Learning from Seymour Papert – #BacktoLearning

Far beyond the idea of giving computers to children with “an educational purpose”, like if education meant just providing content to be consumed, the origins of the learning philosophy of OLPC has been to provide kids with computers so that they can compute.

 

Seymour Papert believed, supported by decades of research, that by computing (coding, programming), the learner could be empowered to understand, create and think about their own learning, especially at early childhoold.

This panel from the Spring 2014 Member Event at the MIT Media Lab will explore more in detail the learning vision of Papert. Enjoy!

Panelists: Mitch Resnick, Marvin Minsky, Alan Kay, and Nicholas Negroponte.

Why schools should provide one laptop per child

, Professor of Education and Informatics from the University of California, Irvine and ,  Assistant Professor from the Michigan State University, recently posted an article asking if there is a need to abandon attempts to integrate technology in schools due to a recent international study published by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, which found no positive evidence of impact of educational technology on student performance.

According to the article, Professor Warschauer and Assistant Professor Zheng, have conducted their…

…own extensive observations. We conducted a synthesis of the results of 96 published global studies on these programs in K-12 schools during 2001-2015. Among them, 10 rigorously designed studies, mostly from the U.S., were included, to examine the relationship between these programs and academic achievement. We found significant benefits.We found students’ test scores in science, writing, math and English language arts improved significantly.

And the benefits were not limited to test scores.

To find out about their conclusions and read the full article, please click here.

 

Disclosure statement

Mark Warschauer has received funding for his research from the National Science Foundation, the Institute of Education Sciences, the Carnegie Corporation, the Smithsonian Center for Learning and Digital Access, the Spencer Foundation, the John Randolph Haynes and Dora Haynes Foundation, and Google Research.

Binbin Zheng does not work for, consult, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organization that would benefit from this article, and has disclosed no relevant affiliations beyond the academic appointment above

. @MoneyGramMe Foundation Reinvests in Innovative Educational Organizations in 2016

Grants of nearly $300,000 will support educational programs

Original post from  MoneyGram

DALLAS, June 14, 2016 /PRNewswire/ — MoneyGram (NASDAQ: MGI) today announced the MoneyGram Foundation will award seven grants across seven countries for the first grant cycle of 2016. The foundation will renew its support to innovative educational programs operating in India, Jamaica, Laos, Nicaragua, Pakistan and Vietnam, as well as in four cities in the United States.

“The MoneyGram Foundation is honored to continue to support programs around the world that are making a meaningful and measurable difference for children’s education in communities where our customers live and work,” said Pamela H. Patsley, MoneyGram’s  executive chairman. “MoneyGram is proud to expand our foundation’s work to Laos and Nicaragua through these established programs.”

The recipients in the foundation’s first grant round of 2016 include:

  • Agastya International Foundation, to continue funding three mobile science labs traveling to Darbhanga, Mumbai, and Aligarh with the mission of providing an experiential, hands-on science education program to thousands of economically disadvantaged children.
  • Children of Vietnam, to fund the construction of a 25 x 30 foot weather-resistant school building in A Pat village in Tay Giang District, Quang Nam Province, complete with ceiling fan, lighting, electrical system, water system, indoor plumbing and awning for shade. When complete, it will be the sole school building for the community.
  • Developments in Literacy, to fully fund the operational and administrative costs of the Nai Abadi school located in Rawalpindi, Pakistan.
  • First Book, to fund a book donation through the Día de Los Libros initiative in the United States (Dallas, Los Angeles, New York and Miami) and Jamaica.
  • Grants for Innovative Teaching (GFIT), a Signature Project of the Junior League of Dallas that encourages and supports excellence in teaching by awarding grants up to $2,000 to Dallas ISD teachers for innovative projects that otherwise would not be provided for in schools budgets.
  • One Laptop Per Child (OLPC), to fully fund the implementation of the “MathemaTIC” educational program in two schools in Chinandega, Nicaragua. The schools will receive 300 laptops to complete the program.
  • Pencils of Promise (PoP), to fund one of 14 schools Pencils of Promise will build in the Luang Prabang Region of Laos this year. A typical PoP school has 4 classrooms and a minimum lifespan of 20 years.

