Warehouse fire in Peru destroys $100M of Quechua & Ashaninka books, XOs, and solar panels

Update: OLPC and Quanta have offered support to Peru to help them get new materials shipped to schools quickly. UNICEF Peru has asked national organizations to offer what help they can to allow schools to start on schedule.  National newspaper El Comercio has offered to reprint the books on newsprint, quickly and at no cost, as a temporary measure — and is asking for donations of local-language educational materials to print.



A tremendous fire Thursday night in the Breña district of Lima destroyed a major warehouse of Peru’s Education Ministry, which contained $100M in materials being prepared for deployment to eastern Peru. This included a half-million books, 40,000 XOs, 21,000 other laptops for teachers, and 6,000 solar panels. The books lost included one of the country’s largest caches of early-literacy texts in indigenous languages such as Quechua and Asháninka, aimed at children from 3 to 5 years old.

The XOs were the latest part of the roughly 1 million laptops Peru has purchased for their national XO program, the world’s largest. They have been focusing on their rural and indigenous schools, such as the communities that were scheduled to receive these materials.


Salas speaking, and the fire from a distance Thursday night


The disaster mainly affects the schools in east Peru, many with limited electricity, which are starting their fall semester. Peru’s Minister of Education Patricia Salas (above) talked to reporters about the loss, and President Humala said his government will make sure they deliver materials to those schools despite the fire.

“Quiero señalar que esto no va a interferir la política del Estado de cumplir un cronograma de metas, de proveer de material didáctico para los escolares … Tenemos un lote de contingencia para ir cumpliendo el cronograma.”

The fire raged for over 10 hours before being put out Friday morning, and led to two days of air-pollution alerts in the surrounding area.

This is terrible news, and our thoughts are with our friends and colleagues in Peru. Thankfully, it seems that noone was hurt.


The former warehouse, unrecognizable the morning after


Ometepe, Nicaragua: una Mágica Isla Digital

Ometepe, Nicaragua is a legendary and extraordinary place: a double-volcano island that has maintained its community and culture fairly distinct from the country around them. Daniel Drake and others have been helping them realize Nicaragua’s latest deployment (past coverage), thanks to the ongoing work of Fundación Zamora Teran, connecting every child on the island to the Internet and to eachother. After its public launch last week, Rodrigo shared this beautiful and inspiring report from the island (pdf).

En el corazón de Nicaragua, y en medio del lago del mismo nombre, el lago más grande de América Latina, millones de años atrás una erupción volcánica formó una curiosa isla compuesta por dos volcanes, uno de ellos activo aún. El nombre indígena, Ometepe, significa precisamente dos montañas. Con 245 km2, constituye la isla de agua dulce más grande de las Américas. Declarada como una de las maravillas naturales del mundo por la ONU, ciertamente posee cierto aire paradisíaco, tropical, exuberante, mágico, como un set de película. Sus 50,000 habitantes, indígenas en un 90%, vivieron hasta hace menos de una generación en un oscurantismo medieval, una especie de parque jurásico, donde ningún habitante sabía leer o escribir. El día de ayer, en un espectacular y malabárico salto de la rana, Ometepe se convirtió de repente en la primera isla de las Américas totalmente digital, donde el 100% de sus 5,000 niños de escuela primaria y la totalidad de sus docentes, recibieron uno de nuestros laptops XO, conectado al Internet de alta velocidad y con las aplicaciones pedagógicas inherentes.

Llegamos a Ometepe acompañando una comitiva de empresarios no solo de Nicaragua sino de todo Centro América y de representantes de organismos multilaterales, ONGs, medios de comunicación internacionales y funcionarios del gobierno, interesados todos en ver por si mismos lo que la fundación Zamora Teran viene haciendo en Nicaragua.

