Social Impact of Information Technology
CSCD03 University of Toronto at Scarborough fall 2011
Success or failure for the hundred-dollar laptop project?
The One Laptop Per Child project aims to produce a rugged and fully functional laptop for educational use in third-
world and underdeveloped countries. They would cost just a hundred U.S. dollars each, and would be given to
children throughout the undeveloped and developing world. Even though the laptop has been developed and
manufactured, the project has not been generally successful. Please give the class a report on the pros and cons of
the project, and its successes and failures.
NB: Your report will be preceded by an introduction to the XO laptop itself, so you do not need to tell us about the
hardware; you can assume that the audience knows that already. Your job will be to tell us about the social goals,
successes, and failures of the project to get these laptops into educational use in the world.
How to get started
A simple Web search for “one laptop per child” will get you a large amount of material. Much of it will be highly
biased. Some of it will be out of date. Your job is to sort it all out, give us the facts, and a balanced view of both
sides. Start with OLPC themselves at http://one.laptop.org/
Then watch this video:
and read this article, which is available through the UofT Library:
“One Laptop Per Child: Vision vs. Reality” by Kenneth L. Kraemer et al in Communications of
the ACM, 52(6), June 2009.