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Something that we all are suspecting of becoming reality. An article from the New York Times discusses how government subsidies offer low-cost PCs for use in poor families:

Professor Malamud and his collaborator, Cristian Pop-Eleches, an assistant professor of economics at Columbia University, did their field work in Romania in 2009, where the government invited low-income families to apply for vouchers worth 200 euros (then about $300) that could be used for buying a home computer.


For children, Internet usage in unsupervised environments raises serious questions:

In a draft of an article that the Quarterly Journal of Economics will publish early next year, the professors report finding “strong evidence that children in households who won a voucher received significantly lower school grades in math, English and Romanian.” The principal positive effect on the students was improved computer skills.


BillG in IndiaThe obvious answer is no, but it is amazing how many fail to consider the relationship between the two. From recent comments he made, its clear that this fact is something Bill Gates understands very well. On a trip to India, Bill Gates spoke at length on many different occasions about various topics concerning India’s economic development and the role technology and innovation would play in lifting the country out of poverty.

In particular, his comments on the need for India to develop more home-grown research capability and increase the number of PhD’s granted every year, indicated that he is someone who ‘gets it’. In the past, business leaders have heaped platitudes on India’s wealth of science and engineering talent, few have pointed out that this talent is mostly utilized overseas, far from where it can make an impact on innovation in India.

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extending the life of older PC's and providing a building block for a better-educated society

extending the life of older PC's and providing a building block for a better-educated society

Open-source education software developed for the “$100 laptop” can now be loaded onto a $5 USB stick to extend the life of aging PCs and Macs. Run from the USB stick, the software can grant new life to the millions of decrepit PCs that would otherwise  end up in trash heaps in developing countries.

 

Equipping PCs with a new interface and custom educational software, the USB stick project is a spinoff of the One Laptop per Child project. The software consists of the following: 

The Sugar interface was custom-designed for children. The new Sugar on a Stick download features 40 software programs, including core applications called Read, Write, Paint, and Etoys. Many other applications are available for download, most of which emphasize creative collaboration among children. The USB software can boot up an aging computer, or a netbook, and save data from any of the programs.

This is a promising development because the developing world is already a dumping ground for ageing PC’s. Anything that could extend the lives of these PCs so they could serve a function educating the youth is promising news.

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