OLPC: An Effective Literacy Program for Adults Too

   
   
   
   
   

I am Edward Cherlin and when we think about how to use the OLPC XO in education, the easiest idea is to create free electronic versions of existing textbooks. But this is to waste most of the power of the computer. I don't mean electricity, but the power to inspire, the power to open new doors. Let me give you an example:

gabe olpc
Let's read OLPC eBooks together

From the invention of printing to the beginning of the electronic age, the best way to increase literacy was to print and distribute more books. Under favorable circumstances, such as the US in the 19th century, many children who could not attend school attained literacy by reading at home. In the 20th century, children's books like The Wizard of Oz flourished.

Putting an infant in your lap and reading out loud leads inevitably to the child, over time, insensibly starting to read along. Experience shows that this is far more effective than classroom learning. But what can illiterate parents do? Can they learn to read so as to teach their children? The ones who are still illiterate are the ones who think not.

It turns out that the most effective literacy program for adults in India is same-language captioning of Bollywood musicals, using the karaoke technique of coloring the syllables as they are to be sung. Audiences in India will go to a popular movie five or six times, memorize the words, and sing along. With same-language captioning, people who thought themselves too old to learn reading find that they are reading right there in the theater.

So far, so good. Parents can learn. Now what about the computer? Well, the computer can present captioned music videos, or can read books aloud with text-to-speech (TTS) software. We could get TTS software that colored the words on the screen. So now we have the child on a lap, and a laptop on the child's lap, and the parent and child singing along to their favorites, as I once did to Burl Ives on the record player.

The child probably learns to read faster than the parent, but however that may work out, both learn not only reading but sharing learning. Our current educational systems sadly neglect this essential point.

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29 Comments

author wrote:

"...When we think about how to use the OLPC XO in education, the easiest idea is to create free electronic versions of existing textbooks."

That's a false premise, given that the textbook industry is a very powerful, big and organized one. You CAN NOT just create "free electronic versions of existing textbooks". That's illegal - existing textbooks are usually somebody's intellectual property - and making your own copies and distributing them will land you in court.

You can create YOUR OWN textbooks and distribute them as you wish, of course, but that's a very difficult and expensive undertaking. Educational, editorial and publishing expertise are required, along with the need for cutting through red tape in order to convince the educational establishment to adopt your products. It could take years just to get a single item to be used in a USA school district.

The often-expressed belief that the XO (or Classmate or Eeee, for that matter) can just "replace" textbooks and thus offset its cost, is a pipe dream.

BTW/ I do agree 100% with the notion that one of the best uses of technology is to promote literacy at all ages.

- http://www.textbookrevolution.org/

"Textbook Revolution is the web’s source for free educational materials. This is a student-run, volunteer-operated website started in response to the textbook industry’s constant drive to maximize profits instead of educational value."

- http://en.wikibooks.org/wiki/Main_Page

"Wikibooks is a Wikimedia community for creating a free library of educational textbooks that anyone can edit."

How difficult the production of textbooks actually is remains to be seen but some people are, apparently, unimpressed with the enormity of task.

Also, if the XO doesn't have a phonics-based reading instruction program it ought to. The XO would be an excellent platform for the methodology which is easily implemented in its more basic forms and very close to uniformly effective when delivered in the classroom setting.

Irvin - I guess you didn't bother to read past the end of the first sentence to notice that the entire point of the article was *not* "free electronic versions of existing textbooks" but rather other approaches that go far beyond that. It's too bad that you are so outraged by OLPC and everything about it that you can't even get past the careless use of the word "existing" in the first sentence to engage critically with the point the author is making.

The idea of karaoke-like text-to-speech has come up on the OLPC news recently (http://www.olpcnews.com/content/localization/olpc_karaoke_language_learning.html) and the author of this article makes an interesting point about how this can promote adult literacy as well as helping children learn to read. However, there are some critiques that could reasonably be made: will adults find this potential application of XO really that compelling? Bollywood musicals are fun for adults as well as children, but it seems less likely that adults would be engaged by karaoke-style speaking children's books about little animals. There are also a lot of details in making the text to speech work - support for other languages is limited, and the quality, even for English, leaves a lot to be desired. A more effective approach might be to build a player and authoring tools that allows a normal recording to be synchronized with the karaoke text and e-book illustrations.

Musicals or music videos, which would be more reliably popular, are probably a bit too resource-intensive for the XO (just storing the video on the flash drive would be a challenge - and it's not clear that illiterate parents would be able to buy an SD card to make it possible).

