Friday, July 07, 2006

Nicholas the Great!

Moblogged Thursday morning
Wow! I will make reflecdtive comments later...but here is the bare bones of the fabulous and inspiring and revolutionary speech from Nicholas Negroponte.

From the Daily Leader: "$100 laptop project to put a compact, durable, no frills but Internet ready computer into the hands of children around the world"

Seymour Papert, April 1970, "Teaching Children Thinking", about engaging children in programming (LOGO)

$100 laptop website

Work in remote villages in Africa and Asia...get computers and power etc and ....what are they learning? Word and Excel...this is criminal!
"Technology is about learning, not about teaching

If Bill Gates and Intel don't like it we must be doing something right!

Three basic principles
  • Use technology to learn learning, not to learn something
  • Teaching is one but not the only way to achieve learning
  • Leverage children themselves: bring them more into the equation to do oart of the teaching (peer to peer, peer to teacher)
  • Dakar in Senegal in 1981
  • Costa Rica in 80s
  • India in late 1990s: convinced telecommunications was the issue
NO: telecommunications is not the issue
The problem is access to hardware? laptops the answer?

Cambodia project: Internet connectivity and laptops in villages with no basic infrastructure, first English word is 'Google'

Maine laptop initiative: teachers are now saying teaching is diiferent, students engaged, truancy decreased

What is: one laptop per child?
  • A non-profit entity of $30M funding for non-recurring engineerring costs
  • About scsle, scale being global is crucial, launch 5-10 million in 2007, 50-100 million in 2008, 5 large diverse countries
  • To provide to children: to won, to take home, to use seamlessly
Partners: google, RedHat, eBay, Quanta, UN, IADB (bank) and more

About laptops: How to cost at $100?
  • Normally sales, marketing etc is 50% of cost....this project has none of this
  • OS obesity takes up 75% of laptop cost...aim to 'skinny down' the OS!
  • 500Mhz processor
  • 128DRAM
  • 512M Flash
  • Less than 2 W nominal, can be human powered (nornal laptop 20-40 W)
  • 3 USB ports
  • Stereo sound, with 2 audio out
  • WiFi mesh network (peer-to-peer, shared memory)
  • Linux OS
  • Rugged
  • Dual mode display: BW sunlight readable
  • Camera under consideration
Maintenance: kids will do this

Prototype: Green machine
Otheres: seed A, Book, (different colours signify new models)
Latest is red: display is 1/2" bigger than prototype

Also part of package:
  • $100 server available to schools 300GB
  • $10 DVD drive
  • and others........
Rubber keyboard in different languages

About the launch:
Thai government to sign for to make laptops...36 assembly lines to make 1M units a month

Global launch outside the US
  • Brazil
  • Nigeria
  • Thailand
  • Argentina
Central America plan with IADB

in discussion: China, India, Egypt, Mexico, Bangladesh

Why not the USA? We can already buy $400 Intel laptop. Too many school districts

Nigeria will be primary test site

Laptop price committment:
  • $100 target price end of 2008, however the price will float due to currency changes, memory cost changes etc
  • $138 anticipated in 2007
  • $50 target price in 2010

Side effects
  • Linux on desktop
  • No caps lock key
  • Power consciousness: more human power
  • No bloated software: stop featuritis
  • Viral telecommunications
  • Peer to peer everything
  • Learning by doing
What can you do??

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Anonymous said...


Great review of the opening keynote on day two. It was a great look at the work MIT and Nicholas are doing. Thanks for blogging it!

Shanghai American School

Anonymous said...

Excellent summary...especially the Wikipedia link to Seymour Papert. Negraponte is on the right track.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for sharing your notes. I found information on this project, coming from "the source," to be inspiring. His comments about the sad state of a computer lab in Africa - out of doors, powered by car batteries, where they were teaching Word and Excel - to be incredible... a wake-up call, I think for us all.

"Technology should be teaching us how to learn."

What a great concept. And no, the wonderful thing about it is, we don't need a $100 laptop, or a wait for some wiz-bang product to come out, to start realizing this goal. I think this concept should be everyone's mantra, combined with DeWitt's uplifting guidelines, too... "What's positive about this situation? How can I make it better?"

That personal voice he seemed to have is something I can still hear in my head.

After thinking about it, these two speakers' messages combine very well.

- John Hendron (,
Goochland, Virginia USA