Kids from Fundación Pies Descalzos share their experiences with the XO Laptop at TEDx Bogota

Translation from the original post from Fundación Pies Descalzos.

Rodrigo Arboleda, CEO of One Laptop per Child Association, was invited to present at TEDx Bogota in December 2012. The theme of TEDx Bogota conference was “Del dicho al hecho”.

As a part of his presentation, Mr. Arboleda invited children from Fundación Pies Descalzos to present their experiences with OLPC. Fundación Pies Descalzos has worked closely with One Laptop per Child for four years through the College Heights Foundation Cazucá (Soacha) located in Barranquilla and Pretoria. The College Heights Foundation Cazucá has started an educational project that aims for every child to have his or her own inexpensive, green XO laptop and Internet connection. With these tools, users are able to have full access to information, which in turn fosters innovation, creativity and knowledge.

Approximately 200 students from the College Heights Foundation from the third, fourth and fifth grades have extensive experience in using the XO laptop. In presenting at the TEDx Bogota conference, the children showed the audience their skills in working with the laptop. The children also explained to participants at the OLPC booth, all the benefits and changes in the social environment they have witnessed through the use of the XO laptop.

Through the OLPC project, Fundación Pies Descalzos is working to reach its related goals of using innovative methods in the classroom and strengthening teachers’ efforts in the classroom.

The Step by Step Project, by the Golodrian Foundation and the Marina Orth Foundation

The Step by Step Project, developed by both the Las Golodrian Foundation and the
Marina Orth Foundation, has had a truly positive impact in various communities, especially the “Comuna Ocho” in Medellin. The Comuna Ocho is one of the most difficult areas of the city, where violence and the infamous “invisible frontiers” have caused many hardships on the community; nevertheless this has not been an obstacle in our mission to continue educating the 650 boys, girls and adolescents who have the opportunity to interact with the technological advantages of this program. It has been extremely gratifying to witness the development and positive impact the kids have had in interacting with others using the internet. They have had the opportunity to learn from various sites and programs, such as Wikipedia, Scratch, Tux Pain, Memorize, Tux Math, Gcompris, Falabracman, among other, all thanks to our classroom projects and their teachers.

The students arrive everyday full of energy, anxious to share with their teachers and
classmates the new games, techniques, and solutions they have discovered using
their computers. The joy of learning transcends the classroom; even their parents
have expressed their happiness in seeing their young ones use these programs. It has
encouraged them to enroll in the different workshops offered by the Foundation so that they too can benefit from learning to use these computers, thus the learning experience can now continue at home.

The most adventurous, creative, and resourceful students have not only gained the
personal satisfaction of their teachers’ recognition, they have consolidated a monitor group in the Step by Step project, a status which places them in a privileged position inside the learning community. It enables them to assist their teachers, work with the younger students and help repair certain computer problems. They also have the opportunity to attend specific workshops such as robotics, English lessons, informatics, and repair and maintenance of both conventional and XO computers: they are our biggest helpers inside the project as well as a source of inspiration to the younger ones.

Our students generally range in age from 5-13, a range which by no means has been
an obstacle to the younger generations’ hunger for learning. These small technological geniuses have benefited from the new learning techniques offered by these computers.
They regard these computers as their most prized possession; for they know it represents the opportunity to pursue their education using more advanced methods. They take very good care of their equipment, carefully storing them inside their own bags, cleaning them on a regular basis, and even imprinting their own personality and individuality on it. The whole process has been a reflection on the values that we try to implement on the community (solidarity, respect, responsibility, compromise, tolerance, team work…) and is the result of a day to day interaction with them, not only inside the classroom but also during their breaks and walks home. Up to date, NOT A SINGLE COMPUTER HAS BEEN UNACOUNTED FOR, this shows how well the community has responded to our informational campaigns where we have outlined the importance of social and educational changes.

CEO of One Laptop per Child received award “Los 100 Colombianos” from President of Colombia

Rodrigo Arboleda honored as 2012 “100 Colombians”

Photo: Kien&Ke

Rodrigo Arboleda, Chairman and CEO of One Laptop per Child
Association) was honored last Wednesday December 5, in a ceremony presided over by President Juan Manuel Santos of Colombia as a 2012 recipient of the “100 Colombians”.

President Juan Manuel Santos

The award annually recognizes Colombian-born individuals living outside Colombia for their exceptional contribution to the country and the world. Arboleda was recognized for his leadership of OLPC and for his thirty year effort to introduce IT technology in the schools in Colombia, his birthplace.

Arboleda’s first project in IT technology for Colombian children began in 1982 when he convinced then President Belisario Betancur to introduce an online learning platform developed by his classmate Nicholas Negroponte and the French government.

