Universal Children´s Day Celebration: #OLPC

We would like to celebrate the Universal Children´s Day declared by the United Nations next Tuesday.
How? We will meet in twitter and have a great conversation about OLPC. This means we will meet and mention a #hashatag#olpc and make a session of Questions and Answers regarding OLPC and our deployments.
When? November 20th, 7p.m. EST.
Why? We can share our websites, studies, photos, videos, wiki links, etc. about kids in projects
Please find attached invitations and feel free to share and invite your friends and followers!

The Reading Project in Ethiopia explained by the OLPC team involved in the experiment

OLPC San Francisco Community Summit is a community event that brings together educators, technologists, anthropologists, enthusiasts, champions and volunteers. The purpose is to share stories, exchange ideas, solve problems, foster community and build collaboration around the One Laptop per Child project and its mission worldwide.

During the 2012 SF Summit, the team involved directly in this experiment, presented some of their experiences and details on the research:

Video 1: Matt Keller, Richard Smith

Video streaming by Ustream

Video 2: Richard Smith, Ed McNierney, Scott Ananian and Chris Ball:

Video streaming by Ustream

One Laptop per Child in history – Kofi Annan’s words about OLPC

THE SECRETARY-GENERAL

REMARKS AT MEDIA EVENT FOR “ONE LAPTOP PER CHILD”

Tunis, 16 November 2005

Mr. Negroponte,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Some inventions are ahead of their time.

Others are perfectly of their time.

Still others seem so obvious and natural upon their unveiling that people start asking what took so long for them to come into being.

It is the rare invention indeed that manages all this at the same time.

But Nicholas Negroponte and his team at the world-renowned MIT Media Lab have given us just such a breakthrough.

The $100 laptop is inspiring in many respects.

It is an impressive technical achievement.

It holds the promise of major advances in economic and social development.

But perhaps most important is the true meaning of “One Laptop Per Child”.  This is not just a matter of giving a laptop to each child, as if bestowing on them some magical charm.  The magic lies within – within each child, within each scientist-, scholar- or just-plain-citizen-in-the-making.  This initiative is meant to bring it forth into the light of day.

With these tools in hand, children can become more active in their own learning. They can learn by doing, not just through instruction or rote memorization.  Moreover, they can open a new front in their education: peer-to-peer learning.

Studies and experience have shown repeatedly that kids take to computers easily – not just in the comfort of warm and well-lit rich-country schools, dens and living rooms, but also in the slums and remote rural areas of the developing world.  We must reach all these kids.  Their societies and the world at large simply cannot do without their contributions and engagement.

I thank all involved in “One Laptop Per Child” for this truly moving expression of global solidarity.  I commend the International Telecommunication Union for its role in making this event possible.  And I urge all leaders and stakeholders attending this World Summit to do their part in ensuring that this initiative is fully incorporated into our efforts to build an information society.

Thank you very much.

Antonio Battro – Interview in Madrid

Antonio Battro, our Chief Education Officer, is both an MD and PhD who specializes in the development of basic cognitive and perceptual processes in children and adolescents. He has introduced computers and communication devices in schools in several countries in South America, as well as promoted the use of computers as digital prostheses for the disabled persons. He is considered a world leader in the new field of neuroeducation, the interaction between mind, brain, and education. Battro is an Argentine national and long-standing member of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences.

Here, the video of his latest interview in Madrid. (Spanish)

October 20, 2012: One Laptop Per Child Day in San Francisco

San Francisco Mayor Edwin M. Lee has declared October 20, 2012 One Laptop Per Child Day in San Francisco!

The proclamation reads: “THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that I, Edwin M. Lee, Mayor of the City and County of San Francisco, on occasion of the fourth annual OLPC Community Summit, do hereby proclaim October 20, 2012 as… ONE LAPTOP PER CHILD DAY

Read the full post here.

