In the heart of Nicaragua lies the largest lake in Central America, Lake Nicaragua. Millions of years ago, a volcanic eruption formed a curious island in this freshwater lake composed of two volcanoes — Concepcion and Maderas — the former of which is still active. Concepcion has an altitude of 1,610 meters, which makes Ometepe the world’s highest island on a lake. Volcanic ash has created an extremely fertile island and the volcanoes are visible everywhere on the island. Ometepe is truly a paradise, with its tropical, lush and magical air and soil.
In addition to the natural brilliance of the island and its volcanoes, Ometepe recently became the first digital island in the Americas. To put that in numbers, 100% of its 5,000 elementary school children and all teachers received a laptop connected to high-speed Internet, as part of the One Laptop Per Child educational initiative. Participating students and teachers receive OLPC laptops and the training and support needed to truly realize the potential of these machines
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.
The OLPC Canada team is excited to share a new animated video highlighting some of the inspiring outcomes when Aboriginal students are connected with educational technology. Please help us build awareness of this initiative by sharing this video on Facebook and Twitter and liking it on Youtube.
OLPC Canada provides 21st century educational tools to Aboriginal students nationwide. To date, they have connected more than 60 Aboriginal education programs and 9,000 students to technology designed with children in mind. Please help raise awareness about this initiative by sharing this video. It takes a network to connect a child.
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”.
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.
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.
Hay muchos aprendizajes por retomar y difundir; uno 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.
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.
Part of our focus is to support deployments that have made a long term commitment to work with us. When we have new models, we work hard to provide them as an upgrade.
This means that if you have today XO-1 or XO-1.5 laptops you can purchase an upgrade kit that will turn it into an XO-1.75. It does require that you perform the motherboard replacement, but the savings can be significant.
XO-1.75 with grid membrane and mechanical keyboard. Photo by Sandra Barragan
With this upgrade you get a modern ARM CPU, much lower power consumption (it runs long hours on each battery charge, and performs fantastically well on solar panels). Depending on options, you can get larger RAM and storage. You can also choose to get the new grid membrane keyboard.
If you are thinking of doing this, get in touch with us. If you know the SKU number of the laptops you have, which you can find in the battery compartment, that will make the process easier.
For each variant of the XO you need a slightly different upgrade kit, so it is important that we get it right. Our engineers have done quite a bit of work to plan the different upgrade kits.
Do you know of any laptop manufacturer that supports upgrading 5 year old models to the latest and greatest with a motherboard change, and at a fraction of the cost?
At this time, there is a minimum order quantity of 100 kits. If you are interested in ordering 100 upgrade kits or more, please contact Leah@laptop.org at OLPC for further details. Make sure you indicate the SKU of the units you want to upgrade.
Unfortunately, due to packing, shipping, customs and warranty logistics, OLPC is currently unable to offer upgrade kits for orders under 100 kits. The costs of shipping individual components packed properly is high.
Order quantities of 1000 kits and larger can be processed faster and at lower cost.
The next iteration of the XO will finally have a fully armed and operational tablet mode, thanks to an optical touchscreen from Neonode.
This week we signed a licensing agreement with them to embed their optical touchscreens into future ‘XO Touch’ laptops. The XO Touch will be a true laptop + tablet, with the same 7.5” sunlight-readable display, and Neonode’s fast-scanning multitouch. There are a lot of applications I have in mind for those prototypes…
Neonode are energy-conscious, thanks to their history of work with mobile devices, and have features such as gesture-activated wakeup that will help the XO remain the lowest-power laptop around. Neonode is also proud of their screen’s low-latency pen or brush sensors, and ability to sense proximity, pressure, and depth and measure object-size.
Leaders of both projects commented on the partnership:
Thomas Eriksson, Neonode CEO:
“We are honored to be collaborating with OLPC to produce the XO Touch, a truly pioneering and sustainable device that shows the broad versatility of our technology. This market entry confirms that our MultiSensing technology makes it possible to create a top class product that is both affordable and extremely energy saving and still has a user interface that is radical enough to satisfy the uncompromising demands of knowledge- and entertainment-thirsty children. Our company philosophy is to contribute to a better and happier world, and we have the opportunity to do so by supporting OLPC’s mission.”
Rodrigo Arboleda, OLPCA CEO:
“OLPC is proud to partner with an organization that shares its appreciation for innovative and transformative technology. Neonode’s expertise in engineering and design will turn the XO Touch, which combines the best features of laptop and tablet, into a next-level innovative machine.”
Seema Singh recaps some of the history of the Aakash and related efforts for Forbes India. The Aakash got its start with a tender for 10K units from IIT Jodhpur, which was expanded to an order for 100K from the Indian government. DataWind, the company that secured the initial tender, ran a pilot which received much fanfare, but distributed only 572 tablets to 19 colleges.
