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A PC for every student

CORONADO, Calif.--There are plenty of proposals for bringing PCs to the developing world, but Project Inkwell has its hands full just trying to get PCs into the hands of American schoolchildren.

"We want to drive a common set of technology requirements for our children," said Bruce Wilcox, chief executive officer of the sister consortium to Bruce Anderson's Future in Review conference. "It's really leveraging our future prosperity."

Project Inkwell doesn't have its own hardware vision in mind, like much of the recent debate about projects like the One Laptop Per Child project or similar initatives from Intel and Advanced Micro Devices, both of which are members of the consortium. Its goal is to bring companies together in a sort of standards consortium to encourage collaboration, Wilcox said. It is starting to get several states in the U.S. to make one-to-one computing--one computer per student and teacher--a budget priority, with the immediate goal of raising test scores but the ultimate goal of giving kids the tools needed to thrive in a digital world.

David Engle, the U.S. director of operations for Project Inkwell and the principal of a Seattle-area high school, knows all too well that however technology makes its way into the classroom, it must be easy enough for cash-strapped school districts to manage. "We always feel like we're on the brink of a nervous breakdown at my school, we have so little support for so much activity," he said.