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Does the OLPC XO have a place in New Zealand Schools? A discussion with Barry Vercoe

Posted by Karen Spencer

When: 7 Jun 2012

Venue: Rydges Hotel, 75 Featherston Street, Wellington

Organiser: 20/20 Communications Trust & InternetNZ

Contact: http://2020headlightseries.eventbrite.com/

The recent budget announcement in Australia that the federal government is to fund OLPC Australia $11.7 million to deploy laptops to 50,000 students caught the attention of educators in New Zealand. The concept of one laptop per child (OLPC) is not new; it is more than five years since Nicholas Negroponte from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in Cambridge, USA, first promoted the vision of a $100 laptop for every child in the world, especially those in developing countries.

New Zealanders have played an active part in the development of education applications for the XO laptop computer.  Barry Vercoe is one of these, having been involved since the beginning of the OLPC journey. Barry is now Emeritus Professor at MIT and has been leading the OLPC Australia initiative as Director of Education and Engineering. 

Barry is visiting New Zealand in early June and has agreed to discuss international OLPC experiences at the first 2020 Headlight Open Seminar for 2012, to be held in Wellington. Barry will be discussing why he believes the success of laptops in schools is more about the empowerment of teachers and students to feel that they OWN the projects than about the technology itself.

As schools gear up for ultra-fast broadband connections with wireless infrastructure for students who bring their own devices, does the OLPC XO have a place in helping to ensure that no student is disadvantaged?  What lessons can New Zealand learn from the mass deployment of OLPC devices in other countries?

This seminar is being sponsored by the 2020 Communications Trust with support from InternetNZ.  A light lunch will be provided.