KELLER GRADUATE SCHOOL OF MANAGEMENT
IS535 INFORMATION SYSTEMS
ONE LAPTOP PER CHILD (OLPC)
[PERMISSION GIVEN FOR CLASS EXAMPLE DISTRIBUTION 02.21.2010 ]
WRITTEN BY: NORA HAPPNER
FERBUARY 19, 2010
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TABLE OF CONTENTS
1.0 Definition of the Subject
Executive Summary .................................................................................................... 3
2.0 Company Background
Mission, Vision and Focus .......................................................................................... 4
Organizational Objectives ........................................................................................... 5-6
Strengths & Challenges................................................................................................ 6-8
3.0 The Business of Digital Learning
Digital Business Trends............................................................................................... 9-10
Database Impact ....................................................................................................... 10-12
Database User Requirements..................................................................................... 12-13
4.0 Database Security
Security Risks............................................................................................................. 13-14
Information System Requirements............................................................................. 14-15
Recommendations and Analyses Process.................................................................. 16
6.0 Attachments .................................................................................................................. 17-21
Appendix A: Works Cited
Appendix B: Schematic 1 – Infrastructure for Digital Education Program
with Current XO Specifications
Appendix C: PowerPoint Presentation
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The magnum opus of Rome was its fantastic libraries which possessed bounties of
religious manuscripts and classical literature. It was through giant libraries full of catalogs of
written works like these that monks, scholars and a few chosen adolescents could truly learn.
Fast forward to today's era and the obtainment of knowledge can come with ease at even a child's
fingertips. With the advent of the internet and digital technologies, it is now easier to learn about
the world today than in any other Era.
Unfortunately, there is a widening educational divide between elementary and college
academic levels across the globe. With this noticeably expanding gap, where does that leave our
younger students in primary and secondary schools in lesser-organized environments? Where do
such communities and education systems stand in relation to the digital divide in contrast to a
more "back to basics" learning atmosphere? How can our global communities such advanced
technology-oriented learning at an earlier stage? This research paper will cover these mounting
questions and more with a general overview of the company, "One Laptop Per Child," (OLPC)
and how it is contributing to an increase in digital literacy at the elementary and secondary
academic levels. Additionally this paper will also provide a distributed database model for the
OLPC organization based on Cloud computing and open-source software in order to allow
utilization from all regions of the globe by OLPC tutor volunteers when expanding their digital
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MISSION, VISION AND FOCUS
Historically, MIT Professor Nicholas Negroponte experienced first-hand how connected
laptops transformed the lives of children and their families in a remote Cambodian village
(Negroponte 2002). A young seed was then planted in the mind of the aging Professor as he
uttered the words: “if every child in the world had access to a computer, what potential could be
unlocked? What problems could be solved?" These musings eventually led to the 501(c) charity
foundation, One Laptop per Child (OLPC), and the creation of the XO laptop was born.
All children need to expand their mental horizons and learn from their environment. How
else can they understand the world that they live in? OLPC’s mission is to “provide a means for
learning, self-expression, and exploration to the nearly two billion children of the developing
world with little or no access to education” (2002). While children are by nature eager for
knowledge, many countries have insufficient resources to devote to education—sometimes less
than $20 per year per child (compared to an average of $7,500 in the United States). In the words
of Negroponte and his core staff, “by giving children their very own connected XO laptop, we
are giving them a window to the outside world, access to vast amounts of information, a way to
connect with each other, and a springboard into their future.” In essence OLPC is helping these
countries develop an essential resource—educated, empowered elementary-school children from
the ages of 6 to 12, who can take their ideas and expand their communities starting at the
foundation and building up.
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"Most of the nearly two–billion children in the developing world are inadequately
educated, or receive no education at all" (Negroponte 2002). Statistically, "one in three children
do not complete the fifth grade" leading to a burgeoning underclass that cannot bring financial
stimulus to their own intellectually, short sighted communities. That is why OLPC has created
the XO laptop to be low-budget, easy to fix and composed of recyclable materials for easy
maintenance. Therefore the database created should also be low-maintenance and easy to use.
OLPC created five basic principles for the volunteer teams that will be incorporated, as a focal
point, into the user-friendly database described herein (Harrington 2009).
