Kevin was recently fired up by likes Sridhar’s recent summary of Australian OLPC projects and how they are building a national education programme. He challenges Warschauer and Ames to take a look at their work. (They are known in the olpc-verse primarily for their paper framing the idea of a computer for every child as a “technocentric” “utopian vision”.)
Given the depth of information out today about the diversity of olpc programs, there is much more research to be done – not about whether to give learning tools to children (of course you should), but about how to use them as the basis for transforming and enriching a community. To paraphrase a famous educator, the diversity in OLPC implementations around the world will help us discover the most effective approaches.
A tip of the hat to OLPC Australia, which continues its truly remarkable work.
The rural OLPC school in Doomadgee, Queensland more than tripled the number of 3rd grade students demonstrating proficiency in numeracy — from 31% to 95% — from 2010 to 2011. This coincided with a renewed focus on the school, including providing every student with an XO.
As Michael Hutak reports, Australian MP Rob Oakeshott highlighted this in a statement to Australia’s Parliament, calling for national support for OLPC and similar initiatives to improve access and partiipation and close the education gap across Australia.
Sridhar Dhanapalan is giving a talk next week about OLPC Australia, pitching it as “Australia’s toughest Linux deployment“. Â It certainly is that. Â 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 AusÂtralia aims to creÂate aÂ susÂtainÂable and comÂpreÂhensÂive proÂgramme to enhance opporÂtunÂitÂies for every child in remote AusÂtralia… byÂ 2014.
[T]he most remote areas of the conÂtinÂent are typÂicÂally not ecoÂnomÂicÂally viable for aÂ busiÂness to serÂvice, hence the need for aÂ not-for-profit in the space.Â
This talk will outÂline how OLPC AusÂtralia has developed aÂ soluÂtion to suit AusÂtralian scenÂarios. ComÂparÂisÂons and conÂtrasts will be made with other â€œcomÂputers in schoolsâ€ proÂgrammes, OLPC deployÂments around the world and corÂporÂate IT projects.
By proÂmotÂing flexÂibÂilÂity and ease of use, the proÂgramme can achieve susÂtainÂabÂilÂity by enabling manÂageÂment at the grass-roots level. The XO laptops themÂselves are… repairÂable in the field, with minÂimal skill required. TrainÂing is conÂducÂted online, and an online comÂmunity allows parÂtiÂcipants nationÂwide to share resources.
Key to the ongoÂing sucÂcess of the proÂgramme is actÂive engageÂment with all stakeÂholdÂers, and aÂ recogÂniÂtion of the total cost of ownÂerÂship over aÂ five-year lifeÂ cycle.
“More 4 Me” is a documentary about having and having not by filmmaker Lincoln Fenner released last spring. Â It features (and donates 75% of its proceeds to) a few global charities, including OLPC. Â It was recently nominated for Best Documentary at the NYC Int’l Film Festival in October. Â Details to come; here’s the press release from the producer:
AUSSIE FILM TO LIGHT UP TIMES SQUARE
More 4 Me nominated for Best Documentary Feature at the New York City International Film Festival
Creation Box Films is proud to announce that its debut feature-length documentary More 4 Me has been selected for the New York City International Film Festival (NYCIFF)
next month, with three of its five screenings to be held in front of thousands in Times
OLPC Australia has released an update to their USB ‘toolkit’ for XOs, a collection of software on a USB thumb drive designed to assist in recovery, repair, and support scenarios. The new version is ready for testing, and Sridhar expects only documentation changes between now and its final release.
The XO-AU USB is OLPC Australia’s official means of delivering updates and troubleshooting tools to schools.