the amount of resources, time, attention, people, and cash, he is diverting from other opportunities and ideas. My wonder is why this site exists.

And in my wander about the Internet, wondering, I found Jesus-followers who do not wonder. They know. They know all about digital communications technology and they know all about the One Laptop Per Child project. And they ask:

So, as Jesus-followers, why should we care about digital communication technology and its effects?
  • Because we care for the poor. Providing tools for people to provide for themselves is one form of that care. The digital divide is a source of inequality that contributes to poverty.
  • Because Jesus tells us to "go and make disciples of all nations" (Matt. 21:19). Cyberspace, which is part of the realm of digital communications, is not a nation itself, but is trans-national and calls for our attention and efforts.
  • Because we already participate in the common use of these technologies, and not always in healthy or beneficial ways. As the People of God, we need to live our lives with our eyes open.
And what do these Jesus-followers see when they walk through like with their eyes open? What might their opinion be about the One Laptop Per Child project? Or even technology itself?
The technology itself is a good thing, but this technology in the context of this project seems to be pushing itself on the people it seeks to assist. The projected distribution and probable use of this technology is more negative than it is positive.

Technology is great, but as people and as Jesus-followers we need to be very careful how we share technology with other societies. What may seem like a good idea might actually be a cross-cultural force-feeding, with long term negative effects on these developing countries.

Well there you have it my Jesus-following friends. The word is clear, the message strong, the path clear.
We desperately need to become healthy owners and users [of technology] here in our own culture. We still need to bridge the digital divide on the local level.
Amen sister, play on brother.

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2 Comments

I would think that Christainity could be spead more with this technology, in the sense we can port out some type of spiritual instructional software in these units.

Christ also mentions that is better to teach a man to fish. Rather just giving him a fish. So he can learn to feed his nation. Same can be said about these education devices. They can help educate people with real world skills and abilities to make self reliance people.

I live near the Navajo reservation. Being a christian and activist for technology in education. I can see this device help the Navajo Indians. Most of them can not afford a computer. Most of there education require a computer now days.

I don't know why christians would opposed the idea of having a computer that would educate their youth. As I mention before, I'm sure that these computers can setup with software that will education their children about Jesus Christ. These devices could be very benifical to those in third world countries that don't have the funds or a place to access a computer.

Thanks to Micro***crap these systems for software can cost thousands dollars. If a system that has all the basic software plus be able to install educational software, Children will have all their needs to get a higher education. I have 4 year old, I allow her to use the computer and she very bright and aware of life prospect. I'm very sure she will have positive look on life.

I don't know which christian think that this is a bad idea. I think they are narrow minding people.

Ditto your comments Steve. Although we can't just teach a man to fish these days. See what De Bono says about that quote. We need to teach a child to think. These tools will help. They are not a panancea.

I also have a bright 3 year old who loves playing on the computer. It is a great learning tool for her. Instead of panning this Christians would be better served embracing it and developing software for it.

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