The MoneyGram Foundation plans to distribute two more rounds of grants in 2016. To learn more about the MoneyGram Foundation and the projects it supports, please visit moneygramfoundation.org.

#moneygramfoundation

 

Ibirapitá, proyecto de inclusión digital de jubilados en Uruguay. @Plan_Ceibal

El cerebro no se jubila.

Antonio M. Battro

Academia Nacional de Educación, www.acaedu.edu.ar

Pontificia Academia de Ciencias, www.pas.va

Esta nota se propone exponer el mensaje contundente de la gran bióloga italiana a la luz de Ibirapitá, el nuevo programa de inclusión digital del gobierno del Uruguay que ha comenzado a distribuir tabletas conectadas a Internet a las personas jubiladas con ingresos reducidos. Es decir, los mayores de 65 años contarán con los mismos recursos digitales que ya sus nietos han recibido a partir de los 5 años, gracias al “modelo uno a uno”, una laptop/tablet por niño del Plan Ceibal (www.ceibal.edu.uy). De esta manera se está construyendo en el Uruguay un amplio y generoso puente digital que abraza 60 años de vida. Este programa de inclusión digital inter-generacional, el primero de su tipo en el mundo, merece destacarse y ser imitado.

Pueden leer el documento aquí.

Sustainable education: Uruguay’s @Plan_Ceibal

ANTONIO M. BATTRO AND CECILIA DE LA PAZ

Sustainable Humanity, Sustainable Nature: Our Responsibility Pontifical Academy of Sciences, Extra Series 41, Vatican City 2014 Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences, Acta 20, Vatican City 2014 www.pas.va/content/dam/accademia/pdf/es41/es41-battro.pd

This meeting on “sustainable humanity and sustainable nature” is a valuable opportunity to introduce and discuss the notion of “sustainable education”.We are willing to understand and improve the interactions between “human capital and natural capital”.Education is part of the human capital of our societies but the notion of “sustainable education” is still under construction and needs special consideration. In particular it is impossible to imagine a sustainable school system that remains independent of the rapidly expanding digital environment of today.Our society has created a new“virtual ecosystem” which is covering the planet and is modifying the life of millions.The good news is that education can play,and is playing in many cases,an increasing and constructive role in this global process towards equity and solidarity in the human family.We are convinced that a sustainable education must be based on evidences and not on ideologies.A sustainable education must be supported by political, economical, social, technological and pedagogical sustainable programs.

Continue reading here or below:

Aprendizaje: una aspiración

Dra. Eleonora Badilla-Saxe

www.elenorabadillasaxe.net

eleonora.badillasaxe@gmail.com

Enseñar: una ilusión

Quienes nos dedicamos a la educación a veces tenemos la ilusión de que nuestros estudiantes aprenden los contenidos que están incluidos en los planes de estudio y que yo les enseño.

Pero en esta ilusión se esconden tres falacias:

• La primera es que, si los estudiantes no aprenden los contenidos prescritos en los planes de estudio, no aprendieron nada.

• La segunda es que, si aprenden los contenidos prescritos en los planes de estudio, aprendieron solamente eso.

• La tercera, que si yo lo enseño, otras personas lo aprenden.

¡Qué desilusión! Si despejo estas tres falacias, resulta que puede ser que lo que yo enseñe, nadie lo aprende, y que aunque nadie aprenda lo que dice el plan de estudios, siempre habrá un aprendizaje. Es decir que aprendan o no lo que está prescrito en el plan de estudios, hay otros aprendizajes riquísimos que yo no percibo por estar tan concentrada en enseñar y evaluar lo que prescribe el plan de estudios.

Aprender: un fenómeno emergente

A partir de la propuesta del Pensamiento Complejo de Edgar Morin, la emergencia o lo emergente ha cobrado relevancia para diversos autores y en distintas áreas. Lo emergente es una respuesta o reacción inesperada, no anticipada, que se da como resultado de la interacción de las partes de un todo.