Your off-topic point about replacing textbooks is quite true for use in the US and probably other developed nations; however, in the developing world, where textbooks are more scarce, e-books on an XO aren't likely to replace a textbook as many children might not have had one at all (or more likely, had to share with many others). Furthermore, unlike in the US, where textbook production is a large private industry, I rather doubt that there are many textbooks in Mongolian that weren't produced by the national government (for better or worse) so making electronic copies would not have the legal issues you raise.

alex writes:

"Irvin - I guess you didn't bother to read past the end of the first sentence to notice that the entire point of the article was *not* "free electronic versions of existing textbooks" but rather other approaches that go far beyond that. It's too bad that you are so outraged by OLPC and everything about it that you can't even get past the careless use of the word "existing" in the first sentence to engage critically with the point the author is making."


Another imbecilic attempt at distorting a self-evident truth. No further comment is necessary.

Irvin = Troll *sigh*

> No further comment is necessary.

It would be nice if you would take your own, repeated, advice.

@Irvin:
"Another imbecilic attempt at distorting a self-evident truth. "

Insults instead of substance, as usual.

Winter

I must confess I'm rather flattered by all the attention and the strong desire to convince me that 2 + 2 = 5.

It was never my intention, but I'm afraid I have created my own dysfunctional, not-too-bright fan club...

;-)

Irvin,

Last times (plural) you did this, Wayan threw you out of OLPCnews. Until a few days ago, you really acted, under the Irvin monniker, as if you learned to behave politely.

It seems you are now at a suicide mission to damage OLPCnews as much as you can before Wayan has time again to protect his blog.

I post this to inform other readers about my suspicions.

Winter

Obviously, existing textbooks are protected by copyright, as they should be. People worked hard on them and merely digitizing their content and distributing it without the requisite permissions being granted is wrong.

But the INFORMATION in the textbooks is not copyrighted. Mathematical rules, grammar rules, scientific knowledge, and historical timelines are no one's express property. Anyone who is willing to do their homework can compile that information in an electronic format. If you don't believe me, then ask yourself how often you use your favorite search engine to do a quick lookup of information. Yes, there's hogwash out there on the interwebs, but there's a lot of valid information available, for free, to anyone who wants to look it up.

I am not belittling the size of the task of creating books from scratch. However, at least for the youngest participants in XO programs, who are at a beginner's level in things like math and reading, age-appropriate textbooks need not be tomes. I believe there is no shortage of motivated people who will be more than willing to take advantage of this new electronic medium, and produce instructional materials for it, now that the XO actually exists and is being deployed.

It is true that Text-to-Speech is not very good. But the quality is mostly adequate if you can "massage" the text lightly beforehand. Stories and books are reasonable easy to synthesize.

But I like the Bollywood examples. Using some popular local TV program or film, you could do same language subtitling. Subtitles are ideal for TTS. Theora is good at compression, so you should be able to do some low bitrate encoding for the XO. Maybe even streaming from a server.

The basics of TTS
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Speech_synthesis

Some links to reading programs with TTS

"Using text- to-speech software to teach reading skills"
http://www.partnershipforlearning.org/article.asp?ArticleID=888

"Text-to-Speech Software for Helping Struggling Readers"
http://www.readingonline.org/articles/balajthy2/

Winter

//literacy.. India.. same-language captioning.. Bollywood//

agree: over and over SLS (same language subtitling) is cited here on olpcnews. Why does SLS work? Maybe because people *care*. Bollywood content is already known and talked about. Unlike dull curriculum, this stuff is popular. Schoolhouse rocks. SLS works because "content" is already loved.

questions:
A. what tools can we use to easily make/share SLS? now? soon?
B. can SLS get better?

answers so far:
A. maybe kaltura.com ? anyone know of others?
B. we've all seen color karaoke bouncing balls.. can it get better? for one example, can graphic animated text sync with sound.. and also express emotion?

emotive text?
so often *what* we say means less than *how* we say it.. google MIT project "sociable machines expressive-speech".. tool now analyzes sound waves to parse emotional content in speech.. can this translate to animated emotive text in sync with sound?

maybe so. 4 steps:
1. caption (closed) on fly (BBC doing now)
2. sync color flowing with speech (how?)
3. parse emotion in sound (MIT doing now)
4. print emotive sync'd text

on the fly?
power to process data is growing fast.. while sound sync'ing emotive text on the fly might not be realistic today, it may be not impossible in coming years.. imagine getting karaoke text automagically synchronized with more and more talking heads.. maybe a useful tool for language learners someday soon..

youtube?
video sharing via youtube might not be on the fly, but is a common practice today.. a tool that can make closed captioning easy with shared videos may help us learn to read, in many languages, someday sooner..

it's a rough idea, with very rough research starting at http://synxi.com

Donnna wrote:

"But the INFORMATION in the textbooks is not copyrighted. Mathematical rules, grammar rules, scientific knowledge, and historical timelines are no one's express property. "

True.

