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.
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.
We are pleased to announce the release of OLPC OS 11.3.1 for XO-1, XO-1.5 and as a formal stable release for XO-1.75. Features, known issues, and installation details are covered in the release notes.
A heartfelt thanks to our many contributors, upstreams, testers, and other supporters. Comments and additional feedback are welcome on the devel mailing list; please download it and try it out.
If you have been following the release candidate process in the last few weeks: this is candidate build 885, released as final with no changes.
Thanks and enjoy!
The OLPC Development Team
From the latest Sugar digest:
Before getting on the overnight bus back to Chiclayo, Jorge gave me a file with images of Peruvian Soles, so I was able write a Soles plug in for Turtle Art on the overnight bus ride. (Again, I could not sleep due to the movie playing inches from my face.) Raul, who was sitting a few rows back from me, joined a shared Turtle Art session and we stumbled upon a new use for a well-worn activity: chat. By sharing text with the Show block (and as of TurtleBlocks-144, text-to-speech with the Speak block), you can engage in an interactive chat or forum, which includes sharing of pictures and graphics. What fun. (Walter)
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.
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!
Nancie wrote up her week visiting Boston to work on the updated Help activity, in her travel blog:
Last October at the San Francisco [OLPC] Volunteer Summit, plans for the Refresh-Help project evolved. This week in Boston, here we are! The details can be found on the wiki. Adam Holt (OLPC & Haiti), and volunteers Christoph Derndorfer (Vienna), George Hunt (engineering & School Server expert) Mark Battley (Toronto/Kenya), Craig Perue, (Jamaica), Laura de Reynal France/NosyKomba, Harriet V (India). Sandra Thaxter (MA/Kenya) Ed C (Indiana), Sameer (OLPC-SF & Jamaica), and locals Bernie, Dogie, SJ and others worked and played together at the Cambridge OLPC offices to try and get this project done! Chief organizer Caryl Bigenho was busy helping remotely most of the time. There were other folks around the globe furiously writing and editing too.
Thanks for all who helped out! We still need people to help finish packaging the result into a new Help.xo activity, and translate the result into Spanish.
We invite the submission of papers to be presented at the eduJAM! 2012 summit. It will take place Friday-Saturday, May 11th-12th.
A summary of the main contributions from all the papers and the mention of the authors will be published on the event’s website and in the media after the summit. See more details in the document linked here and on our website.
Llamados a Ponencias – eduJAM! 2012
Invitamos a la presentación de ponencias que integrarán el Encuentro de Desarrolladores Uruguay: eduJAM! 2012 a desarrollarse el 11 y 12 de mayo. Un resumen de los principales aportes del conjunto de las ponencias y la mención a sus autores será publicado en la pagina del evento y en los medios de comunicación posteriormente al encuentro.
Mas detalles en el archivo aqui o en nuestra web.
The Inter American Development Bank recently published the results of a study of the Peruvian schools that received OLPCs in rural primary schools in Peru, over the first 15 months of the program.
The methodology of the study was quite good, with a randomized study of over 300 schools. But the measurements and focus were not aligned with the goals of Peru’s program, and there is no clear way to compare these results with the other detailed results available from Plan Ceibal’s program in Uruguay. The after-analysis of their work has tended to focus on short-term math and reading results, whereas the goals of the program were access to knowledge, improvements in pedagogy, and access to computing – which might be expected to show up in the short term only in the abstract cognitive results.
The measured improvement in abstract thinking – roughly 5 additional months of cognitive development, over a 15-month period – is tremendous. It is interesting to note how this result is downplayed in parts of the world where schools live by less abstract standardized testing.
Some recent comments from OLPC staff and implementers, paraphrased for brevity:
‘The OLPC program in Peru, or any other place, has to be evaluated according to its initial goal. “math, language, and cognitive test results” showed outputs, but have no clear connection to Peru’s 2007 stated objectives, which targeted pedagogical training and application.’