Aceptamos que el aprendizaje es un fenómeno emergente que surge de la interacción entre diversos procesos neuronales, corporales, afectivos y del entorno, y no puede reducirse a ninguno de los componentes que participan en los procesos. En ese contexto, debemos entender y aceptar que la mayoría de los aprendizajes son inesperados, muchos de ellos imposibles de predecir y que los contenidos de esos aprendizajes son simples y complejos, pero que los complejos no son meros agregados a los primeros.

La aspiración

Resulta entonces que mi aspiración como docente, más que enseñar y evaluar los contenidos prescritos en los planes de estudio, debería estar en identificar y valorar los aprendizajes inesperados e impredecibles que surgen de la interacción de las mentes, las personas, los medios y el entorno.

Un ejemplo *1

Entre los años 2005 y 2008 realicé con mis estudiantes de Educación de la Universidad de Costa Rica, una experiencia con niños y niñas preescolares quienes diseñaron un micromundo en su aula, y dentro de este, una criatura que podía ser programada con un comportamiento particular. *2

Mis estudiantes, muy pendientes del plan de estudios oficial para el nivel de preescolar, pudieron constatar que las actividades propuestas les permitieron a los niños y niñas manifestar conocimiento sobre los contenidos previstos en dicho plan: relaciones espaciales, colores, formas geométricas…

Yo me asombraba con el aprendizaje emergente que construían aquellos pequeños y que, por inesperado e impredecible, pasaba desapercibido para las docentes investigadoras.

Al llamar la atención de las investigadoras y solicitar ayuda de otras personas observadoras, pudimos constatar que, además de los contenidos prescritos en el plan de estudios de preescolar, los niños y niñas estaban estableciendo el conocimiento básico que les permitirá construir conocimiento sobre:

  • Fuerza y movimiento
  • Desplazamiento
  • Potencia
  • Fricción
  • Diferencia entre fuerza y velocidad
  • Energía potencial y energía cinética

¡Antes de los 6 años! Contenidos no incluidos en el Plan de Estudios de Preescolar. Aprendizaje inesperado, impredecible. Sin que nadie lo enseñara.

La labor docente cada vez se vuelve más interesante y desafiante.

 

*1 Ver experiencia completa en http://revista.inie.ucr.ac.cr/index.php/aie/article/view/241/240

*2 Etapa básica de “robótica”

Students can be part of Google Code-in with SugarLabs

A global, online open source development & outreach contest for pre­-college students ages 13-­17

The Google Code-­in contest gives students around the world an opportunity to explore the world of open source development. Google not only runs open source software throughout our business, we value the way the open source model encourages people to work together on shared goals over the internet.

Give it a try from December 7th, 2015 to January 25th, 2016!

Participants complete “tasks” of their choice for a variety of open source software projects. Students can earn t-­shirts, certificates, and hooded sweatshirts for their work. Each software project will name two students as their grand prize winners and those students win a four day trip to in Mountain View, CA, USA in June 2016.

Since open source development is much more than just computer programming, there are lots of different kinds of tasks to choose from, broken out into five major categories:

1. Code: Writing or refactoring code

2. Documentation/Training: Creating and editing documentation and helping others learn

3. Outreach/Research: Community management and outreach/marketing, or studying problems and recommending solutions

4. Quality Assurance: Testing to ensure code is of high quality

5. User interface: User experience research or user interface design

This year students can work with 14 open source organizations: Apertium, Copyleft Games Group, Drupal, FOSSASIA, Haiku, KDE, MetaBrainz, OpenMRS, RTEMS, SCoRe, Sugar Labs, Systers, Ubuntu, and Wikimedia Foundation.

Over the past five years, over 2200 students from 87 countries completed at least one task in the contest. This year we hope to have even more students participate globally. Please help us spread the word and bring more students into the open source family!

Visit g.co/codein to learn more about the contest. For even more information and contest updates, read our Frequently Asked Questions, follow our blog or join our mailing list.

The Google Code-­in contest starts on December 7, 2015!

 

Finalizó exitosamente proyecto Transformando del municipio de Chía en Colombia

Del original publicado por ANSPE.

