When Negroponte first showed off the OLPC netbook circa 2006, it was far more advanced than the laptops we had on the market at the time. It had hand-cranked power, a screen that worked in full sunlight, and it was smaller and cheaper than anything we had on the market. It was partially responsible for the explosion of the netbook in 2008. But the netbook explosion left the OLPC project behind and the global financial crisis of 2008 left Negroponte with an uphill battle: selling OLPCs to educational systems in developing countries.
Now we have a few new details about an OLPC tablet, . Like its predecessor, it could be more advanced than anything we currently have on the market. Notice the camera? Make you think of any other tablet that could use a camera?
The problem remains that even if Negroponte can keep the price point below $100, governments would still have to prioritize technology above other basic needs for children who need food as much as they need information. It's a hard sell. Even with Western countries subsidizing these programs, they are difficult to make fly. But they are important because we cannot leave people out of what Negroponte once called "the infobahn." Consider this quote from Being Digital:
"We may be a society with far fewer learning-disabled children and far more teaching-disabled environments than currently perceived. The computer changes this by making us more able to reach children with different learning and cognitive styles." (p.198)
Technology isn't just for fun and games. It levels a playing field for educational development. This was written in 1996 and it is just as true today as it was 14 years ago.
Other links from Friday morning's episode of Loaded:
Yahoo Mail gets Facebook news feed
The Sony Reader is set toRoku to its channels so you can listen to your local radio stations from your Roku box