Technology in the Middle of Nowhere


(Photo From dvice – http://www.dvice.com/archives/2012/10/ethiopian-kids.php)

The story of One Laptop Per Child (OLPC)’s interesting experiment of dropping a case of Motorola Xoom Tablets in a remote Ethiopian Village and observing what they will do with the tablets produced interesting outcomes.

MIT Technology Review shares what Nicholas Negroponte, founder of OLPC reports;

“We left the boxes in the village. Closed. Taped shut. No instruction, no human being. I thought, the kids will play with the boxes! Within four minutes, one kid not only opened the box, but found the on/off switch. He’d never seen an on/off switch. He powered it up. Within five days, they were using 47 apps per child per day. Within two weeks, they were singing ABC songs [in English] in the village. And within five months, they had hacked Android. Some idiot in our organization or in the Media Lab had disabled the camera! And they figured out it had a camera, and they hacked Android.”

The first images that came into my mind was the old movie entitled “

”. The movie followed the adventure associated with a african bushman and his understanding of a cop bottle. Also, boxes and crates dropped off in villages could have turned out weird if the cargo cults was anything to base the outcomes on. The OLPC experiment turned out way better than what was played out both the movie and the cargo cults.

I still believe how well the tablets have enabled a new way of interacting with our digital tools since the introduction of the iPad. While the tablet computers existed long ago, the difference Apple made was the use of apps to create the empowered ecosystem that enabled learning, creativity, exploration and “magic”. That is disruptive innovation and this is how it changes the world.

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