OLPC in Afghanistan: Briefing Note

Part of an ongoing series on OLPC in Afghanistan.

In their recent publication “Briefing Note – One Laptop Per Child in Afghanistan,” authors Lima Ahmad (AIMS), Kenneth Adams (AIMS), Mike Dawson (PAIWASTOON), and Carol Ruth Silver (MTSA) make one thing very clear: Afghanistan requires an innovative approach to improve their education system.

“The conventional remedy of building more schools, training more teachers and providing more materials would require a six fold increase to the education budget (in the order of $1.8Bn USD per year) and would take 10-15 years to yield measurable results,” the report reads. “While a steady increase in teacher capacity and educational infrastructure is expected over time, Afghanistan does not have the luxury of waiting 15 years to produce the work force foundations for sustainable economic growth.”

Photographed by Jacob Simkin

Instead, the authors say, a more cost-effective, accelerated method lies in using OLPC’s blended learning model, which incorporates technology with teaching. If executed, in 12-18 months OLPC can more than double Afghan students’ time to learning, provide feedback on curriculum materials, and provide resources that the students wouldn’t otherwise have.

By adopting this model, OLPC can “finally give children in both mainstream and community settings sufficient learning time and support to achieve curriculum outcomes.”

Make sure to check out the rest of the report here.

OLPC UNRWA Gaza (Arabic)

In English

Students with their laptops, after putting their names on them.

بعد انتظار ١٠ اشهر حتى الموافقة، شارك كلٌّ من الفريق الأساسي لحاسوب محمول لكل طفل التابع للأنروا، إداريين، اهل وأطفال رفح في بداية لامعة من برنامج  أنروا لحاسوب محمول لكل طفل في غزّة. وجرى احتفال لهذه المناسبة في ٢٩ نيسان. كنت محظوظة لأنني أمضيت اياماً سلفاً مع الفريق والمجتمع. لقد عملوا بجد-أطفال، أهل، معلّمون، مطوّرون فنيّون، وإدارّيون-إنّ مشاركتهم العمل أمرٌ ملهمٌ جداً.

يتميّز الشعب الفلسطيني بالتفاؤل، الدهاء والتفان لإنشاء شيء جميل من لا شيء. والأهم أن يتشارك المجتمع بكامله هذا الشيء.

لدى حاسوب الاكسو ميزة خاصّة الى جانب مواصفاته وأنشطته التقنيّة -فهو يدفع المجتمع ان يتفاءل بأطفاله. علّق جميل، عضو من البرنامج الأساسي، التالي: “هذا الجهاز متواضع, بإمكاننا خلق أشياء رائعة بواسطته”

لقد حققوا ذلك.

في فترة ١٢ اسابيع بعد اول مقدّمة لهم للأكسو، قام الفريق الأساسي والإجتماعي في غزّة بالتالي

تحضير البنية الأساسيّة

تصميم وتقدمة حلقات العمل ل٢٠٠ مدرس و ١٢ إداري

تقديم الأكسو لأكثر من ٢٠٠٠ طالب

مساعدة هؤلاء الأطفال بتقديم الأكسو لأهلهم

تصميم مكتبة عبر الحاسوب

نقل الألعاب التعليمية الخاصة بهم الى الأكسو

ضم تذكّر، دردشة، تصفّح، و تكّلم إلى جدول النشاطات في الصف

مساعدة المعلّمين ببدء توزيع الفروض المنزليّة عبر الأكسو

ملاحظة تأييد الأهل للأكسو في المحلّات التجاريّة والجوامع بعدما كانوا يشكّون في قيمته

بدأ الإحتفال بفتحي، مركز مصادر التعلّم للأنروا القائم في رفح، وبمثل صيني: اعط رجل سمكة وتطعمه ليوم واحد. علّم رجلاً كيف يصطاد وتطعمه لمدة الحياة


كان اليوم مليئاً بأجهزة الأكسو والصور. تمّ تصميم المنصة على شكل الأكسو مفتوح مع لوحة المفاتيح ممتدّة خارجاً-وانتهى الحفل بمشاركة كعكة عملاقة ومذهلة زُيّنت بشكلٍ دقيق لتضمّ النقاط الموجودة على الغلاف الواجهي. وقد علّق شخصاً من المجموعة بتلك النكتة: أتساءل متى وكيف أحضرنا كلّ هذا عن طريق الأنفاق

PaleXO work with OLPC in the West Bank

The PaleXO volunteer team, whose Arabic language blog we recently added to our sidebar, has been working with the OLPC children in the West Bank for the past year. They’ve run some local installation events and software workshops, and are planning a Scratch Day to encourage kids to make Scratch activities. They often host events at Birzeit University.

They also have the best group OLPC shirts I’ve seen since the rise of the velociraptors… it’s a snapshot of the Sugar desktop with the most common activity icons on it, so they can simply point to the right icon on their shirt when working with students during a workshop. Brilliant. Barbara brought back some lovely photographs from there as well as the ones we posted earlier from Gaza.

OLPC UNRWA Gaza : After a long wait Rafah adopts the XO

Also in Arabic: في اللغة العربية

Students with their laptops, after putting their names on them.

After a 10-month wait for approvals, the UNRWA OLPC core team, administrators, parents and children of Rafah took part in a brilliant beginning to the UNRWA OLPC program in Gaza, with a celebration event on April 29th. I was fortunate to spend the days beforehand with this team and their community. They worked tirelessly – children, parents, teachers, developers, and administrators – and it was inspiring to work with them.

The Palestinian people have the optimism, resourcefulness, and dedication to turn a speck of dust into a garden. Not just any garden, but one that the entire community shares.

And the XO has a special feature beyond its tech specs and activities – it can energize a community to have hope for their children.  One member of the core team, Jamil, remarked;  “This is XO is a humble machine, we can take it and do great things with it.

They did.

In a mere 12 weeks after their first intro to the XO, the Gaza core and community team:
- prepared infrastructure
- designed and gave workshops for 200 teachers and 12 administrators
- introduced the XO to 2000+ students
- helped these children introduce the XO to their parents
- created a digital library
- ported their own ILP learning games to run on the XO
- integrated Memorize, Chat, Browse, & Speak into classroom activities
- helped teachers begin distributing homework via the XO
- witnessed initially skeptical parents begin to advocate at shops and mosques for XOs for all the children of Gaza

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