Oscar Becerra, who oversaw OLPC in Peru’s government:
‘We succeeded in giving access to technology to 100% (220,000) of children and teachers at one-teacher schools, who otherwise would have had no opportunity to use ICT. Most had the option to take laptops home with them.’
Oscar has published other comments that are a good representation of the OLPC perspective.
Walter Bender recently talked to USAID’s Mobiles for Education (mEducation) monthly seminar group about OLPC’s tablet development, the future of Sugar, and a future where every child has their own tablet. They wrote up a nice summary of his talk.
As exciting as the introduction of the new tablet was for the small group of attendees at the seminar, Sugar was the focus of the discussion and one that Mr. Bender talked passionately about. Designed on OLPC’s principle of “Low floor, no ceiling”, it’s designed for inexperienced users, providing a platform, or low floor, on which to explore, create, and collaborate without any limits to its possibilities.
Exploration is key to Mr. Bender’s philosophy. Designing Sugar and the computers from a “constructivist” perspective, he referred to Swiss developmental psychologist Jean Piaget and his learning theory of “learning by doing” when discussing the intuitiveness of the system. “We want to raise a generation of independent thinkers and problem solvers, “ he said after displaying a picture of students taking apart and fixing one of OLPC’s laptops. “Every deployment has students who repair computers and they are designed so that students can fix them themselves.”
Cameroon is about to become an OLPC hub for francophone West Africa! The Islamic Development Bank and OLPC today are announcing a pilot project to connect 51 schools in six regions, deploying 5,000 XOs to primary school children and teachers. The team will also design a program that could extend this deployment across the country in the future. The idea for the program was started back in 2008, and has developed steadily since then, with help from a strong national team.
The Islamic Development Bank is a multilateral financing institution: it pools resources and supports economic development and social progress among its 56 member countries, including Cameroon. The Cameroon project represents the first time that the Islamic Development has financed an OLPC deployment, and may serve as a model for other francophone countries in the region. A team from Cameroon’s Ministry of Education has already provided training assistance to an ongoing OLPC project in Mali. Other countries in the region are expected to launch XO deployments in 2012.
Rodrigo Arboleda, announcing the program, said: “We are delighted to be working with the Islamic Development Bank on the financing of projects that support our mutual objective of fostering economic development and social progress. We are seeing tremendous interest in OLPC throughout Africa and look forward to working with both public and private sector partners in a number of countries to launch, expand and support other initiatives in the months ahead.”
Cameroon will be the first country in Africa to receive the ARM-based XO-1.75, which enters mass production this month. These XO laptops have the same sunlight-readable screen and other design features of the previous models, but draw only half the power.
Eric McGinnis, a senior at U. Delaware, took part in a visit to Haiti earlier this month coordinated by his school, UNC Charlotte, Waveplace, and Mothering Across Continents. After taking a course in game development, he built an English-to-Creole translator in Scratch which he distributed to students at the Waveplace school.
The UDaily covered the trip and his project.
George Hunt has recently been experimenting with the XS schoolserver (currently XS 0.7) on various hardware setups. And he is tracking his work on a blog dedicated to the purpose. We are now including it in the OLPC Planet newsfeed.
It’s a good read if you have been trying similar things at home or in your own school. You can contact him with questions or comments through his blog.
Walter and Melissa Henriquez ran Turtle Art and Scratch workshops las tweek, during a “vacation camp” for 3rd and 4th graders from Holmes Elementary School. It sounds like a it was a great success, with the children using Portfolio to make presentations of their work at the end of the week. Read more about it in the weekly Sugar Digest.
There are roughly 58 million primary school students in Latin America, according to UNESCO’s latest data from their Education For All initiative. 5% of children in that age range are not in school. And 5% of them use XOs: 1.5 million children have their own, and Peru’s urban initiative is giving another 1.5 million students in urban schools access to XOs through a program where groups of 3-5 students share a laptop.
That’s a lot of budding Pythonistas, Scratcheros, and Linux users!
Now if only my own home country would start providing computers and connectivity to its students as a matter of course…