Sandra Thaxter, who has been working with some of the grassroots programs in Kenya, recently joined with others in the OLPC Kenya volunteer community, for a meeting with the the Kenyan Institute for Education on their digital learning initiatives.
Assistant Minister of Education Calist Mwatela set up a meeting between these groups, and they are planning a series of Skype meetings over the next few weeks. Sandra wrote more about this and her dream of an OLPC Kenya Alliance, as a guest post on the Eshibinga blog.
Keep up the good work!
Reposted with permission from the Eshibinga blog:
Last week we got the good news. Our class is soon going to get two more computers. That is great news because we are a class of 40 kids and and increasing… [they] have helped us learn most of the computer basics, writing, recording, games, music, etc etc. Recording activity was my favorite. When I grow up I want to be a photo journalist.
Our dream as a class is to have each kid own his or her own laptop. I think a computer has a private face. As much as computers do lots of public work, but I think and I stand to be corrected, that a computer is also personal. The reason I am saying this is because I have some personal matters in my life which I have typd and recorded on one of the laptop. It is no secret here in Eshibinga that my dad has been living with HIV AIDS. He does not have long to live. Every word he tells me is important. Every smile he gives me is precious, every prayer he makes for me and my three other siblings is memorable. After learning about the recording activity on the xo laptop, I asked Mr. Amunga to give it to me to go with it home. I sat my dad under his favourite tree. And I recorded his voice, his smile his face.
Later I realized that what I had recorded was so important. I don’t want it erased. It may be the only chance for my three sisters and I to hear and see our dad in future.
The advice dad was gave was very personal and very private. I don’t want my classmates to read watch or see the recording I made on the xo laptop. Neither do I want it erased. What do I do? Yesterday teacher announced that will get two more laptops. I want to talk to him to give me this particular one for keeps. It has the face of my dad, my history, my roots. I need to keep this recordings. They are too personal, too private, too precious. A computer has two faces the private and the public.
A great stories from Eshibinga, Kenya, last year:
In April Mr. Juma came to Eshibinga to teach us on how to use an xo laptop. His teaching is helping us now. We got two new computers today. Then our teacher Mr. Peter told us to remember some of the things we were taught.
I just remembered one word. Sugar. We were told that sugar is the operating system for the XO. It organizes the systems that run the clock, activates the Activities, and store the Journal entries. The Terminal Activity runs text-based commands for your XO instead of the Sugar graphical commands.
What nobody has told us is , why did they name it sugar? Why not give it a name like coffee, or milk or water?
Please tell me?
Mary, Eshibinga Primary
In rural Eshibinga, Kenya, teacher Peter Omunga has at the Eshibinga Primary School, Kenya, been doing an amazing job sharing his experiences with Sugar and OLPC over the summer. Peter maintains the Eshibinga Digital Village blog, documenting the introduction of IT and electricity in their community. They recently received 2 XO laptops, which he has used to interest his primary students in reading, writing, math, and making videos. He has had help from Fred Juma at the nearby Bungoma pilot school and from global volunteer Sandra Thaxter.
Eshibinga is a rural part of the country that is starting to benefit from solar power centers, but that has very limited access to water, electricity, and healthcare.
The school had been keeping laptops in the principal’s office at night at first, but over the past weeks as a national teacher’s strike has emerged, the students were given the laptops to take care of, and received another two laptops from donors.
Sydney from the school’s IT Club has been writing about what it’s like to study on their own when the teachers are away:
Robert arrived carrying our usual [XO] laptops. They are normally stored at the school office. The principal had sent Robert to pick them from his office. He also had left a note for us. We opened it and read it out aloud. “Make good use of these xo laptops and take good care of them. They may be the only teachers you may see in this school until the government ends the ongoing teachers strike”
Students have been meeting at school on their own with their XOs to study computers and practice writing and videotaping their own stories (and considering what it means to share a personal journal with others). And one of their teachers has been maintaining a blog about their work this summer, and is with them at school, helping them learn despite the strike.