Sunday, August 24, 2008

OLPC laptops now blanket the Pacific nation of Niue

By Jacqueline Emigh, BetaNews
August 22, 2008, 6:36 PM

The small country of Niue today became the first nation to provide OLPC (One Laptop Per Child) laptops to all of its public school students -- but then again, that number amounts to only 500.

Niue's 200 secondary school students received their PCs last month, according to a report by Radio New Zealand International.

The 300 primary school children in Niue got their laptops today, in conjunction with the Pacific Islands Forum, a summit being held there which focuses on climate change. Dr. Barry Vercoe, an MIT professor, told Radio New Zealand that students can use PCs to explore this issue.

"Children can become involved in observing the effects of climate change for themselves. And that, of course, is one of the fastest ways -- or best ways -- of enabling these children to learn about the realities of the situation," according to Vercoe.

An OLPC spokesperson told BetaNews today that Vercoe, a native of Australia, is also a very active OLPC volunteer.The donation of 500 computers to Niue is part of a larger move to distribute 5,000 OLPC laptops throughout the Pacific region, according to a report by Agence France Presse). The OLPC spokesperson noted that, elsewhere in the Pacific, OLPC volunteers have already donated laptops to students in New Guinea.Larger OLPC donations have been made in nations that include Uruguay, Haiti, Mexico, Peru, and Rwanda, for example, BetaNews was told. As previously reported in BetaNews, the OLPC Project originated at MIT, before OLPC was spun off as a separate not-for-profit organization.

If Niue rings a bell -- or maybe a familiar number -- then you're an astute reader of BetaNews indeed. The tiny island nation of only 260 square kilometers is the official holder of the .NU "number domain", for DNS addresses such as and

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