$100 laptop is coming

An article in Macworld confirms it – MIT to launch $100 laptop prototype in November. This project has been talked about fairly widely over the past year or so but this is the first really firm news that that I have seen. The article includes a picture and describes key features – 500 MHz, 1 GB RAM, “skinny” Linux, multiple power sources including a crank handle in the hinge, and WiFi with mesh network to enable shared connections to the Internet.

The total cost of providing such a device to millions of students will be substantial but, compared to the cost of current hardware, the new device will make access to networked computers for all learners much more achievable.

The implications for teacher education are significant. We have talked about preparing teachers for ICT rich environments but the reality has often been different because schools have not been able to manage the costs of providing computers for eery student. If this initiative succeeds, then, within a very few years, the cost of providing computers for every student will be effectively negligible and students currently preparing to be teachers may face a very different educational environment on graduation than existed when they left school or they experienced in their teacher education. We may need to make rapid adjustments to the way we deal with ICT in our programs.