Representantes de 7 países se reunieron en Cambridge la última semana de Julio para trabajar con miembros de equipo de Aprendizaje de OLPC y Sugar Labs, para intercambiar experiencias y avances de los programas de OLPC en sus países, y para participar en la Conferencia de Scratch en MIT. Entre los momentos mas destacados de la semana están las sesiones de Tortugarte con Cynthia Solomon, Walter Bender, y Claudia Urrea, el intercambio con los ingenieros de OLPC, y la visita con el profesor Fernando Reimers del departamento de Educación de Harvard.
La conferencia anual de Scratch, que organiza el grupo de investigación Lifelong Kindergarten del Media Lab de MIT reunio a mas de 400 educadores, investigadores y desarrolladores de software de 31 países llegaron al Media Lab durante 4 días para compartir historias, planes y su visión de Scratch (http://blog.media.mit.edu/2012/08/learning-through-connecting.html). El tema de este año para la conferencia fue sobre el uso de Scratch para motivar y apoyar muchos tipos de conexiones: con ideas, con intereses, con el mundo físico y con las personas. El grupo de OLPC hizo una contribución importante, especialmente en dos de estas áreas: 1) en conexión con el mundo físico, José Miguel Garcia de Uruguay participo en la sesión de demos con varios proyectos de robótica elaborado por los estudiantes del plan Ceibal en su país. Ellos utilizaron varios de los sets de robótica que han sido distribuidos en el país y que ahora usan los chicos del plan Ceibal junto con sus XOs; 2) en conexiones con las personas, Carolina García, Aura Mora, Martín Peréz, Julia Reynolds y Pedro Cuellar participaron en un panel titulado “El uso de Scratch y su impacto en las comunidades de aprendizaje de OLPC”, el cual organizó Claudia Urrea. Ellos presentaron experiencias y lecciones aprendidas de Costa Rica, Colombia, Uruguay, y Ruanda, respectivamente.
Todos los participantes trabajaron de forma paralela temas de importancia para OLPC y los diferentes programas. Ellos conformaron grupos y establecieron líneas de trabajo en diferentes temas, entre ellos: programación y el uso de Torturarte, innovación en la valoración del aprendizaje y el uso de Portafolio, desarrollo profesional de maestros, y la plataforma de colaboración para la comundad de OLPC.
We just launched a new program in Gabon. From the press release:
MIAMI–(BUSINESS WIRE)–One Laptop per Child (OLPC), a nonprofit organization with a mission to provide every child in the world access to new channels of learning, sharing and self-expression, announced today that it has launched the project with the Government of the Republic of Gabon to initiate a 1:1 educational computing project for the children in the country.
“We welcome the initiative and leadership of HE First Lady of Gabon, to launch the OLPC project in Gabon and look forward to her continuing support to reach national saturation for primary school children”
The initial phase of the project represents approximately ten percent of the children in Gabon and a total saturation of all primary school children is planned to be completed by 2014.
The OLPC project was initiated by HE First Lady of Gabon, Madame Sylvia Bongo Ondimba. OLPC will provide full technological, educational and community development training to the Ministry of Education staff responsible for the project’s launch and will provide quarterly ongoing support in the country. The Gabon project will also include the involvement of the Office of the President in planning for countrywide deployment of the OLPC laptops.
“Individual empowerment is the key to the future development of all of Africa and I am very proud that Gabon will demonstrate that educating children through OLPC is the foundation of empowerment,” said HE First Lady of Gabon, Madame Sylvia Bongo Ondimba.
“We welcome the initiative and leadership of HE First Lady of Gabon, to launch the OLPC project in Gabon and look forward to her continuing support to reach national saturation for primary school children,” said Rodrigo Arboleda, CEO of OLPC Association.
A hat tip to the franXOphonie community, including Kaçandre, Bastien, and OLPC France; thanks to them we have the Guide XO Gabon (from an OLPCorps project back in 2009-10) and a French version of the 2011 deployment guide.
