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David Talbot

A View from David Talbot

Laptop Training Begins in Peru

As teachers converge, One Laptop per Child takes a big leap from pilot program to large-scale national execution.

  • March 27, 2008

This week, teachers from remote rural villages in Peru are gathering in several regional cities to learn how to do their jobs via One Laptop per Child (OLPC) machines distributed to their pupils. Peru is now engaging in the world’s most ambitious OLPC deployment: some 400,000 machines are headed to the Andean nation’s poorest and remotest schools–about 6,000 schools in all. The first 25,000 of these machines are now being inventoried in a Lima warehouse and are poised for shipment to the interior.

Cecilia Aquino (left) and Rosaria Carrillo, both 10, use preproduction versions of the One Laptop per Child machines at their school in Arahuay, Peru, where a pilot project was implemented last year. Credit: Ana Cecilia Gonzales Vigil

One Laptop per Child (OLPC) machines distributed to their pupils. Peru is now engaging in the world’s most ambitious OLPC deployment: some 400,000 machines are headed to the Andean nation’s poorest and remotest schools–about 6,000 schools in all. The first 25,000 of these machines are now being inventoried in a Lima warehouse and are poised for shipment to the interior.

Success of OLPC now depends largely on frontline teachers and, of course, parents and kids. Peru’s effort, if successful, would be a model for other nations. In the training now under way, teachers must become versed not only in how to operate and maintain the laptops, but also in how to do their jobs within a newly laptop-centric educational model. The laptops will contain some 115 books, including textbooks, novels, and poetry, as well as art and music programs, cameras, and other goodies.

What many of these kids won’t get is Internet access: about 90 percent of the villages lack it, and may not get it anytime soon. In these villages, any updated content will be delivered to the machines by what OLPC president Walter Bender calls “sneaker-net.” Each month, when the teachers visit regional education offices to pick up their paychecks, they will have the ability to tap Internet connections to load new content onto thumb drives and bring them back to their classrooms.

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