• Child Ownership – A wireless, mobile laptop can be a portable school of sorts
allowing children access to information and cultures never before experienced.
Part of the OLPC appeal is that ownership is a basic right, coupled with
responsibilities such as protecting, maintaining, and sharing in this atmosphere for
• Low Ages – the XO laptop was designed for youth ages 6 to 12 and a database
system must reflect that the user requirements will be categorized based on this
age group when creating an expanded classroom. Each child will have their own
digital portfolio that will keep track of their educational progress and ability to
read, write, and communicate regardless of most disabilities.
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• Saturation – digital saturation implies a commitment to the maintenance and
expansion of these XO laptops, so an expanded database must include specific
fields for OLPC networks and their constituents.
• Connection – the XO laptop was designed to be wireless and to incorporate an
“expanded classroom” approach. It is powered by a battery that is easily stored in
the front of the classroom or a nearby educational center. The laptop can be
charged by solar or mechanical power and can be used outdoors under the sun
with special LED screens. Wireless connectivity will piggyback off of satellite
systems that will ensure a global OLPC network that is accessible in any
community almost anywhere.
• Free and Open Source – all children are learners and teachers. Therefore the
database should be flexible enough for students to access and update their own
personal website via an OLPC registration, which can be accessible as a resource
database based on requirements by the user.
STRENGTHS AND CHALLENGES
When children are denied the right to a proper public government education, they lose
the treasure that a love for learning provides. Pair this treasure, with an unlimited resource, like
digital education, and any government-run society has a plethora of natural wealth in its hands--a
steady foundation created by its own people. The OLPC program tries to encourage such
learning. The need for a thorough database and network system is "high" as the OLPC program
has been executed in various countries such as the catastrophe-ridden Haiti, South Africa,
Uganda, and Nigeria. This Summer 2010, OLPC tutors will travel to Rwanda, Paraguay,
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Nicaragua and Peru with more privately funded donations and XO laptops (Fidelis 2009). As of
December 2009, the XO laptop has been taken seriously as governments, such as Uruguay for
example, invest in computers for each and every one of their school children after learning that
OLPC has "distributed to more than 1.4 million children in over 35 countries worldwide."
The CEO of OLPC Europe, Walter de Brouwer, notes that the growing popularity of the
XO digital learning program has been taken with a certain spreading fire. He said governments
could pay this back over a number of years, allowing pupils to "have a laptop for less than one
euro per month.... I'm talking to three of four countries in the EU at the moment," he told BBC
news, "once one says yes, the others can't say no" (2009). When analyzing the key strengths and
challenges of OLPC's organizational structure and execution of the digital education program,
the following areas were identified:
TABLE 1: KEY DATABASE STRENGTHS
HUMAN RESOURCES - The XO digital learning program has a wide volunteer IT support network, which
will power the development of a Global Database Management System.
FACILITATION of COMMUNICATION & COLLABORATION - the XO database system will integrate all data
and information received from each OLPC village program for future events and follow-up trips.
REDESIGN GLOBAL STRATEGY - the XO database will allow OLPC users to upload all conclusive program
notes and help the executive level managers determine which countries are easier to infiltrate.
IDENTIFY BEST PRACTICES - the XO database will help OLPC travel coordinators and program tutors
which subject courses, additional equipment and future program alternatives should be implemented.
INCREASE QUALITY - the XO database will house the most current information on the OLPC product
usage and inventory what items are still to be had. Upgrades to each government OLPC program can be
monitored via the database, accessible by OLPC tutors and project volunteers.
COORDINATING DIGITAL EDUCATION DEVELOPMENT - the XO database will help OLPC tutors frame
together a current and future program outline for each continental region needing OLPC systems.
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TABLE 2: KEY DATABASE CHALLANGES
UNCOMMON ELEMENTS - for each OLPC educational region, various provincial languages will need to be
documented and used depending on the children participating.
UNCOORDINATED IT UPGRADES - for each OLPC region, the database must be accessed independently
from each continental region, but collaborated globally so each OLPC region will have current data.
CYBER TERRORISM - such as hacking, pharming, phishing, evil twins and unguarded cloud systems
UNKNOWN DIGITAL REGULATIONS - will have to be handled on an individual case-by-case basis to
protect each OLPC network.