Captura de pantalla 2014-10-02 09.26.24

Transformando es un proyecto de innovación social que consistió en empoderar a los niños y a las niñas de  las familias de la Red Unidos de Chía como agentes de cambio social. Este objetivo se logró a través de una estrategia integral que incluyó la distribución de un computador portátil XO de OLPC (One Laptop per Child) a cada niño y/o niña participante, el uso de videojuegos para el cambio y la participación virtual y presencial en espacios de aprendizaje en los que los niños y las niñas aportaron al proceso de superación de la condición de pobreza extrema de sus familias.

Este proyecto se gestó entre la Agencia Nacional para la Superación de la Pobreza Extrema- ANSPE, a través de su Dirección deInnovación Social, One Laptop per Child -OLPC y la Alcaldía de Chía, quienes se aliaron para poner en marcha esta iniciativa orientada a generar un alto sentido de apropiación comunitaria por parte de los niños, las niñas y sus familias, pertenecientes a la Red Unidos del municipio de Chía.

El proceso inició con una etapa de ideación a partir de un reto de innovación: ¿Cómo empoderar a los niños y las niñas como agentes de cambio usando las herramientas tecnológicas para ayudar a sus familias a superar su condición de pobreza extrema?

Luego se avanzó en la etapa de los prototipos, donde se diseñó una metodología multiestrategia y se desarrollaron contenidos digitales a través de videojuegos con el enfoque de ”juegos para el cambio”[1].

Posteriormente se realizó la fase de pilotaje, a la que se unió Chía, un municipio de avanzada, cuyo lema en el Plan de Desarrollo es ser un territorio inteligente e innovador; además de una Zona Libre de Pobreza Extrema.

En este momento crucial se pusieron en marcha las estrategias planteadas con las familias de la Red Unidos del municipio, con el objetivo de empoderar a los niños y niñas de 7 a 13 años como agentes de cambio dentro del proceso de corresponsabilidad familiar para superar las trampas de la pobreza.

Fueron nueve (9) meses de trabajo con los niños, las niñas y sus familias en los cuales se desarrollaron múltiples encuentros presenciales que involucraron a todos los participantes en la estructuración de proyectos que harían realidad los aprendizajes adquiridos. Igualmente, durante la ejecución del proyecto, los niños y niñas jugaron los tres videojuegos diseñados especialmente para facilitar el aprendizaje de logros relacionados con las dimensiones de nutrición y dinámica familiar.

En este contexto también se incluyó el uso de mensajes de texto y de un portal web que permitió la participación y la interacción de los niños, las niñas y las familias. Otra de las actividades a destacar fue el desarrollo de cinco videojuegos por parte de los niños beneficiarios en el marco de los talleres de programación, realizados con el acompañamiento de expertos en el tema.

¿Qué logramos?

Gracias a este proyecto se logró generar una cultura de uso de las nuevas tecnologías al interior de cada hogar. De la misma manera, se obtuvieron importantes aprendizajes relacionados con la dinámica familiar: la importancia del diálogo,  no lastimar físicamente, compartir más tiempo en familia, comunicar lo que se siente y lo más relevante, las familias conocieron las rutas y estrategias para prevenir y enfrentar el abuso sexual infantil.

Respecto a la nutrición, los participantes adquirieron mejores hábitos de manipulación de alimentos y aumentaron el consumo de frutas y verduras.

Una vez finalizado el proyecto también se generó por parte de los beneficiarios, un mayor interés en acceder a la oferta cultural, recreativa y deportiva del municipio. En este contexto los niños y niñas actuaron como agentes de cambio, pues por primera vez en el municipio de Chía se desarrolló un Concejo de niños y niñas en el que presentaron sus propuestas, las cuales se materializaron, en cuatro (4) proyectos: 1. El gran día: espacio de juego e integración familiar, 2. Ruta temática en bicicleta: pedaleemos en contra del maltrato infantil; 3. Fútbol Convivencia: campeonato para promover la convivencia en el fútbol y 4. Nutriteatro: Títeres para la nutridiversión.

