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IET Lord Nelson of Stafford Lecture held at IIMB
Wednesday, August 03, 2011
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Bangalore: The IET Lord Nelson of Stafford Lecture presented by The Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET) in association with the Indian Institute of Management Bangalore (IIMB) was held at the IIMB campus on July 22, 2011. 
The lecture was delivered by Mr Rodrigo Arboleda Halaby on the topic 'Children as a Mission not as a Market'. Mr Halaby is currently Chairman and CEO for the One Laptop per Child (OLPC) Association, Inc., based in Miami, Florida, USA.
Dr Rahul De, Professor of Quantitative Methods & Information Systems at IIMB, gave the welcome address. Mr Shekhar Sanyal, Country Head of IET India then spoke about the IET and its activities, and noted that this was the first time that the annual Lord Nelson of Stafford Lecture was being held outside the UK. He then introduced the speaker.
Mr Halaby presented an overview of the 'One Laptop per Child (OLPC)' mission, which is to empower children to learn by providing one connected laptop to every school-age child, and shared the success stories of the adoption in various countries around the world. As of date, Uruguay is the first country to have 100 per cent coverage of primary schools with the XO-1 laptop. Mr Halaby spoke in depth about the individual and societal consequences of inadequate education and the solutions possible through the use of technology in empowering the world's poorest children.
The idea of one computer per child dates back nearly 40 years, to the constructionist learning theories pioneered by Seymour Papert. Papert was an MIT mathematician, computer scientist, educator, and protg of Jean Piaget, the father of cognitive development theory. According to Papert, computers provide children with a highly flexible platform for learning through creating and sharing ideas and through self-expression. By facilitating learning, computers empower children's cognitive development.
Since the 1970's there have been numerous pilot projects involving children and the use of computers - all with positive results. By 2004 Nicholas Negroponte, a founder and chairman of OLPC and the co-founder of MIT Media Lab, concluded that it was time to turn theory into reality. In 2005, Negroponte unveiled the One Laptop per Child initiative.
The lecture was followed by a Question & Answer session with good participation from the audience that comprised a cross-section of industry professionals, faculty members and students. Mr Shekhar Sanyal gave the vote of thanks.
About the speaker: Mr Rodrigo Arboleda Halaby has worked since 1982 on projects oriented towards bringing digital age technologies to educational systems in developing nations. For more than 40 years he has been involved in areas of marketing, logistics, business development, international operations, government and private sector initiatives in the Ibero American region. He has also been a Visiting Scholar at the Media Lab of MIT where he worked on the Digital Nations Consortium project.
The IET Lord Nelson of Stafford Lecture has been instituted in the memory of George Horatio Nelson, 1st Baron Nelson of Stafford (26 October 1887 - 16 July 1962). Sir George Nelson was a British engineer, who became chairman of English Electric in 1930 and was later knighted. He served in 1955 as president of the Institution of Electrical Engineers and in 1957 as president of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers.
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