Monday, March 21, 2005

$100 laptops?!?

According to a special report from eSchool News online, MIT researchers are attempting to mass produce "basic, durable" laptop computers that will cost about $100 and be marketed worldwide. A noble endeavour, but I'm not overly optimistic. First of all, I belive "durable laptop" is an oxymoron. In my experience, laptops are very temperamental. Two that my family has owned have had major repairs and have since been replaced. I'm crossing my fingers that the three we now own will fare better. Our laptops are used by adults and college aged students. K-12 students are even harder on both desktop and laptop computers. I can only assume these basic laptops in the MIT initiative will be disposable, much like ink-jet printers have become. The University of Michigan's Elliot Soloway has said that true technology integration is achieved only when there is a 1:1 ratio of students to computers. The $100 laptop would enable many more K-12 schools to achieve that lofty goal. I really hope the folks at MIT can pull it off. But I'm not holding my breath. Like Soloway, I am a big proponent of handheld technology. But that's the subject of another post.

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