Trains, planes, automobiles

Original by Sameer Verma – July 8th, 2013

 

I had quite the whirlwind trip to India for a four week period across Dec 2012-Jan 2013. After coming back, I presented about it at the OLPC San Francisco monthly meeting in January ’13. Then, in the hubbub of my spring semester at SF State, I promptly forgot to write it up. So, here it is, a few months late:

I landed in Mumbai (I still like to call it Bombay) right after Christmas eve, and promptly took off for Ahmedabad, Gujarat. After a few meetings with some friends and acquaintances, I ended up presenting to the governing board of CHARUSAT University, and subsequently to their student body over a two-day period. Across several meetings, I had the opportunity to talk about children, education, OLPC and Sugar to their faculty, staff and over 1200 students. It was a tiring visit, but a good one. CHARUSAT has a social responsibility component, and may look to support such a program in some of their neighboring villages.

XO

 

Continue reading the full story here.

Family Oriented XO Tablet Debuts at Walmart for $149

Captura de pantalla 2013-07-14 a las 20.32.06The new family-friendly XO Tablet debuts July 16 on Walmart.com and will be in Walmart stores on August 1, and will provide kids with a fun and exciting new way to build, learn and dream at their own pace via a powerful Android tablet packed with free educational games, apps, videos, e-books and more. The flexible tablet also grows with the family offering up to three separate user accounts plus full-fledged Android tablet functionality with parental-controlled access to conventional Android apps and the Google Play store.

“The XO Tablet is the first and only tablet designed specifically to help kids explore their dreams and spark their imaginations,” said Jeff Saka, president of Vivitar. “Not only does it combine active learning with fun, imaginative play, but parents can also feel confident in giving the durable and secure XO Tablet to children of any ageand they can even use it themselves.”

The only multilingual (English/Spanish) and Google-Certified tablet for kids on the market, the XO Tablet and on-board XO Learning System were designed and developed by One Laptop per Child (OLPC) to harness the power of a touchscreen device to create new ways for children to learn. The tablet’s child-friendly interface, cover and packaging were developed by legendary designer Yves Behar and his team at the Fuse Project. Priced affordably at just $149.99 MSRP, the XO Tablet from Vivitar features a 7-inch 1024 x 600 dpi hi-resolution screen and a 1.64GHz dual-core processor running the latest Android Jelly Bean OS with nearly 8 hours of battery life to deliver a high-performance user experience at an exceptional value. The tablet will also be available in Canada and Europe in the French and Italian languages later this year.

“Touchscreens are intuitive for children, making the XO Tablet an optimal platform for educational interaction and creativity and ideal for our US retail debut with Vivitar,” noted Rodrigo Arboleda, Chairman and CEO, OLPC. “With the XO Learning System at the center of this tablet, OLPC along with our content partners, are able to offer curated, state-of-the-art learning technology to kids and their families across the country.”

XO Learning System content has been curated and selected for age-appropriateness and learning value by OLPC in collaboration with Common Sense Media, a leading non-profit organization dedicated to helping parents and teachers make informed decisions about media. Additional OLPC partners include Oxford University Press, Discovery Kids Puterbugs, TED, Story Emporium, MyCityWay, Pipo Ceibal, Little Pim, WeWantToKnow-DragonBox+, JokerWare, Zeptolab, Brain POP, Kids Yoga Journey, Bankeroo, Sesame Street and others.

Dreams Dashboard and On-Board Apps Provide World-Class Educational Curriculum

The XO’s unique Dreams interface lets kids explore more than 100 free pre-loaded apps, games, books and other content over a $250 value based on subject areas, interests and skill level. Children can choose their own learning adventure depending on what they want to be today, or when they grow up. Options like “I want to be an…” XO Artist, Engineer, Chef, Mathematician, Musician, Teacher, Traveler and more give kids a wide array of activities to choose from with content created by world-class partners.

XO Journal, Parental Controls Provide Insight and Security

The XO Tablet is designed to help parents become actively involved in their child’s tablet use and learning progress. With support for up to three user accounts, parents can set specific permissions for each user to control access to apps, the Internet, games and Google Play. These password-protected privileges can be adjusted anytime as the child matures to offer wider access and more capabilities.