Fundada por el banquero Roberto Zamora y por su esposa Maria Josefina Teran, han logrado en menos de 30 meses una transformación educacional y al mismo tiempo una buena aplicación del concepto de filantropía transformadora, sin precedentes. De su propio bolsillo y con aportaciones recientes de clientes, personas naturales y hasta de un país, Dinamarca, han logrado ya entregar 28,000 laptops en varias regiones de critica pobreza en este país, de por si uno de los más pobres de las américas. Como si fuera poco, anunciaron que aspiran a implementar 500,000 unidades, es decir el 100% de los niños de primaria de Nicaragua, incluyendo discapacitados mentales (autismo, síndrome de Dawn), discapacitados visuales o físicos (ver foto) antes del 2015! Al ver lo que han logrado en estos 30 meses, no me queda la menor duda de que lo lograrán.


Para llegar a la isla hay que tomar primero un bus por más de dos horas hasta llegar a uno de los varios puertos en las riberas del lago. Luego, un Ferry que tiene varias frecuencias de viaje por día, se tarda otras dos horas para llegar al puerto de Ometepe. Desde la distancia, se vislumbran las siluetas de los dos volcanes como guardianes de un ecosistema de exuberancia tropical que necesita cariñosa vigilancia. Carreteras adoquinadas evocan épocas pasadas y al mismo tiempo entrevén aplicaciones prácticas de adaptación a los continuos movimientos telúricos. Los adoquines son más flexibles y se acomodan ejerciendo una labor de amortiguación cuando la madre tierra manifiesta su vitalidad y fortaleza con unos terremotos como el de 1972 que destruyó Managua. Tierra fértil por ser conformada por cenizas volcánicas, la agricultura y el turismo constituyen las principales fuentes de ingresos de sus habitantes. El clima es un poco más benigno que el de Managua, conocida por su calor asfixiante, pues las laderas de los dos volcanes producen corrientes de aire que refrescan un poco el ambiente.

La paradoja consiste en que los niños de esta población estarían marcados a seguir la suerte de sus ancestros, agricultores artesanales de pequeños minifundios con costumbres milenarias pre-colombinas pero que precisamente dichas culturas estarían en vías de extinción por pura inercia. El traer estas culturas a la modernidad, lejos de acabar con ellas, ofrece una oportunidad de poderlas difundir y compartir, como ya estamos haciendo con casos similares en Mexico y Perú.

Convencidos de que la única solución a ese circulo vicioso destructivo es la educación, el matrimonio Zamora Teran decidió embarcarse en esta misión de rescate de las juventudes Nicaraguenses para lo cual adoptaron el proyecto One Laptop Per Child como vehículo de cambio educacional y de inclusión social y económica.

Meses de preparación previa con los docentes, padres de familia y algunos estudiantes claves, garantizan que inmediatamente recibidos estos laptops podrán comenzar a producir el cambio de paradigma educativo y social buscados.

Varios conceptos básicos hacen esto posible… Continue reading

OLPC in Mexico: proudly running Linux

Last week we shared excellent news from OLPC México: Sonora’s plans to distribute XO laptops to 350,000 children across their state over the next three years. A few days later the head of Microsoft in Mexico commented in a Sonoran newspaper that ‘while giving computers to students is a good thing, the Sonora project will fail because XO laptops use Linux instead of Windows.

In the same article the Microsoft spokesperson claimed the OLPC project in Uruguay had been a failure due to “Internet security and privacy issues” and that it changed to Wintel machines. Miguel Brechner, head of Plan Ceibal in Uruguay, corrected those misimpressions. There are 570,000 XO laptops in Uruguay schools, all running Sugar for elementary school students and Linux for middle school students, with no security or privacy problems. While dual-booting Windows was available for years as an option for OLPC deployments, almost none chose that option. (Uruguay tested it out, but opted for Gnome-on-Fedora instead.)

This misinformation from Microsoft is a pity; they seem to have no internal incentives to make accurate statements or to advance education. We applaud the work of the Sonora and Uruguay communities to their students, and look forward to their continued success!

OLPC Colombia newsletter

OLPC Colombia published the first issue of its newsletter, UniverXO, this month (pdf), with an essay on “La Revolución educativa con tecnología sigue en alza” (‘Advanced technology and the education revolution’).

