Rwanda’s ‘One Laptop Per Child’ Project Extends To 400 Schools

Original Post by Jeddy Genrwot on July 22, 2013

The One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) project has so far covered 407 schools across the country. At least  207,026 laptops have been distributed, according to Nkubito Bakuramutsa, the OLPC Coordinator in Rwanda Education Board.

Bakuramutsa told The New Times yesterday that Rwanda has been ranked third globally after Peru and Uruguay in terms of rolling out laptops in primary schools.

He added that at least all 30 districts have five OLPC-enabled schools.

“The project now focuses on seeing each school in all 416 sectors equipped with laptops.”

The project that was launched in 2008 aims at boosting Rwanda’s goal of becoming a knowledge-based society.

Bakuramutsa said that 2,200 schools have also been equipped with servers, wireless access points and digital content including, e-books, math, science and English courses.

“The server is also equipped with a school management and information system and security features to track laptops in case of theft or loss.”

According to Sergio Romero, OLPC Vice President Africa, Peru tops the list in the world when it comes to OLPC rollout in schools with about 750,000, Uruguay (approximately 475,000) and Rwanda in third position with more than 200,000.

The project has also trained 10,000 teachers with basic ICT skills to enable them to prepare and teach their lessons in digital format.

Bakuramutsa further said that with such a massive deployment, the OLPC programme is looking at establishing a modern call centre that would provide online maintenance support to schools.

Credit: NewTimes

 

Web: The Film

What happens when children, isolated in the Peruvian Amazon, experience the Internet for the first time? Web explores the possibilities that emerge when the disconnected get online, and what it means for our future.

Director, Michael Kleiman, is on his way back to Peru to visit the villages featured in the film and share the finished product with them. Stay tuned over the next few weeks for pictures and videos from his journey. You can check out the film’s trailer below and/or here.

Teaser 2

 

Recent News from Cambodia P.R.I.D.E.

I am awe’ed with the results of Elaine Negroponte’s dedication to the children and communities served by Cambodia P.R.I.D.E. Cambodia PRIDE, “Providing Rural Innovative Digital Education” maintains a low profile in a country which has many NGOs and many obstacles to success. I was so personally inspired by my visit to this project in 2011, that I have become more involved. This year, I joined Cambodia PRIDE’s Board of Directors as a “special advisor.”  I am passionate about OLPC and its XO laptop project because it impacts so many children. The children that Cambodia Pride reach, even those children that don’t complete their school exams, are learning how to think, to learn, to work together with others, and to solve problems. …

Continue reading the original post here.

 

OLPC OS 13.2.0 New Software Release

OLPC OS 13.2.0 is a new software release focusing on cleaning up a few edges from our previous release, and finishing off support for the new XO-4 laptop. As usual, we maintain support and consistency for older laptops models, with XO-1.75, XO-1.5 and XO-1 also included in the release.

Features

XO-4 power management

This is our core power saving technique where we suspend the processor after a few seconds of system inactivity (“idle suspend”), but we leave the screen and wireless interfaces running to provide the illusion that the system is still running as usual.

XO-4 bluetooth support

The new XO-4 laptop comes with bluetooth support as a purchase option. While such Bluetooth support is not immediately available in the user interface, we have enabled this functionality in the underlying system, ready for developers and deployers to use in their custom applications.

Enhanced touch support

In the Clock activity, you can now use the touchscreen to drag the clock hands to another time, a useful exercise for learning about time. Drop-down lists are sub-optimal for touch, they have been replaced by more intuitive and touch-friendly UI elements in Record. The pinch-to-zoom touch gestures in Image Viewer behave much better than before. FotoToon has been improved to interact with the touchscreen on-screen keyboard.

Music Keyboard activity

A new activity has been added, presenting a piano-style musical keyboard to the user. The piano can then be played using the XO’s physical keyboard, or with the XO-4 touchscreen by directly placing your fingertips on the notes you wish to play. You can even play multiple notes at the same time by using more than one finger, thanks to the XO-4’s multitouch capabilities.