 

World Dignity Day and OLPC in Johannesburg, South Africa

OLPC participated as project of choice by South Africa’s chapter of the World Dignity Day celebration, sponsored by the Young Global Leaders, a division of the World Economic Forum of Davos. Vuyo Jack, Co-Founder and Chairman of Empowerdex, Phuti Mahanyele, CEO of Shanduka Foundation and Tebogo Skwambane, head of The Monitor Group in the region, shared the panel with Rodrigo Arboleda, Chairman and CEO of OLPCA and with Thsedi Luyabe, CEO of OLPC Foundation, South Africa. The media event, attended by a well qualified group of journalists, educators, philanthropists, coincided with the official registration of OLPCF SA under the South African ministries and tax authorities.

Also in attendance from OLPC were Richard Bernstein, member of the BOD and Chief Legal Counsel, Sergio Romero, VP for Africa and Mark Kaplan, Executive Chairman of OLPCF SA.

The successful event was very well commented by all present and marks a new milestone of the efforts to bring to the children of Africa, a dignified way to Learn-how-to-Learn as the most important way to create the new breed of South African citizens capable of becoming effective participants in the wealth creation for the XXI Century, one that focuses on innovation, discovery, inventions, Intellectual Property.

Itagüí: Educational Revolution

Itaguí’s Municipal Administration in partnership with the University EAFIT began a technological modernization project in Educational Institutions

On Tuesday September 4th, Itagüí’s Municipal Mayor, CARLOS ANDRES TRUJILLO, officially handed over the first massive installment of XO computers from One Laptop per Child (OLPC) to teachers of basic primary education official institutions of the municipalities. The main event took place at the Southern Cultural Auditorium in Itagüí (Antioquia, Colombia).

Thus, Itagüí began a process of educational revolution in the implementation of the use and appropriation of technology information and communications  that are planned for the education sector and that is being conducted in partnership with the University EAFIT. The project also seeks to raise awareness and ensure the appropriate use of new technologies among all students and make full use of these tools by teachers for the continuous improvement of the teaching process, which will be reflected in management plans  within the 24 official educational institutions.

Photo by rededucativaitagui

The project includes in its first phase leaving a defined strategy that allows for the proper implementation of technologies in the classroom, for which, activities such as training of teachers, school administrators and adequacy of the infrastructure necessary for the operation thereof are being carried out. To do this, educational institutions with XO laptops have already been endowed; in each of the classrooms a whiteboard was installed, each of them gas given a video beam and they installed a central database (CPU) with keyboard and mouse. Additionally, an educational software that allows students to create new experiences, innovate and develop their intellectual capacities and technologies facing the globalized world has been prepared.

Photo by rededucativaitagui

The Municipal Administration has been working hard in order to improve school environment and provide new tools that allow the education sector of the municipality move forward and become a national model framed in change and transformation of education.

Photo by rededucativaitagui

Are you working with XO laptops that need an upgrade?

By Martin Langhoff, Software Architect – OLPC

Part of our focus is to support deployments that have made a long term commitment to work with us. When we have new models, we work hard to provide them as an upgrade.

This means that if you have today XO-1 or XO-1.5 laptops you can purchase an upgrade kit that will turn it into an XO-1.75. It does require that you perform the motherboard replacement, but the savings can be significant.

XO-1.75 with grid membrane and mechanical keyboard. Photo by Sandra Barragan

With this upgrade you get a modern ARM CPU, much lower power consumption (it runs long hours on each battery charge, and performs fantastically well on solar panels). Depending on options, you can get larger RAM and storage. You can also choose to get the new grid membrane keyboard.

If you are thinking of doing this, get in touch with us. If you know the SKU number of the laptops you have, which you can find in the battery compartment, that will make the process easier.

For each variant of the XO you need a slightly different upgrade kit, so it is important that we get it right. Our engineers have done quite a bit of work to plan the different upgrade kits.
Do you know of any laptop manufacturer that supports upgrading 5 year old models to the latest and greatest with a motherboard change, and at a fraction of the cost?

At this time, there is a minimum order quantity of 100 kits. If you are interested in ordering 100 upgrade kits or more, please contact Leah@laptop.org  at OLPC for further details. Make sure you indicate the SKU of the units you want to upgrade.

