Rwanda plans international conference on technology in education

OLPC Rwanda has been named to the scientific subcommittee of the International Conference on Technology in Education, organized by the Rwandan Education Ministry and Education Board. The conference will take place in early 2012. Great to hear; let us know when the call for papers is out!

Children talk about OLPC in Rwanda

OLPC Rwanda, which is planning to expand their OLPC deployment to 160,000 children and teachers by next summer, has been talking more about their work and interviewing those currently involved. Africa Online has been running a series on OLPC over the past two weeks, including a recent article on XO use in schools in Kigali.

Rwanda on track to deploy 50,000 XOs to 150 schools this year

Nkubito Bakuramutsa, OLPC project coordinator at the Rwandan Education Ministry, talked to the Rwanda New Times this week about the first 10,000 students and teachers who had received laptops through the country’s OLPC program. Rwanda is on track to distribute XOs to 50,000 students by the end of the year, with another 50,000 following soon after.

Laptop preparation in Kigali

Laptop preparation in Kigali

The national deployment team recently finished setting up their software build, and is now flashing 2,000 XOs a day. This is a good milestone for the team — learning how to rebuild all parts of the system on their own is important, and as Zehra can attest the first time you get a NANDBlast production line up and running is memorable.

The schools are including materials from OLPC, Sugar Labs, India’s Azim Premji Foundation, the National Curriculum Development Centre, and the Rwanda Education Commons, with customization help from Microsoft and Rwanda’s Green Hills Academy network of schools.

Rwanda: capacity-building for teachers in 150 schools

OLPC Rwanda organized a capacity-building workshop for 300 teachers this week. The school-head and one lead teacher from each of 150 schools attended. The GC4LL blog has a detailed writeup. I like this quote in particular, since passing on the ideas behind our core principles takes time:

They also are going to learn about the two main points of the OLPC implementation: one laptop per each child and children take laptops home. Those two points are always controversial and it is very important that school’s principals understand the underlining logic behind them. It the school management buy the concept, the success chances of the project in the school increase significantly.

There is also a photoset from the event and a copy of their “training booklet“(PDF) online.

Juliano on Rwanda

The Global Center for Laptops and Learning in Kigali has been updating their blog recently. This past week, Brazil and Rwanda students met via Skype for the first time.

Juliano Bittencourt, who spent a year in Rwanda with his wife, recently posted a lovely email about Rwanda developments to the OLPC Brasil mailing list.

He points to Silvia Kist’s personal blog (in Portuguese) as a source for more information about the work there, along with the ‘laptop learning’ photostream.

Stories from Rwanda schools

Julia has posted a half-dozen recent updates to her excellent Rwanda blog, about her work, thoughts on access to knowledge, and efforts with the Kigali Institute of Education. She includes some interesting photos of students showing off their Etoys storybooks and drawings.

She also reminded me of the CMU student group that visited Nonko School last month to run classroom workshops – an interesting model of community service.