While we can endlessly debate One Laptop Per Child on OLPC News, what really matters will be the opinions and adoption of XO technology by children. And recently children have been expressing their views on the matter.
First up is Chris Schmidt's experience with giving an OLPC XO to a friend's young son:
I snapped a dozen pictures of Gabe (mercy_rain's son) and SJ Klein (OLPC Manager of Content) with the OLPC.The photo set is damn cute, a visual statement to the XO's appeal.
Note that Gabe had never seen one of these things before, and with practically no help from the adults, he had started painting, typing, and playing with the webcam, cackling quite evilly the whole time.
Then twelve year old "SG" made a surprisingly well-written literary statement about the $100 laptop" on Freedom to Tinker:
My expectations for this computer were, I must admit, not very high. But it completely took me by surprise.SG also sets the mood for another laptop prototype test, this time maintenance. Nicholas Negroponte's OLPC XO maintenance plan is for children to do 95% of technical support. Apparently Mitch Bradley even believes that a 10-year old could replace an XO motherboard. implementation plan, that Negroponte's dreams can be a reality without intensive teacher training or cultural integration.
It was cleverly designed, imaginative, straightforward, easy to understand (I was given no instructions on how to use it. It was just, “Here. Figure it out yourself.”), useful and simple, entertaining, dependable, really a “stick to the basics” kind of computer.
It’s the perfect laptop for the job. Great for first time users, it sets the mood by offering a bunch of entertaining and easy games and a camera.
But before these privileged kids' experiences allow you discount my fears of Humpty Dumpty on a million unit scale, remember the real OLPC demographic.
Nicholas Negroponte wants poor, uneducated children in the developing world to learn learning using the OLPC XO. Children who are not intimately familiar with computers and laptops by age 12, who cannot look to Joel Stanley for help, and are not blessed with parents who know SJ Klein.
Children who will need more than just OLPC magic to eliminate poverty with education.