Sin embargo, para las familias el resultado más importante fue la  Unión Familiar que se generó a través de estrategias que mejoraron la comunicación y la resolución de conflictos en el interior del hogar. Este proceso fue facilitado por el uso de las tecnologías que aumentaron las posibilidades para compartir y aprender en familia.

Cabe resaltar que se logró un nivel de participación en los encuentros presenciales, del 73% en niños y niñas, y del 64% en los padres de familia, con un 94% de permanencia de las familias en el proyecto.

¿Qué aprendimos?

Hay muchos aprendizajes por retomar y difundiruno de ellos es la apropiación comunitaria como clave para la sostenibilidad de los proyectos sociales. No solamente se trata del importante impacto que tiene el trabajo con los niños y las niñas para el proceso de superación de la pobreza extrema, sino también la incidencia que genera el uso de las tecnologías para democratizar el acceso al aprendizaje.  Un ejemplo de ello es que los niños se convirtieron en maestros de los adultos para el acercamiento a la tecnología.

El juego desde un entorno digital (videojuegos), y un entorno físico (la lúdica en los encuentros de aprendizaje), conectó a los participantes de todas las edades con los objetivos del proyecto generando co-responsabilidad y apropiación comunitaria, aspectos claves para la sostenibilidad de los proyectos sociales.

¿Qué sigue?

La Alcaldía de Chía, a través de la Secretaría de Desarrollo Social, decidió dar continuidad al proyecto como una estrategia que permite promover la participación de los niños, las niñas y las familias Unidos.

Finalmente, pensar en el escalamiento como fase siguiente, implica retomar las lecciones aprendidas de esta experiencia, llevarlas a otros contextos que estén en el camino de convertirse en Zonas Libres de Pobreza Extrema y potenciar estrategias que rompan círculos viciosos de la pobreza desde la participación de los niños y las niñas.

PARA MAYOR INFORMACIÓN

Video documental del proyecto:

Página Web: http://www.transformando.gov.co/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ChiaTransformando

Casos de éxito (blog): http://transformandoxo.wordpress.com/

SugarCamp Chía: http://app.eltiempo.com/#colombia/otras-ciudades/en-chia-crean-videojuegos-para-superar-la-pobreza/14263236

CONTACTOS:

AURA ESTELA MORA MONTERO

aura@laptop.org

Tel: 3123215851

One Laptop per Child

JUAN FELIPE YEPES

juan.yepes@anspe.gov.co

Tel: 3102541339

ANSPE– Centro de Innovación Social

 

Zambia’s Twabuka Community School Receives Donated Laptop Computers

Reposted from original

Award-winning US travel writer Candyce H. Stapen (gfvac.com) recently visited Wilderness Safaris’ Toka Leya Camp from 15-17 June, not only to enjoy Zambia’s renowned hospitality, but also to donate 11 new computers.

The laptops from One Laptop per Child (OLPC) are powered by their own individual solar panels, which eliminates the immediate need of providing electricity for the school. The computers’ programmes are also able to operate without Internet access when necessary, although Internet access is a plus.

“I am delighted to be working with Travel Sommelier who helped plan our wonderful trip to Zambia and with Children in the Wilderness (CITW) to bring One Laptop per Child (OLPC) computers to rural schools in Africa. The project, Henny’s Kids, is named for my mother, Henrietta, who was an elementary school teacher”, says Candyce H. Stapen. “She would have been extremely proud to see how quickly the children learned how to use their new laptops and she would have been delighted to provide access to reading material and to a whole new world of educational opportunities.”

One Laptop per Child Zambia

According to Dr. Sue Snyman, Programme Director for CITW, one of the main priority needs previously identified by the School PTA and village headmen was access to computers. Toka Leya’s GM, Petros Guwa, and Dr. Snyman work closely with the school in terms of community development projects and meet with the PTA on a regular basis. “The teachers are extremely enthusiastic and proactive and we will be working with them an ongoing basis to ensure the correct assistance and training is received. Ideally we are hoping to grow this project so that the school has the required number of laptops to ensure maximum benefits to both the children and teachers”, Snyman added.

