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One Laptop Per Child presentation at Notre Dame

Chuck Kane, OLPC President and COO and ND ’79 grad, came to talk to a very full room at the Eck Center last night, and I think he was quite successful. OLPC is starting a program this summer to recruit college students to help with OLPC deployments in two locations in South America and one in Africa, which is pretty exciting stuff. The talk was sponsored by the Center for Social Concerns on campus here, and about 80% of students at Notre Dame participate in some service project over their undergraduate experience, so the interest in this project is not too surprising.

There was some discussion about the fallout with Intel which was interesting to me, since I hadn’t followed much of the story. Powerful videos of photos taken at many many OLPC XO deployment locations and the look of joy and excitement and hope on the faces of these kids as they explored computing for the very first time, many of them not even have ever been exposed to an electrical device let alone a sophisticated information device such as a laptop. I was amazed that they have been building this effort through a total of 23 employees. Hundreds of volunteers in the linux and application community, hundreds more working on deployments worldwide, and then multitudes participating in Give 1 Get 1 and other donation campaigns. The second generation XO looks gorgeous too — that is pure engineering beauty. What a powerful 90 minutes!

As a librarian and educator, I’m particularly interested in the content we can build for the OLPC programme. I’ll certainly be exploring this with my other colleagues here at ND and across the great swath of community involved in the dream to provide a better education for this planet’s 1 billion children.

As a Fedora enthusiast and Ambassador, I now have a better understanding of the critical value that’s added by the community supporting and enhancing Sugar, the user environment that comes with the OLPC XO. From here on out, the Fedora and Sugar communities are 100% responsible for the operating system, UI and applications within the XO. That’s a great responsibility, but also a wonderful opportunity to get directly involved in further development of the OLPC!

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