2012 Doc Sprint Begins

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:

  1. XO Hardware
  2. Core OS, Sugar & Gnome
  3. Sugar Activities
  4. Learning Tactics, School Server, Volunteer Community

Our driving goal?  Refreshing our touchstone manual that first appeared way back in early autumn 2008.  No, NOT another deployment guide or deployment gossip. But something succinct+snappy, dare we say approachable+fun? With dramatic changes in store…

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.

Don’t forget.  You too CAN contribute, even from a distance, even just joining our team mailing list library@lists.laptop.org!

R We Alearning Yet?

Thanks to all running this race for the ages!  Especially Christoph Derndorfer, Caryl Bigenho, Seth Woodworth and Laura de Reynal for their most priceless prep :)

Australia’s toughest Linux deployment: a plan for 300,000 XOs

Sridhar Dhanapalan is giving a talk next week about OLPC Australia, pitching it as “Australia’s toughest Linux deployment“.  It certainly is that.  He notes their aim to reach each of the 300,000 children and teachers in remote parts of Australia, over the next three years.

From his abstract:

OLPC Aus­tralia aims to cre­ate a sus­tain­able and com­pre­hens­ive pro­gramme to enhance oppor­tun­it­ies for every child in remote Aus­tralia… by 2014.

[T]he most remote areas of the con­tin­ent are typ­ic­ally not eco­nom­ic­ally viable for a busi­ness to ser­vice, hence the need for a not-for-profit in the space. 

This talk will out­line how OLPC Aus­tralia has developed a solu­tion to suit Aus­tralian scen­arios. Com­par­is­ons and con­trasts will be made with other “com­puters in schools” pro­grammes, OLPC deploy­ments around the world and cor­por­ate IT projects.

By pro­mot­ing flex­ib­il­ity and ease of use, the pro­gramme can achieve sus­tain­ab­il­ity by enabling man­age­ment at the grass-roots level. The XO laptops them­selves are… repair­able in the field, with min­imal skill required. Train­ing is con­duc­ted online, and an online com­munity allows par­ti­cipants nation­wide to share resources.

Key to the ongo­ing suc­cess of the pro­gramme is act­ive engage­ment with all stake­hold­ers, and a recog­ni­tion of the total cost of own­er­ship over a five-year life cycle.

 

Book Server 0.01: Pathagar + Sheeva Plug for offline reading

Sameer Verma of OLPC-SF, as he mentiond at last week’s amazing community summit, is putting together a book server for use in rural India, with 20,000 books and audio files on it for students and teachers to use locally. He is going to deploy it at a school pilot near his familial hometown.

This is a Pathagar server implementing the OPDS bookserver standard, running on a tiny Sheeva Plug device, accessible over a local network to XOs in the neighborhood.  The Sheeva Plug is low power and has USB and SD ports that make it easy to expand such an offline library.  Here it is plugged in and in use, drawing a total of 4 Watts:

Sayamindu Dasgupta, who contributed to the design of the OPDS specification, developed the Pathagar server to implement the spec; Manuel Quiñones created the version of the server used here.  Book and audio suggestions are welcome for this particular build, and a web-based form for linking to OPDS archives suitable for inclusion in the image will be up shortly.  If you have your own Sheeva Plug, you can torrent the original disk image of this installation.

The setup was load-tested last night, using a simple build: a stock Sheeva Plug and 16GB USB key (total cost: $100). Quick statistics:

  • Power draw: 4W
  • Simultaneous downolads: 500
  • Library size: 10,000 – 50,000 books

For details, images, and a mailing list for discussion, see the bookserver project page.

Sugar Day Argentina: Sept 25-26, in Junín

Reposting an invitation from SugarLabs Argentina to their first Sugar Day, in Junin, to be held September 25-26.

SugarLabs Argentina quiere hacer publico el próximo encuentro de desarrolladores de la plataforma de aprendizaje Sugar. Este evento sera realizado entre los días 25 – 26 de Septiembre del 2011 en la ciudad de Junín, provincia de Buenos Aires, Argentina.