Unfortunately, due to packing, shipping, customs and warranty logistics, OLPC is currently unable to offer upgrade kits for orders under 100 kits. The costs of shipping individual components packed properly is high.

Order quantities of 1000 kits and larger can be processed faster and at lower cost.

If you have an early XO laptop and would like to see it run better and faster, our latest Operating System release can give it a new life, see http://wiki.laptop.org/go/Release_notes/12.1.0 .

We thank you for your interest in the OLPC project.

Training focused on the holistic development for students in Rwanda

By Desire Rwagaju, OLPC-Learning Development Officer

One Laptop Per Child Association in collaboration with Agahozo-Shalom Youth Village (ASYV) proposed, planned and is implementing a training that focused on the holistic development (cognitive & social) for its students in senior six and five. This Training aimed to strengthen the ASYV student’s knowledge on the use of OLPC laptop for deep learning, lesson planning and implementation of project based learning activities.

Brief history of ASYV:

After 1994 genocide in Rwanda, one of the biggest problems Rwanda faced was the vast number of orphans with no systemic solution to support their well-being and development. Anne Heyman and her husband Seth Merin (living in New-York City) were inspired by the similar challenge that Israel faced after the Second World War, when there was a large influx of orphans from the Holocaust. As solution to the problem Israel built residential living communities called youth villages. This is the model residential living communities brought to Rwanda by Anne Heyman, Agahozo-Shalom Founder. Called “The Agahozo-Shalom Youth Village (ASYV)” is a residential community in rural area in Rwanda. It is a home to youth who were orphaned during and after the genocide in 1994. Its mission is to enable orphaned and vulnerable youth to realize their maximum potential by providing them with a safe and secure living environment, healthcare, education and necessary life skills.

Education in ASYV and OLPC involvement:

ASYV aims on developing students both cognitively and socially. Village education focuses on both Formal Education (schooling) and Informal Education to expand each student’s talents, skills, and capacity to become not only functioning members of society, but leaders of their communities. This is where ASYV’s education aligns with OLPC’s learning philosophy and approach–using mobile technology to empower each student’s individual learning process in some of the most remote and difficult conditions. With connected laptops, learners are liberated to actively engage with others with similar interests in cultures of learning by doing without being limited by time or space. Children can learn by teaching, actively assisting other learners and freeing the teacher to focus her experience and expertise where most needed. It was seen as an opportunity for this village to benefit from this learning approach, which will enhance all the great initiatives already in place.

Trainees explore sugar learning environment, diagnosed and solved different hardware and software problems, as well as disassembling and assembling the XO.

 

At the end of the first phase of the training (August 10th) all trainees were going to vacation, they have been assigned to different schools received olpc laptop in previous deployment done by the government of Rwanda in 30 districts of the country. They will be helping the project with the upgrade of the anti-theft key, as they will be introducing kids and teachers at schools nearby their homes on the use of xo laptops. The Training will continue after they come back from vacation to reinforce trainee’s capacity of planning and conducting trainings for teachers.

 

One Laptop Per Child and Common Sense Media Partner to Foster Worldwide Digital Literacy

MIAMI–(BUSINESS WIRE)–One Laptop per Child (OLPC), a nonprofit organization whose mission is to provide every child in the world access to new channels of learning, sharing and self-expression, announced today that it has signed an agreement with Common Sense Media to offer Digital Passport™, the interactive web-based platform on OLPC’s XO laptops and tablets in the U.S. and internationally. The agreement with Common Sense Media follows a recent announcement between Sesame Street and OLPC and demonstrates OLPC’s continuing use of third party content to supplement its Sugar educational software platform of 300 applications.

Common Sense Media’s Digital Passport™ is an interactive learning environment designed for students in grades 3-5 who are just beginning to use media and technology independently. Through a series of engaging videos and games that address topics such as online privacy, appropriate sharing, respectful cell phone use and content selection, children learn to safely navigate in a technology-enhanced world. This student-centric approach to learning fosters increased confidence in children to further explore technology, while teaching critical skills around being safe, respectful, and responsible digital citizens.

