Laptops made at MIT in city to enable digital learning

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SummaryInvented at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), USA, in 2007, the XO laptop is now being brought to Chandigarh by Delaware-based organisation OLPC (One Laptop Per Child).

Invented at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), USA, in 2007, the XO laptop is now being brought to Chandigarh by Delaware-based organisation OLPC (One Laptop Per Child). While speaking to media persons, the chairman informed of a possible association with global organisation The Indus Entrepreneurs (TiE) to take the concept forward to city schools.

“Considering the fact that most initiatives aiming at achieving computer literacy in children fail due to inadequate infrastructure and incompetent teachers, this laptop functions like an education programme that has a designed hardware, software and content to engage children in a collaborative and self-empowered learning,” said Satish Jha, Chairman of OLPC India Foundation.

“We liked the idea, and since it corroborates with our organisations ideals of encouraging young entrepreneurs, we have decided to sponsor hundred such laptops in Chandigarh schools,” said Sumeer Walia, Executive Director, TiE Punjab and Chandigarh.

With a Linux operating system, the laptop has 36 applications to enable various faculties in children, including speaking, writing, recording and calculating. It has hundred e-books installed in it, as well as the online encyclopedia, Wikipedia. One of the applications is designed to teach pronunciations in 53 languages, and another applications enables children to take pictures or make videos.

“The laptop will cater to children from disadvantaged sections of society, as its battery back-up allows it to function in areas of infrequent electricity supply,” Jha said. The laptop consumes one-mega watt electricity, takes an hour to get fully charged and functions up to eight hours with the battery back-up. It transforms into different configurations. It is shock-proof with two-mm thick plastic walls and external covers for USB ports.

The laptops can connect to the internet as well as have an in-built Wi-fi system that can connect to other XO laptops within 300-ft range. “Defying space constraints in classrooms, it is now possible to have different virtual classrooms in one physical classroom with the teacher creating different groups and an environment for students through this laptop,” Jha added.

He said that what differs the laptop from other Information and Communication Technology systems at schools was its learning design, as compared to the consumption design taught at ‘smart’ schools.

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