"Anyone who is willing to do their homework can compile that information in an electronic format. If you don't believe me, then ask yourself how often you use your favorite search engine to do a quick lookup of information. Yes, there's hogwash out there on the interwebs, but there's a lot of valid information available, for free, to anyone who wants to look it up."

Also true. In fact, a good researcher will not only search the web, but will also get copies of textbooks currently used in his area/district/country/etc.

"I am not belittling the size of the task of creating books from scratch. However, at least for the youngest participants in XO programs, who are at a beginner's level in things like math and reading, age-appropriate textbooks need not be tomes."

Nobody implied that the task was difficult because entire tomes would need to be created.

"I believe there is no shortage of motivated people who will be more than willing to take advantage of this new electronic medium, and produce instructional materials for it, now that the XO actually exists and is being deployed."

I hope you're right, but it doesn't seem likely that enough meaningful free contributions will be coming soon from qualified people. For better or worse, most experts want to get paid for their work, so we are often left with volunteers large on desire and short on capacity. Compounding the problem is the fact that the quality and nature of the work requires a very good level of familiarity with the particular requirements of the country, state or even school district you will be dealing with and also a good level of acquaintance with teaching and learning methodologies. In other words, there is no guarantee that:

1. Finding volunteers for the task of writing free textbooks will result in good free textbooks being written
2. Creating, say, a good math primer for 1st. graders will result in adoption of said primer by any given school/district/state/country.

There are also techincal, political, philosophical and even financial factors, as we know: somebody has to create the book, somebody needs to do extensive editing and fact-checking before releasing the book (Wikipedia is a perfect example of the good and bad of "community projects"), somebody has to "sell" the concept to the right authorities, somebody must guarantee that there is technical/editorial support on demand in case something needs to be fixed, corruption needs to be fought, etc., etc.

In other words, the process is very complex and goes way beyond compiling a certain amount of information from different sources.

Could it be done? Sure. Easy? Not at all.

In any case, I personally believe that the availabilty of royalty-free textbooks, in any format - printed or electronic - is a good thing for everyone. Ranther than being pessimistic, I prefer to highlight the need for attacking the problem with firm grasp of the reality "in the trenches".

@Irvin:
"For better or worse, most experts want to get paid for their work, so we are often left with volunteers large on desire and short on capacity."

I am afraid that many (most?) school text books are not written by experts. Where even the word writing seems to be too optimistic, compiled would be better.

A real expert told me that, when browsing a generally used high school book, she found the most horrible of errors. Not simply "errors", but more things out of some 19th century children's book. The "authors" had simply not checked anything.

"In any case, I personally believe that the availabilty of royalty-free textbooks, in any format - printed or electronic - is a good thing for everyone. Ranther than being pessimistic, I prefer to highlight the need for attacking the problem with firm grasp of the reality "in the trenches"."

In many countries, the copyrights of school books are in the hands of the government. And sometimes already available in digital form. So that would not be a real problem. Else, the license fees can be paid instead of buying the books. So I really do not see the problem. This really is not the USA.

And your anticipated problems with adoption. If the laptops are available, then you bet they will adopt the methods. The pressure from the parents would be simply too much.

Winter

I cannot really speak for foreign languages, but there are many projects that transcribe out-of-copyright literature into a digital format. There are also projects that take those public domain books and convert them into audio format, frequently using volunteer readers that don't share the problems of voice synthesizers. That leaves synchronizing text and speech.

