| Abstract | Dokument | Literatur | Autor |

The so-called Digital Divide isn’t as digital as the concept may suggest. Essentially, it’s an analogue divide arising from the lack of an infrastructure of power grids, network cables and the like. Today Nicholas Negroponte’s vision of "One Laptop Per Child" is turning into reality: more and more companies are literally alarmed of having neglected a whole market, namely the educational sector in non-OECD-countries. But is it really possible to bridge this gap with a small device? And can a piece of technology help to solve important problems of this planet like poverty, hunger, access to safe water, and infectious diseases such as HIV/AIDS? For Negroponte these questions are beside the point, as the OLPC project is not a technical, but an educational project.

Based on the assumption that education is a necessary precondition to solve these problems, I will argue in this diploma thesis that the OLPC project has the potential to improve the quality of life of children in developing countries substantially. However, critics warn that the early exposure of children to computers might just promote computer literacy and not necessarily result in a better education. There is also a risk of filling up the dumps with e-waste. What is the impact—if any—of computer devices in classrooms?

In my diploma thesis, I will show that the XO-device of the One Laptop Per Child project can be understood as a tool for Seymour Papert’s and Alan Kay’s Constructionism. Constructionism is a method to teach methodological thinking and using computers can help to achieve this aim. I will develop this argument by first analysing the existing infrastructure in developing countries in order to identify the potential role and requirements of the XO devices. Subsequently I will focus on the application possibility of computers in education with reference to Seymour Papert’s Constructionism. Lastly, I will rebut criticism of the OLPC project by taking a closer look at several case studies and evaluations.

Please note that my thesis is available in german only.