This is part two of a post about school sessions during the 30 OLPCorps teams’ two-week training in Kigali, Rwanda with members of the OLPC Center for Laptops & Learning and Rwanda’s RITC/OLPC Core Team.
The workshop brought OLPCorps teams to five Rwandan schools with XO laptops; the following is a brief synopsis of the trainings in two of the schools, Kagugu and Nonko:
Kagugu Primary School:
This is known as the best public school in Rwanda. The school is located in Kigali and has a total of 3020 laptops and 3242 students (P1 students share laptops), and 47 teachers. The school has Internet access. Students do not currently take their laptops home. Julia Reynolds of the OLPC Learning Team, Epimaque TWAGIRIMANA Leader of the Rwanda Core Team, Core Team technical members Basil IRENE MASEVELIO, John-Marie NYIRINKWAYA, and 30 OLPCorps members conducted the training at Kagugu. Both days were focused on teachers.
So all 47 teachers could participate, they were arranged into 3 different groups, each with 2-hour training sessions. The first day, teachers were introduced to Scratch. It was their first time using Scratch because the laptops were just recently reflashed to a newer software build. After a basic introduction, teachers were asked to take a picture of any object or scenery in the school yard, and import this picture into Scratch and tell a story about the picture. The teachers, with the assistance of OLPCorps members, used sound, images and animation to tell their stories. At the end of the session, teachers shared their work with the larger group to supportive applause.
The second day, teachers sat with OLPCorps members in smaller groups and explored ways they could use the XO in the classroom. Both OLPCorps members and teachers were fantastic. Together, they explored ways to use Turtle Art, Memorize and Scratch for lessons. One teacher, who had not previously used the laptop in his class, decided he wanted to start right away and grabbed some OLPCorps members to assist him in his classroom.
Things are just slowing down here after the excitement and energy brought by the 30 OLPCorps teams who were in Kigali from June 8-17th for a two-week training–the first action of the OLPC Center for Laptops & Learning.
The workshop brought OLPCorps teams to five Rwandan schools with XO laptops; the following is a brief synopsis of each training:
1. Rwamagana B Primary School: Rwamagana was the first school to receive XO laptops in Rwanda in 2007. The school is located an hour outside of Kigali and has a total of 750 XO laptops, 822 students (P1 does not have laptops), and 12 teachers. All students take their laptops home. Silvia Kist, of the OLPC Learning Team, along with Bryan Stuart, led training, with the support of 11 OLPCorps and 2 Rwanda Core Team Members. More details after the jump.
This summer, OLPC is starting two projects in Africa. One is OLPCorps, which we have covered over the past few months and which you will be hearing a great about from the participants themselves. The other is the founding of a learning center that has just been founded at the Kigali Institute for Science, Technology and Management [KIST]. As part of this process, the OLPC learning team, including David Cavallo and Juliano Bittencourt, have been in Kigali for some time, laying the groundwork for this week’s public launch. President Kagame himself came to open the center — here is the official press announcement:
LAUNCHED IN RWANDA BY HIS EXCELLENCY PAUL KAGAME, THE PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC OF RWANDA
OLPCorps Teams to Assist in Providing New Educational Opportunities in 17 Countries in Sub-Saharan Africa
Kigali, Rwanda, June 9, 2009 — One Laptop per Child (OLPC), a nonprofit organization whose mission is to help provide every child in the world with access to a modern education, in collaboration with the Government of Rwanda, is launching in Kigali, Rwanda, a Global Center for Excellence in Laptops and Learning. The purpose of the Center is to create the highest quality examples of learning with connected laptops in schools and communities, support ongoing laptop implementation plans in Rwanda, and create an African regional laptop network.
Leading the world in exemplifying laptops for learning, Rwanda is the natural base for this new center. The government of Rwanda has committed to providing all 2.2 million of its primary school children with laptops by 2012 and to serving as a model for other countries to copy, improve and further innovate. The Center also will develop senior fellows, community learning specialists and technology specialists who will return to their countries to lead efforts nationally, regionally and locally to extend laptop learning programs.
“OLPC has experienced great success when support for our mission comes from both the government (top down) as well as from grassroots (bottom up),” said Nicholas Negroponte, founder and chairman of One Laptop per Child. “The partnership with Rwanda represents a substantial commitment by both OLPC and Rwanda to bring learning to the grassroots and country level, which is exactly where it should be.”
A group of students who have worked on two small deployments in Africa
over the past year have proposed an OLPCorps project (quick, how many C’s did you read?), to encourage students everywhere to found and contribute to locally-supported school projects.
You can find and comment on the proposal for this summer on the OLPCorps Africa wiki page.
OLPC is considering this seriously for promotion and funding this summer. The program would be open to students from all countries. Paul Commons from Indiana University has been leading the proposal development – their “one here, one there” chapter made the G1G1 flyer on the right during the fall.
What I like best about the proposal is that it is not competitive, and there is real incentive for different project enthusiasts to help one another make their projects better. In practice this happens to some degree with publicly-posted proposal contests, since everyone reads other proposals and learns from the best; but it is a silent borrowing of ideas, not the give-and-take of suggestions.