This guest post is from Sameer Verma, professor at San Francisco State and founder of the OLPC-SF regional group.
I was on sabbatical leave at the University of the West Indies (UWI) in Fall 2008. There, I helped start the Center of Excellence (CoE) at the Mona School of Business at UWI. Through the CoE, we started the OLPC Jamaica project on September 5, 2008. In Jamaica the team has been led by Craig Perue – who was two weeks ago appointed Advisor to the Minister of Education!
It has been three and a half years since that first effort, an uphill battle to get the project going to fulfill its goals of early childhood education, technology in remote and rural places and community outreach and impact, not to mention supporting IT infrastructure (server, wireless LAN, content filtering, traffic management) remotely over a VPN for 5 year olds 🙂
Last year, we implemented 115 OLPC XO laptops in two schools, and the results have been amazing. I was on a data collection trip over the recent break, and what we are finding through the initial analyses is impressive:Â An increase in numeracy by 12%. And the most sought-after program is TuxMath. Other results will be interesting as well, we hope.
Eric McGinnis, a senior at U. Delaware,Â took part in a visit to Haiti earlier this month coordinated by his school, UNC Charlotte,Â Â Waveplace, and Mothering Across Continents. Â After taking a course inÂ game development,Â he built an English-to-Creole translator in Scratch which he distributed to students at the Waveplace school.
We recently posted a wiki page summarizing XO prices (roughly $185-$205 by quantity), and how to get XOs for your own deployment: Buying XOs. The minimum order is 1,000, with occasional exceptions made for orders as small as 100.
In addition to our national partnerships, OLPC regularly sells XOs to groups all over the world who are running pilot programs in their district or community. While we do not often sell in quantities of less than a thousand laptops, exceptions are made for programs that have planned for a successful deployment. (And we feature some of the best-plannedgrassrootsprograms here on our blog!)
For groups working in war-torn or post-conflict regions, we may also be in discussions with aid groups who could help support a program. Feel free to get in touch with us if you are planning a sizeable project in these regions. For more information or to place an order, email us at email@example.com.
In Canada, the national OLPC project continues to expand into the homes of students and teachers; this week including Saskatchewan.
It is a pleasure to spend the week with Kakisiwew School of Ochapowace First Nation â€“ home of OLPC Canada Technical Coordinator, Justin Bear. Justin founded and runs the community cyber cafe/youth zone, provides tech support to the elementary school, teaches classes with the XO and is the central contact for technically based OLPC Canada inquiries from our sites across the nation.
Greta Van Susteren of Fox News has worked in the past to support with the Reverend Franklin Graham and Samaritans Purse. Yesterday she wrote about their recent efforts to build a school and orphanage for roughly 100 children, and their purchase of 100 XOs to send to them thanks to a generous donor.
Just recently, a contribution was made to Samaritans Purse so that Samaritans Purse could purchase 100 computers for the orphan children. This will open doors for those kids â€“ giving them a chance that they would not otherwise have. I donâ€™t need to tell you how important learning is or what opportunities can be realized with a computer.
What kind of computers? The XO. It is a very, very special computer â€“ and very durable since kids are not known to be that careful with things. Here are some pics of my assistant with the XO computer…
Thanks to everyone involved, and I hope you connect with the other great thinsg that OLPC Haiti are doing!
Reposting a recent update by Jamaica’s Craig Perue
I have very good news. Just in time for the one year celebration of the launch of our XO deployments at August Town Primary and Providence Methodist Basic School, six members of the global OLPC community will be visiting us. They will be taking lots of pictures, doing interviews, workshop sessions, meeting the parents, teachers and students – all during the week of January 29 to February 5. One of the goals while they are here is to collect lots of content – National Geographic quality pictures and amazing stories that will be published later in the year along with those of five other small OLPC deployments worldwide.
This is an initiative to publicize to a worldwide audience the great OLPC work being done in Jamaica, Madagascar (Nosy Komba), Philippines, Kenya, Haiti, and Vietnam.
The team visiting Jamaica includes:
– documentary film maker, Bill Stelzer, who works with the OLPC deployments in the US Virgin Islands
– OLPC’s community support manager since 2007, Adam Holt, who splits his time between Boston and Haiti
– executive director of Ntugi Group, Mark Battley, who support OLPC implementations in Northern Kenya
– Quentin Peries Joly and Laura de Reynal, University students from OLPC France who have done extensive work with the OLPC project in Nosy Komba, Madagascar
– Nancie Severs, who envisioned and started the first OLPC deployment in a floating village, Vietnam.