One Laptop Per Miniature Peruvian: Garcia Procures The Negroponte Machine

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The three candidate machines from the Brazilian testing and procurement process. Peru, it seems, dispensed with the competitive evaluation process and installed the Negroponte gizmo by presidential decree. Will the machines go to those districts where Garcia has suspended civil liberties, also by decree, by any chance?

40 mil computadoras portátiles para los estudiantes más pobres (La República, Lima).

El gobierno asegura que acortará la brecha digital entre el primer y el tercer mundo, y los críticos dicen que no tiene valor pedagógico.

The government says it will bridge the digital divide between the First and Third Worlds. Critics says it has no educational value.

El programa mundial “Una computadora, un niño” tiene por objetivo brindar a bajo precio computadoras personales con acceso a internet para los estudiantes más pobres. Para tal efecto la asociación One Laptop Per Children (OLPC), del gurú de las nuevas tecnologías Nicholas Negroponte, realiza convenios con los gobiernos de los diferentes países para que éstos adquieran los ordenadores portátiles y los distribuyan en las zonas más alejadas y pobres.

The global One Laptop Per Child Program has as its object to donate low-cost personal computers with Internet access to the poorest students. For that purpose, the NGO head by new technology guru Nicholas Negroponte is signing agreements with governments in various countries under which they will acquire the portable computers and distribute them in the poorest, least accessible regions.

But not India.

In Mexico, a similar project, Microsoft’s Enciclomedia e-learning program appears to be foundering, as auditors probe suspected waste, fraud and abuse.

The more the beancounters probe waste, fraud and abuse in the program, however, the more the evangelists of the program pump up the volume on the “rhetoric of the technological sublime”. See, for example:

Meanwhile, in Brazil, the gizmo is being subjected to a competitive, multiphase pilot program. See

On which more in a bit.

I found it astonishing that a tech reporter (from the Estado de S. Paulo) after promising an empirical field-test of the machines, would wind up praising a feature of the $100 laptop — mesh networking — that, as he reports, still did not work in the model he was observing in the field.

That’s just dishonest.

Uno de esos gobiernos es el peruano. Y precisamente ayer el presidente Alan García promulgó un decreto que permite la creación de un fondo de 22 millones de soles para la compra de 40 mil ordenadores personales que serán destinados a las instituciones educativas rurales, las ubicadas en zona de frontera y las que cuentan con un solo profesor (unidocente).

One of those governments is ours here in Peru. Just yesterday, García issued a decree that creates a 22 million sol fund for the purchase of 40,000 PCs to be distribute in rural schools, schools located in border zones, and schools with a single instructor (‘one-room schoolhouses”).

As quoted today, that is about US$6.7 million. For a unit price of about $US166. Wholesale.

And yet they persist in calling it the “$100 laptop.” Go figure.

I was just reading that you can now buy full-featured, full-sized laptops in Brazil for about US$250.

On which more soon. We are going to make a tour of Casas Bahia later — I need an air-conditioner to keep my CPU from overheating — and will see what we can scout on the cheap computer revolution here.

Inalámbrico

Wireless

A su turno, el ministro de Educación, José Antonio Chang, explicó que las computadoras cuentan con dispositivos que permiten cargarlas de energía manualmente. Asimismo, tienen baterías de energía que duran días y no horas. Además puede conectarse desde cualquier sitio porque cuentan con conectividad inalámbrica. De esta manera se solucionaría el problema de la falta de energía en las zonas que no cuentan con luz.

Minister of Education Chang explained that the computers feature a manual battery recharger. Likewise, they have batteries that last days and not hours. They can also connect from anywhere because they have wireless connectivity. In this manner the problem of lack of energy in areas that have no electricity will be solved.

Again, in the B2 model observed in action by the Estadão, wireless connectivity did not work.

The Estadão reported that it will work in the forthcoming B4 model, however.

Hopefully.

They are apparently chanting nam myoho renge kyo for that to turn out to be true.

“Esta decisión, que marca un hito en la historia de nuestra patria, significa que en marzo del próximo año por lo menos 40 mil niños de las instituciones educativas de las zonas rurales y pobres del Perú iniciarán el año escolar con una laptop bajo el brazo”, dijo Chang el día que la Comisión de Presupuesto del Congreso aprobó la compra.

“This decision, which marks the beginning of a new era in the history of our nation, means that in March of next year at leat 40,000 kids in schools in rural and poor areas of Brazil will start the school year with a laptop under their arm,” said Chang on the day the congressional budget committee approved the purchase.

“Experimento”

“Experimental”

Pese a los beneficios anunciados por el gobierno, existen personas que critican el programa. Una de ellas es el secretario general del Sindicato Unitario de Trabajadores en la Educación del Perú (Sutep), Luis Muñoz. El profesor aseguró que “el uso de esos instrumentos no tiene valor pedagógico, ni práctico”. “La información no es formación. No estamos en contra de que los niños más pobres utilicen estas nuevas tecnologías, lo que criticamos es que se quiera experimentar con la educación”, argumentó.

Despite the benefits announced by the government, there are those who criticize the program. One is the secretary-general of SUTEP, the national teachers union, Mr. Muñoz. He says that “the use of this equipment has neither pedagogical nor practical value.” “Information is not learning. We are not against poor children using these new technologies, but what we object to is their experimenting with education.”

En ese sentido, propuso que “lo mejor que podría hacer el gobierno es reforzar el plan Huascarán (a través del cual se instalaron computadoras en las escuelas rurales) diseñado por el gobierno anterior y que aún está en marcha”.

He proposes that “the best thing would be for the government to reinforce the Huascarán Plan (through which computers would be installed in rural schools), designed by the previous government and which is still in progress.

I believe I have a photo of Bill Gates and Alejandro Toledo shaking hands on that deal, which resembles the Mexican Enciclomedia program to an extent, as I understand it.

The permanent revolutionary vanguard Soviet of the national teachers union in Mexico is also a big cheerleader for Enciclomedia, when it suits them. On whom see also

I don’t know much about SUTEP or Peruvian organized labor. Will have to read up.

On criticisms of the Mexican program’s pedagogical value, technical adequacy, and fiscal accountability, compare

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