With the innovative XO Journal tool, parents can gain unique insight into how each child is using the device, how much time they spend on each app, and where their interests and strengths lie. Parents can even view each child’s learning progress and how their performance compares to other children of their age.

Each XO Tablet features both a front- and rear- facing camera and comes with a protective bumper case and charger. The The XO Tablet is available now on Walmart.com and is coming soon to other other U.S. Retailers, including Walmart stores. For more information, visit www.xotablet.com or the xo-learning.org blog

The upcoming XO Tablet: A parent’s perspective

Original by sverma on Tue, 07/09/2013 – 18:56

Every afternoon, when I go to pick up my daughters from school, I ask them “What did you do in school today?” Several years into the ritual, it has become a habitual question now, and I get varying degrees of responses from them, depending on their mood, and what they feel like sharing. To me, it’s of paramount importance to hear it from them. At least until they stop sharing with me smiley 7800 miles away, the parents of Anshu in Bhagmalpur, India would like to know as well. They are curious about what Anshu does on his OLPC XO laptop all day. In Jamaica, where I now have three projects, parents of John also want to know how he spends his time on his OLPC laptop. The teachers are curious about time spent on different activities (apps in OLPC/Sugar parlance). The principal wants to know if the sudden leap in math scores has anything to do with the children playing with Tuxmath every chance they get! Feedback is important. In fact, there is now an entire field of “Learning Analytics” that is growing rapidly. If you’ve used a “dashboard” in SalesForce or Drupal, then you know where this is going.

Anshu checking his Wi-Fi signal in Bhagmalpur, India

OLPC laptops use Sugar as their learning environment. Sugar uses the metaphor of a journal to store the work of a child. The Journal allows for personal reflection on what the child does, and pick up where she left off and continue to build. Think of the Journal as a mini dashboard for the child. The concept of a file is gone. How nice! The only reason we call them “files” is because we have grown up in a world of filing cabinets (I have one in my office), with folders holding files and documents. That’s our world of metaphors. What does a child in the Amazon know of filing cabinets?!

A Sugar Journal

While the Journal is detailed enough to give the child a view of her world, as a parent, I would like to know about aggregates. How often does my daughter read a book, as opposed to looking up Wikipedia? How often does she play the Maze, Memorize, and her other favorite activities (apps)? Frequency counts are interesting in giving me a heads-up on how she spends her time. When does she read? A pattern of use across the time of day is useful too. To that end, we now have the Analyze Journal activity.  It provides a summary view of some of the items in the Journal. Think of this as yet another dashboard, but perhaps for a parent or a teacher. As a parent, I can certainly relate to this.

The Analyze Journal activity

The upcoming XO Tablet, is a significantly different product. It is also a significantly different Androidtablet. I saw an early preview back in January, but haven’t seen the finished product yet, so some of this writing is based on the video. Here are a few things I know. It does not run on Sugar, but it does have some interesting features. The Android tablet allows the parent to create accounts for the children. Each account then can have some degree of parental guidance and protection. For instance, I am not a fan of letting my daughters get on to the Internet without supervision. Heck, I don’t even let them watch Disney, without supervision! So, the fact that you can turn Internet access on or off in a profile is very useful. So is the feature of knowing what your child has been doing on the tablet.

Settings per child (screen shot from video)

The XO Tablet implements some features of the concept of a journal. Looks like it is called the Parent Dashboard. One can keep up with some of the progress of one’s child by category. I’d be curious to explore more of this feature.


Parent Dashboard (screen shot from video)

The XO Tablet also allows for switching out of this “Dreams” interface to a full-fledged Android tablet, and includes access to the Google Play store (as the video indicates. See below).

