OLPC now buys furniture in addition to laptops in Ghana


Back in the day, one of the reasons Nicholas Negroponte bemoaned the idea of computer labs and promoted XO laptops was the need for furniture to support the desktop computers. His point was that laptops were cheaper and better because you didn't lose desk space to desktops and you didn't need desks or chairs even, students could learn outside.

Well fast-forward a few years and let us see what is happening in the Eastern Region of Ghana. There, One Laptop Per Child is excited to get the once-stalled OLPC Ghana program going in 21 districts. And according to Ghana Web:

The ambiguity surrounding the initiative has finally come to rest, following the presentation of 75 mini laptops from One Laptop Per Child, an America Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO), through the Child's Rights Organisation, to the Suhum Kraboa Coaltar District Assembly (SKCDA).

In addition to the computers presented were 42 chairs and 35 tables to enable the children have full use of the donation.

The donation by the NGO has empowered the Assembly to construct an ultra modern ICT centre at the Korase District Assembly Experimental School, the main benefactor of the items, to house the donation.

I love that OLPC now finds itself buying furniture for shared-use computer labs - the very same configuration once railed against by Negroponte himself.


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1 Comment

That's a funny (and mistaken) conclusion to draw from that news blurb.

OLPC is not involved in any school-level decisions about implementations (such as how to furnish a school or distribute laptops) - it only makes recommendations to local teams. OLPC does not recommend creating labs for children rather than giving them their own machines to take home and use outside of school.

A full OLPC deployment should try to realize all five olpc principles.

Some smaller deployments drop one or more of them. But as I suspect you would agree, access to computers is only one part of becoming empowered to learn and engage with others online. Connectivity, full-time access, and freedom to hack and make changes are all important as well.

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