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One Laptop Per Child (OLPC): A novel computerization movement?

  • Author(s): Kraemer, KL;
  • Dedrick, J;
  • Sharma, P
  • et al.

This study applies concepts about computerization movements (CMs) to a case study of the diffusion of innovation in the developing world and thereby to draw lessons for undertaking similar technology projects. We identify the key characteristics of a computerization movement in the scholarly literature and then review the One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) Project in terms of each, identifying where OLPC adds new understanding about CMs. The OLPC project is an example of a computerization movement that has launched a new generation of low-cost computers in the developing world, while failing in its own ambitious goals. The OLPC project provides insights into the nature of computerization movements, in particular the process of mobilization, the diffusion of innovations in the developing world, and the overlap of multiple movements. OLPC's limited success to date illustrates the importance of having: (1) financial resources beyond deployment for economic sustainability, (2) local skills, infrastructure and deployment capability for operational sustainability, and (3) a replicable and scalable deployment model for ease of implementation across many sites. © 2011 IEEE.

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