Empowering disadvantaged children through technology

In an academic environment such as Bucknell, it is easy to get sucked into the competitive nature of working hard in order to have a successful career in the future. What is often lost is the importance of helping those less fortunate then you are. I picked Nicholas Negroponte as a person of interest because I thought his non-profit organization was very inspiring. After graduating MIT with a degree in architecture, he was most interested in computers because he saw computers as a mixture of art and science. Negroponte was best known, during his career, for founding and directing MIT’s Media Lab. While his professional career is very impressive, I thought he was interesting because he took his skills in the field of computers and started a non-profit organization.

After Nicholas Negroponte established his success, he wanted to do something more meaningful to impact the future generations. He wanted to take advantage of all of his connections through the Media Lab in order to bring computers to children in developing countries. He thought that one of the most necessary tools for children to learn hands on was to teach them programming. The program, One Laptop per Child, was designed to give one laptop to every student who was a child in as many developing countries as the organization could reach. The organization is manufacturing a laptop called the XO, which is a wireless Internet-enabled pedal-powered computer costing about $100. It originally started in a school in Cambodia that was built and connected to the internet by Negroponte and his son. This program has been very successful and continues to spread throughout many countries as political leaders also share the importance of computers for children.

I found Nicholas Negroponte to be especially interesting to me because I worked for a  non profit last summer focused on helping children. I believe that One Laptop per Child is helping bridge the educational differences between children in developing countries and children in the developed countries. I think Negroponte would be an amazing person to bring to campus because his character and passion will help people reevaluate what is important to them. I think he would show Bucknell students through his passion, the importance of investing in education for children in developing countries and finding a sense of importance and purpose through giving back. I think students of all major will be interested in Negroponte’s talk and I think it will have the ability to open up students’ mind to look at the bigger picture of life.

This is a link to Nicholas Negroponte’s talk about One Laptop per Child on Ted Talks.

Negroponte on One Laptop


2 thoughts on “Empowering disadvantaged children through technology

  1. How do we measure “success” of this kind of program?

    Did you come across any concerns about “other” people wanting the XO, wanting it for themselves or about it becoming a commercial product?

    What is he working on these days?

    Should we be giving them a $50 smartphone now?


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