[LINK] Australia trials low-cost laptop

Rick Welykochy rick at praxis.com.au
Fri Jan 12 23:47:48 AEDT 2007

The "One Laptop Per Child" program is to be trialled in Australia.
The laptops cost approx $US 150 and run open source software.


Quotes from the article follow.



Asher Moses
January 12, 2007 - 11:07AM

The One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) project aims to put low-cost laptops into
the hands of impoverished children in the developing world, but work is
already underway to trial them among indigenous populations in Australia.

The simple laptop, currently being built for around $US150 each, is the
brainchild of MIT Media Lab and Nicholas Negroponte, who billed it as being
revolutionary for children's education.


"There are numerous other areas in Queensland, WA, SA, NSW, Vic and Tas
that hold equal potential."

Sharron Noske, deputy chief executive of planning and resources for the
Northern Territory Department of Employment, Education and Training (DEET),
said two samples were being tested to decide whether to go ahead with a
trial program.

"DEET is keen to look at an extended pilot where a whole class of students
use the laptops for an extended period - to establish the learning benefits
and identify the associated teaching strategies and resources required," she said.

"If this pilot shows the outcomes DEET is seeking, then the department would
consider a wider roll-out."

For such a low cost, the OLPC laptop offers a rich array of features including
a webcam, microphone, wireless networking, SD memory card slot and built-in speakers.


Being open-source, the laptops are open to development by anyone worldwide,
and there is a vast community contributing new features and fixing bugs, which
are then incorporated into future "builds" of the laptop.

In order to produce them for $US150 - the goal is to bring this price down to
$US85 by 2010 - countries would need to order the laptops in one million unit
batches. This poses difficulties for countries with smaller population sizes,
such as Australia.

Srikhanta said a viable solution would be to bring together a group of Asia
Pacific countries for a bulk order which would then be split up and distributed.

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