Rodrigo Arboleda, Nicholas Negroponte, Alfonso Ospina

In 2008 Arboleda worked with then Minister of Defense Santos to launch an OLPC 1:1 learning project in a previously FARC guerrilla controlled part of Colombia. Today through his efforts there are over 30,000 OLPC laptops in use by children across Colombia, most
recently in the town of Itagui, Antioquia, and new projects with government, non-profit
and private sector organizations are being added monthly.


Arboleda is also a founding member of the Give To Colombia Foundation, and an active member of their Board of Directors. He was, for 6 years, a member of the board of Trustees of Save The Children Foundation, one of the largest charities in the world.

“I have worked tirelessly for my native Colombia to improve the quality of children’s
education and the support of so many organizations has been instrumental to this
success” said Arboleda. “I am honored to be recognized for my efforts and for President
Santos’s involvement in this event. I look forward to giving back to my native Colombia
for many more years to come”, said Arboleda.

One Laptop per Child Launches Social Program with Colombian Government

Miami, FL. One Laptop per Child Association (“OLPCA”) announced today that it
has entered into an agreement with the Colombian Government through La Agencia
Nacional para la Superación de la Pobreza Extrema –“ANSPE.” ANSPE is responsible
for the development and implementation of a strategy to alleviate the most severe
poverty in Colombia. The ANSPE initiative is under the direction of the President’s
Office and ANSPE Director, Samuel Azout.

Under the agreement, OLPCA will provide its XO laptops to children in Chia,
Colombia. The project aims to support children as the catalysts to improve the
overall welfare of their families. The children will use specially designed software
and games on the laptops to facilitate greater use of the laptops by their parents.
Through the provision of education to both children and their parents, ANSPE hopes
to find that the overall welfare of the family improves. Children will use the laptops
in school and they will take the laptops home after school. Traditionally, 70% of
laptop usage in an OLPCA project occurs outside the classroom. This is one of the
first projects that will formally evaluate the benefits to the parents and the family
from the availability and use of a laptop in the home.

“OLPCA has always played a significant role in increasing social inclusion through its
projects. To work with the national government and ANSPE on a project that could
be expanded nationwide is a great opportunity for OLPCA,” said Rodrigo Arboleda,
CEO of OLPCA. “OLPCA has a long history in Colombia, with over 30 projects in
different locations, and we are honored to be selected by the Government to start
such an innovative program for the alleviation of poverty,” said Arboleda.

Rodrigo Arboleda – One of the 100 most influential Hispanics

Rodrigo Arboleda is the CEO of One Laptop Per Child Association, an organization that has distributed 2.7 million XO computers around the world, and which just marked a milestone in Colombia with the delivery of 11,000 laptops to children in public schools in Itagüí. He has also just been honored in Miami as one of the 100 most influential Hispanics in that city. A special Colombian  man.

Photo – La Colombia













Translation from a post in REVISTA SEMANA of Colombia, the most prestigious magazine of the country.

Itagüí: Educational Revolution

Itaguí’s Municipal Administration in partnership with the University EAFIT began a technological modernization project in Educational Institutions

On Tuesday September 4th, Itagüí’s Municipal Mayor, CARLOS ANDRES TRUJILLO, officially handed over the first massive installment of XO computers from One Laptop per Child (OLPC) to teachers of basic primary education official institutions of the municipalities. The main event took place at the Southern Cultural Auditorium in Itagüí (Antioquia, Colombia).

Thus, Itagüí began a process of educational revolution in the implementation of the use and appropriation of technology information and communications  that are planned for the education sector and that is being conducted in partnership with the University EAFIT. The project also seeks to raise awareness and ensure the appropriate use of new technologies among all students and make full use of these tools by teachers for the continuous improvement of the teaching process, which will be reflected in management plans  within the 24 official educational institutions.

Photo by rededucativaitagui

The project includes in its first phase leaving a defined strategy that allows for the proper implementation of technologies in the classroom, for which, activities such as training of teachers, school administrators and adequacy of the infrastructure necessary for the operation thereof are being carried out. To do this, educational institutions with XO laptops have already been endowed; in each of the classrooms a whiteboard was installed, each of them gas given a video beam and they installed a central database (CPU) with keyboard and mouse. Additionally, an educational software that allows students to create new experiences, innovate and develop their intellectual capacities and technologies facing the globalized world has been prepared.

Photo by rededucativaitagui

The Municipal Administration has been working hard in order to improve school environment and provide new tools that allow the education sector of the municipality move forward and become a national model framed in change and transformation of education.

Photo by rededucativaitagui

1 in 20 Latin American children use an OLPC laptop

There are roughly 58 million primary school students in Latin America, according to UNESCO’s latest data from their Education For All initiative.   5% of children in that age range are not in school.  And 5% of them use XOs: 1.5 million children have their own, and Peru’s urban initiative is giving another 1.5 million students in urban schools access to XOs through a program where groups of 3-5 students share a laptop.


