South Africa: Building grassroots support for access to a modern education

As noted last week, Jackie Lustig has compiled a report from our South African projects. It draws on background data from the country, and highlights work done there over the past four years.

Starting with a gift of 100 laptops from donors on Boston, and expanding through the interest of a number of OLPCorps projects in 2008, South Africa has expanded its OLPC community to almost 1500 students and teachers today.


OLPC South Africa case study, 2008-2012

(This is an 8MB pdf, so may take a moment to load)

Princeton-Engineers Without Borders collab grows in Ghana

Separate from the national program being rolled out in Eastern Ghana, Princeton University has a student-run Ghana School Library Initiative which is building a physical library in Ghana stocked with books and OLPCs.    This program started in 2008, and is one of three projects coordinated by the Princeton University chapter of Engineers Without Borders. They shared an update with East Coast OLPCers this Spring, and have been writing about their new milestones this summer, as the library nears completion.

 

After some work earlier this year to repair and update some donated XOs, children have started working with their own laptops at the EP Basic school in Ashaiman, Ghana, where the team is working. They recently completed a week of physical construction and two classes a day with the students.   The classes included working on educational activities with the children in Sugar, “to whet their appetites” to use the XOs more on their own.

eduJAM! starts in Uruguay

The eduJAM! convocation is going strong, with 2-3 days of Sugar camp and discussion among developers and teachers from across the world. Keep an eye on the ceibalJAM site in the coming days for videos and notes from the event.

You can browse some of the presentations on the edujam2011 slideshare account.

eduJAM!-invitacion

eduJAM! invitacion

OLPCistas in Uruguay this week and next

Over 20 OLPC and Sugar collaborators are in Uruguay this week, visiting schools, meeting with the Uruguayan communities (ceibalJAM, RAP Ceibal, and the eduJAM event team), and preparing for the eduJAM! summit for Sugar developers and educators across Latin America.

The attendees are using a separate OLPC Uruguay 2011 blog for the week to track their various travels and projects in Uruguay. If you can’t be there yourself, you can follow along (and share your own questions for the group) here.

Havergal Institute girls work with Molweni orphanage in South Africa

A team of high-school students at the Institute at Havergal is helping to implement an XO program this August at the NOAH’s Ark orphanage (Nurturing Orphans of AIDS for Humanity) in Molweni, South Africa, near Durban.  A group of students taking part in the Havergal South Africa Global Experience Program will take XOs with them, which they are currently learning how to introduce to students.

Using these laptops, they will continue conversations with the NOAH youth all year long.  They have a standing relationship with the orphanage and are being mentored by Mark Battley and a team in Ntugi.

Hope and Josh and Peru

Hope and Josh, two interns who worked in Peru last year, shared an imaginative and colorful blog of their experiences over the fall, full of photographs of the people and the environment, and short vignettes about teaching. (Sugarcane and Squares, the Repaso).  Their blog is terse, and worth reading all the way through.


Reminder: OLPC Community Summit this weekend @ SFSU

Sameer Verma and OLPC-SF are putting the finishing touches on what’s going to be an amazing community event at SFSU this weekend — an international Community Summit for OLPC hackers, implementers, and researchers from dozens of countries and projects. We’ll kick off with an evening party tonight and then with a full agenda from tomorrow morning through Sunday night.

Mike Lee, Andreas Gros, Tim Falconer, Tabitha Roder, Marina Zdobnova and others have been taking part in the Books in Browsers event, so I can confirm that people from a few different countries have already arrived. And we will have some nice surprises for attendees tonight and tomorrow morning… so please join us early!

Brunch in the Bronx & other events this weekend

A MOUTH-WATERING TRANSCONTINENTAL ADVENTURE:

Brunch in the Bronx

Bronx Brunch: Sunday @ noon

  • Sunday at noon there is an XO BRNch in the BRONX to discuss OLPC NYC and updates from Africa.  All are welcome, but rsvp to Mago and Holt so they can be ready with appropriate quantities of delicious food.  Lidet Tilahun will be joining by phone to share news from OLPC in Ethiopia. (mail : holt at laptop dot org)

  • To whet your appetite, Saturday afternoon Montevideo and CeibalJAM are hosting a miniJam for artists, from 14:00 to 20:00.  Christoph Derndorfer will be reporting live.

