The devices involved are Motorola Xoom tablets—used together with a solar charging system, which Ethiopian technicians had taught adults in the village to use.
Once a week, a technician visits the villages and swaps out memory cards so that researchers can study how the machines were actually used.
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Early observations are encouraging, said Nicholas Negroponte, OLPC’s founder, at MIT Technology Review’s Em Tech conference last week.
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Earlier this year, OLPC workers dropped off closed boxes containing the tablets, taped shut, with no instruction. Within four minutes, one kid not only opened the box, found the on-off switch … Within five days, they were using 47 apps per child, per day.
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Gazing across the plateau, with its green, gently rolling hills, it looks as if everything is as it has always been, before the modern age came to the village.