On May 10th to 12th, 2017, leaders and stakeholders from various industries, countries and continents gathered in the KIGALI CONVENTION CENTER to participate in the Transform Africa Summit. They all had one purpose: to foster constructive conversation towards building a Smart Africa. The Transform Africa Summit facilitated meetings for leaders from the public and private sectors to discuss policies and opportunities to accelerate the continent towards a socio-economic transformation, as the theme for the summit stated: “Smart Cities Fast Forward.”
OLPC and Foundation Zamora Teran participated in this summit as a wonderful example of how technology combined with commitment is indeed the solution to sustainability and development.
During the summit, Foundation Zamora Teran shared its experience with the One Laptop Per Child projects in Central America. As a part of its educational program, the Foundation Zamora Teran created the first digital island, Ometepe. This served as a relevant case study for the summit. Summit participants had the opportunity to interact with the OLPC and FZT teams to learn about the strategies they employ for success in their educational program. One such strategy for success focuses on actively engaging all relevant stakeholders, including educators, technical teams and operations teams, in the process. The three sectors work together to bring all stakeholders together in order to positively impact the community
During the exhibition, many officials from participating countries visited the OLPC/FZT stand to learn how its ecosystem could be a key to sustaining different development projects in their respective countries. Journalists and TV stations also had the opportunity to learn more about the OLPC/FZT services. FZT and OLPC conducted interviews as well.
The Summit was a wonderful opportunity for OLPC and FZT to build global connections to increase opportunities to provide children around the world with a quality, innovative education.
(Below are several interviews.)
In 2016, the Fundación Zamora Terán in Nicaragua entered Phase II of its One Laptop Per Child Educational Program. In an effort to strengthen the program, the Fundación Zamora Terán signed a collaboration agreement with FUNDECYT-PCTEX a non-profit organization based in Spain to continue to support the educational program throughout Central America.
The objective of the collaboration is to continue the social transformation process and strengthen the existing educational institutions. Extremadura, an organization based in Spain, is devoting resources to further support innovative education in Nicaragua. The organizations are working together to network, innovate, and scale the OLPC educational program. Estremadura is currently developing new educational applications for the XO Laptop. The organizations opened CEDSL in 2015, a space for educational innovation and training, using open source software and technologies. Teachers, university students, staff of NGOs and other foundations come to receive training on the use of technology in the educational process.
The project also strengthens the role of the private sector in achieving inclusive and sustainable growth in developing countries. The organizations promote and strengthen public-private partnerships by creating new, multilateral partnerships and alliances between national and local authorities, business and NGOs in order to facilitate the development of local capacity and the delivery of services, particularly in rural areas for women and other marginalized groups.
More than 390 people will benefit from this alliance, including technical staff and educational officers of the Fundación Zamora Terán (15), teachers from primary schools in Nicaragua (52), students of the San Judas Tadeo Educational Center of Managua (188), University students from UNAN, UdM and UNI of Nicaragua (105), university support staff of the Free Software Development Center (10), NGOs, technical personnel and Nicaraguan Educational Foundations (20 participants).
The applications developed for the XO Laptops will benefit 224,000 people in the region, including 45,500 children, and more than 1,000 teachers in schools in which the FZT has a presence in Nicaragua and Honduras. Applications developed during phases I and II of the project will be available through the XO Laptops and will be distributed nationwide. All XO Laptops use free software. In addition, the families of participating children will have the ability to access and use such applications.
OLPC France (http://olpc-france.org), a volunteer driven association, has just released a new version of the Sugarizer platform. Sugarizer allows the Sugar Learning Software to be used on any device. More precisely, Sugarizer is a port of Sugar – the open source learning platform distributed on the XO laptops – in web technologies. You can run it within a browser (http://try.sugarizer.org), as well as from your Android, iOS or Windows device. There are links for every device. Any computer, tablet or smartphone can be transformed into an XO Laptop! The Sugar Learning Software allows children to learn through doing. Sugarizer allows children to benefit from the Sugar Learning Software from any device. Children also have the ability to connect globally with the worldwide OLPC experience.
