The Reading Project in Ethiopia explained by the OLPC team involved in the experiment

OLPC San Francisco Community Summit is a community event that brings together educators, technologists, anthropologists, enthusiasts, champions and volunteers. The purpose is to share stories, exchange ideas, solve problems, foster community and build collaboration around the One Laptop per Child project and its mission worldwide.

During the 2012 SF Summit, the team involved directly in this experiment, presented some of their experiences and details on the research:

Video 1: Matt Keller, Richard Smith

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Video 2: Richard Smith, Ed McNierney, Scott Ananian and Chris Ball:

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7 thoughts on “The Reading Project in Ethiopia explained by the OLPC team involved in the experiment

  1. Pingback: Spannendes Experiment: Tablet PC ersetzt Lehrer in Afrika - gravima - Agentur für Gravitationsmarketing

  2. Hi,

    It is with great interest I have read about the Reading Project in Ethiopia!

    “Dropping” tablets and see what happens, such a great thing to study! But when I read that you had to travel there in advance, install solar systems and teach the people how to use solar for charging I thought that this ruined some of the good intentions with the project and made it much more complicated than needed. At the same time it made me happy because my company has developed and is selling a solar-powered charger that is so easy to use that if you use it in your next reading project, you can “drop” the solar chargers together with the tablets.

    When we started Powerfy (to give power to people) we learned about the sad research that shows that 1 year after installation less than 50% of solar installations in rural parts of Kenya work as anticipated, and we felt we had to do something about it. The main reasons for this failure is that solar systems require proper technical design, procurement according to the design, a technician to install the system, a technician to teach the owner how to use and maintain the system which has many components that can and will fail and finally the battery that has to be stored and maintained appropriately before being re-placed with a new one every so often.

    We have therefore designed our charger, which charges multiple USB-devices at the same time, so that anyone should be able to start to use it without any instructions or installation. It is also fool proof in the sense that there is almost no way of causing any severe damage to the charger by accident. We have also designed it so that it is portable, durable and maintenance free with barely no components that will break or can fail, and at the same time the charger is powerful and can charge many devices at the same time. The idea is basically that we (or any one else) should be able to “drop” it at any potential customer in any remote place, and they would figure out how it would work and it will work for many years without any need for interaction with us or any one else.

    We would be happy to tell you more about our charger if you are interested.


  3. Hi,

    I am working for an NGO in an urban environment in India (Delhi). In this NGO there are neglected children, children who experienced violence or abuse, former working slaves and so on. I would be very interested to start this project there, too. For that purpose I purchased a low cost tablet and already made Sugar running in a chroot environment on top of Android. However, in this literacy project you guys used some software in Android as far as I understood. Is there anywhere a complete list of the apps you used and is there some sourcecode or stuff available from your own applications (not regarding logging etc.), especially the reading software from the MIT?

    Thanks in advance!

  4. This is fascinating stuff. I work with impoverished children in conflict settings. Armed violence makes it difficult for them to get to school (especially girls). Would there be ways to replicate this project with such vulnerable kids? Would it be possible to develop apps that help them identify unexploded ordinance, minefields, small arms etc. to help them cope with conflict hazards?

    • Yes, those would be reasonable inclusions for our targeted kids. We’re not experts in those areas ourselves, and so are unlikely to do the development of the apps, but I’d be happy to include such apps developed by others. Minefields aren’t a danger to our ethiopian pre-pilots so far (thankfully!).

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