  • And Saturday is the first Drumbeat Boston event, celebrating projects supporting the Open Web, including OLPC.

OLPCorps Roundup

As the Corps move forward, we’ve asked each team to post blogs on a variety of key themes revolved around the deployment process.  In the coming weeks we will highlight a few teams who will cover basic issues and statistics ranging from demographics, health, and education infrastructure to the local culture’s perspective on OLPC’s 5 principles and what the children do when they take the XO home.

Today’s post focuses on the diversity of Corps communities and learning environments teams are working in.  The Corps deployments range from urban to rural, 1:1 to 1:3, 6 years old to 12 years old, and high to low student-to-teacher ratio.  We share updates from Uganda, Senegal, and South Africa.

First day of XO Camp at Driehoek, South Africa (from Youtube):

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OLPCorps in Rwandan schools, Part 3: EPAK and Kicukiro

This is final part of a 3-part series on the initial learning workshops in Kigali, Rwanda,  focusing on EPAK and Kicukiro schools.

EPAK:
EPAK is located in Kigali. The school has a total of 420 XO laptops, 350 were given by the government; another 70 laptops were given by international humanitarian organization, Right to Play. There are 680 students and 15 teachers. So that each student at the school has access, students in the morning  session will share their laptop with students in the afternoon session. Laptops were first dispersed during the OLPCorps training. 15 OLPCorps members and Paul Commons, Reuben Caron, and David Cavallo of OLPC led the distribution and training sessions.

On day one, the team prepped by discussing a variety of issues which were likely to emerge, such as language barriers, how to address concerns of integrating the laptops into the curriculum, etc.  Teams touched upon each issue individually and designed approaches based on this discussion.  For language, a majority of the translation was led by Kaçandre Bourdelais from Laval University.  However, during the individual training sessions, French speakers were assigned to a separate teacher to manage translation. The training provided mostly individual attention on programs that teachers wished to explore in more depth.  Teachers varied in the activities they explored, from Measure and Scratch to Turtle Art.  Later that afternoon, the same teachers were seen explaining what they had learned to their students and how they’ll have the same opportunity the following week.

Day two began by reflashing and NAND blasting several hundred laptops before distribution–only to find out halfway though that the image file was corrupt.  As a result, the majority of the morning was spent installing the latest build.  By lunch time, however, all EPAK’s classes had laptops.  One particular lesson Corps teams took from this experience was the variety of teaching styles carried out in the classroom.  Some teachers, like P1, preferred more strict, instructional techniques, a few teachers valued individual exploration, and others attempted group work.  Unfortunately, unexpected power issues at the school forced us to stop by late afternoon.

Kicukiro:
Kicukiro Primary School is located in Kigali. There are a total of 3242 students, 44 teachers and 780 laptops. These laptops will be distributed after July holidays, so that each child has access, the Headmaster has decided that each classroom will have 20 laptops per classroom. The headmaster Felix says that “kids left their old schools to come here because they heard we would have laptops.”

OLPCorps students working with teachers at Kicukiro Primary School (Photo courtesy Michael Stein)
OLPCorps students working with teachers at Kicukiro Primary School (Photo courtesy Michael Stein)

Language was the main hurdle here.  More photos and conclusions after the jump.

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OLPCorps in Rwandan schools, Part 2: Kagugu and Nonko

This is part two of a post about school sessions during the 30 OLPCorps teams’ two-week training in Kigali, Rwanda with members of the OLPC Center for Laptops & Learning and Rwanda’s RITC/OLPC Core Team.

