As I mentioned in this post early this week, the XO laptop (also known as the $100 laptop) from the One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) Foundation has started a campaign to put more laptops in the hands of children around the world. The Give One, Get One (G1G1) program allows anyone in the U.S. and EU countries to purchase two laptops, one for themselves and one for a child somewhere in the world.
Last year, with very little publicity and a shoestring distribution network, people funded over 100,000 laptops now in use around the world. That was an amazing show of support. But this year is going to be different.
Amazon.com is handling the distribution, with their reliable shipping, tracking, and return handling. There should be no repeat of last year’s long delays and lack of information.
The publicity this year is being handled by some big names too. According to the New York Times,
Television time, billboard space and magazine pages are being donated by media companies, including the News Corporation, CBS and Time Warner.
The advertising time is donated, and the spots are expected to start conversations. One spot is an uplifting vision of a 7-year-old girl in a South African township, sitting in a dark room, her face lighted only by the laptop’s glow. “With education, we will solve our own problems,” she says.
Another TV spot says children learn quickly, whatever their tools of survival are — whether loading an AK-47 or mastering an XO laptop. Other settings show child labor camps and child prostitutes. “There are some very challenging scenes,” said Paul Lavoie, chairman of Taxi, the agency that created the ads.
(For those of you with YouTube blocked, this is one of the planned commercials, Zimi’s Story.)
There’s room for us too!
Just because some big names are pitching in doesn’t mean there’s no room for us regular folks! This is still a grass roots campaign, and we can all help. Everything from blog posts and fundraisers at schools, to using the XO as a lesson for our well-off children about how education matters most to those who have the least.
Here’s a great example – Dr. Gary Stager’s “Learning and Technology” Online Master of Arts in Educational Technology class at Pepperdine University collaborated to create a web site promoting the One Laptop Per Child Foundation’s Give One, Get One program.
This website, Laptops4Kids.net, helps people understand how the G1G1 program works by pulling together information that is scattered on various websites and wikis. For example, they created a downloadable flyer that would be useful for a school event or fundraiser.
Not only did they build this website, they sent out a press release to announce it. These educators are learning that technology in education is not just about the equipment, but about winning the hearts and minds of everyone involved to build support for initiatives they believe in.
Give One, Get One, Change the World!
Next up – what can K-12 schools and students do to support the XO laptop program?