As for the cost of producing textbooks, it is almost certainly possible to develop a model of textbook creation that does not suffer from the enormous expenses that we have in North America. Keep in mind that our books are not only influenced by content, but by politics. I was going to add that they change due to evolving education theory, but that is just another form of politics. In many respects, electronic books don't have to meet print standards anyway. Why do you need photographs that look good at 1200 dpi (or whatever the standard of the day is) when the screen is something like 120 dpi in colour and 200 dpi in monochrome mode? There is a lot of fluff in modern textbooks too, stuff that is meant to sell a book rather than aide it's use. They are meant to make the book look more fun, but I don't think I've ever seen a teen use the fluff. (Oddly enough, glossaries and indicies are in that category. I've seen copy'n paste of curriculum documents. "In focus" and "career" sections tend to be unused and unwanted verbiage. A lot of photographs add nothing to the text.) So yeah, they can "cut corners" to produce better quality texts and still pay the authors.

I say, brilliant!
Being myself facing the challenges of deploying solutions for literacy among oral-language peoples, I find this a trend to follow.

As to the textbook thing, a textbook by itself does little without a capable teacher drawing from it, yet it can help. There's also Moodle and the MIT initiatives to put online entire courses. Haven't dug much into it, but that would put together teaching+text. Uh, maybe if it's MIT, they depend on closed source textbooks. My sorry...

"It turns out that the most effective literacy program for adults in India is same-language captioning of Bollywood musicals, using the karaoke technique of coloring the syllables as they are to be sung. Audiences in India will go to a popular movie five or six times, memorize the words, and sing along. With same-language captioning, people who thought themselves too old to learn reading find that they are reading right there in the theater."

irving:1. Finding volunteers for the task of writing free textbooks will result in good free textbooks being written
2. Creating, say, a good math primer for 1st. graders will result in adoption of said primer by any given school/district/state/country.

There are also techincal, political, philosophical and even financial factors, as we know: somebody has to create the book, somebody needs to do extensive editing and fact-checking before releasing the book (Wikipedia is a perfect example of the good and bad of "community projects"), somebody has to "sell" the concept to the right authorities, somebody must guarantee that there is technical/editorial support on demand in case something needs to be fixed, corruption needs to be fought, etc., etc."

Apparently you are unaware that many textbooks in the developing world are created by education ministries.

Edward,

"the easiest idea is to create free electronic versions of existing textbooks. But this is to waste most of the power of the computer."

Of course the XO is much more capable than just being an eReader. But information (textbooks or other content) is fundamental to kids' education (teacher assisted, peer or self)and for most people it means textbooks. Hence there should be greater effort, I believe, on emphasizing XO abilities, and cost effectiveness, for this basic educational function. This is the most obvious benefit for others to understand and so the most convincing to 'sell'. After that everything else becomes a bonus...

Just bought textbooks for my son's new school year - the most expensive one was almost twice the price of the most expensive one from the year before. To make it worse it will be useless for my two other kids when they're in the same year - the publisher made sure it's a 'use-once-and-it-throw-it-away' type by embedding 'notebook' sections through out the book. This seems to be increasing trend - what a scam! With OLPC XO being the first affordable device on which using eBooks becomes practical (a decent screen !) it's easy to see it's not just Wintel which is worried about OLPC ... Hopefully, in most of the developing countries their textbooks,especially at the primary school level, are under control of the governments and with the tools like XO the spread of the 'textbooks scam' from developed countries won't spread there as well.

Here's an interesting entry (especially the first comment) on the excellent eBook blog TeleRead:

TeleRead, ‘Secret behind textbook costs’
( http://www.teleread.org/blog/2008/02/01/secret-behind-textbook-costs-another-argument-for-e-books-and-wikis-and-changes-in-the-publishing-biz/ )

Guys, I am so sorry.
Governments are not copyright holders, unless you're in a Socialist country or something of the sort, the way textbook procuration is implemented is to get some First World dough, and use it to pay a private publisher, hopefully local, who gets some folks to write the data.
World Bank, Interamerican Development Bank, etc are usually the rich uncle we get in debt with.
for a thorough analysis of the procurement process in every Latin American country.
see

http://www.cerlalc.org/secciones/libro_desarrollo/Textos_Escolares.pdf
It is HIGHLY unlikely those publishers would be open to share - it's their livelihood.
In Uruguay until not long ago photocopying of books for educational purposes was fully legal thus very common for students in a class to pool their money to buy one copy of an expensive (foreign) textbook and everyone make a copy of it - been there. Same with software. Foreign books are EXPENSIVE (markup of 30% above US list prices is common) and required for University level study.

As a teacher I enjoyed immensely to publish my own texts - obviously at no profit.
Teacher's notes are often just a compilation of copies of chapters from some textbooks. Schools and institutes would often multicopy such. You haven't lived until you have hand cranked a Gestedner duplicator...

