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Sunday 26 February 2012 | Costa Rica News. News on Costa Rica continually updated.

1500 Costa Rican Kids Get Free Laptops

Thanks to the One Laptop Per Child NGO and their local partner Fundación Quirós Tanzi, 1,500 Costa Rican grade school students got their own laptop that they can use in class and even at home.

The kids are from 15 different schools in Alajuela, Turrialba, Grecia, Curridabat and La Union in Cartago. The schools were chosen for the first phase because they already have the technology in place to implement the program.

The XO laptop is designed to specifications from the OLPC organization and began production in 2009. The XO is about the size of a textbook and lighter than a lunchbox. The laptop easily assumes any of several configurations: standard laptop use, e-book reading, and gaming.

It has rounded edges, an integrated kid-sized handle, and (in most cases) a sealed, rubber-membrane keyboard.

The XO contains no hazardous materials, enhanced battery management features and batteries that may be charged from alternate sources, even car batteries!

The XO has no hard drive to crash and only two internal cables. For added robustness, the machine's plastic walls are 2mm thick, as opposed to the standard 1.3mm. Its wireless antennas, which far outperform the typical laptop, double as external covers for the USB ports, which are protected internally as well. The display is also cushioned by internal bumpers.

For more information, have a look at the OLPC XO-1.75 page here:

The initiative for Costa Rica was spearheaded by the Conectándonos project, sponsored by the Fundación Quirós Tanzi . The project objectives include enabling students who otherwise would never have access to a laptop to do their school work on a computer. The idea of having a laptop that can be taken home is also to allow family members to learn about and use the computer. Teachers are also given specialized training in order to fully implement the project's objectives. The laptops cost less than $100 each, and are linked into the school's server. If the laptop is "lost", it may be disabled at the server level and once access is denied it will become unusable.

The Fundación Quirós Tanzi expects to deliver 25,000 laptops all over Costa Rica by 2013 and is supported by GESSA -- which owns the Peri supermarket chain.

By Russ Martin,




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