A summary in WSJ about the state of affairs for OLPC.[via reddit] The discussion is not very much about what really makes an OLPC. It is more about how Intel, Microsoft and other companies are actively subverting it and how governments in many countries are weighing their options – not all in favor of OLPC.
The decision to buy Intel’s Classmate over OLPC, someone is quoted as saying, is a no-brainer. And, it’s precisely that. If kids and those in government have no brains, they should buy a proprietary system with a proprietary hardware/software and sign-up for multi-year maintenance contracts. If they do have brains, then they should acquire a machine that allows experimentation, facilitates self-learning and is a tool designed to educate from ground up.
Carine Umutesi, who works for Rwanda’s Information Technology Authority, questioned who would fix them if they break.
The answer, unsurprisingly is, they themselves should. They may not know how when they begin, but if there is a way to learn and the tool purportedly facilitates it, learning to fix is a better investment than other alternatives.
It may sound idealistic and so it should be. What use is pragmatism without a vision? Money is well spent if it opens young minds to the many possibilities that learning and tinkering offers, and to higher ideals of excellence and vision. Anything that falls short is a compromise.