OLPC Rwanda has been named to the scientific subcommittee of the International Conference on Technology in Education, organized by the Rwandan Education Ministry and Education Board. The conference will take place in early 2012. Great to hear; let us know when the call for papers is out!
Julia Reynolds describes some of her work with the Rwandan Education Ministry in developing lesson plans, with a joint workshop and some guest presenters from other educational orgs:
In the old currciulum there was basically a list of subjects, but in the new one there is more description on how the lesson can be carried out through learning-centred methods, information on what the students and teacher should be doing and what are the expected outcomes. They also made sure to relate these concepts to Rwandan life.
Rwanda has been doing a lot of lesson plan work over the past year, I hope some of the results will be available to read online.
OLPC Rwanda, which is planning to expand their OLPC deployment to 160,000 children and teachers by next summer, has been talking more about their work and interviewing those currently involved. Africa Online has been running a series on OLPC over the past two weeks, including a recent article on XO use in schools in Kigali.
Rwanda is rolling out a software and firmware update to the students and teachers in their current schools, as they prepare to deploy a new batch of XO-1.5s as they approach their 100K milestone. Project lead Nkubito Bakuramutsa gave a few interviews about the process, which started two weeks ago in southern Rwanda.
The security update may also give them a chance to reflash their current machines to XOOS 11.2, which has improved solar charging performance and overall power management along with many speed and interface improvements.
The planned expansion of their program will make Rwanda the largest OLPC deployment outside of South America, surpassing even the US and Mexico.
Tamin-Lee Connolly plans to travel from South-to-North across Africa, ending in the middle-east, visiting schools and helping to deploy laptops along the way. She may even bring some of her own. Today she begins her travel by flying back to her native South Africa from Dubai, where she has been working, launching a year-long journey by land rover to visit 39 countries. She plans to volunteer for OLPC and perhaps other educational groups along the way, and has been talking to grassroots XO deployments to find those that would benefit from a visit – starting with the amazing team in Kliptown!
If you’re working in Africa, drop her a line on her travel blog, everything except the horn – perhaps you can meet up during her trek.
Caritas Kanizio of Rwanda’s Education Ministry distributed 500 XOs to students and teachers in Ruli Primary school in Muhanga this week. This is part of an expansion of Rwanda’s OLPC project to rural schools, which has taken some time to develop but has been in ways the most rewarding part. It has helped bridge the connectivity and technology divide within the country.
Rwanda has positioned itself as a tech-savvy hub in East Africa for some time, but rural towns have had very limited access to computers. Parents generally hope to learn about computers through their children, and the program is seen as heralding better Internet connectivity for the communities as well.