Comunidad One Laptop per Child Colombia, bienvenidos a
la edición número 1 de nuestro boletín interno de OLPC, el
cual circulará mensualmente para que compartamos
noticias, artículos, publicaciones, eventos e historias
cotidianas relacionadas con los programas de OLPC en el
país y en el mundo. Ésta es una invitación a protagonizar
un movimiento de transformación educativa. Generemos
reflexiones e iniciativas para transformar la educación, el
aprendizaje y las prácticas pedagógicas. La clave es
compartir. ¡El cambio está en nuestras manos!

Read the full bulletin on the OLPC wiki!

Nicaragua: Fundación Zamora Terán expands to the legendary island of Ometepe

Fundación Zamora Terán recently expanded the work of OLPC Nicaragua to include the community on the beautiful and legendary Ometepe, an island formed by the two volcanoes rising out of Lake Nicaragua.



Teachers play a key role in the use of the XO laptop, incorporating it into daily planning and classroom activities. Maria Josefina Terán Zamora, its founder, said of their new island initiative:

During the past two years, we’ve been working hard to ensure that our OLPC project is one of the best in the world and delivers the maximum benefit to our children. Today we are very happy to include the children of Ometepe and connect them to the rest of Nicaragua and to the world.

The Fundación coordinates and executes XO purchase logistics and installation and provides a high level of technical support. A pedagogical training plan has been developed with the support of a qualified educational team that facilitates the integration of the XO into the existing Ministry of Elementary School Education Curriculum. Schools participating in the OLPC project must meet specific selection criteria.

The Ometepe initiative has been supported particularly by contribution from the LAFISE-BANCENTRO Bank, and brings to 25,000 the number of XOs distributed to children in schools across the country.

You can read the official press release.


Costa Rica prepares for a 25K laptop program

Costa Rica has had many experiments with OLPC over the past years, including support from Costa Rica University.

Recently the Education Ministry, working with the Fundación Quirós Tanzi and national retailer Gessa, has launched the Conectándonos project to connect young students to the Internet. The program started this month with a deployment of 1500 XOs to students and teachers, and is scheduled to reach 25,000 students by 2013.

They have engaged teachers and community leaders in the development of the project so far, and seem to be planning quite a well-balanced and integrated program.

The Mexican State of Sonora Launches OLPC

Sonora Is Latest Mexican State to Integrate Laptops into Children’s Learning.

MIAMI, Feb. 21, 2012 – One Laptop per Child (OLPC), a nonprofit organization whose mission is to provide every child in the world access to new channels of learning, sharing and self-expression, announced today that the State of Sonora, Mexico, is distributing 5,000 XO laptops to elementary school children.  Adoption of the OLPC program is part of the State’s larger plan to extend Internet connectivity to all its citizens.  In accordance with the UN’s declaration of Internet access as a basic human right, Sonora is the first state in Mexico to establish connectivity as a human right in its Constitution.

The OLPC project in Sonora will be implemented by Nueva Generación Sonora A.C. (New Sonora Generation), a nonprofit organization whose goal is to provide every child in the State access to the knowledge economy through strategic use of information and communication technologies and programs. 

During the next three years, 350,000 XO laptops will saturate all elementary schools in Sonora.  In addition, XO laptops will be implemented in more than 100 community centers that will offer connectivity and technical and pedagogical support to students and teachers and for local projects to benefit their communities.  The OLPC project has the full support of Governor Guillermo Padres and the mayors of Sonora, as well as the Social Development Secretariat (SEDESOL) of the Federal Government.

“Improving children’s education is a key goal for my administration,” said Governor Guillermo Padres of the State of Sonora.  “Society and government must work together to support projects that will ensure a better future for all our citizens.  Education is everyone’s responsibility.”

Sonora is the latest Mexican state to launch an OLPC program. In September 2010, 500 XO laptops, funded by Procter & Gamble, were distributed to indigenous children in San Felipe del Progreso, State of Mexico.

In August 2011, the General Department of Indigenous Education of the Ministry of Education distributed 1,800 XO’s to remote schools in the State of Nayarit in Western Mexico. As part of this project, the Sugar learning environment is being translated into several indigenous languages – Huichol, Cora and Mexicanero.

