Reposted from The Next Web:
Filmmaker Michael Kleiman has released WEB, a documentary that takes a close look at the One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) rollout in Peru while examining the larger social implications the Internet will have as it spreads to new populations around the world. The micro and macro threads that WEB follows make it a fascinating film. Interviews with academics, technologists and entrepreneurs tackle the subject on an intellectual level, while watching the excitement of the children as they start using their laptops adds a vital emotional dimension.
The OLPC project has faced heavy criticism over its effectiveness and execution, and some of those concerns appear justified in the film. The foundation has lost much of its early momentum, but it does continue to operate. While Kleiman’s overall portrayal of the OLPC comes across as positive, he doesn’t shy away from showing the technical challenges and lack of training that have plagued the endeavor.
A scene where children collaborate to create the Spanish Wikipedia article for their small town is as powerful as the scenes of technicians fiddling unsuccessfully with the equipment are uncomfortable. If anything, WEB corroborates my impression that OLPC is a well-intentioned, but deeply flawed, project that sometimes manages – when it actually works – to change the lives of ordinary people in remote places.