A letter to the editor from Rodrigo Arboleda, Chairman of the OLPC Association:
The story in today’s Boston Business Journal about One Laptop per Child requires certain clarification:
1. OLPC will continue as a non-profit organization in order to carry out its traditional role advocating for 1:1 computing in developing countries as a means to provide a modern education to children.
2. OLPC will continue as a non-profit organization in its activities to arrange and manage laptop deployments around the world.
3. OLPC continues to believe that non-profit status enables it to more effectively communicate on the issues of children and education without the possible taint of commercial self-interest.
OLPC is exploring many avenues for the further development of its educational software on new operating systems and computing platforms. If such activities are pursued, it may require capital from traditional capital markets such as venture capitalists. These funding sources may prefer to invest in a new type of vehicle labeled “Profitable Social Enterprises”, which would be a subsidiary of OLPC, but would have no effect on the traditional mission, methods or objectives of OLPC. This new subsidiary may develop its products for the U.S. market for a fee, but it is expected that the software would be made available in the developing world for free. This is all part of a new breed of philanthropy being developed that does not contradict the OLPC spirit or mission.
Chairman and CEO
One Laptop per Child Association
Our new site design, first mentioned earlier this year, is close to fruition. You can now see our alpha site online.
We are working on ways to better link the site, wiki, and blog together, and to aggregate and point to every site in the OLPC community. For now, you can add information about your own projects and websites, and links to them. We will be working on other visualizations of this data, and connecting our map of major deployments with the growing olpcmap network, over the coming month. Comments and suggestions are welcome.
Paraguay’s national deployment, run by Paraguay Educa, has been developing its own build of a Sugar operating system for its students, with help from Sugarlabs. They are calling it Dextrose. The newly-formed Activity Central group, a Sugar-development consultancy, is helping with this work, and supporting some local developers in Paraguay.
Dextrose is a spin of the core Sugar build that will focus on teacher tools and content in Spanish.
While initially developed with feedback from classrooms in Paraguay, this will hopefully become a platform that other deployments in Latin America can use. While Peru has been shy about frequent software upgrades, preferring to have something stable for years at a time, Uruguay and other smaller deployments are good candidates to start using Dextrose as well.
“The photograph is a secret about a secret. The more it tells you, the less you know.” -Diane Arbus
I am starting to appreciate how difficult it is to find compelling photographs that capture the spirit of learning. How do you represent collaboration and learning by doing? Basic interactions among children are often similar across different environments — with features and dress and surroundings the greatest change from town to town. But collaboration can happen between students sitting next to each other, across the room, or kilometers away… Great photography captures and makes you wonder about what is not seen in the image.
Some of the more exciting images are of children discovering something new on an XO; or share with their neighbors something they have discovered. I love to see their looks of delirium:
There is a beautifully lit image of a student posing with her laptop, the water stained ceiling of the classroom telling of the need for a new roof:
Or the picture of children on the steps of a red clay mud dwelling exploring together, with a yak grazing in the foreground.
We have a new Flickr gallery of photographs of children learning in deployments, where you can see more as they are submitted. If you have a great set of photos from your own deployment, please post a link to it.
Last week, Jim Rex, State Superintendent of Education in South Carolina announced that South Carolina would be expanding their One Laptop per Child project. A generous donation from Blue Cross Blue Shield is funding the expansion of South Carolina’s current laptop program.
Blue Cross Blue Shield donation helps expand One Laptop per Child project
An initiative to improve student achievement by making laptop technology available to every elementary school student in the state is expanding this month with the addition of 12 schools.
One Laptop per Child /South Carolina is a partnership between the nonprofit Palmetto Project, Blue Cross Blue Shield and the State Department of Education. State Superintendent Jim Rex and Steve Skardon of the Palmetto Project accepted a $500,000 donation today from Blue Cross Blue Shield division president and COO David Pankau to help fund the expansion.
The laptop program was piloted last year in rural Marion School District 7. That rollout has been highly successful, garnering positive response from students, parents and the community. School officials expect test results at the end of the year to show students are performing better since technology has been integrated into teaching and learning.
To read the latest news about the South Carolina deployment, see their website at http://www.laptopsc.org.