The workshop brought OLPCorps teams to five Rwandan schools with XO laptops; the following is a brief synopsis of the trainings in two of the schools, Kagugu and Nonko:

Kagugu Primary School:
This is known as the best public school in Rwanda. The school is located in Kigali and has a total of 3020 laptops and 3242 students (P1 students share laptops), and 47 teachers. The school has Internet access. Students do not currently take their laptops home. Julia Reynolds of the OLPC Learning Team, Epimaque TWAGIRIMANA Leader of the Rwanda Core Team, Core Team technical members Basil IRENE MASEVELIO, John-Marie NYIRINKWAYA, and 30 OLPCorps members conducted the training at Kagugu. Both days were focused on teachers.

So all 47 teachers could participate, they were arranged into 3 different groups, each with 2-hour training sessions. The first day, teachers were introduced to Scratch. It was their first time using Scratch because the laptops were just recently reflashed to a newer software build. After a basic introduction, teachers were asked to take a picture of any object or scenery in the school yard, and import this picture into Scratch and tell a story about the picture. The teachers, with the assistance of OLPCorps members, used sound, images and animation to tell their stories. At the end of the session, teachers shared their work with the larger group to supportive applause.

The second day, teachers sat with OLPCorps members in smaller groups and explored ways they could use the XO in the classroom. Both OLPCorps members and teachers were fantastic. Together, they explored ways to use Turtle Art, Memorize and Scratch for lessons. One teacher, who had not previously used the laptop in his class, decided he wanted to start right away and grabbed some OLPCorps members to assist him in his classroom.

Kagugu teacher Simon's students with XOs

Kagugu teacher Simon's students using XOs for outdoor language learning

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School Sessions in Rwanda with OLPCorps, Part 1 : Rwamagana B

Mwiriwe from Kigali! This is part 1 of a 3 part series on OLPC Learning Center work with OLPCorps this summer.

part 1 | part 2 | part 3

Things are just slowing down here after the excitement and energy brought by the 30 OLPCorps teams who were in Kigali from June 8-17th for a two-week training–the first action of the OLPC Center for Laptops & Learning.

The workshop brought OLPCorps teams to five Rwandan schools with XO laptops; the following is a brief synopsis of each training:

Kicukiro (Photo courtesy Michael Stein)

Students at Kicukiro Primary School (Photo courtesy Michael Stein)

1. Rwamagana B Primary School:
Rwamagana was the first school to receive XO laptops in Rwanda in 2007. The school is located an hour outside of Kigali and has a total of 750 XO laptops, 822 students (P1 does not have laptops), and 12 teachers. All students take their laptops home. Silvia Kist, of the OLPC Learning Team, along with Bryan Stuart, led training, with the support of 11 OLPCorps and 2 Rwanda Core Team Members.  More details after the jump.

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OLPCorps blog roundup

Here are blogs from our first 29 OLPCorps teams. (The 30th team, working in Kibwezi, received only hardware support).

University of Miami        Mauritania
Cornell : Mauritania
Tulane/U at Buffalo : Sierra Leone
UMaryland/Princeton : Sierra Leone
UPenn : Cameroon
Kwame Nkrumah U of Sci & Tech : Ghana
CUNY Baruch : Ghana
University of Education, Winneba : Ghana
University of Ibadan : Nigeria
ULagos/Royal Holloway/USalford : Nigeria
Texas A&M University : Nigeria
Dalarna U/Royal IT : Ethiopia
Laval University : Gabon
University of Illinois : Sao Tome e Principe
Colorado College : Uganda
MIT/Wellesly : Uganda
UC Berkeley Uganda
Utah State University : Rwanda
UWash/New School : Kenya
UT Antonio/Baylor : Kenya
University of Kinshasa : Congo
Tumaini University : Tanzania
GW University/UMaryland : Madagascar
Macalester U/Midlands State U/U of Zimbabwe : Zimbabwe
Harvard/MIT : Namibia
Teachers College/Caprivi College of Ed : Namibia
Indiana University : South Africa
UMASS-Boston : South Africa
Gettysburg College/Rhodes U : South Africa