In terms of land lines and accessibility, obtaining a wireless network all depends on
where a school exists. The growth of less developed regions is improving as can be seen below
in Graph 1, where bandwidth growth is noted per global region.
GRAPH 1: BANDWIDTH GROWTH BY CONTINENTAL REGION
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THE BUSINESS OF DIGITAL LEARNING
DIGITAL BUSINESS TRENDS
With more people having access to the internet, online learning is becoming more and
more popular. Online discussions that span across the globe, aside from traditional community
classroom-type scenarios are becoming more mainstream (Hamilton & Cherniavsky, 2006).
Electronic communications is now a present-day vital aspect of learning and is available
in the forms of digital blackboard, online forums, web articles and online encyclopedias to name
a few. In the charity organization One Laptop Per Child, the need for providing such educational
opportunities to out-of-way communities in third-world countries is a vital goal to its inception.
The following diagram below shows the management process and geographic location analysis
in the form of Accessibility Maps depicting cable lines for internet access showing the user and
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development executive what networking systems are in place, for example in the Caribbean
Region of Haiti.
Results of early learning studies support that online literature discussions have great
potential for fostering literacy skills, strengthening communication and building a sense of
community in children across the globe (Carico, Logan & Labo 2004; Grisham & Wolsey, 2006;
How OLPC plans to accomplish this outpouring of web-based literacy is by deploying a
variety of self-paid tutors across the globe to far-off provinces. Volunteers are all responsible for
food expenses, accommodations, travel, visas, visas and health insurance. Yet, despite this low-
cost approach to the OLPC organization, the recording of which volunteers have the training
ability to reconstruct platforms, conduct large en-masse multi-education efforts needs to be
cataloged, as these volunteers are OLPC veterans after a first-tour.
Therefore in order to impact a new program effectively a database system has to be
reconstructed globally to take into consideration the international tone of the organization as a
whole. Each new intern has a variety of experience and language training, local connections and
teaching strategies that may have to be re-utilized for future OLPC “tours.” For a general for-
profit company a typical database would need a schematic that will take into account event types,
community “schools,” subject levels for ages 6 through 12, volunteer members (tutors), projects,
workshops and local community outreach or “conferences.”
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User requirements include logging in workshop and community events by OLPC
volunteers that may be updated into a cloud system that is accessible anywhere on any XO laptop
with Administration access. The XO laptops are designed per specific provinces due to language
differences as well as regions like Haiti, South Africa and the Dominican Republic. These PC's
are designed to be water-resistance, battery and solar-powered, and damage resistant (se
Appendix A for spec details). The basic framework of the OLPC network can be seen below in
Figure 1, which has been simplified for digital education programs:
FIGURE 1: BASIC SYSTEM REQUIREMENTS
The OLPC user database systems must be streamlined and incorporate the three main
facets of the OLPC organization (Organization, Management, Technology, and Information
Systems) and its charity technology.
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FIGURE 2: ORGANIZATION FOCUS AND CONCERNS FOR OLPC
 Organization: will be categorized as the region of
concern for each OLPC program based on continental region.
 Technology: XO laptops and database management
under a cloud computing atmosphere.
 Management: OLPC requires database management
for volunteers logging in events, coursework and student
progress in order to design global strategies for expansion
programs and identifying best practices
 Information Systems: will be limited to facilitating
decision making, communication and collaboration
DATABASE USER RQUIREMENTS
The three main areas of database creation are focused on community organizations,
digital wireless technology and classroom management. Using tri-IS diagram, OLPC can
breakdown their user requirements into the following Information Systems notations as exhibited
in Appendix D, and outlined in Table 1 below.
TABLE 1: TABLE OF DATABASE USER REQUIREMENTS
will be categorized as the region of concern for each OLPC program based
on continental region.
XO laptops and database management under Wi-Fi, SATELLITE internet
and a cloud computing software and hardware capabilities.
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OLPC requires database management for volunteers logging in events,
coursework and student progress in order to design global strategies for
MANAGEMENT expansion programs and identifying best practices
INFORMATION SYSTEMS will be limited to facilitating decision making, communication and
The OLPC laptop may be seen as a disruptive technology as the village children of a poor
province will demand and exalt sweeping changes to their little community, yet the overall
aspect of digital education may bring commerce and new business ideas to their area.
