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One Laptop Per Child

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"Children need to learn learning, which is primarily acquired through the passion that comes from access, the ability to make things, to communicate and to express. Writing a computer program, while seemingly esoteric, is in fact the closest a child can come to thinking about thinking. Likewise, debugging a program is the closest one can come to learning. It goes without saying that Internet access and tools for expression (text, music, video, graphics) are the contemporary "toys" for learning. Every child of any means in the developed world has access to a computer at home and usually his or her own, with music, DVD, plus interactive and rich media to do anything from learning languages to play games. The world can afford to make these same resources available for every child." 

                                                                                                                                                      Nicholas Negroponte chairman of the One Laptop Per Child



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What is the One Laptop Per Child Program all about?




Explore the XO


The XO laptop is the size of a textbook and weighs about three pounds. Thanks to its flexible design and “transformer" hinge, it can easily configure from a standard laptop to an e-book reader and a hand-held video game player. Everything is scaled to fit a child, from the integrated handle to the sealed, rubberized keyboard.




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In 2002, MIT Professor Nicholas Negroponte experienced first-hand how connected laptops transformed the lives of children and their families in a remote Cambodian village. A seed was planted: If every child in the world had access to a computer, what potential could be unlocked? What problems could be solved? These questions eventually led to the foundation of One Laptop per Child, and the creation of the XO laptop.



The XO laptop runs on Linux, a free and open-source operating system. OLPC’s commitment to software freedom gives children the opportunity to use their laptops on their own terms. The children—and their teachers—have the freedom to reshape, reinvent, and reapply their software, hardware, and content. There’s even a button located on the keyboard that allows children to view the programming behind certain applications. The XO laptop’s revolutionary interface, Sugar, also promotes sharing and learning.


The Neighborhood view displays all the connected XO laptops within a child’s community, and what activities they are sharing. Each child is represented by a different color. If there is a shared document or activity being collaborated on by a number of children, it will show up within this view.


The Friends view shows the child, their friends, and their activities, such as chat or a shared project. Again, every child is represented by a different color.


The Home view shows the child and his or her activities, a clipboard, and the application launcher.


The Activity view displays the particular activity, or application, that a child is currently working within, such as Write or Draw.


Browse is a simple Web application that allows children to access and search the Internet and share links among their friends.


Calculate provides a generic calculator with a simple, straightforward interface. It is designed to be intuitive and readable enough for even the youngest children to use, while also supporting more complicated mathematics.


The Chat activity provides a simple environment for discussion, whether it’s between two individuals or an entire classroom.


Connect is an interactive game where children must line up four like elements in a row, fostering both collaboration and strategic thinking.


EToys is a media-rich authoring system aimed at helping children learn by doing. They can explore their ideas by creating models, simulations, and games complete with text, graphics, sound, and video. Children can also share desktops with other EToys users in real time, encouraging immersive mentoring and play. EToys has a worldwide community of users and developers who are working to create content, curriculum, and examples.

The Journal

The Journal activity is an automated diary of everything a child does with his or her laptop. The Journal can be used by children to organize work or revisit a past project, and by teachers and parents to assess a child’s progress.


Measure is a tool that allows children to explore and learn by connecting and observing physical phenomena and real-world events. With it, children can measure and log data and create graphs.


Memorize is the classic memory game of finding and matching pairs with a twist: a pair can consist of any multimedia object, such as images, sounds and text. The memory game allows children to play existing games as well as create new ones themselves.


The NewsReader activity provides an interface for viewing news (RSS) feeds.


The Draw activity provides a canvas for a child or a group of children to express themselves creatively. Children can draw free-form images with a paintbrush and pencil, and use the dedicated toolbar to play and experiment with shapes. Text support, image import functionality, and an interactive placement system give children limitless ways to explore their creativity.


Pippy is a simple and fun introduction to programming in Python, the dynamic programming language underlying much of the software on the laptop.


The Record activity provides a simple way for children to take pictures, view slideshows, and record video and audio—all content that can be shared via the mesh network.


Designed for older children who are ready to venture into more sophisticated sound design, SynthLab is a mini-lab for acoustic- and electronic-circuit construction.

TamTam Jam

Simple enough to be used by even the youngest ages, TamTam Jam is a fun, powerful way to perform music, play instruments, and collaborate musically with other children.

TamTam Edit

TamTam Edit is an intuitive environment for composing music. Children can create, modify, and organize notes on virtual "tracks" which allow for virtually limitless variations in musical styles.

Turtle Art

Turtle Art lets children program a Logo “turtle” to draw colorful and complex artwork. Simple programming elements easily snap together, allowing children to bring their art to life.


Write is a basic text editing application featuring straightforward tools and a simple interface. It provides an easy way for children to write a story, craft a poem, or complete an essay, as well as more advanced features like image insertion, table creation, and layout operations. It also features collaborative real-time editing, so a group of children can work together to edit text easily and seamlessly.


Along with the applications built into the XO laptop is an ever-growing array of downloadable content and built-in access to popular Web-based applications. This includes Google applications, SimCity, GCompris (a suite of award-winning educational software for children), and hundreds of other applications. There are currently thousands of software developers around the world developing content for the XO. For more information, visit http://wiki.laptop.org/go/Activities.



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