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Guest post by Richard Caraballo from the Kamba Dyami Project in Angola
Paul wasn’t a typical child from Angola. He was quiet as well as shy, but he was always laughing. He had green eyes and black hair. He was very tall for his age. He was living in a poor neighborhood called Lixeira (Portuguese for “dustbin”).
It was a normal day when Paul arrived at school. Deep in his heart, he felt that something was about to happen, but he didn’t know what. When he enteredhis classroom, he saw that his peers were excited about something. So he asked his teacher: “Why is everyone so excited?” The teacher answered: “We have a new friend named Kamba Dyami and it is a computer.” Paul asked: “Kamba Dyami?” “Which means MY FRIEND in one of the African languages used in Angola. The language is called Kinbundu”,said the teacher. Paul sat in his place a little bit confused, though he liked the idea of having this new friend as he’d never had a computer in his hands before.
After ten minutes, the teacher entered with the “new friend” and gave one to each student. The teacher also got a new friend, but he didn’t know how it worked either.
Two of Paul´s friends, who were living near his house, asked him about this computer, but Paul couldn´t explain what it was because it was the first time he held one.
The class was very noisy when a stranger entered. At the moment when he entered everyone made silence. This strange man came to explain all about Kamba Dyami. Also, he came with a challenge for the class. Everyone had to make a video about their neighborhood using this new technology. After one week, he was to choose one to receive a prize.
The strange man gave them a few instructions. They had to interview a number of neighbors about garbage. “What do you think about trash in our neighborhood? Why do we have so much waste here? What do you propose we do to eliminate litter at Lixeira?”
Paul, who was born in Lixeira, had never asked himself these questions. On the other hand, he thought this was a real challenge. He was concerned thinking that he wouldn’t be able to complete the project because of the problems he had with his parents and siblings. They didn´t pay attention to him because they thought work was more important than studying. However, it was now mandatory for children to attend school in the country. When Paul´s parents and siblings were children, studying wasn´t obligatory.
The stranger in Paul’s classroom was a big, serious and strict man. He started to look around to pick a student to do the project. Paul hid behind his fellow students because he didn’t want to be chosen as he was nervous. The stranger was looking for an interesting student; he looked at Paul and chose him. Paul thought: “Oh no, what I am going to do? This job is impossible for me and I have only one week to complete it.”
But Paul learned to use Kamba Dyami faster than he thought. During the first and the second day, he wasn’t able to do any interviews because he had to work with his family. On the third day, his brothers took the computer and they didn’t want to give it back to him. Paul already knew a lot about the Kamba Dyami laptop because he had already explored all the activities it had. However, he wasn’t able to do any interviews until the fourth day.
The neighbors saw him walking around the neighborhood with the computer. They asked his parents what was going on, but Paul’s parents answered that what he was doing really didn´t matter. On the other hand, people saw Paul’s computer ability and they encouraged him to become a master of this technology and told him that nobody in the neighborhood could use a computer as well as him.
On the last day, he was able to complete many interviews around the neighborhood and accomplished his task. This was a big challenge for Paul.
Through this activity, Paul not only learned to use the computer, he also learned a lot about life. He learned about the people who were living in his neighborhood. He acquired new skills and learned that he can change his own future through education.
Read his thoughts about the impact of technology in his own life and in the world:
From a young age, I’ve been amazed by the way technology helps us in our daily lives. It was mind-boggling to me when I saw subtle things like turning on a TV with a remote happen. This led me to the realization that I wanted to build technology that made people’s lives easier. I’ve always liked to see something happen after writing a program. This started off with LEGO Mindstorms but has come all the way to building Android Apps that automatically take notes for you when taking a picture of a textbook.
I wanted to benefit as many people as I could with the knowledge I had so I decided to teach kids how to build Android apps. While doing this, I wanted to maximize the benefit of this work, and that’s when I remembered One Laptop Per Child. I’ve always taken for granted the resources I had to do things and I wanted as many people as possible to receive the resources and opportunities to do the same. I realized that by donating to OLPC, my work would help benefit a lot of people. I chose to do just that.