Switching from Dreams interface to full Android (screen shot from video)

The XO Tablet runs on Android, so the Sugar learning environment that we are used to on the OLPC XO laptop isn’t compatible with it. I don’t think we’ll see any of the “View Source” functionalities that we see in Sugar. Android is Open Source (Apache license), while Sugar is Free Software (GPL). The development models and motivations around those kinds of licenses are significantly different. Sugar is developed by Sugarlabs, which sees contributions by OLPC employees and Sugar developers. The “Dreams” interface on the XO Tablet is being built by MorphOSS LTD., a company in New Zealand, and as far as I can tell, the software is neither Free nor Open Source. The tablet also lacks a tactile keyboard, so a fair bit of “production” is ruled out. Imagine writing a letter to a friend on a touch keyboard. I have, and it sucks. That’s a peeve I have against tablets, so it’s not specific to the XO Tablet. Of course, one could argue that in this new age of machines, who needs to write? Simply hit record and communicate! Captain Picard’s “Tea, Earl Grey, Hot” is around the corner! However, with the advent of HTML 5 applications for Sugar, and other interesting developments stemming from Android as a base (including Firefox PhoneUbuntu Touch and others where one can run non-Android systems on an Android-derived Linux base (a different Linux distribution in chroot), I’m hopeful that there will be some degree of convergence. I realize that the XO Tablet is geared for the “first world” markets, but there are plenty of good ideas on it, and while the under-developed world will still need (note: need is different from want) water resistant, dust resistant, robust low-powered laptops – and we have the XO-4 for that – this XO Tablet should be interesting to use in the so-called developed world. It sounds like it will be available via retail outlets soon. I wish the XO-4 was available retail as well, but that’s another blog – in logistics, supply chain management and VAR channels smiley Here’s the marketing video:


You can also hear about it from Giulia D’Amico at OLPC Association:


Response to Inaccurate Information Recently Posted about OLPC

One Laptop Per Child Association Inc. (“OLPC”) wishes to respond to a recent post in OLPC News that contained several assertions that are contextually inaccurate and may lead to conclusions that are incorrect.

With the recent development of the XO-4 Touch laptop,the XOTablet and its educational “Dreams” User Interface, necessary adjustments in the composition of the OLPC team were required. First, several of the engineers and programmers who specialized in hardware design departed OLPC as their services were no longer required. John Watlington our CTO, remains in charge of finalizing the XO‐4‐Touch laptop. He is also preparing the ground for the next hardware launch. The OLPC Technical team continues to focus on software development, incorporating Sugar into the Android OS, and developing unique apps for the tablet and laptop environment. This team, under the leadership of Andrew McMillan, includes Samuel Greenfeld and a team of developers at Morphoss Ltd., including Heather Buchanan, Chris Noldus, Alexander Nikitin, Samantha Qiao and Tim Evetts.

The OLPC Learning team is under the direction of Doctor Antonio Battro, a colleague of both Jean Piaget and Seymour Papert. Dr. Battro is in charge of leading the philosophical direction of the learning team. He is a distinguished member of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences, an emblematic institution with more than 40 Nobel Prize recipients in its roster of 90 scientists around the globe. Claudia Urrea remains involved with specific OLPC projects. Moises Salinas Fleitman has joined the Learning group. Bob Hacker also remains committed to OLPC and its mission. Donna Mackenzie has joined OLPC as CFO.Her extensive experience in social media, crowd sourcing, finance, and M&A is of great importance to OLPC at this moment. OLPC is also blessed with the support and contributions of Michele Borba, Educator, TV commentator and consultant to many institutions in the field.

In addition, the XOTablet will be launched on July 16 exclusively at Walmart and soon afterwards at many of the top retailers in the USA, Europe, and in North and South America. With the continued development of new products and content, OLPC maintains its commitment to providing children with an innovative educational experience. OLPC is at its core a social equality movement and a transformer of the existing educational systems. The recent transitions at OLPC permit it to adapt and grow with the demands of the market while adhering to its basic principles.

OLPC is very excited about its current projects in the USA and abroad. OLPC is delivering the first batch of XO-4 Touch machines to Uruguay, in addition to a large order of XOTablets.OLPC has also begun the production of a large order for the government of Rwanda. The feedback from focus groups and educational institutions with respect to OLPC’s new devices, the XO-4 Touch and the XO Tablet, has been extremely positive.

