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I found an interesting report on the National Public Radio (NPR) website about a new program in a small town in Florida called Immokalee. Immokalee is a town where many migrant workers’ families stop by every year, and call it home, for some period of time anyway, in their yearly march following the crops of fruits and vegetables. The NPR report tells us about a local program that gives out basic laptop computers called XO to children of migrant workers who are attending school in Immokalee. http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=91853797&ft=1&f=1001
The XO computers were developed with educational purposes in mind to serve children in developing countries. Those computers are now serving the educational needs of migrant children, a population with many demographic and economic traits of the population of a developing nation, but that is part of the population of an industrialized power like the United States.
The report focuses on the work of Juan Medina a former migrant child whom struggled to remain in school and graduate from high school. He knows all too well the disruption caused by so many moves, so many new beginnings and introductions to new social environments, so Medina is now working for the Department of Education trying to keep migrant children in school. I must confess that I do not see the connection between giving a computer to a child as a gift and connecting that to keeping that student in school, but if technology can at least open up those students’ imaginations and offer to them immediate sources of new knowledge through the Internet then it is a great gift. Waking up in children the curiosity to learn and explore, even if it is not in school, is a great gift.