Guyana launches One Laptop per Family program with 1000 netbooks

President Jagdeo of Guyana has launched an One Laptop per Family initiative ”to develop the country’s ICT sector”.  The program has been in planning since last year, with the laptops provided by Chinese manufacturer Haier.  5000 have already arrived in Guyana, with plans for 22,000 more later this year.  Their goal is to reach 90,000 families within two years.

Deployment of the first 1000 laptops began this week — as this is election season, most public discussion has been around whether it is simply an effort to buy votes by a the incumbent party (the PPP).

There is commentary at the Stabroek News.  A selection:

“This is a good initiative but it will not save the PPP from getting the boot in this election.”

“Its not like they are doing the people a favour, this is what they’re suppose to do for the citizens.  Do they think they’ll get credit for it?”

“An independent audit into the distribution of these laptops will show a favor towards so called “rural” residents.”

“Hope they will also get free Internet access, and blog on this site.”

 

Digital citizenship and hacking: Sugar Camp Lima, Nov 18-19

Somos Azucar, Activity Central, and escuelab are organizing Sugar Camp Lima on November 18-19, to build a new Sugar image for Peru: complete with Aymara and Quechua localizations, and activities focused on engagement online and “digital citizenship”.  An invitation to the event can be found here, and Sugar enthusiast Yannick Warnier explains why he finds this so exciting in a call for others to join him.

The event has international support, including the Municipality of Lima, Ciudadano Inteligente, and the World Bank.  The XO image developed will be proposed to the national team as a basis for the next update implemented across the country.

If you have an activity you’re hoping to polish up and get into the next Peru image — or are interested in localization, testing, or general Sugar development, this promises to be a great event.  I hope the camp attendees will review and add to the Feedback Actividades page that Claudia recently set up, a place to gather requests and suggestions from students and teachers in the field.

 

To RSVP, or for more information, contact escuelab: contacto@escuelab.org

 

Nickelodeon contest update: Voting open for the best art projects by XO students

Mundonick is hosting a public vote for the best projects submitted in the OLPC – Nickelodeon contest across Latin America. Check out the finalists in the contest and vote for your favorite; the winners will be flown in to attend the HALO Awards ceremony this season.

Unfortunately, at the moment these videos can only be viewed from certain IP ranges – including most of Latin America.

Rodrigo visits Kagame, commends Rwandan progress

Rodrigo Arboleda spent four days in Rwanda last week with country lead Nkubito Bakuramutsa, visiting new OLPC deployments there and meeting with President Kagame and Rwandan ministers of education. He commended the Rwandan deployment’s progress so far, and the country on its focus on education as a “consolidation of peace and prosperity”.

Rwanda is the largest OLPC deployment outside of Latin America. 65,000 students and teachers have their own XOs, and another 100,000 are scheduled over the coming year.

Concurso de Nickelodeon y OLPC: reglas publicadas!

The contest rules are out for the OLPC/Nickelodeon storytelling contest.   OLPC and Nick will be judging the submissions together.  All XO users in Latin America are eligible to compete by submitting a story, anination, or other multimedia clip of up to 3 minutes.  Contest ends August 29.

 

OLPC Association y Nickelodeon organizan y juzgan el concurso en conjunto (anuncio, reglas completas):

Hat tip to Claudia, Christoph, and Giulia.

Little green legs

Two weeks back, the Financial Times posted an essay by Gillian Tett about OLPC, titled “Billions of children could be transformed by cheap computers” (and later, “Why logging on should be child’s play”). The article eventually concludes that children’s lives could be transformed, and that being able to ‘log on’ to the Internet should probably be child’s play for all children — but was much more ambivalent than the titles suggest.

They ran a long reader response to the article the following week, which is worth sharing:

As a fellow anthropologist in the financial sector, I am surprised by Gillian Tett asking “Could the idea fly? Should it?” regarding the distribution of $200 connected green laptops to children in the developing world. I similarly question her implication that this is a local Latin American initiative by One Laptop Per Child, as part of a grand “intellectual vision” recently developed by neuroscientists.

In the 21st century, we cannot separate computer literacy from the traditional “3Rs”. The luxury of computer literacy is the competitive edge of the developed world’s affluent children…

One Laptop Per Child’s mission statement has no neuroscientific technobabble: to supply cheap, green, durable, connected laptops for “collaborative, joyful, and self-empowered learning … [and] a brighter future”. Currently, 2.1m XO computers have been deployed to children and teachers worldwide in Latin America, Africa and Asia.

For Ms Tett to ask “if” or “should” this happen is like asking if the horse Goldikova should race. The little green laptop has legs – and it’s a winner.

eduJAM! planned in Montevideo, May 5-7

This week a team led by Uruguay’s ceibalJAM! (including Gabriel Eirea, Pablo Flores, Gonzalo Odiard, Fernando Sansberro, and Andrés Ambrois) and including Walter, Adam, Christoph, and David Farning, made progress in organizing an education hacking summit in Montevideo, Uruguay.

The name of the event will be eduJAM! 2011 and will take place from Thu May 5 to Sat May 7. Please include the eduJAM! and ceibalJAM! logos below if blogging or writing about the event.

The main objective of the summit is to strengthen the free educational software developer community, with a focus on Latin America and the Sugar + olpc communities. The event will feature discussions around future directions and strategy, hacking on specific projects, and exchange of experiences among different deployments.  The event is being planned in more detail on the sugarlabs wiki.



Registration is not yet open.  Alongside the eduJAM! a couple of extra activities are being planned to make the most of the attendees gathering for the summit (we already know of people from 10 countries who will be there):

A “Conozco Uruguay Tour” is being organized by members of volunteer group RAP Ceibal and the OLPC community, between Sat April 30 and Thu May 5.

There will also be a Sugar code sprint starting Sunday May 8, right after the summit, expected to continue to Monday May 9 if not beyond!



Sponsors are welcome; Activity Central has already offered to be a sponsor, and the organizers are looking for other sponsors both at the national and international level.  We hope you can join us and are looking forward to your comments and suggestions!

Ceibal high-school project update

An update on Uruguay’s deployment of olpc in high schools: Plan Ceibal has posted some details and images of the laptops that will be used in this project. Some schools will use the new blue XO-HS laptops, and others will use Magellans — the only implementation of the Classmate design that has been used in large scale deployments (in Portugal and Venezuela).

You can see their take on a feature comparison of the machines. While there’s no check box for “sunlight-readable screen”, robustness, or power management, it’s a good look at how schools perceive their options. I would be glad to see classrooms worldwide adopting any platform like this — both can share the same software and materials.