Journal Share activity

We are exploring methods to improve common classroom situations of teachers handing out assignments, and teachers collecting in the students work. While this functionality should ideally be part of the core Sugar desktop, for now we are prototyping a solution in the form of an activity called Journal Share, which is new to 13.2.0. To hand out an assignment to the students, the teacher starts the Journal Share activity, shares it, and adds the assignment to the session. Students join the shared activity, and with a single click, the assignment appears in their Journal. When the teacher wants to collect in the student’s work, the teacher starts the Journal Share activity and shares it. Students join the shared activity, and add their completed work from their Journal. The submitted work is automatically transferred into the teacher’s journal for later assessment and evaluation.

Sugar updates

Several activities (such as Read, Write and Paint) are now usable when the screen is rotated. Scratch has been updated to a new version, bringing in the latest functionality and extending the library content. The Help activity content has been updated.

How to install? (Installation is distinct from update. If you have user data on the laptop that you wish to preserve, you may want to follow the Update instructions.)

Games to transform the lives of children

 

Thanks to  Superchef, CuidarMe and ParticipAcción video games available in the SugarLab activities platform to download, children belonging to the Red Unidos are becoming agents of change. Through these interactive games that have had great success in the network, this strategy has helped to foster social innovation, learning healthy habits related to nutrition, and good practices in the field of family dynamics.

The three games are part of the transforming project implemented under the agreement signed between the National Agency for Overcoming Extreme Poverty – ANSPE, the organization One Laptop Per Child – OLPC and the city of Chia, a program that primarily benefits 240 children and girls from 7-12 years of the municipality of Chia, belonging to Red Unidos.

Children who are part of this program will receive laptops under the training model implemented by the OLPC community worldwide, including training workshops also involving their parents. The results of these workshops and initiatives for children will be published on the website www.anspeolpc.com designed especially for the program.

The success of the games has been evident after being available for two weeks in SugarLabs activity platform. Those were classified within the top ranking downloads. This expands the possibility that more children know and can start the process of transforming their lives and their environment.

It is hoped that this experience can be replicated and scaled up in other  zones of Extreme Poverty, to contribute to improve the quality of life for children and families “Unidas”.

Original post.

New Book: “Plan Ceibal and Social Inclusion”

This book contains the results of three investigations into the
impact Ceibal has had on social inclusion. “A first assessment of the effects of Plan Ceibal based on panel data”, “Plan Ceibal: community impact and social inclusion” and “Impact of Plan Ceibal in cognitive and language development of school children.”

They were conducted by UDELAR multidisciplinary teams and supported by the  Oriented Research Program on Social Inclusion CSIC and Plan Ceibal. The book can be downloaded from Portal Ceibal.

Trains, planes, automobiles

Original by Sameer Verma – July 8th, 2013

 

I had quite the whirlwind trip to India for a four week period across Dec 2012-Jan 2013. After coming back, I presented about it at the OLPC San Francisco monthly meeting in January ’13. Then, in the hubbub of my spring semester at SF State, I promptly forgot to write it up. So, here it is, a few months late:

I landed in Mumbai (I still like to call it Bombay) right after Christmas eve, and promptly took off for Ahmedabad, Gujarat. After a few meetings with some friends and acquaintances, I ended up presenting to the governing board of CHARUSAT University, and subsequently to their student body over a two-day period. Across several meetings, I had the opportunity to talk about children, education, OLPC and Sugar to their faculty, staff and over 1200 students. It was a tiring visit, but a good one. CHARUSAT has a social responsibility component, and may look to support such a program in some of their neighboring villages.

XO

 

Continue reading the full story here.

