The XO and Constructivist Learning
A lot of people seem intent on a full curriculum revisal to cater for the constructivist learning methodologies which the OLPC embraces -by it's very nature- before embarking on large scale distribution of the "little green machine" to developing countries.
Distributing the XO on a large scale and letting children /discover/ it's potentials is the fundamental first principal of "the vision"; but I agree that it can't be done blind: and it's not.
What few people seem to factor into their thinking -or adoption plans- is that the envisioned economy of scale drives not only the bottom-line pricing of the XO, but also the collaboration, cooperation and creation (on an unprecedented scale) of educational content and workable methodologies.
How else can content for Primary level use be created economically? Not by wasting time and money on academic grants and committees and development proposals to /confirm/ what a lot of experienced, intuitive, or visionary people already know: that the technology works... and that a lot of children will be left on the other side of the digital divide the longer we delay this natural evolutionary progression.
Yes there will be casualties in the vanguard. Children with critical reading disabilities will be noticeably left to other devices... but that doesn't mean we should not pursue saturation level penetration. Even a 10% improvement of education standards overall will have made the expense and trouble worthwhile. Even if only 10% of true geniuses within the rural communities manage to grasp the x-potential enhancement -and are nurtured within the free information economy- that will justify the rest of p0rn & warez swapping that certain people seem intent on believing most 6 to 12 year olds will get up to. :o.)
I've been toying with the notion that the 1500 or so kids at 3 of the schools in our vicinity could digitalize their entire syllabus in a couple of days (after a few months on a typing tutor) if we just tear pages out of books and distribute the typing process. But instead of focusing exclusively on the production capacity of this workforce, we will ideally like to capitalize on the energy expenditure and make it a learning /and/ typing exercise at the same time. So I've come up with a (possibly silly) idea of typing practice with old textbooks - using diff to output the most correct average - while grading against the curve. I call it a Monkey Machine. I realize the concept is simplistic and can't scale to all subjects, but it will certainly work with language studies...
The XO will impell revolutionary changes in the education system which we can plan toward even while we embrace the technology whole-heartedly; as there is this indefinite learning curve and bootstrapping process which needs to -necessarily- be multi-modal in nature.