- Title: NIGERIA: 100 dollar laptop rollout gets underway in Nigeria
- Date: 8th June 2007
- Summary: STUDENT PUTTING BATTERY INTO LAPTOP STUDENTS LOOKING AT LAPTOP COMPUTER
- Embargoed: 23rd June 2007 13:00
- Location: Nigeria
- Country: Nigeria
- Topics: International Relations
- Reuters ID: LVA87Q0G9RTGXADCZY1P5CG5F1E0
- Story Text: A laptop computer that costs 100 US dollars but runs contemporary software in a wireless environment is being rolled out by an organisation trying to provide every school student in Africa with a computer. And the local response has been extremely positive. At the LEA Primary School in Nigeria's capital Abuja, a pilot project is underway that could change the face of computing for hundreds of millions of school children worldwide.
A green and white laptop computer on these desks is set to change the future, if the project succeeds.
And so far, to judge by reactions from students and staff, the machine is a hit.
The computer, which is wireless-enabled and powered by a wind-up generator pioneered in Africa, is the brainchild of an organisation called One Laptop Per Child (OLPC). The organisation was founded by Nicholas Negroponte and a group of Internet Technology veterans from American company Media Lab.
The project envisages the introduction of technology-based education in less developed countries around the world to help bridge the digital divide.
At LEA Primary School, both teachers and students said there were clear advantages to working with the OLPC program.
"When the program was introduced in the school we discovered that it facilitates learning and teaching. Apart from that the students can also create projects because it encourages creativity," said Terkent Orshi, a teacher at the school.
"The computer has been able to help me in my studies, because I can write and save my notes in the computer. Also I can retrieve the notes and prepare for my exams with ease, " explained student ThankGod Okonkwo.
The programme has not been without early setbacks, including the breakdown of a generator intended to power the school's internet network and to light classrooms. The laptop requires daylight as it does not come with backlighting... a usual feature of modern laptops but also one of the biggest energy drains.
"The only problem we have is light, you know the laptop can not do without light although the OLPC people came with a generator to the school when the program was introduced but it seems that the generator was small to carry the laptops and other gazettes that they came with so the generator got burnt. Since then I have written letters to offices to make sure our school is connected to public light," Head Teacher Juliana Okonkwo explained.
Sola Sanni, local OLPC manager, explained that the introduction of the laptop not only opened a new world of information for users, but also changed the way the classroom worked.
"We are trying to take away the traditional style of learning, where the teacher stands in front of the class and writes or dictates notes and they copy and their education is limited to the experience of the teacher; so we are trying to go a little step ahead that the children should learn on their own and are free to explore, they have the internet, everything is bundled into this laptop that we call XOs, so these children are free to explore basically on their own," Sanni explained.
Called the XO laptop, the first of the machines rolled off the assembly line in November 2006. A stronger, sturdier version, is already rolling off the assembly line. If this project succeeds, more children in more developing nations will be in line to receive one.
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