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.
Plan Ceibal’s first pilot, in Cardal, began 5 years ago on May 10, 2007. The town has a sign commemorating the event. And tomorrow they will host a celebration of the program’s fifth anniversary with a small festival, starting at 11:30. If you’re nearby, come and celebrate 😉
Fundacion DJ is building an app for the XO to let kids become DJs. They will be able to play two tracks at the same time, switch from one track to another with a cross fader, and use effects and pre-recorded sounds to mix in, just like a professional DJ.
They can record and export their mixes so they can share them or submit them to future contests – like the one the Foundation plans to run. They say of their work on this project: “This will be an alternative way to get kids interested in the art of music so in the future they can become DJs Agents of Change.”
From their site:
Fundacion DJ en colaboración con One Laptop Per Child crearan una aplicación para sus computadoras portátiles XO donde los niños podrán jugar a ser DJs.
La aplicación le permitirá a los usuarios poner dos canciones al mismo tiempo y tener la opción de cambiar entre una y otra con un cross fader. También tendrá efectos y sonidos pre-grabados para que puedan mezclar tal como lo hace un DJ profesional.
También tendrán la opción de grabar y exportar sus mezclas para que las puedan revisar y enviar para un concurso que estamos planeando hacer.
Esta será una alternativa para crear interés en los niños por el arte de la música y que en un futuro se conviertan en DJs Agentes De Cambio.
The US Dept of Defense recently launched a project to give laptops to 4600 high-school students and teachers in US military schools in Germany, in an effort to copy successful programs in the US (such as Mooresville) and elsewhere. This is presented as a curriculum and pedagogy update, not a technical change; starting in places that already have strong wifi infrastructure.
The schools to be involved this year are in Hohenfels, Schweinfurt, Bamberg, Patch, Wiesbaden, Vicenza, Alconbury and Kaiserslautern. If the pilot is successful, it will be expanded to include middle schools and additional cities.
Professors Doug Kranch (of North Central State College) and Terri Bucci (of Ohio State University) are launching an XO Educational Software Project this year. This will be a collaboration between them and their students, and partners in Haiti, to develop math and science modules for the XO. They are also developing a simple router/server setup that Haitian teachers can use to support such software — NCSC’s fall course on client/server development will focus on this work.
The project aims to meet Haitian curricular standards, with ongoing feedback from schools around Croix des Bouquets, in collaboration with teachers, students, and university faculty and students from University Episcopal in Port-au-Prince. These contacts are supported by Ohio State’s ongoing Haiti Empowerment Project.
It sounds as though they should all be subscribed to the IA Education Project mailing list to share their thoughts!
In an Op-Ed in Uganda’s Independent, Andrew Mwenda notes that Rwanda has set itself apart from its neighboring countries in almost every field; including with its tremendous fiberoptic network and olpc laptop program. “building one of the most promising platforms of democratic expression”. He notes:
Kagame has predicated his presidency on performance by his government. Hence, the delivery of public goods and services to all its citizens regardless of their station in life… It is Kagame’s political genius and greatest achievement and is unrivalled in post-independence Africa. But equally it is the greatest source of frustration among elites.
The article is worth a read.
Meanwhile, Rodrigo is in Rwanda this week to thank President Kagame for his amazing work in supporting OLPC for all children in the country, and to learn from the program there.
Craig Perue posted this wonderful video from Jamaica about their work with the first 115-child school to take part in one laptop per child.
And the Jamaica Gleaner last week covered a speech given by Dr. Ralph Thompson to the local Rotary Club about the necessity of early childhood education.
The Government is supposed to provide one trained teacher for 100 children but in practice, this more likely works out to one trained teacher to 1,000.
No country can make overall progress if the vast majority of its citizens are kept in ignorance and poverty. Not in a democratic society. Demagoguery feeds on ignorance. The result will be either chaos or dictatorship.
Rwanda will have 200,000 children using XOs by the end of the year. They are putting the second phase of their deployment into place over the next few months, in time for the second term this year. The laptops will start to be delivered later this month.
Each participating public school – at least one per sector – will have a school server installed with mathematics, science and English software to enable teachers to teach using laptops. Two teachers at each school are taught to handle troubleshooting hardware and software. Schools with no access to electricity will continue to be connected to solar energy.
