One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) will provide the government of Uruguay with 8000 of its newly released XO Tablets for distribution to pre-school and first grade children in the country. The OLPC/Uruguay pilot program (Plan Ceibal) is the worlds first government program designed to get educational technology into the hands of children ages six and under.
“Plan Ceibal has been one of the early adopters of the OLPC laptop, and Uruguay is the first country to have deployed and reached one-to-one laptop student and teacher saturation. We are very aware of the importance of integrating pedagogy and technology to enrich the educational experience of our children,” said Uruguayan government official, Miguel Brechner. “The engaging and intuitive nature of touch-screen technology, as well as the way OLPC has presented the contents of the tablet, will enable us to connect students and broaden their cognitive opportunities at an even younger age.”
The XO Tablet, designed and developed by OLPC, features OLPC’s XO Learning System and provides children with access to state-of-the-art educational content that has been curated and selected for age-appropriateness and learning value by OLPC. In addition to the XO Learning System content available on every XO Tablet, the 8000 XO Tablets distributed to children in Uruguay will be customized for the region and will be preloaded with local content to meet the requirement of the Uruguayan school system.
“There is early evidence, both empirical and anecdotal, to support the efficacy of tablets and touchscreen technology as learning devices for children as young as ages two to five,” says Rodrigo Arboleda, OLPC Chairman and CEO. “As such, adding a fully functional and educationally focused tablet is a natural extension of the OLPC mission and an excellent complement to our existing and continuing laptop program.”
The XO Tablet, and its XO Learning interface, run on the Android’s latest operating system. To ensure compatibility and interoperability with the nearly 2.5 million laptops OLPC has distributed since 2005, OLPC is converting the Sugar software currently used in XO laptops to the Android system. Once the conversion is complete, Sugar will be made available via download free of charge. The porting of Sugar into Android will give XO Tablet users access to OLPC’s previously developed educational content.
The XO Tablet, which is manufactured and distributed by OLPC strategic partner, Vivitar (http://www.vivitar.com), is currently available for purchase in the U.S. at Amazon.com, Target.com, Walmart.com and Walmart stores. These strategic retail partners have in common a commitment and history of empowering children to learn, and in 2008, Amazon was instrumental in the execution of OLPCs Give 1 Get 1 program to sponsor laptops for children in developing countries. OLPCs proceeds from sales of the XO Tablet will further the organization’s global mission by enabling further development of the XO Learning System, updating existing apps and software to facilitate interoperability between XO Tablets and Laptop and by subsidizing distribution of the tablets to children throughout the world.
XO Tablet, XO Learning and One Laptop per Child
The XO Tablet has been fully designed and developed by OLPC to harness the power of a connected touchscreen device to create new ways for children to learn-how-to-learn. Its launch also marks the global debut of the XO Learning System, designed as a child-centric interface to empower kids to build, learn and dream as part of OLPCs mission. OLPC was launched in 2005 at the MIT Media Lab as a project to provide a modern education to every child around the world through access to laptops and connected devices. The organization has since distributed 2.5 million of its specially designed XO laptops to children in 60 countries, and the XO Tablet extends that experience into a modern tablet form factor. All within the philosophy of Learning-by-doing advocated by the Media Lab throughout the years.
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