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.

Rodrigo Arboleda – One of the 100 most influential Hispanics

Rodrigo Arboleda is the CEO of One Laptop Per Child Association, an organization that has distributed 2.7 million XO computers around the world, and which just marked a milestone in Colombia with the delivery of 11,000 laptops to children in public schools in Itagüí. He has also just been honored in Miami as one of the 100 most influential Hispanics in that city. A special Colombian  man.

Photo – La Semana.com Colombia

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Translation from a post in REVISTA SEMANA of Colombia, the most prestigious magazine of the country.

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

The Islamic Development Bank will support a 50-school deployment for OLPC Cameroon

Cameroon is about to become an OLPC hub for francophone West Africa! The Islamic Development Bank and OLPC today are announcing a pilot project to connect 51 schools in six regions, deploying 5,000 XOs to primary school children and teachers. The team will also design a program that could extend this deployment across the country in the future. The idea for the program was started back in 2008, and has developed steadily since then, with help from a strong national team.

The Islamic Development Bank is a multilateral financing institution: it pools resources and supports economic development and social progress among its 56 member countries, including Cameroon. The Cameroon project represents the first time that the Islamic Development has financed an OLPC deployment, and may serve as a model for other francophone countries in the region. A team from Cameroon’s Ministry of Education has already provided training assistance to an ongoing OLPC project in Mali. Other countries in the region are expected to launch XO deployments in 2012.

Rodrigo Arboleda, announcing the program, said: “We are delighted to be working with the Islamic Development Bank on the financing of projects that support our mutual objective of fostering economic development and social progress. We are seeing tremendous interest in OLPC throughout Africa and look forward to working with both public and private sector partners in a number of countries to launch, expand and support other initiatives in the months ahead.

Cameroon will be the first country in Africa to receive the ARM-based XO-1.75, which enters mass production this month. These XO laptops have the same sunlight-readable screen and other design features of the previous models, but draw only half the power.

Rodrigo discusses OLPC with Colombian paper El Tiempo

Natalia Bonnett of El Tiempo interviewed Rodrigo last week about OLPC and its work in Colombia. From the interview:

¿Cómo va el proceso aquí [en Colombia]?

En los próximos días, Itagüí será el primer municipio en toda Colombia que va a tener un computador para cada alumno de primaria. Es la primera vez que logramos romper el hielo. Ha sido muy difícil, probablemente no hay profeta en su tierra… También llegamos a La Macarena. Pero también hay casos de filántropos del sector privado o asociaciones como Asocaña, con quien próximamente llegaremos al Valle del Cauca. El Gobierno Nacional hizo un esfuerzo a través del Ministerio de Educación de proveer conectividad a las escuelas. Con una sola señal que llegue a la escuela, nosotros trabajamos por medio de wi-fi y lo único que hay que instalar son repetidoras internas dentro del plantel.”

In English:

How is the process going here [in Colombia]?

In the coming days, Itagüí will be the first region in all of Colombia to have a laptop for every primary student. This is the first time that we broke the ice. It was very difficult, probably noone is a prophet in his own country… We are also heading to La Macarena. But there are also cases of private-sector philanthropists or associations such as Asocaña, with whom we will soon come to Valle del Cauca. The national government made an effort through the Ministry of Education to provide connectivity to the schools. With a single signal to the school, we can work via wi-fi and the only thing that needs to be installed are internal repeaters within the school.”

Michele Borba interviews children, parents and teachers in Nicaragua

Dr. Michele Borba, the inspiring parenting and educational consultant who has been working recently with OLPC, travelled to Nicaragua with Rodrigo and the deployment last week for the Ometepe project launch.  She writes, “[We] looked like a mini-United Nations representing Germany, Argentina, Italy, Colombia, Denmark, Honduras, the Dominican Republic, Bosnia, South Korea, Belgium, India and the U.S. We were teachers, bankers, doctors, writers, embassy representatives, lawyers, and businessmen, but we all shared a commonality knowing that something immensely significant was about to happen on that Island, and could feel it the moment we walked onto a huge field.

She also visited a school that has been part of an existing OLPC project near Managua for over a year, and wrote about the history of the program there.

The first delivery of XO laptops to Nicaragua was in 2009, and the impact is already evident. Statistics show a 40% reduction in drop-outs, a decrease in retention and in violence. Best yet, parents are starting to come to the schools to be involved in their children’s learning, and the teachers recognize those laptops are affecting their teaching!

I visited a small rural primary school (San Francisco de Asís) outside of Managua using XO laptops since November 2010. There is now full OLPC school saturation. Positive changes are clearly apparent: the parents are more involved in their children’s education; there has been a high increase in school registration; and student learning is increasing, and here’s why.

The teachers were all trained by OLPC and continue with monthly staff development training.

Each computer is equipped with grade-level texts including natural science, geography, geometry, Nicaraguan history and culture, a dictionary, and Wikipedia, books (“Mine has Harry Potter!” one boy exclaimed), as well as programs that encourage children’s creativity, music and art. Teachers report that students are now far more engaged in learning. Parents say their kids are using the computers to continue learning at home.

Over the next hours I observed various teaching lessons using the XOs. Sixth graders working in base teams to learn how to mind-map different types of calendars (Mayan, Greco, Julian). Third graders paired with partners to identify bird species. First graders were learning how to use the XO drawing program and discovering beginning programming skills. Fourth graders were mentoring younger students…

Dr. Borba also spent some time talking to students and teachers outside of class:

[A ten-year old] told me that her computer has “greatly advanced my learning… 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.

The whole story is posted on her children and parenting blog.