“As OLPC and others expand the use of connected laptops by children for learning, it becomes increasingly important for children to better understand the digital environment and Common Sense Media offers the most comprehensive and well accepted curriculum on this subject,” said Rodrigo Arboleda, President and CEO of OLPC.

“Providing laptops to children opens up their worlds and prepares them for success in the 21st century,” said Amy Guggenheim Shenkan, President and Chief Operating Officer, Common Sense Media. “By making digital literacy and citizenship education a priority and outfitting OLPC XO laptops with Digital Passport™, OLPC is demonstrating an admirable commitment to helping kids to safely and constructively engage in their own education.”

About OLPC:

One Laptop per Child (OLPC at http://www.laptop.org) is a non-profit organization whose mission is to provide every child in the world access to new channels of learning, sharing and self-expression. In partnership with the public and private sectors and non-governmental organizations and supported by comprehensive implementation and pedagogical services, OLPC seeks to provide each child with a rugged, low-cost, low-power connected laptop that empowers individual learning and growth.

Contacts

One Laptop per Child
Giulia D’Amico, +1 305-371-3755
giulia@laptop.org

Latest news on Sugar Activities

At the urging of Reuben Caron, who had been contacted by the OLPC deployment in Armenia, Walter Bender wrote a chess activity for Sugar. It is a Sugar front-end to the gnuchess program, which is a quite sophisticated chess engine for GNU/Linux. The actvitiy, Gnuchess, can be downloaded from the Sugar activity portal and is documented on the Activities/Gnuchess page in the wiki. A few fun features include:

(1)  you can play against the computer, another person on the same computer, or over the network

(2) you can use a generic set of pieces, load in some Sugar-colored ones, or those of your own design

(3) when you play against someone over the net, they will see your artwork and you’ll see their artwork

(4) the computer will offer very good hints to new users

(5) games are recorded and can be played back as an animation or saved in standard chess notation.

Walter also have been making a number of subtle but important changes to Turtle Blocks. Cynthia Solomon (of Logo fame) has been giving him feedback and as a result, Walter thinks the box and action naming is much more streamlined and consistent. Also, the new flow blocks are much easier (and more intuitive) to use.

Check out Version 154 and keep an eye out for Version 156, coming soon.

Also, Claudia, Melissa, Cynthia, and Walter hosted a learning workshop at the OLPC office in Cambridge at which Walter got some feedback on the Portfolio and Bulletin Board activities. He is in the midst of streamlining Portfolio and also enabling comments to be made over the web. (You can get a sneak preview of Version 27). With the learning team, we have been developing a classroom protocol. Once the Portfolio activity gets released, the Bulletin Board activity will follow.

Walter has also been withing with the Fundación Zamora Teran team on the Nutrition activity.
More region-specific foods have been added and a new game: match the food to its food group. A new release will be available soon; a preview is available here.

Five Educational Lessons I Learned from Kids Around the World: Why I’m proud to serve as the Goodwill Ambassador for the One Laptop per Child Project

By Dr.Michele Borba, Parental and Teen Educational Specialist

I’ve been a teacher, writer and researcher for over thirty years and like many, I’m haunted knowing that millions of children on our planet will never receive an education or walk into a classroom. Imagine! I’ve pondered again and again how we can give poverty-stricken kids-especially those living in remote areas where teachers, textbooks, classrooms or even running water don’t exist-a chance for hope. I did find the answer, and ironically, it came from children far from home.

It all began with a most unexpected phone call. General Mills contacted me to ask if I’d like to be a spokesperson for its “Win & Give” campaign where U.S. kids had the opportunity to win an XO laptop from One Laptop per Child (OLPC) and trigger a donation of the same laptop to kids in Africa. Would I be willing to travel to Rwanda to visit schools and help deliver the laptops to students? Well, I jumped at the chance! I knew these were no ordinary laptops. The XO laptop is made from durable plastic so it can withstand tough weather conditions (think Africa or the Sahara Desert), is childproof, even looks like a toy and has instant connectivity. It comes fully equipped with curriculum in a child’s native language (29 languages and counting now), retails for $185, is designed by some of the world’s most brilliant minds at MIT Media Lab and was developed based on sound theory that supports how kids learn best.