Bottom line, content HAS to be produced. But it can be done on the cheap. The budget I calculated in 1993 was of US 20 K for the content of all data text materials for Middle school. Why so low? relying in volunteer work - High Schoolers love to do data entry "pour la patrie", and even a full time professional like me earned in those days about $ 200 per month. This was, of course, considering original materials. 20 K = 200 x 100 man/months

We don't have to speculate about textbooks. Here are some links with information.

Producing textbooks in developing countries.
http://www.allbusiness.com/public-administration/national-security-international/114550-1.html

Full text of book "PEARSE, D. (1982) Textbook Production in Developing Countries: some problems of preparation, production and distribution (Paris, Unesco).":
http://unesdoc.unesco.org/images/0008/000854/085464eb.pdf
(search for the title of the book for links to other copies)

Producing educational materials in local languages: costs from Guatemala and Senegal
http://www.sciencedirect.com/science?_ob=ArticleURL&_udi=B6VD7-3WRBM9T-4&_user=10&_rdoc=1&_fmt=&_orig=search&_sort=d&view=c&_acct=C000050221&_version=1&_urlVersion=0&_userid=10&md5=6c30e6230d34a149031846b364f0ca23

A telling quote:
"Half the world's children typically sit in classrooms sharing only one book among the entire class, learning by rote, or copying, probably inaccurately, old and often inappropriate texts written on a blackboard by an underpaid, undereducated teacher. These are the children of the developing world, in countries facing difficult economic choices and under severe financial constraints."

Electronic distribution can be VERY important for these countries.

Winter

My kids are mostly teaching themselves to read with the many flash animations at http://www.starfall.com/ I haven't tried to use them under gnash. Assuming they're gnash compatible, perhaps these could either be licensed for distribution as static content on the XO or as staged content on school servers. This would provide a literacy program for the XO, which in my experience isn't very illiterate friendly. My kids (4 & 2.5 y/o) have xo's but much prefer Ubuntu & OSX (think bookmarks toolbar).

Yamaplos, winter, thank you for the information about textbook production in the developing world. It looks like I was at least partly wrong.

That said, it is still the case that the massive shortage of textbooks in developing countries can only be solved through producing ebooks and distributing them on the XO or other similar laptops. And the enormous amount of money that would be thereby saved in the long term would be a strong incentive for education ministries to either write the textbooks themselves, or contract the design out, while keeping the copyrights.

Irvin, what is your view here? Is it your position that this problem can be solved by printing more textbooks? Or that it cannot be solved at all? Or do you hold some other view?

Eduardo asks:

"Irvin, what is your view here? Is it your position that this problem can be solved by printing more textbooks? Or that it cannot be solved at all? Or do you hold some other view?"

I firmly believe that the development of curriculum-oriented software (in the form of e-books, web & desktop applications, etc.) must be an integral part of any technology that tries to improve education anywhere in the world.

It may come as a shock to a few people here, but i think that the XO has a bright future IF (and that's a BIG *if*) there is a serious effort by the OLPC leadership to concentrate on the rapid development of meaningful educational content.

At present, there is a complete lack of focus on education, with the terrible result that most project supporters have a hard time convincing the decision-makers that the XO is about education and not hardware. This is the result of the *unnecessary* hype sorrounding the project from the very beginning.

Think about this for a second:

Would the XO be less valuable than it is today if it did fewer things, but did them extremely well?

Wouldn't it be easier to sell the XO if it had more educational software instead of a "view source" button?

Wouldn't it be much easier to explain the benefits of the XO in the classroom with a few applications developing literacy or basic math skills instead of some fairly useless application to measure distance?

I could write a list of 100 areas where the lack of focus has hurt the project tremendously...but my point is that the XO can be GOOD ENOUGH without the hype, without the lies, without the absurd promises.

Who, in his right mind, will believe that mere posession of an XO represents a "constructionist learning environment"

Who, in his right mind, will believe that OLPC can eliminate poverty?

Who, in his right mind, will believe that the XO is the equivalent of "a laptop costing 10 times more"?

Now, I'm NOT bashing the XO. I'm actually DEFENDING it. Because, I'll say it once again, the XO would be a VERY GOOD investment if it were marketed as a computer for children that doubles as an E-book reader and comes with a solid line-up of MAINSTREAM educational software and perhaps an online repository of didactic material and exercises. Simple stuff, actually (but no, this simple stuff can not be left at the mercy of "volunteers" long on passion but short on competence - real professionals must be engaged).

