Occidental Mindoro pupils enjoy world connectivity

From the Office of the President of the Philippines

A laptop for every pupil of Occidental Mindoro is now a looming possibility. Thanks to the mayor who dared to dream and the governor who is turning that dream into bigger reality.

Mayor Juan Sanchez of Lubang, Occidental Mindoro is a hands-on town executive who sees to it that the elementary school children in his municipality are equipped with the latest technology to improve learning. Thus, the “One Laptop Per Child” (OLPC) project was born to benefit Grade IV pupils of Lubang Central School and Maligaya Elementary School in 2010- becoming the first OLPC adoption in Southeast Asia.

Now on its second year, Lubang’s OLPC project has provided 210 XO laptops units – 100 from National Computer Center Community Outreach and another 110 XO laptops from Sanchez’ friends who chose to remain anonymous. These were distributed to another generation of grade IV pupils in the same pilot schools. Last year’s recipients are now computer-savvy.

The XO is extremely durable, functional, energy-efficient and fun.

Sanchez observes – which the teachers confirm – “the use of the XO laptop has given the pupils not just computer-literacy but better appreciation for education.” They learn, share, create and collaborate. The XO laptop is designed for the use of children ages 6 to 12-covering the years of elementary school.

Education Secretary Br. Armin A. Luistro FSC said: “We need a broader collaboration to reach our school children through the social investment of individuals and business communities. We see this as a key step in what could eventually lead to an information communication technology (ICT)-enabled education for the youth of Occidental Mindoro.”

The XO has been designed to provide the most engaging wireless network available. The laptops are connected to each other, even when they are off. If one laptop is connected to the Internet, the others can follow to the web.

Children can share information on the web (if provided with internet access), gather by videoconference, make music together, edit texts, read e-books, take photos, make videos and produce projects using Sugar software.

Encouraged by the many benefits of OLPC, Occidental Mindoro Governor Josephine Y. Ramirez –Sato has decided to expand the project to include the provision of XO laptops for Grade IV pupils in the remaining ten municipalities of the province.

Amazing photos and update from the Philippines

The eKindling grassroots group gave a lovely update of their work in the Philippines, last month in San Francisco.  They have been working with the province of Occidental Mindoro for some years. This began with the Lubang pilot, spearheaded by Mayor Juan Sanchez and financed by his friends from National Computer Center Community Outreach, Metrobank, and  many other anonymous donors. eKindling’s counterpart contribution in this pilot was the education programming and training of teachers, students, parents, and local support team.

More recently, Governor Ramirez-Sato has begun an expanded initiative on Mindoro Island.  Elementary schools of the four southern municipalities,  San Jose, Calintaan, Magsaysay, and Rizal, will be receiving another 550 XOs later this year.  With Lubang in the north and these four in the south, can the rest of the province be far behind?

The Occidental Mindoro team conducted a baseline readiness survey in March, visiting some of the schools.  This was the children’s first chance to use the laptops.  Since then, there have been two training sessions with teachers from all involved schools, in June and October, and a training session with champion students from all schools in June.

They took  photos of their visit to the San Jose Pilot Elementary school.  Two of my favorites:

Photos by Ideals.ph

The new pilots are being advised (kindled!) by eKindling and managed by the local school system, an excellent example of government/grassroots collaboration.  Thanks to both groups for capturing this day in the life of the schools, and for making it possible.

eKindling makes strides in Lubang, Philippines

The eKindling project, a classroom XO project on the island of Lubang in the Philippines, is making good progress. They are supported by roughly 100 donors and organizers from across the Philippines. After a consultation visit this past winter, they recently purchased XOs for their school. They wrote up a project checklist, a 5-day teacher workshop schedule, and formed contacts with OLPC Friends, OLPC New Zealand, and Squeakland.

Recently they published a debrief of their weeklong teacher workshop. You can follow this and other progress through updates to their project page (thanks to Mafe and others).