El objetivo del encuentro es de juntarnos en una sesión de trabajo de programadores – code sprint – con la intención de escribir código, enseñar, aprender, colaborar e incentivar el desarrollo de software libre sobre Sugar en las distintas comunidades de programadores. ¡ Y por supuesto reforzar y generar nuevos lazos de amistad en esta comunidad !

La propuesta del encuentro se basa en el dictado de un taller inicial de programación en Python sobre Sugar y en el code sprint ya mencionado. Compartimos el cronograma preliminar:

— —
<Domingo 25>
11:00 – 13:00 Apertura – Discusión, pendientes y prioridades a programar en el code sprint.
13:20 – 15:00 Almuerzo.
15:30 – 20:00 Se dispondrá de un espacio para quienes quieran iniciar el code sprint.
</Domingo 25>
<Lunes 26> /*dos track en paralelo*/
Track 1
09:00 – 11:30/12:00 Taller inicial de programación en Python sobre Sugar.
Track 2
09:00 – 13:00 Code sprint.
13:20 – 14:30 Almuerzo.
15:00 – (a definir) Retomamos Code sprint.
Despedida.
</Lunes 26>
— —
El taller se realiza con el apoyo de la empresa Actvity Central.

Por ultimo, queremos difundir que durante el Viernes 23 y Sábado 24 en la misma ciudad -Junin-, el grupo de usuarios de Python Argentina -PyAr- llevara adelante la conferencia del lenguaje Python 2011. Motivo por el cual decidimos realizar nuestro evento en continuación a la PyConAr-2011

Acercarnos tus propuestas e interés en participar, para que juntos, ajustemos todos los detalles necesarios para llevar adelante y compartir entre todos este evento.

http://ar.sugarlabs.org  |   sugarday2011@ar.sugarlabs.org

OLPC Oceania expands to Kosrae, with US support

Since our first partnership with the Secretariat of the Pacific Community, which began in 2008, OLPC has seen significant deployments in Niue (the first country in the world to realize one laptop for every child), Nauru, the Solomon Islands, Vanuatu, and Papua New Guinea.

Last year we expanded our work in the region to start pilots in 12 other countries from the Pacific Island Forum.  One of the pilot projects developed was a well-received program in Kosrae, one of the four states of Micronesia.

As Michael Hutak reports on the OLPC Oceania blog, we are now working with Micronesia to build on the success of that pilot. Kosrae recently secured a $400K Supplemental Education Grant from the United States under the Compact of Free Association agreement between the US and Micronesia. Kosrae plans to implement a full-scale deployment of OLPC to all of their students from 1st to 8th grades.

 

 

In July, Kosrae deployed laptops to all 810 students and teachers in grades 5-8.  The first laptop was handed out at Utwe Elementary School, by Kosrae State Governor Lyndon Jackson (with Department of Education Director Lyndon Cornelius looking on).

ceremony was held at Tafunsak Elementary School to announce the program, attended by US Ambassador Prahar, who encouraged everyone involved to use their new tools well.  As Oceania expands its OLPC program, this looks like a model to follow, with collaboration from many sectors of the local and international community.

A photo from the handout at Wachung Elementary school, visited by Cornelius and former Senator John Martin.

The second half of the deployment, for the students and teachers in grades 1-4, will take place later this year.

A Nepali hacker’s wishes for the School Server

Abhishek Singh from OLE Nepal published his long and excellent XS wishlist, generating a long discussion on the server-devel mailing list (1, 2) and other discussion online.   He discusses some specific use cases for current and requested-future features, including:

  • Porting XS to new version of Fedora
  • Support for more architectures
  • Self-tests
  • Web content filtering
  • Shared Journal Backup
  • A platform for socializing
  • Some specific packages needed for the above.

On the list, Martin comments on the package requests, Mokurai weighs in, and Sridhar points out what OLPC-AU has been doing with their XS builds.

