OLPC comes to Doomadgee in rural Queensland

OLPC Australia is in the middle of providing 300 children and teachers with XOs in Doomadgee, Queensland. This continues their work in Aboriginal regions across the continent (see their amazing school-by-school map).  I always look forward to the updates of that particular map – which colors every school deployment by whether it is completed or not.

Australian model Samantha Harris on supporting OLPC

Samantha Harris

Samantha Harris is a rising star in the Australian modeling world, recently on the cover of Vogue Australia, and proud of her Aboriginal heritage.  She supports OLPC Australia’s work, which is primarily focused on Aboriginal communities on the mainland and on surrounding islands. Here is a recent interview she gave to Napoleon Perdis.

A great video from Yirkalla

Yirkalla is being well-covered by Australian media. TEN Digital devoted part of a weekend episode to the deployment, including this video from the classroom during the first day of the deployment. They catch a priceless expression on this child’s face 1:10 in, as he either learns to play Maze (as the shot suggests) or discovers Rick Astley for the first time.

Sridhar reports from Yirkalla, Northern Territory

The screen's so bright, they've gotta wear shades

The screen's so bright, they've gotta wear shades

From OLPC Australia, Sridhar Dhanapalan reports on the latest deployment in Yirkalla — a follow-up to earlier work done [two months ago] in 3 comunities in East Arnhem Land.  This is the first proper deployment of 1.XO-5’s anywhere in the world!

Sridhar’s report is worth a read – though I’m looking forward to hearing more about how the 1.5’s are being used in class.  (Sridhar: I’d love to have a guest post from you with more about how the laptops are being used, and how the initial handout went) Over the weekend, there was a nice short writeup of the progress in the deployment there by the Daily Telegraph.  They took some gorgeous photographs while they were visiting the schools.  And here’s a lovely video from the same part of the country.

And I just saw the updated map of all of the major and minor deployments in Australia — aside from the icon selection, this map is fantastic.

A google map of OLPC schools in Australia

A google map of OLPC schools in Australia

New first-time XO users in Rwanda

While Intel may be convinced that netbooks aren’t for first-time computer buyers, a new wave of first-time XO users are paying for part of their own XOs in Rwanda, under their scheme to allow private school students to take part in the government project.  Moses Gahigi interviewed Richard Niyonkuru about the Rwandan national program, and their shift towards a more learner-centered model.

Elsewhere, near Australia, new blogger Air Sok writes about being introduced to Sugar, hosting a guest presenter who had recently been using the XO in East Timor, and using the Physics activity in class.  A lovely post; please stop by and leave a comment on the new blog!

Emerald laptops in Oz

Children in remote communities in Western Australia and the Northern Territory are being introduced to the digital world with their own XOs as part of an international program aimed at boosting attendance.  They have been localized to include the local language of Yolgnu Matha.  From an announcement last month as the project was being rolled out:

Mr Lacey was hopeful the laptops would increase the current attendance rate of about 360 students regularly attending out of 500.

“We want to use it as an incentive, come to school….” At Rawa Community School, near the Great Sandy Desert 600km southeast of Port Hedland in Western Australia, the laptops will mean learning can be better adapted to each student.

It will be interesting to see how this fits into the plans of Geoff Anson and the crew at OLPC Australia.   Meanwhile, Pia Waugh of OLPC Friends has joined the Government 2.0 movement in the Australian government and can offer a perspective from both sides of that fence.