1,900 XOs are also in the process of being distributed to children in the State of San Luis Potosi in North-Central Mexico. For this region, Sugar has being translated into Teenek.

“Our progress in Mexico is based on partnerships between the public and private sector,” said Rodrigo Arboleda, Chairman and CEO of the One Laptop per Child Association. “Mexico is a very diverse country and we are focused on projects that bring learning to all children, including those who speak indigenous languages.”

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About One Laptop per Child

One Laptop per Child (OLPC at http://www.laptop.org) is a non-profit organization whose mission is to provide every child in the world access to new channels of learning, sharing and self-expression.  In partnership with the public and private sectors and non-governmental organizations and supported by comprehensive implementation and pedagogical services, OLPC seeks to provide each child with a rugged, low-cost, low-power connected laptop that empowers individual learning and growth.
Media Contacts

Giulia D’Amico
giulia@laptop.org

305-877-5504

Jackie Lustig
Jackie.a.lustig@gmail.com

978-460-2236

 

Updated TCO from Uruguay: $400 over 4 years, incl. connectivity, training

Uruguay has now deployed over 500,000 XOs to students from 1st to 9th grade, since 2007. This includes a nationwide laptop deployment, a nationwide wifi rollout, teacher training, material development, and maintenance & repairs.

They note a number of beneficial side effects:
* 15,000 unregistered students were registered
* roughly 1/4 of parents are getting connected through their students laptops

From a recent presentation by Miguel Brechner of Plan Ceibal, at the September meeting of the Association of Learning Technology.

Colombia’s President Santos on quadrupling Internet access nationwide, and on rural OLPC success

Last November, President Juan Manuel Santos of Colombia gave the annual speech presenting the country’s National Competitiveness Report (pdf) – presented by the national Private Council for Competitiveness.

In his speech, he spends some time discussing his national plans for education, and recalls one of the great OLPC stories — the first OLPC program in Colombia in 2008, involving delivery by helicopter, no less, when Santos was Minister of National Defense. This took place in the town of Vista Hermosa, which at the time had recently been captured by government forces from the FARC.

Vista Hermosa students receive XOs in Dec. 2008

Here is the story in his own words. It is worth watching the original video; Santos is a good speaker. (The whole talk is fascinating; education starts at 26:25, the Vista Hermosa story is at 28:55.)

Excerpts after the jump. Continue reading

Paraguay Vice President hands out awards to OLPC students

Paraguay’s vice president, Federico Franco, recently presented an award to Giulianna Pozzoli, the recent winner of the Nickelodeon-OLPC Scratch animation contest, and other student leaders. This was held Caacupé, home to the country’s first large deployment of children’s laptops.

At 0:39 you can see one of the children in the audience filming his speech on her XO; another is typing as he talks. Others have hand cameras. He talks briefly about how everyone needs to work together to help improve children’s education, for a better future – and this an essential part of it.

XOs in Brazil: impacting early reading and writing

Post via Silvia Kist

Seymour’s Papert ideas are a source of inspiration for many teachers and researchers in Brazil and had a big impact on how the country’s computer lab program was shaped in the past. One Laptop Per Child brought to life Papert’s vision for a Children’s Machine, and also inspired many teachers and academics in the country.

Because of this history, the strongest characteristic of the OLPC project in Brazil is the involvement of universities researching how laptops can create powerful educational experiences, and promote cultural change around learning. Many research labs from Brazil’s top universities are working with OLPC in this challenge, and have developed field studies: including LEC/UFRGS, NIED/UNICAMP, LSI/USP, CERTI/UFSC, UFC.

One of the first investigations in Brazil, was conducted under the supervision of Prof. Léa Fagundes. It studied how the XO impacted the reading and writing learning process of 6 year old children in a public elementary school at Porto Alegre. The full study was published in Portuguese. A summary:

They hypothesized that each child having their own laptop would change the practices of reading and writing by students, impacting how they create concepts about the written language. Student practices were observed and analyzed in two ways: practices proposed by the teacher and things that students did spontaneously.