The program has been particularly popular among parents of children receiving the laptops. And private schools and individuals can buy laptops for $200 apiece.
Nkubito Bakuramutsa, the head of the initiative, said of the new schools joining the program: “I call upon parents and teachers to support the OLPC project. I am optimistic that the beneficiaries will compete favourably on the labour market after completing their studies.”
Can tablets make a difference to a child learning to read for the first time, without a teacher or traditional classroom structure? That’s the question we are exploring with our reading project, currently underway in Ethiopia.
A few dozen children in two rural villages have been given tablets which they are using for a few months. They are interested in learning to read English, and understand this is something they can learn with the tablets; which also come with hundreds of children’s apps.
They are equipped with software that logs all interactions, building up a clear picture of how each tablet is being used. Data from the tablets is gathered each week and sent back to the research team, which also rolls out new updates to the tablets week by week.
Richard is in Ethiopia this week, to get better first-hand knowledge of how the tablets and other infrastructure are holding up, and a visual sense of how they are being used.
Kyle Wiens of the Fixers project is tracking how electronics and other gear is used and fixed across Africa — and which things are destined to be landfill. He writes in the Atlantic this month about the challenges of maintaining computers in rural schools.
He looks at a popular Kindle-as-bookreader program, noting how predictable their high levels of breakage were, and how useful it would have been to be able to repair them in the field.
He cites OLPC’s design, public repair guides, and comprehensive list of parts as models for others to follow. And he kindly offers to help projects like Worldreader and others write a good repair manual if they would only do so and ship it with their devices. Take him up on that — he writes well!
The initiative, launched last month with distribution to the first 1,500 students, is being promoted by Nawaz Sharif and secretary of higher education Kashif Faraz. Umar Saif, who runs the Punjab Information Technology Board, writes about this as the start of great opportunity for every child in Punjab.
It is good to see Pakistan making strieds in this direction, though they like India have chosen to start access to laptops, software, and knowledge with university students.
OLPC Australia has put out a press release about the Australian government’s support for 50,000 children. Rangan and Rodrigo are both quoted.
It notes that Independent MP’s Robert Oakeshott and Tony Windsor led the effort to land the grant for OLPC Australia. Nicely done.
via Rangan Srikhanta
It gives me tremendous pleasure to inform you that the Australian Federal Government has committed to fund One Laptop per Child in Australia for $11.7M this year, to launch a pilot project to reach 50,000 children in indigenous communities. Additional funds will come from the schools participating in the program and from corporate/public donors.
From the Schooling section of the annual budget:
The Australian Government is providing over $11 million to support the One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) Program which will deliver over 50,000 custom built laptops to primary students in regional and remote Australia as part of a 12 month pilot program. The OLPC Australia Organisation (OLPC Australia) aims to support the learning opportunities of indigenous children, particularly those in remote Australia, by providing primary school aged children with a connected XO laptop as part of a sustainable training and support program. Participating schools will also receive information and communications technology (ICT) coordinator professional development, local repair kits, and access to helpdesk and online support.
From the full budget breakdown, It seems that some of the funds for this was redirected from a project pool for the “Digital Education Revolution”. The government is also extending OLPC Australia’s tax-deductibility for another three years, as part of this continuing commitment.
This is fantastic news. Kudos to Rangan, Sridhar, Tracy, Rita, Sasha, Ning, and the whole team. A formal press release will be out in the coming days. There is much more to come from Australia — stay tuned!
AllAfrica writes about what it takes for a classroom to bootstrap computers and capacity for their students.
There was a bit of concern a few months back when it was reported that Niue’s government was considering dropping support for OLPC. We reached out to them to find out what the reason was, as they had reported a successful and well-received pilot. Now it seems that their education ministry remains interested in OLPC. Thanks to the Niue Education Ministry and to Michael Hutak for the update.
One Laptop per Child Association was honored by the Beacon Council, Miami-Dade County’s official economic development partner, for their contributions to the local economy in terms of job creation, business expansion, corporate citizenship and industry leadership.
The 10th Annual Beacon Awards were held at the new Miami Marlins Park and attendees had an opportunity to mingle with industry leaders and notable public figures. One Laptop per Child’s Senior Vice President of Operations, Roberto Interiano, accepted the judges’ special award, sponsored by Baptist Health Systems.