A day with my XO

La Rioja, Argentina
I am writing from the Airport of La Rioja, with my blue XO, waiting for my delayed plane to Buenos Aires. I spent this morning with the Minister of Education, professor Walter Flores and his team, visiting two elementary public schools. Today the whole province is celebrating a significant event, every child and teacher is showing their work on their XO, more than 50,000 have been already distributed. Un día con mi XO, is the title of this very peculiar Journey. A very impressive experience indeed, a massive celebration, the first ever, I think, in the OLPC world. An incredible feat for this Argentine province, the first in Argentina to have saturated the whole educational system, in elementary and special schools with the XO laptops, private and public, and also the secondary and technological schools with the Intel netbooks. A detail, the XO were bought by the province and the netbooks by the nation. A perfect solution.

In La Rioja both platforms coexist in great harmony, due in fact that the leaders of the XO team with their expertise are also in charge of the netbook implementation in the secondary schools. A good model to follow in other settings for a smooth transition when the children finishing primary school return their XO (to be recycled and given to the new cohort in first grade) and receive instead their new netbook for the secondary school. In fact in many families children and adolescents use both equipments in the «expanded school» at home and outside, in the public places with wifi. A new digital landscape is unfolding. I have seen a remarkable video of a show with hundreds of children walking on the streets of La Rioja by night with their XO shining like candles in the dark.

It was really moving to see today the schools transformed in an immense XO laboratory. Classrooms, yards, gardens, corridors were blooming with the green laptops and hundreds of children with their parents and teachers around. The media followed the visit of the Minister who gave several interviews. I also was interviewed working with the children who were fascinated with my blue machine and …my white hat. I was impressed with the immediate reaction of the students. Many wanted to have my blue XO and some told me that the blue keyboard was much better. I agree. One discovered that I had a new program to «play games with numbers». In fact we will test it in the next weeks in some schools of La Rioja. It is a remarkable software produced by a team at the University of Buenos Aires under the leadership of Mariano Sigman, a member of the scientific advisory board of OLPCA. If the result is satisfying we will distribute it to the whole OLPC community around the world.

A continuous flow of information came from remote parts of the province, all the 380 elementary schools were today performing a fantastic concert of digital ideas. A day to be remembered as the celebration of the program Joaquin V. Gonzalez, who started only one year ago and now has fully integrated the whole province, every child without exception, in the digital world. I hope La Rioja will become a leader in the Andean region and we discussed with Minister Flores the possibility of expanding the XO experience to the near province of Catamarca and even to Atacama in Chile.

At OLPC we are educators without borders.

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.
</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

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.