Reminder: OLPC Community Summit this weekend @ SFSU

Sameer Verma and OLPC-SF are putting the finishing touches on what’s going to be an amazing community event at SFSU this weekend — an international Community Summit for OLPC hackers, implementers, and researchers from dozens of countries and projects. We’ll kick off with an evening party tonight and then with a full agenda from tomorrow morning through Sunday night.

Mike Lee, Andreas Gros, Tim Falconer, Tabitha Roder, Marina Zdobnova and others have been taking part in the Books in Browsers event, so I can confirm that people from a few different countries have already arrived. And we will have some nice surprises for attendees tonight and tomorrow morning… so please join us early!

New OLPC site in the works

Our design partners have been developing a new design for the OLPC website, one that draws in contributions from our partner and chapter sites around the world. I saw the latest designs this week, and loved them!  We’ll have more updates about the site soon, once everyone’s back from the Realness Summit and we’ve heard from Mike Massey, our new photo maven.

The biggest change: we’re going to convert the homepage from a big logo to a series of full-screen images from deployments, with background details and links to more information. If you have any amazing photographs or stories you’d like to see featured on our homepage, please post a link to them.

Teasers:

An overview of stories
an OLPC world map

OLPC UNRWA Gaza : After a long wait Rafah adopts the XO

Also in Arabic: في اللغة العربية

Students with their laptops, after putting their names on them.

After a 10-month wait for approvals, the UNRWA OLPC core team, administrators, parents and children of Rafah took part in a brilliant beginning to the UNRWA OLPC program in Gaza, with a celebration event on April 29th. I was fortunate to spend the days beforehand with this team and their community. They worked tirelessly – children, parents, teachers, developers, and administrators – and it was inspiring to work with them.

The Palestinian people have the optimism, resourcefulness, and dedication to turn a speck of dust into a garden. Not just any garden, but one that the entire community shares.

And the XO has a special feature beyond its tech specs and activities – it can energize a community to have hope for their children.  One member of the core team, Jamil, remarked;  “This is XO is a humble machine, we can take it and do great things with it.

They did.

In a mere 12 weeks after their first intro to the XO, the Gaza core and community team:
- prepared infrastructure
- designed and gave workshops for 200 teachers and 12 administrators
- introduced the XO to 2000+ students
- helped these children introduce the XO to their parents
- created a digital library
- ported their own ILP learning games to run on the XO
- integrated Memorize, Chat, Browse, & Speak into classroom activities
- helped teachers begin distributing homework via the XO
- witnessed initially skeptical parents begin to advocate at shops and mosques for XOs for all the children of Gaza

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La mirada de CEIBAL

Fernando da Rosa just published a lovely blog post about the 160,000 children in CEIBAL using Sugar on Linux, and what this means for their community.  A must-read; with a 3-minute video pastiche that says it all without needing any words:  1 year of CEIBAL + OLPC

From his post:

Al momento actual, noviembre de 2008, ya se llevan entregadas a los niños 160.000 XO, todas con LINUX y SUGAR. Creo que más allá de los números, ver las caras y la alegría de los niños da fuerzas para continuar cambiando las cosas, trabajando por una mayor equidad, una mejor educación y profundizar en el uso de las nuevas tecnologías en el aula.

“As of November 2008, 160,000 XOs have been given to children, all with LINUX and SUGAR.  I think that more than the numbers, seeing the faces and joy of the children gives one stregth to continue changing things, working towards a greater equality, a better education and more thoughtfulness in the use of new technology in the classroom.”