Video: OLPC Australia Supported by Telstra


Male Newscaster: ...story now, and there are some schools in the remote parts of Australia that don't have access to a telephone, let alone a computer. But a program underway in the Northern Territory is trying to change all that by giving each child their very own educational laptop.

Reporter: 400,000 children live in remote communities across Australia. Because of their isolation, these kids don't get access to the technology and educational opportunities that many others take for granted.

Haidee Dentith: We have very small remote schools that don't have power, so we use generators, that don't have a phone in the school, that are so far away at the moment because of the summer climate takes eight hours to drive to some of these places.

Reporter: A project supported by Telstra's Ideas for Good initiative, called One Laptop Per Child, is trying to boost numeracy and literacy rates in these remote communities, giving each child an educational laptop.

Rangan Srikhanta: Children in these communities have the opportunity then to tap into a global body of knowledge, we call it the internet, to find solutions to challenges that face them everyday.

Reporter: The kids in Gangan, 130 miles southwest of Yirrkala are among the first to receive the new XO laptop.

Sam Edwards: We just handed them to the kids and let them have playtime with it for about an hour just to see what they'd do and what programs they'd gravitate to. And it was quite incredible how easily they use the computer without any instruction at all.

Reporter: Visiting teacher, Sam Edwards, flies in by light plane to Gangan to help out the local teachers three days a week.

Sam Edwards: It's a long way from everything. The nearest shop is a three hour drive away or an hour's flight. Computer educating is not something I thought I'd see out here.

Reporter: According to NAPLAN, only 20% of children living in very remote communities in the norther territory make national literacy standards. Haidee Dentith is the principal of nine remote schools in communities across East Arnhem Land.

Haidee Dentith: There's a lot of scope there for kids to be using these to write stories, to record old stories, to practice English. So we get excited when we see a tool that can make this a bit more exciting or fun. And of course, the ultimate aim is to lift the literacy and numeracy levels.

Reporter: So far, 1,500 laptops have been delivered to children in remote parts of the Northern Territory and western Australia, with a plan to distribute 400,000 over the next five years.

Rangan Srikhanta: The beauty about technology is that it doesn't discriminate, and that's the beauty of this program, and that's what the elders and all the communities see.

Reporter: Senior Homelands teacher, Multhura Mununggurr, is excited to see her kids given an opportunity to connect with the outside world.

Multhura Mununggurr: It is important for all our children, especially in the isolated areas, so they can learn to develop their understanding of global issues.

Reporter: The kids here have few personal possessions. So to receive a laptop each is a big deal.

Female Child 1: My computer is helping me to read and write.

Female Child 2: I am really happy with this one.

Male Child: Hello.

Reporter: To the people of Gangan, the remoteness is not a disadvantage. The way they see it, they get the best of both worlds.

Haidee Dentith: The community and the school council are focused on bringing these kids into the 21st century. They want them to be strong people in both worlds.

Rangan Srikhanta: The XO is our window to the world for our children, but it's also a window for the world into their lives as well.

Male Newscaster: We're very quick to pick on big companies when they get it wrong, but when they get it right it's terrific. The delivery of the first laptops is being made possible thanks to sponsors like Telstra and the Commonwealth Bank. But the charity is now looking for the federal government to fund the full rollout to all 400,000 kids. For details, head to and get behind it.


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