OLPC is a non-profit organization founded in 2005 with the goal of transforming education by providing every child with access to a connected laptop computer, the XO laptop. Connected laptops provide a cost-effective way to create learning environments that facilitate the greatest possible development of all children. OLPC is driven by a firm belief that laptops have a unique ability to leverage children’s innate curiosity and desire to learn, to develop critical thinking skills, and to foster a lifelong love of learning.

A laptop and solar panel, plus shipping fees, cost USD350. Donations of any amount are welcome. To assist us with achieving the next minimum directed order of 100 laptops, please contact Candyce (donate@hennyskids.com), Sue (sues@wilderness.co.za), or send a check or money order in U.S. dollars made out to One Laptop per Child for any amount. Please mail your donation to: Henny’s Kids, P.O.B. 42673, Washington, D.C. 20015-9998, USA.

Teacher from Nicaragua shares her experience with the XO

My name is Reyna Flores. I teach a combination of multigrade grades third through sixth at the little school Miguel Larreynaga in Tipitapa.

I hope that, like me, other teachers could have the opportunity to have the XO valuable pedagogical tool for improving the education of our children.

When working with the XO I tell my students that this computer is our “green little friend.” It includes great applications we call activities. We use them in any subject, and something else… We already have Internet! which allows us to enter the world of information.

Now, I want to share the pedagogical aspect in class:

As I teach four grades, the XO has been very important to increase the ammount of information, documents and materials that reinforce learning. I used to have difficulties when I taught geometrical bodies to third graders because there are children who have no geometric kits, then the activity called Paint Activity allows them to draw them.

When learning language arts, we use information obtained from Wikipedia and the children of the upper grades elaborate didactic schemes with the Maze activity as an alternative to reading techniques.

In physical education a stopwatch is needed to record the time-distance speed according to each student’s age. The XO has one.

In cultural and artistic expression we have no access to a marimba or the sounds that the student must know so here we come to the TamTamMini activity.

In science class, using the Record activity, children make their community tours taking pictures of what they believe is part of the environment and even pollution issues.

I also believe that the XO supports students who have some learning difficulties. For example, a child in third grade had pronunciation problems with the consonants L and R, so I asked him to write a list of words using the Sara activity, this way, the student could improve his diction.

At the end of each period, children take their homework and they relax with activities and Games that help them increase skills and mental agility.

Courage, dear colleagues! Let work for the children in Nicaragua. Lets focus on endeavor, affection, good will and the mystique that has always characterized teachers.

I invite other teachers to participate in the column “Teachers speak” because we must all learn from others’ experiences.

* Teacher at Miguel Larreynaga school, Tipitapa.

OLPC Uruguay Q&As: Miguel Brechner on Plan Ceibal

Christoph D just posted a lovely interview with Miguel Brechner about OLPC in Uruguay and Plan Ceibal.

And a few months ago Karen Cator, Educational Technology Director at the US Department of Education, replied to a question from Miguel at a learning technology conference. She shares a few views from her Department, from Secterary Arne Duncan‘s interest in Uruguay’s leadership in empowering children, to issues of how long it takes to transition to such a program in our world of independent, federated states. Some states are saying that ‘by 2014 they want to be like Uruguay in terms of… laptop access‘.

OLPC photobook available online: via the community summit

OLPC-SF has posted their beautiful photobook with images from grassroots deployments around the world, along with a link to a print-on-demand service where you can order your own. I have one of these on my desk; it is beautiful! As Sameer says, “many thousands of words” in one smooth package.

A visit to Wonchi: OLPC’s Ethiopian Literacy Project

Evan Szablowski was in Addis Ababa, spending a week meeting Ethiopian entrepreneurs. Michael, one of the tech leads for our literacy project in Ethiopia, was one of the people he met with. He was captivated by the literacy project, and on hearing that Michael was heading to Wonchi (one of the two villages taking part in it), he and his teammates decided to tag along.

While he was there he met some of the students eager to show off how they liked to use the tablets (they are using Motorola Xoom tablets with mainly off-the-shelf Android literacy apps, with a few custom apps and tweaks by OLPC). At some point, one of the children (below) stood up to quiz the others on what they were learning.