And a few months ago Karen Cator, Educational Technology Director at the US Department of Education, replied to a question from Miguel at a learning technology conference. She shares a few views from her Department, from Secterary Arne Duncan‘s interest in Uruguay’s leadership in empowering children, to issues of how long it takes to transition to such a program in our world of independent, federated states. Some states are saying that ‘by 2014 they want to be like Uruguay in terms of… laptop access‘.
OLPC Australia launched their One Education program this past fall*, and developed a beautiful narrative and storybook about the XO to go with it. It makes for a beautiful coffee-table book or pamphlet to hand out at a presentation. via One News
OLPC-SF has posted their beautiful photobook with images from grassroots deployments around the world, along with a link to a print-on-demand service where you can order your own. I have one of these on my desk; it is beautiful! As Sameer says, “many thousands of words” in one smooth package.
Evan Szablowski was in Addis Ababa, spending a week meeting Ethiopian entrepreneurs. Michael, one of the tech leads for our literacy project in Ethiopia, was one of the people he met with. He was captivated by the literacy project, and on hearing that Michael was heading to Wonchi (one of the two villages taking part in it), he and his teammates decided to tag along.
While he was there he met some of the students eager to show off how they liked to use the tablets (they are using Motorola Xoom tablets with mainly off-the-shelf Android literacy apps, with a few custom apps and tweaks by OLPC). At some point, one of the children (below) stood up to quiz the others on what they were learning.
Evan wrote up the experience in a beautiful essay on his new blog, illustrated with photos from the day.
While this is just one anecdote from the project, the photo series is priceless, and puts the whole effort in context: the geography of the town, the social setup of the small farming community, and the economic circles of the village and the technicians supporting them.
An overwhelming sense of excitement and optimism overtook us, and we couldn’t stop smiling as we watched. We left with such a feeling of inspiration and optimism, amazed at witnessing two completely different worlds [fuse] with one another… Zach said this was the best thing he has done in a long time, and I agreed.
I hope they realize it someday. I hope that someday one of those kids will say, ‘When I was only 4 years old, the laptop project from MIT came to my village, and it forever changed my future.’ What an amazing perspective that person will have.
This was not foreign aid, or handouts… This was education, and just the first step in enabling them. Enabling the young minds of Africa for brighter futures. For a brighter nation, and a brighter continent.
The next iteration of the XO will finally have a fully armed and operational tablet mode, thanks to an optical touchscreen from Neonode.
This week we signed a licensing agreement with them to embed their optical touchscreens into future ‘XO Touch’ laptops. The XO Touch will be a true laptop + tablet, with the same 7.5” sunlight-readable display, and Neonode’s fast-scanning multitouch. There are a lot of applications I have in mind for those prototypes…
Neonode are energy-conscious, thanks to their history of work with mobile devices, and have features such as gesture-activated wakeup that will help the XO remain the lowest-power laptop around. Neonode is also proud of their screen’s low-latency pen or brush sensors, and ability to sense proximity, pressure, and depth and measure object-size.
Leaders of both projects commented on the partnership:
Thomas Eriksson, Neonode CEO:
“We are honored to be collaborating with OLPC to produce the XO Touch, a truly pioneering and sustainable device that shows the broad versatility of our technology. This market entry confirms that our MultiSensing technology makes it possible to create a top class product that is both affordable and extremely energy saving and still has a user interface that is radical enough to satisfy the uncompromising demands of knowledge- and entertainment-thirsty children. Our company philosophy is to contribute to a better and happier world, and we have the opportunity to do so by supporting OLPC’s mission.”
Rodrigo Arboleda, OLPCA CEO:
“OLPC is proud to partner with an organization that shares its appreciation for innovative and transformative technology. Neonode’s expertise in engineering and design will turn the XO Touch, which combines the best features of laptop and tablet, into a next-level innovative machine.”
OLE Nepal notes in their latest newsletter that Abhishek Singh has left after 3 years of great work, and they have a new Monitoring and Outreach manager, Sarina Piya, and 4 new summer interns. They have also completed 110 science activities for grades 2-6, and updated the E-Pustakalaya library, including the “Mother Tongue Pipal Pustak” series.