So three weeks later found myself flying to the small East African nation that had experienced unspeakable horrors of genocide. Within 24 hours of landing a few amazing children taught me valuable lessons on how to close the achievement gap. Here are those five lessons I learned about education from kids around the world.
LESSON 1: Never underestimate kids’ ability to be master of their own learning

My first Rwandan visit was to the Murambi School in Kigali for deaf and mute children. In addition to being handicapped and destitute, many were also orphans. I walked into the first classroom and admit I had low expectations. Instead, I was mesmerized.

First, the room was bare–no books or school supplies could be found. I saw only old wooden desks, one blackboard, a cement floor and a teacher. But I also noted that each child was working intently on an XO laptop.

Here were kids with limited language skills and no verbal abilities, who were engrossed in learning and their excitement was contagious.

I knelt to see what they were doing on those laptops, and got the surprise of my life: these nine and ten-year olds were programming! Any doubts I’d ever had about the impact computers can have on impoverished kids’ died on the spot. I saw that specially-designed computers can support a child’s learning and thinking, and when a child cannot talk-or hear–he still is not limited. These children were clearly learning to “talk” to their XO computers in their own way.

They also confirmed Seymour Papert’s brilliant words from long ago: “If we really look at the “child as the builder” we are on our way to an answer.” I was looking at a solution to closing the achievement gap in third world countries: forget spending the money on schools, provide an enriched educational curriculum that was child-directed.
LESSON 2: The “Right” Technology” can excite kids about learning

My experience with OLPC in Rwanda was extraordinary, but I had to see more. Will the effect of these XO laptops impact children living in other cultures or regions? So over the next weeks I visited a Title 1 school in an impoverished area outside Miami, flew to Managua, Nicaragua to interview teachers, ferried my way to a remote island called Ometepe to talk to kids, and even interviewed scientists who invented the XO laptop at the MIT Media Lab at Cambridge. Everywhere I heard two common themes: 1. “Students are far more engaged in their learning after receiving XO laptops.” 2. “Parents report that their kids are using the computers to learn at home.” What’s more, kids in my travels verified those opinions.

Seven-year old Lidia, also from Nicaragua, who said that her XO is helping her as well as her family learn. Her mother and father now know how to use the computer, because she is teaching them. “All kids should have a computer like me, so they can learn,” Lidia told me adamantly.

Nidia Raquel Morales Alvarez, a long name for a precocious ten-year old I met in Managua, told me that her XO computer “greatly advanced my learning.”

When I probed for details she explained: “Yesterday I learned about industrial agriculture. Tomorrow I’ll be giving a presentation in my classroom about farming techniques.” She added that her favorite laptop activity at home is doing research on Wikipedia. Her goal, she said, is to become an engineer. I have no doubt that she will.

Kids in Africa had echoed those same sentiments.

Jean Luc, a young boy from Rwanda, admitted that his computer is his ‘new life.’

“I always make sure my XO is charged before I take it home, and then I work on it all night. Right now I’m composing music. Do you want to hear my song?” he asked. “Would I ever! And so my new friend shared his composition. (Memo to Bono: “Watch out, your competition is coming up! This kid is talented). Jean Luc also divulged that his secret hope is to grow up and become a musical programmer. It’s my hope for him as well.
LESSON 3: Computers can increase student collaboration

Another adult concern I often hear is that computer use will make kids more self-focused and squelch their abilities to become collaborative learners. But in dozens of OLPC observations I found the opposite: In those classrooms enriched with technology-and ones in which teachers are trained in best teaching practices–there is more-not less-socialization amongst students. Educator training in collaborative instructional strategies certainly helps, and teachers I observed were not only trained by OLPC trainers but continued learning effective ways to utilize technology in monthly staff development trainings. I saw the benefits on their children’s achievement.

