The One Laptop per Child project, now known as XO-1, was created by a non-profit organization to distribute computers all across the world. With an anticipated cost of $100 for each laptop, the project’s goal is to educate the world’s children through internet technology.
When I first heard about this idea a couple of years ago, I was astonished. This is a great example of social entrepreneurship and how an innovative idea can improve the global community.
I also think that the project will further the development of an eLearning industry.
Many of you may be familiar with the University of Phoenix and their online degree programs. Like the University of Phoenix, several other institutions have begun to offer online degrees as well; even the University of Florida has an Internet MBA. The concept of an online degree may have seemed outrageous just a decade or so ago. But today, these degrees provide working professionals the ability to advance their education, without jeopardizing their current living situation. With a computer, an internet connection, and some extra time… anyone willing can earn a new degree.
Indeed, the internet institutions have been successful, with room for continued growth. But from what I can see, the eLearning industry focuses on the over 18 age group. What about those under 18?
The One Laptop per Child project may be the key to additional growth in eLearning. Entrepreneurs, get to thinking!
When I was much younger, my teachers wouldn’t allow students to use the internet as references for our papers. Back then, the internet was very young and polluted with non-credible information. Today, with Google and Wikipedia, the internet has been transformed. Although poor information still exist, the introduction of search engines and a social encyclopedia has successfully prevented such information from being relevant.
Now, you can find a vast amount of information online to fuel your thinking cap. Imagine how this can help young children with a curiosity for knowledge…
Although the One Laptop per Child project will be used in countries around the world, I think the project can have a significant impact on our children here, in the US. What if every single American child had a laptop for academic use? How would this change our educational environment?
I am specifically thinking about textbooks, which plagued me every single semester throughout college. I am sure that these textbooks are also costly to local school districts nationwide… having to make them available to every student and up to date every year. What if we supplemented these text books with a laptop? And what if we made digital information, verified by the school district, available on the computers? A school district has the potential to realize some major cost savings. And, a young entrepreneur may successfully create eTextbooks with verifiable information.
In addition, I think a savvy web entrepreneur can profit from eLearning websites that could be accessed in different languages from children all around the world. These sites could tech basic math, present science concepts, or be a history reference. Thats some good social entrepreneurship!