Friday, July 4, 2008

OLPC Sri Lanka

One Laptop Per Child in Sri Lanka

OLPC has become a hot topic, olpc initiatives are under way around the globe. It is always good to see what this OLPC is and what are the benifits Sri Lanka can gain, basically how it can be used for sutainable development.

Following are some thoughts about the OLPC, positive and negative, without going for radical "YES" or "NO".

Some positive aspects;

  • Can reach five children with OLPC when we reach one child with normal PC.
  • Inbuilt Wi-Fi mesh network capability is ideal for an eVillage.
  • Minimal power consumption (<2w)>
  • Rugged encasement and rubber sealed keyboard make OLPC resistant to water, dirt and hardy use by kids.
  • Can be used for peer learning within a homogeneous children’s group in a village or a children’s home, etc.
  • Good teaching and learning assistant

Some negative aspects;

  • Specifically designed for kids, so have to target only that age group (normal PC for everyone)
  • Cost of ownership is higher, initiatives like Nanasala tries to reduce the cost of ownership by promoting common/shared access.
  • Does not promote the sharing of resources
  • Does Sri Lankan every child need a his/her own laptop, can our economy bare it?



  1. Dear Sameera, I'm a Phd student in Italy with a project on the OLPC for the digital divide. My aim is understanding if the OLPC can be a good tool or not and in what circumstances it can be useful (e.g.teachers trained or not, children interested or not, use for learning or just for entertainment, ecc.). So, reading your post, I was thinking of 2 questions:
    - why do you say you can reach more children with OLPC than with a PC?
    - why the OLPC does not promote the sharing of resources?

    I would be really glad if we can exchange some opinions about it. Thank you. Magda

  2. Hi Magda

    I tried to see your Blog profile, but looks like that is not in English. Anyway I will elaborate the two points.

    Why do you say you can reach more children with OLPC than with a PC?

    In Sri Lanka normal branded PC will cost you around 1000 USD, but you can buy an OLPC for just 200 USD. So, when you give one normal PC to a child, you can give five OLPC (XOs) to five children. So as far as the cost is concern the OLPC is a better option.

    Why the OLPC does not promote the sharing of resources?

    It is purely designed for individual usage. A child brings his/her laptop to the school and uses it and takes it back home. It may be shared with his/her siblings, but may not be with others. But initiatives like Telecentres share the resources optimally and bring down the cost of ownership drastically. Also other costs like maintenance will be shared among many others.


  3. XO Laptops are Banned in OLPC Ethiopia Classrooms

    While watching David Hollow of ICT4D Collective present his evaluation of OLPC Ethiopia at the recent Africa Gathering I was struck by his observation that teachers were banning XO laptops from their classrooms. David found a clear perception by teachers and even parents, that the XO laptop is a toy, not a tool, and children's usage of these computers was actually a detriment to their education. Teachers disliked them enough to ban them from the classroom and parents discouraged their use at home, thinking the laptops were taking away from study time. More: LXer Linux News