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Publication

Impact Evaluation of the One Laptop per Child Program in Costa Rica

Title
Learn to Play and Play to Learn: Evaluation of the One Laptop per Child Program in Costa Rica
Date
December 16, 2016
Author(s)
Meza-Cordero, J.
Publication
Journal of International Development
Market
International Development
Citation
Meza-Cordero, J. (2016). Learn to Play and Play to Learn: Evaluation of the One Laptop per Child Program in Costa Rica. Journal of International Development, 29(1), 3-31. https://doi.org/10.1002/jid.3267

The One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) initiative is one of the world's most popular interventions, aiming to reduce the Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) digital divide. Costa Rica introduced its first OLPC program in February 2012. Jaime Meza-Cordero outlines the initiative in his paper, Learn to Play and Play to Learn: Evaluation of the One Laptop per Child Program in Costa Rica, published in the Journal of International Development.

In collaboration with the Quirós Tanzi Foundation, implementing the program, baseline and post-intervention information was collected from 15 primary schools that were selected to be treated, and from 19 primary schools that served as a comparison group. Using a difference in difference design, this paper estimates the short-term effects of the program on students' computer usage, time allocation and test scores.

The results indicated that the program led to treated students using a computer outside of school for about 5 extra hours per week. There is evidence that the treated students used the computer specifically to browse the internet, do homework, read and play. In addition, the results showed that the program led to a decline in the time that treated students spent on homework and outdoor activities. However, the research did not provide evidence to suggest that the program influenced participating students' school performance. This study demonstrates that the OLPC program led to a high rate of computer use, as well as diverse type of computer use by students. Such results have policy implications for NGOs and governments seeking to reduce the ICTs digital divide.