When creating a database for a global program, the bottom line is security. In order to
analyze how much of a threat the OLPC program will experience while using a cloud computing
for hardware and software capabilities, one must find answers to the following questions:
Are there Regional Laws governing the privacy of the data?
Could the data be used as a basis for Identity Theft?
May the information gathered compromise the organization's community position if
Laws govern each region that OLPC infiltrates differently; therefore OLPC mangers will
need to notify their users of the predominating rules and regulations for digital education
requirements. Areas where regional digital computing laws are not specified will be maintained
under the continental specs of the largest government or neighboring country. Depending on the
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continental region, OLPC will need to establish controls and security systems for Wi-Fi and
internet networks. The XO computers will be consistently connected to the internet which can
open up many possibilities for hacker access.
Cyber-terrorism causes many concerns overall as malware and phishing probes are
borderless terrors. Identity theft is also a huge issue as XO computers will give children and
adolescents a portfolio to create and learn from as their digital education progresses. Evil twins
and pharming have to be prevented as these could be the largest source procurement for pure
identity theft. For database insurance for all OLPC users input controls, processing controls and
output controls must be implemented.
INFORMATION SYSTEM REQUIREMENTS
OLPC recently said that "the organization would just focus on promoting its concepts and
educational aims, rather than manufacturing laptops. With that said, a fairly direct database for
information gathering and disbursement is needed based on OLPC volunteers and tutors
requirements. The classic method for designing an information system (IS) is developed under a
basic "structured design life cycle" based on a multi-tiered system as drawn in Figure 3 below.
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FIGURE 3: OLPC DATABASE REQUIREMENTS (created in Autocad)
This database assessment works best where it is possible to specify requirements before
the system is development, mainly because the user needs are well-known and center around
digital education with emphasis on coursework, projects, workshops and school communities
and their participants. With that said a basic infrastructure must be set in place to carry out the
OLPC database collection process. With the correct infrastructure in place using a cloud server
as the region has intense traffic due to the local business activity, for Haiti Region (design
system seen in Appendix B) the ease of wireless digital education is quite plausible.
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In conclusion, one caveat when creating an IS is that even the best, well-designed
database system will be useless if the users do not accept it. In order to manage the Database
Change for OLPC information systems, the following model called ADKAR, will be considered
in this paper for identifying needs of the User Requirements (Harrington 2009).
TABLE 2: OLPC PROGRAM - DATABASE USER MANAGEMENT
A | AWARENESS. This assessment clarifier will make the users (OLPC tutors) aware of why there
must be a change.
D | DESIRE. This clarifier will involve and educate users so that they are motivated to be a part
of the database change process.
K | KNOWLEDGE. The education of the users (OLPC tutors) and system development personnel
must be taught so that they understand the process of database change.
A | ABILITY. The insurance that the OLPC users and IT development team need to have the
technical capabilities to setup the network systems for the XO laptops in each remote location
and could include training of the IT and OLPC staff volunteers in using the new database and
R | REINFORCEMENT. Continued follow-up after the OLPC database system is complete must
be part of the system design to ensure that the OLPC educational system is being maintained,
updated and used as intended.
Therefore when determining the organizational data management needs of OLPC, those
developers in charge of implementing the change in the system must be very sensitive to how the
OLPC tutors react to modifications of an established system, or the implementation of a new one.
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Barlas, Demir. (2005) The Portal and Composite Apps. 11 August 2005. Portals Magazine. Retrieved
on 15 Jan. 2010 from Site: http://www.portalsmag.com/articles/default.asp?ArticleID=6791.
Fildes, Jonathan. (2009) BBC News, Technology Online. 23 December 2009. OLPC unveils
slimline tablet PC. Retrieved on 05 Jan. 2010 from Site:
Grisham, D.L. & Wosley, T.D. (2006). Recentering the middle school classroom as a vibrant
learning community: Students, literacy and technology intersect. Journal of Adolescent &
Adult Literacy, pp. 648-660.
Hamilton, E.R. & Cherniavsky, J. (2006) Issues in synchronous versus a-synchronous in e-
learning platforms. Web-based learning: Theory, research and practice (pp. 87-105).
Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum.
Harrington, Jan L. (2009) Relational Database Design and Implementation, 3rd Edition. Morgan
Kaufman Publishers. p. 26-83.
Koblentz, Evan (2010). One Laptop Per Child May Influence Enterprise Computing. 8 January
2010. Mobilizing Biz Apps. Retrieved on Feb. 03, 2010 at Site :
Larson, Lotta C. (2009) The Reading Teacher, Vol. 62, No. 8: "Reader Response Meets New
Literacies: Empowering Readers in Online Learning Communities." International
Reading Association. Retrieved on Jan 04, 2010.
Negroponte, Nicholas. (2002) One Laptop Per Child: Five Principles. Updated 4 December 2009.
Retrieved from www.laptop.org/en/vision/index.shtml
Wolsey, T.D. (2004) Literature discussions in cyberspace: Young adolescents using threaded
discussion groups to talk about reading. Reading Online. Retrieved Jan. 6, 2010 from
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SCHEMATIC 1: INFRASTRUCTURE for OLPC DIGITAL EDUCATION PROGRAMS (Haiti)
(CURRENT) XO SYSTEM SPECIFICATIONS
Approximate dimensions: 242mm×228mm×32mm;
Approximate weight: 1.45KG with LiFeP battery; 1.58KG with NiMH battery;
Configuration: Convertible laptop with pivoting, reversible display; dirt- and moisture-resistant system enclosure;
DC power: 6mm (1.65mm center pin) connector; 11 to 18 V input usable, –32 to 40 V input tolerated; power draw
limited to 15 W;
Headphone output: Standard 3.5mm 3-pin switched stereo audio jack;
Microphone input: Standard 3.5mm 2-pin switched mono microphone jack; selectable 2V DC bias; selectable
sensor-input mode (DC or AC coupled);
USB: Three Type-A USB-2.0 connectors; up to 1A power supplied (total);
Flash expansion: MMC/SD Card slot.
Pack type: 2 or 4 cells LiFePO4; or 5 cells NiMH, approximately 6V series configuration;
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Capacity: 22.8 Watt-hours (LiFePO4); 16.5 Watt-hours (NiMH);
Fully-enclosed “hard” case; user removable;
Electronics integrated with pack provide:
Battery charge and capacity information;
Thermal and over-current sensors along with cutoff switch to protect battery;
Minimum 2,000 charge/discharge cycles (to 50% capacity of new);
Power management will be critical.
Open Firmware used to load the operating system.
Temperature: UL certification planned to 45C [as of Q32007], pending 50C certification in mid-2008;
Humidity: UL certification planned to IP42 (perhaps higher) when closed, the unit should seal well enough that
children walking to and from school need not fear rainstorms and dust;
Maximum altitude: –15m to 3048m (14.7 to 10.1 PSIA) (operating), –15m to 12192m (14.7 to 4.4 PSIA) (non-
Shock 125g, 2ms, half-sine (operating) 200g, 2ms, half-sine (non-operating);
Random vibration: 0.75g zero-to-peak, 10Hz to 500Hz, 0.25 oct/min sweep rate (operating); 1.5g zero-to-peak,
10Hz to 500Hz, 0.5 oct/min sweep rate (non-operating);
2mm plastic walls (1.3mm is typical for most systems).
The usual US and EU EMI/EMC (Electromagnetic Interference and Compatibility) requirements will be met;
The laptop meets IEC 60950-1, EN 60950-1, and CSA/UL 60950-1 specifications. It also complies with UL 1310 and
UL 498. In order to guarantee the safety of children using the laptop, it also passes ASTM F 963;
The external power adapter complies with IEC, EN, and CSA/UL 60950-1;
The removable battery pack complies with IEC, EN, and CSA/UL 60950-1 and UL 2054;
RoHS (Restriction of Hazardous Substances Directive – EU) compliant.
SOURCE: OLPC Online, Software Specifications Sheet. (www.OLPC.com)
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POWER POINT PRESENTATION (Completed on: February 15, 2010)
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Appendix C, con't.
POWER POINT PRESENTATION, con't. (Completed on: February 15, 2010)
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