Chan studies the design, use, and meaning of the XO laptops created by the United States-based One Laptop per Child program for deployment in developing and rural zones. Attending to the lessons that emerged from local deployments of the XO laptops in the Peruvian Andes, Chan traces the shifting perspectives in design of a programmer affiliated with the program in the US and an engineer working on classroom deployments of the laptops in Puno, Peru. Chan delineates two models for designing digital education initiatives—an engineering-centric vision that minimizes engagement with local users and contexts and prioritizes technological design, and a participative model that anticipates input from multiple members of local communities, from rural teachers to indigenous language activists and local free software activists—and argues that the adoption of new technologies necessarily depends on processes of local translation and interdisciplinary collaboration that can open new technological possibilities.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationBeyond Imported Magic
Subtitle of host publicationEssays on Science, Technology, and Society in Latin America
EditorsEden Medina, Ivan da Costa Marques, Christina Holmes
PublisherMIT Press
Number of pages26
ISBN (Electronic)9780262325509
ISBN (Print)9780262027458
StatePublished - Jan 1 2014

Publication series

NameInside Technology


  • technology design
  • OLPC
  • digital education
  • participative engineering
  • free software
  • indigenous communities
  • rural teachers
  • collaboration
  • local translation
  • Peru

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Engineering
  • General Arts and Humanities
  • General Social Sciences


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