Evan wrote up the experience in a beautiful essay on his new blog, illustrated with photos from the day.



While this is just one anecdote from the project, the photo series is priceless, and puts the whole effort in context: the geography of the town, the social setup of the small farming community, and the economic circles of the village and the technicians supporting them.

An overwhelming sense of excitement and optimism overtook us, and we couldn’t stop smiling as we watched. We left with such a feeling of inspiration and optimism, amazed at witnessing two completely different worlds [fuse] with one another… Zach said this was the best thing he has done in a long time, and I agreed.

I hope they realize it someday. I hope that someday one of those kids will say, ‘When I was only 4 years old, the laptop project from MIT came to my village, and it forever changed my future.’ What an amazing perspective that person will have.

This was not foreign aid, or handouts… This was education, and just the first step in enabling them. Enabling the young minds of Africa for brighter futures. For a brighter nation, and a brighter continent.

@Evan: Thank you for sharing the day with us!

OLPC in Goa

Monsoon Grey posts an update on the school pilot in Goa, about a lesson in Turtle Art, with a photoset by intern Bindi Dharia. Harriet Vidyasagar, who helped get the first school projects in India underway, continues to support the project.

The team writes about the new activities they have installed for all of the students this year, including “I Know India”, and the workshop they organized for new teachers for the coming year.

Miguel Brechner sobre el impacto del Plan Ceibal

La República recently published an article on the history of Plan Ceibal and how it is seen and referenced by programs in other countries:

Nuestro país es consultado constantemente por otros estados interesados en aplicar el programa de “una computadora por niño”…

Uruguay tiene presencia mundial no solo por el fútbol. El Plan Ceibal hace que nuestro país tenga una presencia importante en grandes eventos. “Hace algunas semanas, fui a un congreso con veinte mil personas en Estados Unidos, y el primer día no dejaron de hablar de Uruguay”, explicó Miguel Brechner.

Read the whole piece (in Spanish).

On OLPC and the diversity educational environments

A reply to S. Varghese

One of the Millennium Development Goals of the United Nations is to offer a sound elementary education to all children of the world by the year 2015 and to increase their access to information and communication technologies. One Laptop Per Child has worked since 2006 on this urgent educational mission in collaboration with public and private organizations in some forty nations, mostly in developing countries.

The great diversity of educational environments – or the lack of them – is the principal challenge here, and needs careful programming based on local conditions and human resources. OLPC is founded on five principles: ownership, early ages, saturation, connectivity and free and open source collaboration. This is the result of decades of research and development in advanced centers of study, and the XO laptop and the Sugar platform are two remarkable products of this international collaborative work. Other products will come soon as OLPC evolves to give answers to the increasing demands of education.

The central question is how to scale up the OLPC program from a town to a province to a country, in order to satisfy the educational requirements of different student populations. The agenda is getting more complex with the expansion of the geographic area involved. The local authorities must establish a detailed agenda in several steps, to provide a sound educational program to different cohorts of students, continuous training of teachers, and distribution of laptops to all children and teachers. Also the implementation of servers and internet connectivity in schools and public places, the logistics of repair or substitution of the laptops, etc. This whole process is part of a dynamic “cultural evolution” that produces a great variety of results, some unpredictable and innovative.

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Mobile libraries: a Victorian idea helping OLPC users share books

David Bainbridge and Ian Witten of the University of Waikato in New Zealand published a paper last year about using the Greenstone digital library toolkit to help offline XO users share libraries of books. From their abstract:

The idea draws upon mobile libraries (bookmobiles) for its inspiration, which first appeared in Victorian times. The implemented technique works by building on the mesh network that is instrumental to the XO-laptop approach. To use the technique, on each portable XO-laptop a version of Greenstone is installed, allowing the owner to develop and manage their own set of books. The version of Greenstone has been adapted to support a form of interoperability we have called Digital Library Talkback. On the mesh, when two XO-laptops “see” each other, the two users can search and browse the other user’s digital library; when they see a book they like, they can have it transferred to their library with a single click using the Digital Library Talkback mechanism.

Alas, you need to be an ACM member or pay $15 to read the full paper.