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One laptop per child and you

By SamMcKeon 15 October 2008 11

Dear Canberra,

Computer Assistance Support & Education (CASE) is a non-profit organisation that was formed to assist Australian community organisations in making better use of information technology.

We accomplish this through education, advocacy and technical support relevant to the specific needs of the community services sector.

CASE has been operating for ten years and supports over 35 community members. Groups we support include the ACT Council of Social Services, Volunteering ACT, Volunteers for Isolated Students Education, Self Help Organisations United Together, the Citizens Advice Bureau and Cancer Voices NSW.

Recently CASE has begun a cooperative relationship with The One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) project.

The OLPC Project is a not-for-profit, global initiative that develops small laptops called “XOs”. These are designed to bring low cost, self supporting, broadband enabled computers to school age children.

OLPC’s stated goal is to affect social change by allowing disadvantaged kids access to a quality, multipurpose learning tool, a tool necessarily compacted into the form of a sturdy multimedia laptop.

In reviewing the OLPC experience worldwide, CASE has identified that extended and advanced teacher training in OLPC technology significantly increases the chance of a successful XO deployment.

CASE wishes to develop a course (accessible in person and online) to bring training and support for people using OLPC XO laptops.

As State and National Government in Australia have expressed interest in local pilot programs, CASE is seeking to provide opportunities for teachers and groups who are using, or considering using OLPC technology to experience and experiment with the laptops.

CASE requires only limited seed capital to establish an XO TRAINING PROGRAM in Canberra. The program will initially support Australian pilots and related online communities, all material we develop then being made available to the worldwide community.


CASE is seeking donations from the Canberra community, business leaders and political leaders in order to purchase 30 XO units.

We will use these units to develop the material, as well as provide community access to the technology.

Any donation to CASE will go directly towards purchasing XO units for CASE’s “XO PROJECT”.

Groups and businesses who donate a unit or more ($350) will have the option to be identified as a major contributor to the project.

Teachers from schools who donate a unit or more will be invited to attend a complimentary session once the course has been developed.

CASE has on loan some demonstration XO units and will be hosting Canberra’s first One Laptop Per Child Open Day Monday 27 October 2008 3.00pm at Volunteering ACT 55 Chandler Street (corner of Chandler and Cameron Streets) Belconnen.

Pia Waugh, open source software expert and One Laptop Per Child community member, will be speaking about the success of the OLPC project around the world and the opportunities it provides for educational projects in our region.

Come and play with the OLPC XO devices on display, and find out how this unique technology is being used in educational projects around the world.

If you are interested in contributing, would like to find out more, or to arrange a personal demonstration of the XO, please contact Samuel McKeon on 0415 117 073 or 

What’s Your opinion?

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11 Responses to
One laptop per child and you
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Maelinar 10:48 am 29 Oct 08

Dear SamMcKeon,

I believe the current policy is that taxpayers are entitled to a rebate of about $300 – the exact figure I’m not so sure, PER CHILD, for electronic gadgetry deemed necessary for school.

Ther are a number of taxpayers looking for valid ways of minimising their tax obligation, a number of those taxpayers do not have children.

Do some maths. Naturally more research warranted, but if you are willing to put in the time which you obviously keen to do, you could build a charity organisation bigger than CCF.

ilmarinen 10:10 am 29 Oct 08

‘Fisher Price piece of junk’? It has self-healing mesh networking, it’s way more durable than anything else on the market but a ToughBook and you can read the display in direct sunlight. For the purposes/places it was designed for, it’s perfect.

I think one of the most interesting things to come out of the OLPC project is just how cheaply consumer grade laptops are actually made (all of them by one or two Taiwanese companies, under contract to HP, Toshiba etc) and just how mature the technology is for better batteries. We are all being ripped off, and most of us are either too stupid to realise it or to squeal about it.