There was some debate as to whether these met the initial spec; and work was refocused on an updated design, the Aakash 2. It’s unclear whether the rest of the inital 10K tablets were distributed to the government; 30K of that model were sold online marketed as the UbiSlate. The Aakash 2 is currently being tested by DataWind and two institutions in India, with hopes for a [new] school pilot of 100K students this fall. The first of those machines are being deployed this month.
DataWind has had trouble meeting deadlines and demand. They were beset by many external pressures: heavy pressure to keep the price down, the scrutiny of a very public launch, and requirements that much of their supply chain and manufacturing be based in India (which limited the number of possible partners and added a few single points of failure).
They have accumulated many non-binding statements of interest in v.2 of the tablet; but it’s not clear how many will convert now to sales. And after a half-year of heady press they have suffered a half-year of negative backlash. They now aim to offer the commercial version of the Aakash 2 for just under $65; and the Indian government still plans to subsidize half the cost of a model for students – at least for the 100K in this year’s pilot. While this is still an impressive undertaking, as it was when announced last year, the delay has hurt the national story. Now people like Singh are calling the project a disaster rather than a landmark success, and worrying that China will launch a similar program first.
Singh highlights a few related projects from around the country:
The “$10 laptop” effort started in 2009 by Technical Education secretary NK Sinha (which did not produce a laptop nor contribute IP to the current project)
The Ministry of Rural Development’s socioeconomic census, which commissioned 640K tablets in 2011 and 2012 for its door-to-door surveys (at $72, from Bharat Electronics, with no drama but their admitted inability to meet the ministry’s request of a $35 price point)
The Tamil Nadu government’s “one laptop per student” program to deliver 1.4M laptops to college students each year for the next 5 years. (They have 6 different vendors sharing the task)
She notes that some of the Tamil Nadu vendors are finding it difficult to complete their deliveries under budget. But neglects to note that the program was successful enough for Uttar Pradesh to copy it, recently putting out a tender for roughly 250K tablets (for students passing their 10th grade exams) and 200K laptops (for those passing their 12th grade exams), as year 1 of a multi-year program.
We will see whether DataWind manages to make good on their goal of millions of sales this year. Kapil Sibal continues to push for all 220M students in India to have their own laptop or tablet. And he continues to say compelling things of his vision, such as “It will be a device that creates content.” One way or another, I hope that vision is realized.
Christoph Derndorfer recently interviewed Rangan Srikhanta, CEO of OLPC Australia, about their plans for the coming year. An excerpt:
You recently launched a new initiative called “One Education” and received $11.7 Million in government funding… Can you tell us more about these developments?
We pitched to the Australian government to kick-off a pilot for 50,000 XOs… a $20m project that would including funding from schools, corporations as well as from government. The program will also provide at least 15 hours of teacher professional development (via moodle) to over 2,500 teachers [to] kick-start a movement to make OLPC the program of choice for primary school children.
What are the biggest challenges that you need to address before you can turn OLPC Australia’s vision into a reality?
Scaling our operations to meet the demand (2 months ago we were a 2,500 XO an year organisation, now we are proposing to do 50,000 in one year) that will be coming through our very small offices in the next 12-18 months. In Australia there are high expectations for service delivery/support.
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 😉
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!
Sol Computer, a California-based distributor that focuses on sunlight-readable technology, has a high-end line of rugged netbook laptops, is planning to sell a similar tablet for $950 later this year. It looks a lot like they are targeting an OLPC use case in the developed world — sunlight-readable, child- and abuse-friendly devices. Nice to know there is a market for that, and that it has discovered Pixel Qi.
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.
Their new displays continue to drop their power requirements; we would be able to save over half of the power our current displays draw by upgrading to the newest Qi design. I have always loved this best of all of the tech innovations in the XO, and am delighted to see it take off as its own force for constructive change.
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.
Many incredible volunteers are still on their way to Boston, sacrificing their Passover/Easter holiday weekend, for our April 6-10’s Doc Sprint. Officially starting Friday at OLPC HQ in Cambridge, Massachusetts!
The 5-day task is Huge. So was the marathon preparation. Our goal here, and now: to engage thousands more active users worldwide, of all ages, to understand the POWER of the XO laptop and its Sugar learning system — 4.5 full years after this global XO kids learning movement truly hit the road.
U R What U Eat!
It’s time. And our community tools are all rapidly coming together to make this all happen — so our community’s priorities boil down to documenting:
Core OS, Sugar & Gnome
Learning Tactics, School Server, Volunteer Community
In the end? The most cool Sugar Activities on every continent will make our best Chapters visible, just 1 click away, for Years To Come.
The amazing reality? Key documents (and videos) are already being slapped into shape, and interlinked in far more meaningful ways, and far beyond core manuals. Consider Walter Bender’s newly concise summaries of his 25 favorite Activities, real world server-in-field tricks emerging into the light — with new kinds of project-sparking videos imminent from implementation experts like Kenya’s Ntugi Group.