The philanthropic effort dubbed the $100 Laptop has not met its grand initial goals. But its first deployment, in Peru, may turn skeptics into believers.
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The laptops are headed to 9,000 tiny schools in remote regions such as Huancavelica, in the Andes, an arduous 12-hour bus ride over rocky roads southeast of Lima, and villages such as Tutumberos, in the Amazon region, days away.
The computers come loaded with 115 books--literature such as Mi Vaquita, about a rare porpoise, but also classics, like some of Aesop's fables, novels (at least one by the Peruvian writer Mario Vargas Llosa), and poetry (including verse by the early-20th- century Peruvian poet César Vallejo). The laptops' flash drives also store introductions for teachers, reading-comprehension programs and other educational software, a word processor, art and music programs, and games, including chess, Sudoku, and Tetris. The rugged, low-power hardware includes a camera that can capture video or still images. The computers are Internet ready and can wirelessly relay data to one another.