Nicaragua is one of the most impoverished in the western hemisphere. One in three Nicaraguan children are chronically malnourished. OLPC has delivered hundreds of XO laptops to classrooms.

I observed a number of classrooms in Nicaragua and saw a variety of cooperative classroom lessons in schools who had used XOs computers for a few months: Sixth graders working in base teams learning how to mind-map different types of calendars (Mayan, Greco, Julian). Third graders were paired with partners and identifying bird species. First graders learning how to use the XO drawing program and discovering beginning programming skills with their “learning buddies.” Fourth graders who were mentoring younger students who needed “catching up” on computer skills. “We help each other,” one boy explained.

I also saw the same collaborative spirit in OLPC classrooms in Liberty City, Miami. I watched a young girl having trouble navigating between programs. She turned to a classmate for help, and within seconds the boy was by her side teaching her basic computer skills. That same cooperative spirit happened in Managua as kids sat beneath mango trees with XOs in their laps helping their classmates learn new computer skills.

Classrooms with computers can come alive as children worked, shared and created together on their laptops. Each click of the mouse was helping them become more connected to the world and to a brighter future. Computers can support collaborative learning practices and increase-not reduce-student interaction.

“We teach each other!” a young Nicaraguan boy told me, but I was already convinced.
LESSON 4: Technology can inspire kids and teachers

In my visits I’ve seen the impact XO laptops has on children’s education, but I’ve also witnessed how those computers enhance a powerful concept called, “Teacher pride.” In every classroom and in every country I saw educators excited about teaching.

A teacher at Holmes Elementary, a Title 1 school in Liberty City, Miami, had tears in her eyes as she described how the laptops affected her teaching: “I can’t wait to come to school now. My students are so exciting about learning! You can’t believe what a difference those laptops have made on my children’s lives.”

I can also validate the impact. Holmes was in danger of closing due to dismal test scores. Within two years, their “D” school rating is now at a “B” level-and rising. Inspired teachers, a powerful principal, and the right curriculum can make all the difference on children’s lives.

Gloria, a sixth grade teacher in Managua, was exuberant about the OLPC project. “I’ve taught for twenty years,” she said, “but I’ve never seen anything that has helped my students or my own teaching better than these laptops. In just one week, the children learned not only how to use them, but how to teach themselves. I can’t keep up!”

A teacher in Nicaragua admitted that her initial hesitancy about computers. “I didn’t know how to use them,” she said. “But my students told me not to worry. They taught me!” Then she smiled and said, “The laptops have changed my teaching!”

One of the students was listening in at the door. “So is it true?” I asked. “Did you all help your teacher learn to use the computer?”

The boy looked up with a huge grin and nodded sheepishly. “Yep, she likes the computers now just like us,” he said.

It can’t get much better than that!
LESSON 5: Parents are grateful when their children are given the opportunity for a future

My last day in my African visit had been in a most memorable school. There was no running water, toilets were primitive makeshift outhouses, school supplies were scarce, play equipment consisted of tattered jump ropes and maybe a few cans or balls to kick. The village was poor, but the place was buzzing with excitement. This was the day OLPC would deploy 300 XO laptops to their students. The whole community-parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles, storeowners, clergy, and even mayor-had walked miles to the school to witness the momentous occasion. Drums were beating, students were dancing, teachers were ecstatic, and parents were literally beaming. I saw what was clearly “joy and hope” on the faces of these moms and dads. They knew their children would shortly be receiving an extraordinary gift: the chance for an education.

The students lined up to receive their green and white XO computers, and were literally shaking from excitement. I can’t begin to describe how thrilling it felt to give kids those laptops. Each child waited for what must have seemed like an eternity, and when their turn finally came would take the computer oh so carefully, utter words of thanks, and then this look of absolute elation would emerge. Pride? Hope? Wonder? Awe? I’m not quite sure, but it was priceless. I’ve never experienced anything so riveting.