OLPC is aware of certain animosity from top commercial entities and from some individual bloggers that see OLPC as a threat to their existence. In reality, this is something to feel proud about. It is a testament to the strength of OLPC and its mission that it is somehow seen as a threat to bigger entities around the world.OLPC believes that it is the educational equivalent to the World Food Program in its mission to feed the poor. OLPC continues to search for disruptive and creative ways to challenge old beliefs and clichés. OLPC continues to lead the way in innovation and education around the globe. On behalf of OLPC, I thank you for your continued support of our mission.

Rodrigo Arboleda

Chairman and CEO
One Laptop Per Child Association, Inc.

PDF version here.

Teachers’ Trainings in Armenia

Originaly posted in Nurarmenia Newsletter

Dear Friends,You can see below some pictures from our teachers´ trainings 2012.

Their success can be measured by the great work their students did during the past months, which we shared through these newsletters.

We are proud of their performance and are currently preparing a more challenging training for this year.

NUR team

 

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Libreville-Gabon

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The Ministry of Education of the Republic of Gabon organized a five day One Laptop Per Child training on June 17 to 21, 2013. The training was conducted by One Laptop Per Child Association Inc. representatives from its regional office in Kigali.

The training was designed to give a comprehensive introduction to OLPC. The training explained the tremendous milestones achieved to date in providing educational opportunities to children around the world.

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The OLPCA representatives introduced the XO, its preloaded content and the Sugar learning platform to the Ministry’s officials, educators from the Institue Superiere Pedagique, Foramateurs du project E-education, and Engineers who will be involved in the teacher trainings and the deployment in Gabon.

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The training discussed what has been learned in Rwanda during the past four years.

The OLPC team from Rwanda shared its experiences, achievements, challenges and perspectives in its ongoing effort to integrate OLPC technology into the Rwandan education system.

The Ministry of Education of Gabon invited friends, associates and colleagues, who will be instrumental in furthering the OLPC cause in Gabon, to attend the training. Invitees included individuals from the Centre Numerique de Libreville, Centre techniques Basil Ondimba and other thought leaders from various organizations. Approximately 22 to 25 individuals attended the training each day.

Training Overview

The first day of the training provided a general introduction to OLPC’s background,its mission, and learning philosophy. The team presented OLPC achievements to date. OLPC representatives shared an overview of different OLPC projects worldwide. The OLPC team also discussed the Rwandan experience and the lessons learned over the past four years of the project in Rwanda. The team shared galleries of children’s work from various schools in Rwanda. OLPC representatives examined the impact on  learning, classroom dynamics, changes in school attendance, and the overall changes brought by XO into the families and communities in Rwanda. This busy day ended with all attendees exploring preloaded content on XO. Attendees were able to experience the uniqueness of the Sugar learning platform, which allows learners to create, share and collaborate with their peers.

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On the second day, the training introduced the Sugar learning environment to the representatives of different organizations in attendance. It is anticipated that these organizations will be involved in preparation and implementation of next year’s large teacher trainings and deployments. Participants created different lesson plans integrating curriculum topics. During this process, participants became familiar with the Sugar user interface and the Write, Record, Scratch, Etoys, Social Calc and Portfolio activities.

During the third day, OLPC representatives shared the different approaches used in Rwanda to support schools with respect to the learning side of the project. For example, the OLPC team in Rwanda has organized XO users clubs, after school and holiday camps, and XO weekly challenges. The team has also worked with teachers on developing lesson plans that integrate use of the XO laptop. These are ways that teachers in Gabon can further support use of the XO laptops.

The final two days of the training were focused on the technical aspects of the XO laptops.

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Participants were introduced to the XO’s hardware and software, the school servers’ technology and troubleshooting tips. The attendees also assembled and dissembled laptops of the ENSB school in Libreville. The training was concluded with an overview of the OLPC deployment guide and the project as implemented in Rwanda. The long discussions and debates conducted by the Ministry’s expert Kacandre Bourdelais and OLPC representatives, Desire Rwagaju & Jimmy Intwali, highlighted potential opportunities and threats to a successful implementation of the One Laptop Per Gabonese Child program.

