Peru’s ambitious laptop program gets mixed grades

Negroponte plans to parachute tablet computers from helicopters, limiting the involvement of adults and educators.

Peru’s equipping of more than 800,000 public schoolchildren in this rugged Andean nation with low-cost laptops ranks among the world’s most ambitious efforts to leverage digital technology in the fight against poverty.

Yet five years in, there are serious doubts about whether the largest single deployment in the One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) initiative inspired by MIT Media Lab founder Nicholas Negroponte was worth the more than $200 million that Peru’s government spent.

Ill-prepared rural teachers and administrators were too often unable to fathom–much less teach–with the machines, software bugs didn’t get fixed, internet access was almost universally absent and cultural disconnects kept kids from benefitting from the machines.…Read More