Family Oriented XO Tablet Debuts at Walmart for $149

Captura de pantalla 2013-07-14 a las 20.32.06The new family-friendly XO Tablet debuts July 16 on Walmart.com and will be in Walmart stores on August 1, and will provide kids with a fun and exciting new way to build, learn and dream at their own pace via a powerful Android tablet packed with free educational games, apps, videos, e-books and more. The flexible tablet also grows with the family offering up to three separate user accounts plus full-fledged Android tablet functionality with parental-controlled access to conventional Android apps and the Google Play store.

“The XO Tablet is the first and only tablet designed specifically to help kids explore their dreams and spark their imaginations,” said Jeff Saka, president of Vivitar. “Not only does it combine active learning with fun, imaginative play, but parents can also feel confident in giving the durable and secure XO Tablet to children of any ageand they can even use it themselves.”

The only multilingual (English/Spanish) and Google-Certified tablet for kids on the market, the XO Tablet and on-board XO Learning System were designed and developed by One Laptop per Child (OLPC) to harness the power of a touchscreen device to create new ways for children to learn. The tablet’s child-friendly interface, cover and packaging were developed by legendary designer Yves Behar and his team at the Fuse Project. Priced affordably at just $149.99 MSRP, the XO Tablet from Vivitar features a 7-inch 1024 x 600 dpi hi-resolution screen and a 1.64GHz dual-core processor running the latest Android Jelly Bean OS with nearly 8 hours of battery life to deliver a high-performance user experience at an exceptional value. The tablet will also be available in Canada and Europe in the French and Italian languages later this year.

“Touchscreens are intuitive for children, making the XO Tablet an optimal platform for educational interaction and creativity and ideal for our US retail debut with Vivitar,” noted Rodrigo Arboleda, Chairman and CEO, OLPC. “With the XO Learning System at the center of this tablet, OLPC along with our content partners, are able to offer curated, state-of-the-art learning technology to kids and their families across the country.”

XO Learning System content has been curated and selected for age-appropriateness and learning value by OLPC in collaboration with Common Sense Media, a leading non-profit organization dedicated to helping parents and teachers make informed decisions about media. Additional OLPC partners include Oxford University Press, Discovery Kids Puterbugs, TED, Story Emporium, MyCityWay, Pipo Ceibal, Little Pim, WeWantToKnow-DragonBox+, JokerWare, Zeptolab, Brain POP, Kids Yoga Journey, Bankeroo, Sesame Street and others.

Dreams Dashboard and On-Board Apps Provide World-Class Educational Curriculum

The XO’s unique Dreams interface lets kids explore more than 100 free pre-loaded apps, games, books and other content over a $250 value based on subject areas, interests and skill level. Children can choose their own learning adventure depending on what they want to be today, or when they grow up. Options like “I want to be an…” XO Artist, Engineer, Chef, Mathematician, Musician, Teacher, Traveler and more give kids a wide array of activities to choose from with content created by world-class partners.

XO Journal, Parental Controls Provide Insight and Security

The XO Tablet is designed to help parents become actively involved in their child’s tablet use and learning progress. With support for up to three user accounts, parents can set specific permissions for each user to control access to apps, the Internet, games and Google Play. These password-protected privileges can be adjusted anytime as the child matures to offer wider access and more capabilities.

With the innovative XO Journal tool, parents can gain unique insight into how each child is using the device, how much time they spend on each app, and where their interests and strengths lie. Parents can even view each child’s learning progress and how their performance compares to other children of their age.

Each XO Tablet features both a front- and rear- facing camera and comes with a protective bumper case and charger. The The XO Tablet is available now on Walmart.com and is coming soon to other other U.S. Retailers, including Walmart stores. For more information, visit www.xotablet.com or the xo-learning.org blog