Working with the kids was great. We started off from them not knowing anything at all to them being able to build a whole calculator all by themselves. We did this over the course of nine weeks. I was happy that I was able to spread that feeling of amazement on many people’s faces when they saw that what they programmed. That kind of feeling is what I live for and I really felt it when I saw those kids experience just that. The feeling itself is indescribable but it’s just amazing.
Teaching these students and then being able to donate to OLPC was a very worthwhile experience for me and I would recommend if anyone else can, they should make a donation as well. OLPC does great things in developing countries and is a real reason why the world is accelerating faster and faster all the time. All reasons support helping the OLPC cause.
Originaly posted ON
By Leah Shadle on behalf of One Laptop Per Child
In the heart of Nicaragua lies the largest lake in Central America, Lake Nicaragua. Millions of years ago, a volcanic eruption formed a curious island in this freshwater lake composed of two volcanoes — Concepcion and Maderas — the former of which is still active. Concepcion has an altitude of 1,610 meters, which makes Ometepe the world’s highest island on a lake. Volcanic ash has created an extremely fertile island and the volcanoes are visible everywhere on the island. Ometepe is truly a paradise, with its tropical, lush and magical air and soil.
In addition to the natural brilliance of the island and its volcanoes, Ometepe recently became the first digital island in the Americas. To put that in numbers, 100% of its 5,000 elementary school children and all teachers received a laptop connected to high-speed Internet, as part of the One Laptop Per Child educational initiative. Participating students and teachers receive OLPC laptops and the training and support needed to truly realize the potential of these machines
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ANTONIO M. BATTRO AND CECILIA DE LA PAZ
Sustainable Humanity, Sustainable Nature: Our Responsibility Pontifical Academy of Sciences, Extra Series 41, Vatican City 2014 Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences, Acta 20, Vatican City 2014 www.pas.va/content/dam/accademia/pdf/es41/es41-battro.pd
This meeting on “sustainable humanity and sustainable nature” is a valuable opportunity to introduce and discuss the notion of “sustainable education”.We are willing to understand and improve the interactions between “human capital and natural capital”.Education is part of the human capital of our societies but the notion of “sustainable education” is still under construction and needs special consideration. In particular it is impossible to imagine a sustainable school system that remains independent of the rapidly expanding digital environment of today.Our society has created a new“virtual ecosystem” which is covering the planet and is modifying the life of millions.The good news is that education can play,and is playing in many cases,an increasing and constructive role in this global process towards equity and solidarity in the human family.We are convinced that a sustainable education must be based on evidences and not on ideologies.A sustainable education must be supported by political, economical, social, technological and pedagogical sustainable programs.
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The Hult Global Case Challenge concluded over the weekend, recognizing winners in the three categories of education, housing, and energy – with challenges related to the work of OLPC, Habitat for Humanity, and SolarAid.
The education prize went to the team from Carnegie Mellon’s Heinz College: Reggie Cox, Elizabeth Cullinan, Ketaki Desai, and Tim Kelly. They took the prize for their “innovative approach to ensure streamlined laptop deployment and to create a global brand for [OLPC]’s open-source software.” This continues a tradition of CMU support for OLPC – their ETC lab held a game jam in 2007, and other CMU campuses helped organize a 10-day OLPC Rwanda workshop in Kigali in 2010.
The team wrote about their experiences with the case challenge last month, in the Huffington Post.
Team submissions were judged by a panel of judges including: the CEOs of the three organizations whose case challenges were being considered, Nobel Peace Prize laureate Muhammad Yunus, former NY Governor Mario Cuomo, Unilever Chairman Michael Treschow, and social entreperneur Darrell Hammond. All of the final submissions were excellent.
The challenge has given us many good ideas for how to improve and streamline our mission; just the judging process has been wonderful. The winning teams will share $1M to pursue their ideas; more updates to come as we see how this unfolds.
You can find a press release about the results here.