The green machine makes an appearance in a future-looking scene, towards the end of Oliver Stone’s new film Savages. The production team asked for a set of laptops back when they were wrapping filming, as a vision of what the world will look like when every child has a laptop to study with. It’s good to see the scene ended up in the final picture.
Those three XOs will be a nice collector’s item one day…
The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools in North Carolina are seeking 4 support technicians to support the 3000+ students taking part in the OLPC program as part of Project L.I.F.T. This job will involve day-to-day IT support, maintenance and installations at the school site: including XOs, servers, and networking equipment.
Monsoon Grey posts an update on the school pilot in Goa, about a lesson in Turtle Art, with a photoset by intern Bindi Dharia. Harriet Vidyasagar, who helped get the first school projects in India underway, continues to support the project.
The team writes about the new activities they have installed for all of the students this year, including “I Know India”, and the workshop they organized for new teachers for the coming year.
La República recently published an article on the history of Plan Ceibal and how it is seen and referenced by programs in other countries:
Nuestro país es consultado constantemente por otros estados interesados en aplicar el programa de “una computadora por niño”…
Uruguay tiene presencia mundial no solo por el fútbol. El Plan Ceibal hace que nuestro país tenga una presencia importante en grandes eventos. “Hace algunas semanas, fui a un congreso con veinte mil personas en Estados Unidos, y el primer día no dejaron de hablar de Uruguay”, explicó Miguel Brechner.
One of the Millennium Development Goals of the United Nations is to offer a sound elementary education to all children of the world by the year 2015 and to increase their access to information and communication technologies. One Laptop Per Child has worked since 2006 on this urgent educational mission in collaboration with public and private organizations in some forty nations, mostly in developing countries.
The great diversity of educational environments – or the lack of them – is the principal challenge here, and needs careful programming based on local conditions and human resources. OLPC is founded on five principles: ownership, early ages, saturation, connectivity and free and open source collaboration. This is the result of decades of research and development in advanced centers of study, and the XO laptop and the Sugar platform are two remarkable products of this international collaborative work. Other products will come soon as OLPC evolves to give answers to the increasing demands of education.
The central question is how to scale up the OLPC program from a town to a province to a country, in order to satisfy the educational requirements of different student populations. The agenda is getting more complex with the expansion of the geographic area involved. The local authorities must establish a detailed agenda in several steps, to provide a sound educational program to different cohorts of students, continuous training of teachers, and distribution of laptops to all children and teachers. Also the implementation of servers and internet connectivity in schools and public places, the logistics of repair or substitution of the laptops, etc. This whole process is part of a dynamic “cultural evolution” that produces a great variety of results, some unpredictable and innovative.
David Bainbridge and Ian Witten of the University of Waikato in New Zealand published a paper last year about using the Greenstone digital library toolkit to help offline XO users share libraries of books. From their abstract:
The idea draws upon mobile libraries (bookmobiles) for its inspiration, which first appeared in Victorian times. The implemented technique works by building on the mesh network that is instrumental to the XO-laptop approach. To use the technique, on each portable XO-laptop a version of Greenstone is installed, allowing the owner to develop and manage their own set of books. The version of Greenstone has been adapted to support a form of interoperability we have called Digital Library Talkback. On the mesh, when two XO-laptops “see” each other, the two users can search and browse the other user’s digital library; when they see a book they like, they can have it transferred to their library with a single click using the Digital Library Talkback mechanism.
So we had a self-contained book server, that could run off a solar panel, and arguably serve thousands of books in the middle of nowhere – a Wi-Fi bubble, that serves up books to all within its reach. Heck, we even have a virtual machine, complete with Pathagar on it! Where do we get the books? The Internet Archive of course! With its 3 million plus books, its a vast ocean to fish from. The bigger challenge is fishing well.
How do you curate content for your little Wi-Fi bubble? And once you do so, how do you pull it all together?