OLPC France, a grassroots organization started in 2008, has run several OLPC deployments. The organization distributed 200 XO Laptops to a small island north of Madagascar. It also provided 50 XO Laptops to a city near Paris. Recently, it distributed 25 XO Laptops in Saint-Ouen, a suburb of Paris.
(XO-4 used in the classroom in Saint-Ouen)
This new deployment is also using 25 Android tablets with the Sugarizer OS (https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=org.olpc_france.sugarizeros), which replaces the standard Android environment. Children can then enjoy a Sugar-like look and feel and activities (e.g. Labyrinth, an application to build mind maps or the famous Speak activity), and other Android applications (like Book Creator).
Still in beta, the Sugarizer features continue to improve, thanks to support from the SugarLabs community and Google. This month, two students from the Google Summer of Code program (https://summerofcode.withgoogle.com/) will join the team. There are currently 24 activities available in the latest version of Sugarizer (v0.8). The volunteer team continues to work to port new activities. The next version of Sugarizer (v0.9) will have at least 30 activities. All Sugarzier activities are available in English, French, and Spanish. Sugarizer is available in English, French, Spanish, German, Portuguese, Japanese, Arabic, Polish, Igbo and Yoruba.
With Sugarizer, the spirit of OLPC is now accessible from any device.
We want to share this amazing article. Congratulations to Uruguay on the 10th anniversary of its national OLPC program, Plan Ceibal!
By Gerardo Laborde
MONTEVIDEO, May 14 (Xinhua) — Uruguay this month is celebrating the 10th anniversary of a national program that has made Internet available to the masses by providing all elementary school students with a laptop.
The national program, called Plan Ceibal, in conjunction with the global nonprofit initiative called One Laptop Per Child (OLPC), made Uruguay “the first country in the world to provide one laptop to every primary school student,” according to OLPC’s website.
“I must admit that, at the beginning, I never imagined a plan so complete and well executed,” OLPC’s founder, the U.S.-born Nicholas Negroponte, said during a visit to Montevideo this week.
Negroponte, who is also the founder of MIT’s Media Lab, said one of the factors that helped to make the plan a resounding success in Uruguay was President Tabare Vazquez, who was serving his first term (2005-2010) when the plan was first adopted.
Vazquez was adamant about the scope of the program, insisting it should cover every child, according to the state Uruguayan News Agency (UyPress).
“Nobody else did that. That is extraordinary,” said Negroponte.
In announcing the plan in December 2006, Vazquez said that as of 2007 “the fundamental school supply our children are going to have is going to be this computer.”
The first green-and-white laptops, which cost 100 U.S. dollars to make, were distributed in May 2007 at a school in the small town of Villa Cardal, in the southern department of Florida, home to just 500 inhabitants. But soon schoolchildren throughout the country had a “ceibalita,” as the laptops were called.
The first three students to get a laptop were Micaela Rodriguez, Rocio Martinez and German Arrua, today aged 17, 18 and 19, respectively.
All three agree the laptop marked a turning point in their educational life.
“They came to be used for all the day’s work,” Rodriguez told national radio network Radiodifusion Nacional del Uruguay (RNU).
“With a computer, we could find out about many things that we didn’t know existed in Uruguay,” she added.
Martinez agreed, saying the Plan Ceibal, a Spanish backronym that stands for Basic Informatic Educative Connectivity for Online Learning, “was a great help” for studying.
Arrua, meanwhile, recalled using his laptop to take pictures.
The president of Plan Ceibal, Miguel Brechner, said prior to the initiative, “only 9 percent of children from the poorest households had access to a computer. Today, more than 90 percent of that population does.”
Thanks to its effectiveness, Plan Ceibal was expanded to secondary school students and since 2016 is being used to teach the elderly.
According to Negroponte, two other factors helped make the program a success in Uruguay, including developing the needed infrastructure, which state telecom Antel was tasked with doing.
The third factor was the country’s belief in the advantages of promoting equality, he said.
“Due to these three things: Vazquez, equality and the telecommunications, this project turned into what it is. And it helped us in many aspects, and that’s why I want many other countries to copy this experience,” Negroponte said.
Uruguay “has become the byword” for progressive educational programs, he said, predicting that “in 20 years, Uruguay will be producing the world’s most creative people.”