In collaboration with ParticipACTION and Ophea, OLPC Canada offers custom content on the XO laptop to encourage physical activity among elementary school students. In Saskatchewan, students and teachers from Ochapowace First Nation had fun exercising to their own rhythm using this custom activity.
In Canada, the national OLPC project continues to expand into the homes of students and teachers; this week including Saskatchewan.
It is a pleasure to spend the week with Kakisiwew School of Ochapowace First Nation – home of OLPC Canada Technical Coordinator, Justin Bear. Justin founded and runs the community cyber cafe/youth zone, provides tech support to the elementary school, teaches classes with the XO and is the central contact for technically based OLPC Canada inquiries from our sites across the nation.
The school board of Eastern Townships, Canada, under Ron Canuel, has been pursuing a one laptop per child school program for over eight years, today reaching roughly 2,700 students and teachers. A research paper recently released by Karsenti and Collin suggests their decision to give children their own laptops was a primary cause of the student’s success to date, which has included a 40% reduction in their dropout rate over 4 years.
While they aren’t using XOs in their classroom, I’ve met some of their team more than once and shown them around our offices; they were certainly right at home. It’s great to see this sort of long-baseline research coming out. The only thing better would be similar research from many different facets of the same country or environment, as I hope we will see from Uruguay in another year.
Thanks are due to BMO Financial and the Ontario government, and the other partners who helped bring the TBSF plans to fruition – most recently with a $750,000 grant. They have published a map of the schools involved in their first-round pilot (some 2800 students and teachers in all), and are planning to expand it to 5000 participants before it ends.
It’s great to see all of these developments in North America at last. Mexico is also seeing an expansion of their program into Nayarit on the western coast, with their initial workshops beginning soon.