Today 4/5 of these students are in Uruguay, Peru, Argentina, and Mexico.   But new programs are growing rapidly, in NicaraguaCosta RicaColombia, and elsewhere.

That’s a lot of budding Pythonistas, Scratcheros, and Linux users!
Now if only my own home country would start providing computers and connectivity to its students as a matter of course…

Rodrigo discusses OLPC with Colombian paper El Tiempo

Natalia Bonnett of El Tiempo interviewed Rodrigo last week about OLPC and its work in Colombia. From the interview:

¿Cómo va el proceso aquí [en Colombia]?

En los próximos días, Itagüí será el primer municipio en toda Colombia que va a tener un computador para cada alumno de primaria. Es la primera vez que logramos romper el hielo. Ha sido muy difícil, probablemente no hay profeta en su tierra… También llegamos a La Macarena. Pero también hay casos de filántropos del sector privado o asociaciones como Asocaña, con quien próximamente llegaremos al Valle del Cauca. El Gobierno Nacional hizo un esfuerzo a través del Ministerio de Educación de proveer conectividad a las escuelas. Con una sola señal que llegue a la escuela, nosotros trabajamos por medio de wi-fi y lo único que hay que instalar son repetidoras internas dentro del plantel.”

In English:

How is the process going here [in Colombia]?

In the coming days, Itagüí will be the first region in all of Colombia to have a laptop for every primary student. This is the first time that we broke the ice. It was very difficult, probably noone is a prophet in his own country… We are also heading to La Macarena. But there are also cases of private-sector philanthropists or associations such as Asocaña, with whom we will soon come to Valle del Cauca. The national government made an effort through the Ministry of Education to provide connectivity to the schools. With a single signal to the school, we can work via wi-fi and the only thing that needs to be installed are internal repeaters within the school.”

OLPC Colombia newsletter

OLPC Colombia published the first issue of its newsletter, UniverXO, this month (pdf), with an essay on “La Revolución educativa con tecnología sigue en alza” (‘Advanced technology and the education revolution’).

Comunidad One Laptop per Child Colombia, bienvenidos a
la edición número 1 de nuestro boletín interno de OLPC, el
cual circulará mensualmente para que compartamos
noticias, artículos, publicaciones, eventos e historias
cotidianas relacionadas con los programas de OLPC en el
país y en el mundo. Ésta es una invitación a protagonizar
un movimiento de transformación educativa. Generemos
reflexiones e iniciativas para transformar la educación, el
aprendizaje y las prácticas pedagógicas. La clave es
compartir. ¡El cambio está en nuestras manos!

Read the full bulletin on the OLPC wiki!

Colombia’s President Santos on quadrupling Internet access nationwide, and on rural OLPC success

Last November, President Juan Manuel Santos of Colombia gave the annual speech presenting the country’s National Competitiveness Report (pdf) – presented by the national Private Council for Competitiveness.

In his speech, he spends some time discussing his national plans for education, and recalls one of the great OLPC stories — the first OLPC program in Colombia in 2008, involving delivery by helicopter, no less, when Santos was Minister of National Defense. This took place in the town of Vista Hermosa, which at the time had recently been captured by government forces from the FARC.

Vista Hermosa students receive XOs in Dec. 2008

Here is the story in his own words. It is worth watching the original video; Santos is a good speaker. (The whole talk is fascinating; education starts at 26:25, the Vista Hermosa story is at 28:55.)

Excerpts after the jump. Continue reading

Turbana and Fundauniban support OLPC in Colombia

Fundauniban, the social foundation of Turbana Corporation, recently launched an OLPC project for 8 rural schools in Uraba, Colombia. The program was launched at the Uniban Institute library with 800 XOs.

CEO Juan David Alarcon said in announcing the program, “education and personal growth [are] the key for the development of the region, and there is no better place to start than empowering children to take an active role in their education and future.”

Non-flash version here.


XOs in Colombia: Caldas, Itagüí, and wonderful tools

Tech Crunch TV interviewed Maureen Orth recently on the introduction of OLPC in rural Colombia on their tl:dw videocast.

This was a timely reminder that Colombia has been building a network of supporting pilots and foundations in the years since this first urban school began implementing OLPC.  The largest projects are in Medellín (perlas), in Caldas, in Altos de Cazucá, and in Itagüí (1, 2).  Some of these are much more rural, and required helicopter drops to get them underway.

Caldas also produced this great video.

Children relaxing outside of class at the Marina Orth school

Children relaxing outside of class at the Marina Orth school

The Maureen Orth  Foundation‘s Medellin pilot is not very large, but she talks about connected laptops as “the most wonderful tool they could possible have”.