FundaciÃ³n Zamora TerÃ¡n recently expanded the work of OLPC Nicaragua to include the community on the beautiful and legendary Ometepe, an island formed by the two volcanoes rising out of Lake Nicaragua.
Teachers play a key role in the use of the XO laptop, incorporating it into daily planning and classroom activities. Maria Josefina TerÃ¡n Zamora, its founder, said of their new island initiative:
â€œDuring the past two years, weâ€™ve been working hard to ensure that our OLPC project is one of the best in the world and delivers the maximum benefit to our children. Today we are very happy to include the children of Ometepe and connect them to the rest of Nicaragua and to the world.â€
The FundaciÃ³n coordinates and executes XO purchase logistics and installation and provides a high level of technical support. A pedagogical training plan has been developed with the support of a qualified educational team that facilitates the integration of the XO into the existing Ministry of Elementary School Education Curriculum. Schools participating in the OLPC project must meet specific selection criteria.
The Ometepe initiative has been supported particularly by contribution from the LAFISE-BANCENTRO Bank, and brings to 25,000 the number of XOs distributed to children in schools across the country.
Sri Lanka is a good example of collaboration between government, ngo’s, and international bodies.
They began an OLPC pilot in 2009, with support from World Vision Lanka, to see what a national laptop initiative might look like. This month they have finished deploying XOs to the last of their 13 pilot schools, chosen from each region of the country.
The program has been supported by the faculty at Colombo University, with educators working on a digital curriculum, texts that are included on every XO, and over 80 software programs (in Sinhala and Tamil) for students in grades 1-5.
Education Minister Bandula Gunawardena, overseeing the program, sees the XOs as “an ideal solution for the underprivileged schools which do not have electricity supply”. Now the ministry is considering how to expand this to the nation’s other primary schools.
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.