Buy a kid a laptop and change the world

I’m really intrigued by the One Laptop Per Child project. For $200 you can buy a laptop (the amazing and cute little “XO” computer) that will be sent to a child in a poor country. “It’s an education project, not a laptop project,” says the project’s visionary leader, Nicholas Negroponte.

Imagine a kid with little hope of a decent education (and there are almost two-billion kids like that, with one in three not even finishing fifth grade) having access to Google and Wikipedia and being able to read books online and connect with other kids in his community or throughout the world. A child on a farm in Africa would have as much access to online information as an Ivy Leaguer or a Foundation Fellow. But the big deal is how a computer will transform a kid’s ability to learn and interest in learning:

“A computer uniquely fosters learning learning by allowing children to “think about thinking”, in ways that are otherwise impossible. Using the XO as both their window on the world, as well as a highly programmable tool for exploring it, children in emerging nations will be opened to both illimitable knowledge and to their own creative and problem-solving potential.”

And the laptop they’ve come up with is very cool. It can even be handpowered, by crank or pull-cord, for those kids will little or no access to electricity.

XO laptop

We rich Americans should consider putting a donation of at least one of these very cool “XO” laptops on our Christmas (or Hanukkah) lists.