Is the XO less "marketable" if it is clearly designed to promote literacy while fostering the greatest habit in history: reading?

Sadly, the OLPC leadership has made such mess with all the craziness sorrounding the project that there is no way to convince rational people (yes, the ministers of education and people in power are rational, intelligent people most of the time) that the XO can actually deliver on the absurd promises.

Prof. Negroponte & co. need to learn that, sometimes, less is more...

INDEFENSE OF THE XO - PART 2

The XO doesn't neeed to be (and can't be) "the brightest light in the house".

The XO doesn't need a damned "human power generator". A governemnt that can't provide basic electricity to its people has NO business buying them laptops! Isn't that common sense?

The XO doesn't need to eliminate poverty or bridge any "digital divide". It only needs to help vey young children learn the basics of using (not repairing!) a computer while using it to make some tasks easier, like practicing math, reading, exploring, chatting, doing small projects, etc.

The XO doesn't need to create any 'revolution' in education - it only needs to provide kids with a few useful applications and a very large amount of appropriate reading material.

The XO doesn't need "constructionism" as a selling point.

The XO is NOT a tv. It's not a home theater. Not a regular laptop. it doesn't need to be any of that. it can be very valuable as just a simple (perhaps first) computer for elementary school students.

The XO will not fix absentism in the third world.

the XO can not and does not need to replace teachers.

The XO doesn't need any lies or hype. It needs honest marketing and a leadership that can concentrate on the stated project goal: education.

@Irvin:
A whole lot of stuff you bring up.

I disagree with most of it, but just as a matter of opinion. I immediately add that in this case, you might be right and, therefore, I might be wrong. History will teach us.

It might be useful to ad an earlier post of myself, which draws attention to the fact that the XO is NOT only an educational computer/ebook but also a very valuable communication device:
http://www.olpcnews.com/use_cases/education/olpc_xo_improve_teachers.html
http://www.olpcnews.com/use_cases/education/olpc_effective_violin.html

I think the communciation function of the XO, IM, email, chat, VoIP, video conferencing is underrated. The XO will go to children that are often living isolated. The XO can help them to keep in touch with peers and teachers. Someone remarked (I forgot where) that s/he knew some kids could not get to school every day (4 hours of travel!). A laptop could mean she might go every other day and work at home the other day.

Internet TV and Radio are very important for children (and adults). So I would not belittle these functions.

Basically, I think education is more than just memorizing facts. Google doesn't teach, it informs.

Winter

I see we agree on a number of points, including that the 3rd world literacy problem can't be resolved without ebooks, and that the XO doesn't have enough education software. In particular, I agree that the XO should have basic literacy and math software.

I do think, however, that you overstate the case when you claim that it has no educational software, and also your attacks on Negroponte are wildly one-sided. If they are all idiots and moral monsters, how did they produce such a splendid piece of hardware? Furthermore, when you attack someone in such extreme terms, it makes it much likely they will listen to you.

"The XO doesn't need a damned "human power generator". A governemnt that can't provide basic electricity to its people has NO business buying them laptops! Isn't that common sense?"

If buying them self-powered laptops is considerably cheaper than providing basic electricity, then it is a better alternative. Do you know how much it costs to electrify a vast countryside, and how long it takes?

I also disagree that the XO should be very narrow in its functionality. That would save little if anything in cost, and, as winter points out, a broadly functional device has a great many societal benefits beyond literacy.

Finally, you seem to think that oplc is about to go down the drain, that it will shut down quite soon if it doesn't make a radical change in course. Actually, though it is far below its original goals, it is still selling lots of computers and has lots of money backing it. As a consequence it has several more years in which to really catch on.

To summarize, I agree with you on some points, and disagree on others, and I think you would be more effective in getting your ideas across if you were more moderate in your style.

Here is a link that gets into some of the many uses of the XO:

http://www.xconomy.com/2008/02/01/the-xo-laptop-its-the-software-stupid/

@Eduardo Montez:
"Actually, though it is far below its original goals, it is still selling lots of computers and has lots of money backing it."

There seem to be over 600,000 confirmed orders:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/One_Laptop_Per_Child
http://olpc.tv/2007/12/01/confirmed-olpc-xo-sales-so-far/

Winter

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