Feedback on XO Laptops in Brazilian Schools


From OLPC's Community News:

Brazilian classrooms of tomorrow?

Juliano Bittencourt participated in a Sao Paulo meeting of the five Brazilian 1:1 schools. In the spring of last year, the Brazilian government selected five schools in the country to test different models of educational laptops donated by three vendors.

OLPC donated laptops to two schools; one in Sao Paulo and other in Porto Alegre. Intel donated Classmates to one school in the city of Pirai and another in Palmas. An Asian vendor, Encore, donated 40 laptops to a single classroom in a school in Brasilia.

The three-day meeting included the teachers, principals and students of the five schools, plus representatives from the ministry of education, President Lula's office and several universities involved in the Brazilian 1:1 initiative. The meeting's purpose was to promote useful interaction among teachers and principals of the schools. It also provided a good opportunity to see how the various deployments were progressing.

olpc brazil
Brazilian OLPC Game Jam

Juliano reports that the schools that used the XO were more advanced towards building an innovative environment than the other three schools. This fact can be credited to several variables.

However, the powerful key ideas behind the OLPC philosophy helped these schools move well beyond a digital literacy initiative to the creation of a new, more progressive, learning environment, the essence of constructionism.

The XO schools were the only ones among the five where saturation deployment and child ownership of the machines were strongly advocated. A shortage of laptops meant that the students in Sao Paulo had to share their XOs, four to a machine. However, the teachers from this school argued most eloquently that each child must have his or her own laptop and must take it home. The school at Porto Alegre is the only school in Brazil where this is true.

Juliano found the children's level of comfort with their XOs astonishing, as was the way they expressed their opinions about the project. The children self-organized and defined their presentation topics, and talked about the things they are doing, and the problems they are facing with the laptops. They even made demands of the politicians who were present.

olpc for everyone
She still has XO hope

In a private conversation, the Sao Paulo teachers complained over the lack of activities on XOs that enable the students to express themselves and be creative. They explained that some of the machines in their school's computer lab have a configuration similar to the XO, but offer more opportunities for the development of projects and to engage children in creative activities.

Simple tasks like basic photo editing, sound mixing and web page development can't be done on the XO. The teachers' criticism was for the most part very constructive and mature.

The government intends to open a new bid for the purchase of laptops for schools in December. However, many of the issues that compromised the bid last year still remain.

Epilogue from Augusto Arantes, Indian Encore, through its representative in Brazil Comsat, won the bidding for 150,000 educational laptops

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I wonder which Encore product Brazil bought? Is this a Simputer return to prominence?

It's hard to give this "feedback" any credibility when the person provising the "news" is a member of one of the competing "teams":

Unsurprisingly, he gives the best marks to his own project...


The feedback is what it is. I think the epilogue is more interesting, if only I could find more information about it.

Oh and you can get crazy and register as Irving. Previous filters were removed in the site upgrade.


As an US American, could you explain to the non-USA readers (like me) why US posters always seem to think they can conclude a discussion by shooting the messenger?

This is the umphtied example I encounter.

Here we have a Brazilian that reports on his experiences about testing the XO in a classroom setting. The only comment seems to be that he is not to be trusted and we should therefor ignore every word in it.

Not a single word about what he has to tell us, only that he is not trustworthy and should be ignored.

Are US Americans really that unreliable, or distrusting, that they really ignore whatever a countryman says whenever this person might have a private "standpoint"?



I would like to think that those writing about OLPC, no matter their personal or professional affiliations, would manage to maintain a level of professionalism and objectiveness in their reports on its success.

Might the reports be biased? Of course, as we all have our own biases. And life is usually richer because of these obvious yet subtle biases.

Sadly, for some people that bias is not to trust anyone connected to OLPC. My suggestion would be to have a bias towards ignoring them.

"I would like to think that those writing about OLPC, no matter their personal or professional affiliations, would manage to maintain a level of professionalism and objectiveness in their reports on its success."

I agree. Any attempt to hide problems or negative reports will always come back to haunt the project. That will tend to keep rational people on their toes and honest. But indeed, we all have our biases.

We know from history that only the most ruthless honesty and openness works for FLOSS projects. I think this also holds for projects like the OLPC.

Obviously, there are always "pundits" who would like to paint honest people in the colors of someone like Rob Enderle, Maureen O'Gara, or Brian Jones.

Like in the proverb: "Ill doers are ill deemers"



don't you think that any rational person would find a HUGE conflict of interest in Juliano judging the effect/reception of different products/teams when he is part of one of them?

I'd criticize an Intel rep if he tried to pull the same stunt. Wouldn't you?

(I'm comfortable with the short Irv version of my name. Thanks!)

The use of the word "rational" is a bit too loaded for my comfort. The conflict of interest is evident to anyone who isn't carrying some sort of bias.

Of course those who do have a bias which makes criticism of the project unacceptable don't see themselves as biased but what of it? The evidence, from the sales numbers of the OLPC, is clear. Those who have concerns which go beyond an unquestioning allegiance to the OLPC have voted with their checkbooks.

As sales dry up so will donations since throwing good money after bad isn't a popular pastime unless it's not your money.