One of the promises of one-laptop/one-kid programs is the opportunity for distance learning. Here's a good article on the pros and cons of distance learning at the collegiate level.
Christian Science Monitor Learning Section, from the February 03, 2004 edition; Campus on a Keyboard by Nicholas Slabbert and Mirlea Saks
But Mark Smith, director of government relations for the American Association of University Professors, is unconvinced.
"In many ways, there is no substitute for the give-and-take of the classroom," he says. "A good higher education doesn't require only the transmission of facts, but the development of critical thinking skills."
Distance learning can be useful in more limited applications, Mr. Smith agrees. "We're not against distance learning and online education in and of themselves," he says. "Some of our members use these as supplementary tools to add to the educational experience. But we're concerned about the quality of education that results when electronic media become the only ones used."