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I have some serious qualms about “laptop literacy” programs that don’t seem to get that there needs to be some larger framework of support for technology use, but I also think that attempts to “bridge the digital divide” need to start somewhere.  Therefore, I am both heartened and disturbed by this program, “One Laptop Per Child.”  I like the idea, but I would have liked some acknowledgment, at least, of the fact that internet access and laptop capability does not automatically equal learning.  To say “replace the word ‘laptop’ with ‘education'” is to profoundly misunderstand the nature of education, and of technology.  I don’t doubt that laptops can help to make education possible, but laptops ARE NOT education.  Period.  

If the kids receiving the laptops are not provided with support or instruction, and are not challenged to use them for educational purposes, it’s just as likely that the laptops will go unused, or be used superficially.  Granted, such support and challenge have to be local in origin in order to understand the needs and limitations of these children, but the OLPC program could acknowledge that need and try to help provide solutions in that area too, when necessary.

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