November 13, 2012 AT 3:00 am

Ethiopian Kids Hack Their OLPC Tablets in 5 Months, With No Help

EthiopianKidHackers

It appears that one of the deep dreams for the OLPC movement is bearing fruit — children hacking on their own! Now the OLPC team can point to real world models evoking such things as Stephenson’s Diamond Age “electronic primers.” Via Gizmodo:

The amazing One Laptop Per Child scheme has been offering up Motorola Xoom tablets to kids in developing countries for a while. OLPC founder Nicholas Negroponte explained how they’re rolled out, and the impact they have, while he was at MIT Technology Review’s EmTech conference last week:

“We left the boxes in the village. Closed. Taped shut. No instruction, no human being. I thought, the kids will play with the boxes! Within four minutes, one kid not only opened the box, but found the on/off switch. He’d never seen an on/off switch. He powered it up. Within five days, they were using 47 apps per child per day. Within two weeks, they were singing ABC songs [in English] in the village. And within five months, they had hacked Android. Some idiot in our organization or in the Media Lab had disabled the camera! And they figured out it had a camera, and they hacked Android.”

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