As for tic-tac-toe OS.. If it’s good enough for Google, and places like oh, I dunno; airlines, banks? The only thing here that’s really tic-tac-toe here is you Woody.

toriness 9:56 am 29 Oct 08

in principle this sounds like a great project but i’m just wondering about some details and i have some additional comments about students (especially younger ones) and education.

do the laptops get given straight to the child ie to take home/keep? if so, am i cynical in thinking that some laptops will end up being misused by parents, in the same way the baby bonus gets invested in plasma tvs etc (sorry i know it’s a stereotype but let’s not pretend it doesn’t happen).

secondly computers in every school for use in school time by all students = fantastic and i wholeheartedly support. but using them all the time instead of books and paper – well call me old-fashioned (and i am NOT that old!) but i do think there is a real danger in this. imho it leads to laziness in not thinking for yourself (because it’s all too easy to just google an answer) and an ability to write legibly and spell properly (without using a spell check!). remember the akuna/woodstock sign people!!!

back in the 90s my school introduced a laptop for every student policy starting year 5 and 8. from memory at this point i was in year 10 so i had instead gone through school writing – so while my handwriting isn’t stellar (i blame bad genes) it’s ok. but my youngest sister who was in year 5 at the time got the laptop and used it from that point in all her classes and for homework etc – as a result her handwriting is that of a primary school student still!!

peterh 9:34 am 29 Oct 08

Woody Mann-Caruso said :

You could buy them all brand new Acer laptops for that sort of money, not that Fisher Price piece of junk with its tic-tac-toe OS.

what is wrong with the o/s? nobody complains about the eee pc these days…

and acer have released their own tiny notebook.

why is it, though, that CASE use and recommend Dell? shouldn’t they be throwing their support behind whitebox local manufacturers / assemblers?

as a not for profit, shouldn’t they be supporting the canberra region?

it is good to see where gordon urquhart ended up. Now there is an old school IT person. ah, the memories…

tylersmayhem 8:28 am 16 Oct 08

A footy or a bike and subsequent exposure to the outside world might be more beneficial


Loquaciousness 4:35 pm 15 Oct 08

barking toad said :

A footy or a bike and subsequent exposure to the outside world might be more beneficial

Yeah, it would be in terms of health. But this world (and the world of the next generation) is based on technology. If children aren’t given a solid grounding in technology and computing, they won’t be able to survive in an increasingly electronic society.

So, a football or a bike would work really well if we were trying to raise a generation of kids who see Todd Carney as a hero and have a burning desire to ride in the Tour de France. It won’t work so well if we want our children to grow up to be professionals. It’s not just the IT industry who rely on computers now – it’s every industry. A solid grounding in technology is essential for any career. Unfortunately you don’t get that by chasing a football around all day.

L (Three post nutbag! Wheeeee!)

Loquaciousness 4:30 pm 15 Oct 08

Woody Mann-Caruso said :

You could buy them all brand new Acer laptops for that sort of money, not that Fisher Price piece of junk with its tic-tac-toe OS.

WMC – interesting point. I think you’d be hard-pressed to find an Acer laptop with MS for $175. If you find one, let me know?


Loquaciousness 4:29 pm 15 Oct 08

$350 actually buys two laptops, toad.


barking toad 4:19 pm 15 Oct 08

One laptop per child? That’s a bit kev747.

And for $350?

A footy or a bike and subsequent exposure to the outside world might be more beneficial

Woody Mann-Caruso 4:10 pm 15 Oct 08

You could buy them all brand new Acer laptops for that sort of money, not that Fisher Price piece of junk with its tic-tac-toe OS.

Loquaciousness 3:09 pm 15 Oct 08

I wouldn’t mind getting along to this. The OLPC project has had a bit a turbulent time recently, so it’ll be interesting to see what progress has been made. Last I heard, we still couldn’t purchase them here in Australia under the give one/get one scheme, but I guess that has changed (??).

I’ve heard wonderful things about Pia as a speaker too.


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