The upcoming XO Tablet: A parent’s perspective

Original by sverma on Tue, 07/09/2013 – 18:56

Every afternoon, when I go to pick up my daughters from school, I ask them “What did you do in school today?” Several years into the ritual, it has become a habitual question now, and I get varying degrees of responses from them, depending on their mood, and what they feel like sharing. To me, it’s of paramount importance to hear it from them. At least until they stop sharing with me smiley 7800 miles away, the parents of Anshu in Bhagmalpur, India would like to know as well. They are curious about what Anshu does on his OLPC XO laptop all day. In Jamaica, where I now have three projects, parents of John also want to know how he spends his time on his OLPC laptop. The teachers are curious about time spent on different activities (apps in OLPC/Sugar parlance). The principal wants to know if the sudden leap in math scores has anything to do with the children playing with Tuxmath every chance they get! Feedback is important. In fact, there is now an entire field of “Learning Analytics” that is growing rapidly. If you’ve used a “dashboard” in SalesForce or Drupal, then you know where this is going.

Anshu checking his Wi-Fi signal in Bhagmalpur, India

OLPC laptops use Sugar as their learning environment. Sugar uses the metaphor of a journal to store the work of a child. The Journal allows for personal reflection on what the child does, and pick up where she left off and continue to build. Think of the Journal as a mini dashboard for the child. The concept of a file is gone. How nice! The only reason we call them “files” is because we have grown up in a world of filing cabinets (I have one in my office), with folders holding files and documents. That’s our world of metaphors. What does a child in the Amazon know of filing cabinets?!

A Sugar Journal

While the Journal is detailed enough to give the child a view of her world, as a parent, I would like to know about aggregates. How often does my daughter read a book, as opposed to looking up Wikipedia? How often does she play the Maze, Memorize, and her other favorite activities (apps)? Frequency counts are interesting in giving me a heads-up on how she spends her time. When does she read? A pattern of use across the time of day is useful too. To that end, we now have the Analyze Journal activity.  It provides a summary view of some of the items in the Journal. Think of this as yet another dashboard, but perhaps for a parent or a teacher. As a parent, I can certainly relate to this.

The Analyze Journal activity

The upcoming XO Tablet, is a significantly different product. It is also a significantly different Androidtablet. I saw an early preview back in January, but haven’t seen the finished product yet, so some of this writing is based on the video. Here are a few things I know. It does not run on Sugar, but it does have some interesting features. The Android tablet allows the parent to create accounts for the children. Each account then can have some degree of parental guidance and protection. For instance, I am not a fan of letting my daughters get on to the Internet without supervision. Heck, I don’t even let them watch Disney, without supervision! So, the fact that you can turn Internet access on or off in a profile is very useful. So is the feature of knowing what your child has been doing on the tablet.

Settings per child (screen shot from video)

The XO Tablet implements some features of the concept of a journal. Looks like it is called the Parent Dashboard. One can keep up with some of the progress of one’s child by category. I’d be curious to explore more of this feature.


Parent Dashboard (screen shot from video)

The XO Tablet also allows for switching out of this “Dreams” interface to a full-fledged Android tablet, and includes access to the Google Play store (as the video indicates. See below).

Switching from Dreams interface to full Android (screen shot from video)

The XO Tablet runs on Android, so the Sugar learning environment that we are used to on the OLPC XO laptop isn’t compatible with it. I don’t think we’ll see any of the “View Source” functionalities that we see in Sugar. Android is Open Source (Apache license), while Sugar is Free Software (GPL). The development models and motivations around those kinds of licenses are significantly different. Sugar is developed by Sugarlabs, which sees contributions by OLPC employees and Sugar developers. The “Dreams” interface on the XO Tablet is being built by MorphOSS LTD., a company in New Zealand, and as far as I can tell, the software is neither Free nor Open Source. The tablet also lacks a tactile keyboard, so a fair bit of “production” is ruled out. Imagine writing a letter to a friend on a touch keyboard. I have, and it sucks. That’s a peeve I have against tablets, so it’s not specific to the XO Tablet. Of course, one could argue that in this new age of machines, who needs to write? Simply hit record and communicate! Captain Picard’s “Tea, Earl Grey, Hot” is around the corner! However, with the advent of HTML 5 applications for Sugar, and other interesting developments stemming from Android as a base (including Firefox PhoneUbuntu Touch and others where one can run non-Android systems on an Android-derived Linux base (a different Linux distribution in chroot), I’m hopeful that there will be some degree of convergence. I realize that the XO Tablet is geared for the “first world” markets, but there are plenty of good ideas on it, and while the under-developed world will still need (note: need is different from want) water resistant, dust resistant, robust low-powered laptops – and we have the XO-4 for that – this XO Tablet should be interesting to use in the so-called developed world. It sounds like it will be available via retail outlets soon. I wish the XO-4 was available retail as well, but that’s another blog – in logistics, supply chain management and VAR channels smiley Here’s the marketing video:

