Institutional Barriers to Development Innovation: Assessing the Implementation of XO-1 Computers in Two Peri-Urban Schools in Peru (English)

Eduardo Villanueva-Mansilla, Paz Olivera


We analyze the implementation of One Laptop per Child’s (OLPC’s) XO-1 computer at two primary schools on the outskirts of Lima, Peru. Using a sociotechnological approach, we identify the institutional and human barriers to the success of this initiative in these two case studies. As a device incorporated into a sociotechnological system, the XO-1 computer was in direct conflict with the schools’ institutional arrangements and, more generally, Peru’s educational system. The role of specific agents, particularly principals and teachers, conflicted with the interest, or lack thereof, that students showed for the computer. Meanwhile, the device did not conform to expectations based on previous experience with computers at commercial public access centers. We consider the hands-off approach advocated by the promoters of OLPC deployment and recommend revisions.

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