I watched one boy staring at his computer with a look of almost disbelief. “This is really mine?” he seemed to be thinking. Then he turned, walked back to me and pointed to a small pin that I was wearing that bore the initials, “XO.” He then tapped the same letters engraved on the top of his computer.

“Yes,” I said as if to let him know that the XO laptop and I were somehow connected.

The child grasped his new laptop closely to his chest, and then suddenly tears started to flow down his face. That did it-it was impossible to contain my emotions, and the tears started. We sat down on the grass with his laptop between us, hugging and crying. Believe me, we made quite a sight. Somehow-despite our differences-we understood the enormous significance of that day. The moment reminded me that best lessons often come from a child’s “silent” words.
Making the Easiest Decision of My Life

That was the day I became convinced that the answer to providing education and hope to children in third world countries is the One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) project. I told the OLPC members who were with me I would do anything I could to support their mission. So when the One Laptop Per Child project asked if I’d serve as their Goodwill Ambassador, it was the quickest decision I’ve ever made: a resounding “yes!” My next stop for OLPC is delivering laptops to children in Armenia who are not even recognized by the United Nations.

Children–all of our children-deserve an education, and a chance for hope. Extraordinary kids living in remote, impoverished areas of the globe taught me that hope is possible.

Now it’s up to the adults to listen to the children.

OLPC Rwanda takes off

Update: the OLPC Rwanda 2011 report is out!

OLPC Rwanda (twitter) has grown steadily since its launch a few years ago, and is now part of early education in every school district in the country. Rwanda aims to become a technical and Web powerhouse, and has remained true to that vision. Today they are in some ways the most technically advanced country in the region (to the chagrin of neighboring Kenya, which also hopes to be the hub for software and technology development in East Africa). Rwanda is preparing to double the size of the OLPC project in the country over the coming year, now that they have a smoothly-running system in place.

Happily for us (and for future deployments), the country team has put together a beautiful report on their first three years of work, which will come out tomorrow. It is concise and written for a general audience, with a fine balance of perspectives, from political and financial to the needs of teachers and PTAs.

In related news, Joseph and Erize, the two boys who made their own business cards for their OLPC outreach efforrts in Kigali, saw that we wrote about them on the blog last week, and left comments of their own welcoming questions from all of you. :-)

Piedmont School District in Alabama on their 1:1 laptop program

Matt Akin, superintendent of the Piedmont City Schools (not far from Birmingham), talks about their long-running 1:1 Mpower program, working with Stanford and iTunes U, partnership with the entire local community, and the impact on the students.   They have three K-12 schools in the district, and children take laptops home with them starting in Grade 4.

every student at Piedmont has the opportunity of taking French, German, or Chinese, instead of just taking Spanish. And if they want to get ahead, they can take two years in one.

Our students pay a $50 insurance fee. If they’re low income and they can’t afford the fee, we feel strongly that everyone should have something invested, so a student may pay $2 a month. 

I contacted the professor at Stanford because I think the videos are probably three or four years old and said, “It sure would be nice if we could have your stuff.” He sent us all his PowerPoints, his coding requirements, and solutions.

A great interview by Stephen Noonoo.  (Is it wrong of me to want to CamelCase his last name?)  Encore!

Visualizing universal connectivity in Argentina

Argentina’s Conectar Igualdad program, which will provide 3M laptops to secondary students across the country by the end of next year, has devoted much time to their web presence.  (The secondary students receive Classmates; 60K primary students in the north have also recieved XOs.) The national education ministry has a history of excellent web sites, including educ.ar, which has gathered learning materials and information for teachers for years.

Conectar Igualdad has, among other things, a lovely real-time summary of the program’s progress, noting the current targets or the deployment and how it has progressed during the current phase in each district.

They are also open about the experimental nature of their work.  They have asked students and communities to come up with great ideas and local initiatives using the laptops and other information technology, running a variety of contests to select the best of them.  The aim of these contests is to highlight the dynamic of “one laptop per child” and universal connectivity, connect with web 2.0 services, and to collaborate with others in a creative way.

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