Low-cost laptops tested at New York City schools

The $100 laptop that was marketed as a saving grace for children in developing nations is on its way to the New York City public schools, reports the New York Sun. Two elementary schools are already testing the laptops, and the city’s Education Department is accelerating a plan that would make low-cost laptops available to all principals for purchase by the end of this year. The department now has a relationship with only one computer contractor, Dell, which offers laptops that cost about $1,000. Maintenance and service costs can run even higher. But the XO laptop computer created by MIT professor Nicholas Negroponte for use by children in developing countries has inspired a new market of low-cost computers being developed in America. The biggest brand is Intel, whose Classmate model sells for between $300 and $500. The department has put out a request for proposals to companies that make such models. School officials said the laptops are not just for children in countries such as Libya, Egypt, and Russia.
"We have students in our schools that … don’t have access to the same sort of things that many kids in other countries don’t have access to," said an official in the department’s office of instructional technology who is working with the project. The first round of low-cost laptops is going to two city elementary schools through a donation from Negroponte’s group, One Laptop per Child. Some children received their laptops last year; all are to get them by November, school officials said. The idea is to transform public education in the city into a 21st-century enterprise…

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