You can also hear about it from Giulia D’Amico at OLPC Association:

Response to Inaccurate Information Recently Posted about OLPC

One Laptop Per Child Association Inc. (“OLPC”) wishes to respond to a recent post in OLPC News that contained several assertions that are contextually inaccurate and may lead to conclusions that are incorrect.

With the recent development of the XO-4 Touch laptop,the XOTablet and its educational “Dreams” User Interface, necessary adjustments in the composition of the OLPC team were required. First, several of the engineers and programmers who specialized in hardware design departed OLPC as their services were no longer required. John Watlington our CTO, remains in charge of finalizing the XO‐4‐Touch laptop. He is also preparing the ground for the next hardware launch. The OLPC Technical team continues to focus on software development, incorporating Sugar into the Android OS, and developing unique apps for the tablet and laptop environment. This team, under the leadership of Andrew McMillan, includes Samuel Greenfeld and a team of developers at Morphoss Ltd., including Heather Buchanan, Chris Noldus, Alexander Nikitin, Samantha Qiao and Tim Evetts.

The OLPC Learning team is under the direction of Doctor Antonio Battro, a colleague of both Jean Piaget and Seymour Papert. Dr. Battro is in charge of leading the philosophical direction of the learning team. He is a distinguished member of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences, an emblematic institution with more than 40 Nobel Prize recipients in its roster of 90 scientists around the globe. Claudia Urrea remains involved with specific OLPC projects. Moises Salinas Fleitman has joined the Learning group. Bob Hacker also remains committed to OLPC and its mission. Donna Mackenzie has joined OLPC as CFO.Her extensive experience in social media, crowd sourcing, finance, and M&A is of great importance to OLPC at this moment. OLPC is also blessed with the support and contributions of Michele Borba, Educator, TV commentator and consultant to many institutions in the field.

In addition, the XOTablet will be launched on July 16 exclusively at Walmart and soon afterwards at many of the top retailers in the USA, Europe, and in North and South America. With the continued development of new products and content, OLPC maintains its commitment to providing children with an innovative educational experience. OLPC is at its core a social equality movement and a transformer of the existing educational systems. The recent transitions at OLPC permit it to adapt and grow with the demands of the market while adhering to its basic principles.

OLPC is very excited about its current projects in the USA and abroad. OLPC is delivering the first batch of XO-4 Touch machines to Uruguay, in addition to a large order of XOTablets.OLPC has also begun the production of a large order for the government of Rwanda. The feedback from focus groups and educational institutions with respect to OLPC’s new devices, the XO-4 Touch and the XO Tablet, has been extremely positive.

OLPC is aware of certain animosity from top commercial entities and from some individual bloggers that see OLPC as a threat to their existence. In reality, this is something to feel proud about. It is a testament to the strength of OLPC and its mission that it is somehow seen as a threat to bigger entities around the world.OLPC believes that it is the educational equivalent to the World Food Program in its mission to feed the poor. OLPC continues to search for disruptive and creative ways to challenge old beliefs and clichés. OLPC continues to lead the way in innovation and education around the globe. On behalf of OLPC, I thank you for your continued support of our mission.

Rodrigo Arboleda

Chairman and CEO
One Laptop Per Child Association, Inc.

http://issuu.com/marianaludmilacortes/docs/response_to_olpc_news_july_2013/1?e=0

PDF version here.