OLPC comes to North Carolina! Knight Foundation sponsors XOs for 3,200 students in Charlotte

The Knight Foundation yesterday announced it would join community leaders from Charlotte, North Carolina in contributing to Project L.I.F.T., a 5-year $55M+ project to improve education in West Charlotte schools.  (It began last January with a $40M round of fundraising; and this year raised another $15M.)

Knight’s contribution will fund a community engagement coordinator to keep parents and local communities in touch with the project as it develops, and for an OLPC program (including XOs and training) for all students and teachers in grades K-5 in the L.I.F.T. schools: roughly 3,200 in all.

This builds on our work together earlier this year, to develop a digital literacy program at Holmes Elementary School in Miami.  Our experience so far suggests that giving elementary students access to computers – and letting them take them home and use them with their families – helps promote better informed and engaged communities.

We are delighted to see this new project take off within the framework of the existing L.I.F.T project. And looking forward to working more closely with the Knight Foundation, whose input has already informed some of our practices. Their background is in community engagement rather than education, which complements the viewpoints of our other partners. And the added focus on community engagement is one of those necessary elements that can make all the difference in longevity and impact.


Children receiving XOs in Miami’s Holmes Elementary School

Testing a Virtual Digital Library (try this at home!)

Over at OLPC-SF, Sameer and Alex have been exploring new ways to experiment with the bookserver.  They have a new OVA package for Pathagar that you can run: vm-pathagar.ova.zip.  From their blog:

This is a joint effort between me and Alex Kleider, who helped me debug, test and document the endeavor (or endeavour, as Alex would put it). The documentation and virtual machine took shape, largely driven by our need to have the Pathagar Book Server running on a DreamPlug for Madagascar. To that end, we sat down and installed Pathagar on a virtual machine and documented the steps. We used James Simmons’ instructions as a starting point. While the original Pathagar application was written by Sayamindu Dasgupta and Kushal Das, we used Manuel Quinones’ version that has some more tweaks and fixes.

Here’s a screenshot of it in action:

If you are interested in offline libraries, try the Pathagar book server and see what you can do with it.

The latest Sugar Digest: Turtle Art, Measure, buildbot updates

Notes from The latest Sugar digest:
A Sugar buildbot is now online. Turtle Art Mini and to Measure have recent updates. And Sugar localization is ongoing in Quechua and Aymara, and starting in Maori.

Buildbot’s waterfall view:

Report: David Leeming on XO workshops in Oceania

Last month, OLPC Oceania shared a summary of David Leeming’s recent XO workshops for 12 schools across Oceania. The Oceania and rural Australia deployments continue to be a model for efficient, distributed, small-school programs. (Hat tip to Mike Hutak.)

Uruguay celebration update: a new Ceibal video

guest post by Nick Doiron

Update with a lovely quote from the day: “5 yrs ago,Uruguay began Plan Ceibal with OLPC.  Now 100% of our kids have laptops; 99.5% are online. ”

Plan Ceibal posted a cool 6-minute video on their YouTube. No English subtitles yet:

Highlights:

  • Kids in the first class to receive laptops react to their interviews from 2007
  • Update on what laptops are used for in their more advanced classes ( including Magallanes/Classmate laptops )
  • Scratch programming
  • Lego NXT robot programming (!)

Colombus School for Girls returns to St. John

The Columbus School for Girls, led by Christine Murakami, is preparing for its 2012 trip to St. John. You can follow their awesome trip blog this week. From Christine’s latest:

We are having our 2nd, 3rd, and 4th graders all work at different paces due to the differences in age and experience. It feels completely appropriate, and what’s great is that the girls are intuitively pacing their classes according to what’s going on in the class. With the shorter periods, there is less stress about “covering the material” than there was in the past, and as a result, the students are learning the material well.