 

eduJAM! starts in Uruguay

The eduJAM! convocation is going strong, with 2-3 days of Sugar camp and discussion among developers and teachers from across the world. Keep an eye on the ceibalJAM site in the coming days for videos and notes from the event.

You can browse some of the presentations on the edujam2011 slideshare account.

eduJAM!-invitacion

eduJAM! invitacion

OLPCistas in Uruguay this week and next

Over 20 OLPC and Sugar collaborators are in Uruguay this week, visiting schools, meeting with the Uruguayan communities (ceibalJAM, RAP Ceibal, and the eduJAM event team), and preparing for the eduJAM! summit for Sugar developers and educators across Latin America.

The attendees are using a separate OLPC Uruguay 2011 blog for the week to track their various travels and projects in Uruguay. If you can’t be there yourself, you can follow along (and share your own questions for the group) here.

eduJAM! planned in Montevideo, May 5-7

This week a team led by Uruguay’s ceibalJAM! (including Gabriel Eirea, Pablo Flores, Gonzalo Odiard, Fernando Sansberro, and Andrés Ambrois) and including Walter, Adam, Christoph, and David Farning, made progress in organizing an education hacking summit in Montevideo, Uruguay.

The name of the event will be eduJAM! 2011 and will take place from Thu May 5 to Sat May 7. Please include the eduJAM! and ceibalJAM! logos below if blogging or writing about the event.

The main objective of the summit is to strengthen the free educational software developer community, with a focus on Latin America and the Sugar + olpc communities. The event will feature discussions around future directions and strategy, hacking on specific projects, and exchange of experiences among different deployments.  The event is being planned in more detail on the sugarlabs wiki.



Registration is not yet open.  Alongside the eduJAM! a couple of extra activities are being planned to make the most of the attendees gathering for the summit (we already know of people from 10 countries who will be there):

A “Conozco Uruguay Tour” is being organized by members of volunteer group RAP Ceibal and the OLPC community, between Sat April 30 and Thu May 5.

There will also be a Sugar code sprint starting Sunday May 8, right after the summit, expected to continue to Monday May 9 if not beyond!



Sponsors are welcome; Activity Central has already offered to be a sponsor, and the organizers are looking for other sponsors both at the national and international level.  We hope you can join us and are looking forward to your comments and suggestions!

Peru’s XO cadre: 813,000 strong and growing

Peru’s latest deployment to urban schools is underway, expanding the total reach of their federal program to over 8,350 institutions and 813,000 children and their teachers, across the country.  The program focuses on a few classes in each of a large number of schools, to ensure that the schools are all part of the program.  Many of these schools will not have saturation (yet), but this will make ULUN much more a part of everyday school life in the capital.

The latest banners up around Lima announcing the project are bold.  I can’t remember the last time I saw a major public ad for a national education program in the US.

OLPC SF Community Summit 2010, Oct 22-24

OLPC’s global community of contributors and volunteers is gathering for its largest ever meeting to date, on the weekend of October 22-24, in San Francisco! Thanks to the OLPC San Francisco Community led by Professor Sameer Verma, and our gracious host San Francisco State University.  If you want to take a stand for global education rights For All in this 21st century, now is your time — OLPC’s Global Community is a friendly and supportive network inviting you too to Stand & Deliver:

The OLPC SF Community Summit 2010 will be a community-run event bringing together educators, technologists, anthropologists, enthusiasts, champions and volunteers. We share stories, exchange ideas, solve problems, foster community and build collaboration around the One Laptop per Child project and its mission worldwide.

Now we’re taking the next step, bringing together the voices of OLPC experience, Sugar Labs, the Realness Alliance — and yourself. Check out our growing list of social entrepreneurs who’ve already signed up from Uruguay, Peru, Paraguay, Argentina, Nicaragua, Africa, Afghanistan, India, Philippines, France, UK, Italy, Belgium, Austria, Canada, Birmingham and beyond.  Then please consider joining us, adding your own contribution/testimonial and photo!

