From 5th to 7th august 2012, Rwanda held an international conference on technology in education with the theme ”Enhance Learning through Technology”. This conference took place at Kigali Serena Hotel. Professor Nicholas Negroponte (founder and chairman of One Laptop per Child); Rodrigo Arboleda (Chairman and CEO of OLPCA) and Sergio Romero (Vice President of Operations and Africa) were invited to attend this conference of technology in education.
In his presentation, Professor Nicholas Negroponte, mentioned that as you cannot compete with world food program (WFP) which feeds bodies, you cannot compete with One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) which feeds children’s brains. He also emphasized on OLPC as an educational project not a computer project as some would think. In his presentation he also talked about a research being done in Ethiopia about what could happen if technology is brought in the hands of illiterate children. “These children proved to work by themselves to use the tablets, to read and to learn.” he said.
Kagabo Callixte, a 12 years, grade six, from a local school presented his project using an XO on pollution. He used Scratch activity to describe different causes of pollution and how to prevent it. The participants were amazed and happy on how this 12 year child presented confidently in front of older people. He mentioned how the XO laptop is important to his life and how it fits in his dreams of becoming a future engineer. Watch Kagabo presentation on YouTube.
After the conference, OLPC officials, together with NKUBITO Bakuramutsa (OLPC Rwanda coordinator) went to Smaldone Primary School (a deaf and mute primary schools that use XO laptops). At the school, the officials observed how children were using the XO laptops in different activities. Children mentioned how happy they are with the laptops and thanked professor Nicholas and his excellence Paul Kagame to think about them in releasing them from loneliness. When asked by Professor Nicholas about what they could change on the XO laptop to suit their needs, the children mentioned that visual activities could be more useful since they cannot hear.
The conference was ended by a Gala dinner, where a cultural dance troupe entertained the participants, a gift of recognition was handled to professor Nicholas Negroponte as a key note speaker.
by Intwali Parfait Jimmy; OLPC technical and learning Officer