 

OLPC welcomes new members

OLPC is pleased to welcome Donna Mackenzie as its new CFO. Donna has extensive experience as a senior level finance executive. Prior to her position with OLPC, Donna served as CFO of IZEA, a social media marketing organization. Donna’s experience and expertise will serve OLPC well as it launches important new machines, software and services.

OLPC’s latest version of the XO laptop, the XO- 4 Touch, is currently on its way to Uruguay and Australia. The Government of Rwanda recently placed an order for an additional 42,500 XO laptops. In the U.S., the XO Tablet is completed and OLPC is expecting its official launch at Walmart in the upcoming weeks through our strategic partnership with Vivitar, a Sakar company. The XO Tablet also will be available at other major retailer locations in the United States and Canada. Uruguay has already purchased 8,000 XO Tablets.

OLPC is also proud to announce that it has been working with Morphoss Ltd, a software development organization headed by Andrew McMillan in New Zealand. Morphoss will be working to port  Sugar into the XO Tablet through the Android based “Dreams” User Interface. This will provide children using the tablet with increased educational opportunities.

OLPC maintains an experienced team of educators and programmers who continue to support its pedagogical philosophy. Heading the learning team at OLPC as Chief Learning Officer is Dr. Antonio Battro, a neurologist and colleague of Jean Piaget and Seymour Papert. Dr. Battro is also a distinguished member of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences in Rome. The learning team also includes Walter Bender, former head of the MIT Media Lab and creator of the Sugar educational software, and Dr. Michele Borba, Goodwill Ambassador to OLPC. Additional learning team members will be announced shortly.

In addition, OLPC has recently signed several agreements with major partners, including UNESCO, Oxford University Press, Common Sense Media, TED and Discovery. Applications and content from these partners will be available on the XO Tablet as part of the pre-loaded content and applications.

OLPC continues to be dedicated to its mission of providing every child around the world with connected, educational devices.

Rodrigo Arboleda

Chairman and CEO

One Laptop per Child Association.

Turbana partners with OLPC to provide computers to underprivileged areas

Nothing empowers communities like education. That is why Turbana has partnered with One Laptop per Child to donate 1,800 new XO laptops to underpriviledged children in Uraba, Colombia.

vidturbOne Laptop per Child is a foundation whose mission is to empower the world’s poorest children through education. They manufacture rugged, low cost laptops that connect children with the world and facilitate active learning, sharing and creating, thus providing an education needed for a prosperous future.


original post

Zamora Teran Foundation collaborating with the project in Honduras

IMG_2044The Zamora Teran Foundation is collaborating with the 1:1 project in San Pedro Sula, Honduras. They recently received a message from a representative of the M. of Education in Honduras:

…Extend our appreciation to the Zamora Terán Family, who have spared no effort and willingness to contribute to the education of our children, their expressions of solidarity really invite other entrepreneurs to share with a cheerful heart.

We pray to our Creator blessings multiply and widen your heart every day but to share with the less fortunate.

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Definitely an example to be followed by others…

 

OLPC Trains Local Librarians in Charlotte’s Project L.I.F.T. Zone

Monique F. Pollock, OLPC Facilitator at Ashley Park K-8

On May 29, 2013 several Charlotte Mecklenburg librarians received a first hand experience with the XO laptop. Due to an emerging partnership with Project L.I.F.T and the West Charlotte branch locations, the librarians are eager to assist elementary XO learners who live in this zone. These library locations include the West Boulevard, Beatties Ford Road and the ImaginOn branches, which are frequented by the students.

 

Programs are being developed to support learning with technology at these locations.

 

During the training, the librarians got the full experience of an XO learner in a one to one classroom. From opening the innovative laptop to creating work samples, exploration filled the fun packed hour. The librarians even got a chance to chat with each other with the laptops’ ad hoc networks. Using the Sugar platform exclusive to the XO laptop, communicating and sharing work is an available option to all XO learners.

The staff was also impressed with accessibility options on the laptop including the free applications, multiple languages and the speak function, allowing students to hear words as they type passages. The session also included an introduction to coding, importing and creating media and downloading books to the XO laptop. The librarians are excited to welcome XO learners in the 2013-2014 school year. Plans are underway for workshops and XO dedicated spaces in the select West Charlotte library locations.