School Server v0.6 released

The School Server is a key component of OLPC deployments — and one that was somewhat late to the stage. So I am pleased to report that there is a new and improved! version 0.6 available.

The main goal of this release is making installation and configuration easier and more reliable. It is an incremental update on the XS-0.5.x codebase, light on new features but strong on the “it just works” side. And very easy to upgrade for XS-0.5.x users.

What is a School Server, you ask? When you deploy XOs to a school, you want a server to connect them to the internet, serve content locally, provide backup  and upgrade services, and more. You can find out more in  our earlier story on it, or jump straight into the wikipage that explains it all.

This release brings:

  • Easier installation. Mysterious ejabberd commands are gone, rejoice!
  • Moodle and the XO authenticate transparently. Register, restart, click the ‘Local Schoolserver’ link in Browse. It just works.
  • Better network scalability. Moodle can directly control the neighbourhood view which is controlled by ejabberd. Now traffic no longer swamps the network and XOs.
  • Delegated security. You can use time-based security even with disconnected or partially connected School Servers.
  • An XO can run as a School Server. Suitable for small schools or groups.  This is still experimental, but is running pretty well.
  • Want to know more?  Read the release notes.

The work for our next release has already started, as people have been working ahead.  More after the jump.

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Martin’s Moodle Moot UK 2009

DSC00181

Martin at Moodle Moot '08

Martin Langhoff — our School Server Architect, and long time core Moodle developer reports:

The Moodle UK community just had one of the best MoodleMoots ever. I had the good chance to keynote there, to tell the community about my almost-year away working on XS plumbing, and how it’s now the time to turn the XS into a learning tool.

Social constructivism runs strong in the Moodle community, so when we talk of opening doors to our users’ curiosity, they know first hand about it. And it is a good thing to be able to pierce through the media doom and gloom stories and tell them about the good things that are actually happening on the ground.

The feedback was fantastic, and I am hoping to form a “Moodle-on-XS” test team, and to draw together many very active teachers from the K-12 space to help map out how to make Moodle better for primary schoolers.

You can watch the keynote on video — select the “Moodle and OLPC” video here: http://cardiffschools.net/~tv/cy/moodle.htm

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School Server 0.5.1 – holding the XO universe together

A couple of weeks ago, OLPC XS 0.5.1 was released with little fanfare. Everyone was busy — understandably so — and the announcement went unnoticed.

So perhaps it is time to go back and look at it in detail. The School Server is a Fedora-based distro that auto-installs and (mostly) auto configures itself into a server that complements with the XO laptop. Even if it is not obvious, the XO behaves much better when it is working on a network managed by a School Server. And in locations with limited or no Internet access, a School Server with a bounty of educational content makes a huge difference.

XS 0.5.x is a big leap forward from the earlier series. It upgrades the base OS from Fedora 7 to Fedora 9, streamlines instalation and configuration, and is a better platform to build upon. Ah, yes! It also has some cool new features.

So what does the XS do for your XOs?

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G1G1 International Update

The first round of international Give One, Get One orders have been shipped out — every order placed before December 16 should have arrived by now, in time for Christmas.  Some were sent from Miami, and the European orders went out from Brussels with EU adapters and a special G1G1 Europe thank-you note.

Orders between now and December 31 should ship out by mid-January.  We are able to ship to all of the 45 countries mentioned in the original announcement, and are investigating and adding more countries as there is specific interest.  If you want to send laptops to a country not currently on our list, leave a comment here, and I will see what we can do.

Barring an extension, International G1G1 will end on December 31st.  Be sure to place your orders now if you are interested.

It currently still appears that one is preordering on Amazon, and that the XO is “available January 15″ — that means that orders made now will be shipped by Jan 15 or else refunded.  This is the way information is sent to us for fulfillment – a compromise we have made to cover countries everywhere, since AMZN was only able to handle shipping within the US.  Donors in a few specific countries (Australia, Hong Kong, France) can choose to take part in G1G1 directly through a local site, as a tax-deductable donation.

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