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Submitted by Amparo Ballivian on
Friends, It is not just about the laptops. There are two issues that I think are even more important: 1)internet connectivity; and 2) software applications. Both have costs too and these need to be integrated into any rigourous evaluations. Uruguay has done great in number 1, along with the distribution of the XOs. It seems that less so in 2. And, yes, certainly, the impact of the Plan goes well beyond education, precisely because the XOs come with connectivity. And, as far as their impact on education outcomes, that would depend a lot on software applications and curriculum adoption of this as one more tool (not the only one). As Miguel Mariatti asked us recently: "How is it possible that teachers are teaching geography to kids that are holding their XOs and don't ask them to get into Google Earth?" So, overall, I don't think any of us can say with hard evidence what the impact has been or will be. I think that would depend on what content they develop, whether and how many public agencies find innovative ways of delivering services using the XOs -- not just kids in the class room and at home, but parents too-- whether the hardware and connectivity get appropriate maintenance, etc. That said, based on faith, huntch, feminine intuition, whatever you want to call it, I believe the potential to transform the lives of the poor is tremendous. Finally, the proof of the cake is in the eating, listen to Prof. Gomez's comment. He calls it "a revolution."