Since its announcement nearly three years ago, former MIT Media Lab director Nicholas Negroponte’s One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) initiative has generated plenty of controversy. But if the experience of children in Arahuay, Peru, is any indication, skepticism of the program could be short-lived.

Doubts about whether poor, rural children really can benefit from quirky little computers have evaporated as quickly as the morning dew in this hilltop Andean village, where 50 primary school children got machines from the OLPC project six months ago.

These daughters and sons of peasant families, whose...

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