After 7 months of observations, the research concluded that daily use of networked laptops allows children to use writing and reading in real life situations, differently from artificial activities in school. This kind of usage builds a symbolic environment helpful for understanding the function and meaning of written language (fluency) and leads to a conceptualization process driven by the need to understand others (literacy). In the class that was analyzed, the teacher’s proposals and some other conditions were necessary for that to happen. Project work, laptop ownership by students, connection to the Internet, and the use of a virtual learning environment were among them.

OLPC Association welcomes Roberto Interiano

The OLPC Association welcomes Roberto Interiano, a long-time advisor, as Senior VP of Operations. He has extensive experience in international public and private sector work, particularly in Central America, and shares an infectious enthusiasm for our work.

You can read more about his past experience in the press release.

Map and Activity news from Haiti

Update: The US Embassy recently visited Ecole Shalom and its OLPC deployment, with a donation of creole books, and blogged about it in English and French.

Nick Doiron recently travelled to Petit-Goave, Haiti,  continuing to map the country there via OpenStreetMap.

He has also been hacking on activities for the OLPC schools there, most recently the Bridge activity originally from Daniel Drake and Nirav Patel — adding a plugin which lets you incorporate a solar sensor, which lets sunlight grow giant flowers that push up your bridge!

If you think this sounds like a daydream morphed into activity form, you’re absolutely right.  (see screenshots below).

Nick: if you’re looking at games to add solar sensing to, then Rollcats is an obvious choice.  The Sun is your cheerleader!

 

Digital citizenship and hacking: Sugar Camp Lima, Nov 18-19

Somos Azucar, Activity Central, and escuelab are organizing Sugar Camp Lima on November 18-19, to build a new Sugar image for Peru: complete with Aymara and Quechua localizations, and activities focused on engagement online and “digital citizenship”.  An invitation to the event can be found here, and Sugar enthusiast Yannick Warnier explains why he finds this so exciting in a call for others to join him.

The event has international support, including the Municipality of Lima, Ciudadano Inteligente, and the World Bank.  The XO image developed will be proposed to the national team as a basis for the next update implemented across the country.

If you have an activity you’re hoping to polish up and get into the next Peru image — or are interested in localization, testing, or general Sugar development, this promises to be a great event.  I hope the camp attendees will review and add to the Feedback Actividades page that Claudia recently set up, a place to gather requests and suggestions from students and teachers in the field.

 

To RSVP, or for more information, contact escuelab: contacto@escuelab.org

 

OLPC and Nickelodeon contest update: winners visit LA for the HALO Awards

Nickelodeon Latin America and One Laptop per Child announced the wniner of their video contest focused on creating a better environment last month. Primary school children across Latin America were challenged to use their XO laptops to create videos focused on creating a better environment, and the best was judged to be a scratch video from Giuliana Violetta Pozzoli, a 10 year-old girl from Caacupé, Paraguay.

This week Nickelodeon is hosting Giuliana, her mother and teacher at its annual HALO Awards ceremony in Los Angeles — an event recognizing kids who are working hard to make the world a better place. The videos of all five finalists in the contest can be viewed online at http://olpcstories.org.

“Our partnership with Nickelodeon Latin America is a great example of how private sector corporations can work with OLPC to advance children’s education and development,” said Rodrigo Arboleda, CEO of One Laptop per Child. “We look forward to other successful collaborations with Nickelodeon and MTV Networks Latin America, as well as the U.S., in which we continue to inspire children to use their creativity and skills to make a difference in their communities.”

“We are thrilled to have partnered with OLPC on this initiative,” commented Mario Cader-Frech, Vice President Public Affairs and Corporate Social Responsibility for MTV Networks Americas. “The response from kids throughout the region to participate in this contest was amazing, and we are delighted by their desire to want to make this world a better place.”

OLPC SF Community Summit: October 22-23

The OLPC Community Summit is back for a second year, hosted again by OLPC San Francisco. It promises to be the year’s best rundown of OLPC efforts around the world, large and small.

You can see the schedule online at olpcsf.org, and should register now if you want to attend. Last year was pretty packed!