A beautiful vision from Richard Cave on PLoS Blog. Thanks to Open Access News.
One Laptop per Child is closer to reality with the Children’s Machine (CM1). One of the key features is that it “creates its own mesh network out of the box. Each machine is a full-time wireless router. Children—as well as their teachers and families—in the remotest regions of the globe will be connected both to one another and to the Internet.” Each laptop will participate in an ad-hoc network with each laptop operating in a peer-to-peer fashion. This opens up a slew of possibilities for the laptops.
Why not have a TOPAZ server running in every village that could be browsed by every CM1 in the nearby network? The TOPAZ repository can contain Open Access articles published on medicine, neglected tropical diseases, etc. This would help build science and health capacity in low-income countries. But the TOPAZ repository isn’t constrained to just Open Access – it can contain any type of object from video presentations to textbooks.
Take a TOPAZ server and add every piece of educational material licensed by Creative Commons. Load the repository up with course material from MIT Open Courseware and Connexions Repository, textbooks, lesson plans, music lessons from Berklee Shares, museum resources, architectural solutions, agricultural information, etc. Setup a peer-to-peer TOPAZ network for information to be sent to remote repositories as soon as it is available. Put this in a village surrounded by CM1s and imagine the possibilities.
There’s talk that the CM1 will revolutionize how we educate the world’s children. The reality is that the CM1 laptops will be used by children and shared by their families. If the information is available, then the CM1 will truly revolutionize education.