I took 2 OLPC laptops and tried out with a few kids over the long Easter weekend. If you have used a PC before, you would always think the OLPC laptop is very user unfrendly. Therefore you (just like me) would assume that kids would find it difficult to use. Other than the cool looks, maybe they would find it complicated.
That was my first Hypothesis: A child who has not had a chance with computers before will need a detailed OLPC 101 tutorial!
I was wrong. The kids got very excited. Literary spent the entire weekend on the computers. They had figured how to charge, how to switch on, how to load programs, how to type their names and with some little help, how to make the computers say their names.
If you have not seen or used another computer before, how would you conclude that the one I gave you is unfriendly? If you type your name and the computer shouts back that name and you have never seen a gadget shout back your name after typing… wouldn’t you be eager to find out what else that gadget can do? The gods must be crazy, the saying goes.
There is no power at school. So I thought, they will not use the laptops unti l was back to install some solar solution. 2 days after I left, I got a call that they are charging the laptops at a teachers home and using them for 2 hours every morning. Having a different group of kids per day. Call it determination to get around problems.
It was evident that they will figure out more out of that laptop that I ever imagined.
I will be going back to set up a solar power solution and set up 7 computers to get more kids involved.
Will you come with me:)