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(Image: Corinne Reichert/ZDNet)
One Laptop per Child (OLPC), a non-profit organisation aiming to put all children on an equal footing for education regardless of socio-economic status by distributing computers throughout the world, first launched in 2005, with OLPC Australia being founded in 2009.
OLPC's One Education program aims to assign 50,000 devices to schools in Australia by June next year. Setting itself apart from the original OLPC objective, which was simply to distribute low-cost laptops to students across the world, One Education requires schools to apply for the program, with candidates then assessed on a needs basis and teachers given extensive training.
"Initially, we were involved in selecting the schools, but one thing that you can't really quite pick up on is whether the schools are ready for the change," said OLPC Australia CEO Rangan Srikhanta.
The initial OLPC program was criticised in April last year for not providing enough guidance for teachers on showing students how to effectively use the computers in class. Now, with One Education, the teachers of a chosen school are required to fulfil 15 hours of training before the devices are handed out to the children. With only 50,000 of the laptop-tablet hybrids to hand out in Australia, Srikhanta said it is important to ensure that a school will actually make use of them, and this will only occur if the teachers understand them.
Hilltop Road Public School (above), in Merrylands, Western Sydney, was the site of the One Education event last Thursday.