There are only 20 components needed for basic Arduino functionality, costing $5 from digikey (in quantities of 100 or more). Local labor or even older kids could assemble this by hand.
The XO Stick is for when $5 per student is too much money. Based on the AVR Stick and the ATtiny85 processor, it costs only $1/student. It’s not as user-friendly as the Arduino-compatible board, but can be used to teach simple lessons in embedded electronics.
I expect to have a small number of each board in a few weeks; let me know if you’d like one in exchange for help with hardware and software bring-up. Schematic and layout review would also be appreciated (I did the PCB routing late at night under time pressure leaning heavily on autoroute, it’s certainly not the prettiest). And feedback from Arduino and Arduino shield hackers would also be welcome.
For more details or to request boards, please see the original blog post, and Alessandro Paganelli’s review in Linux Support magazine.
Walter and Melissa Henriquez ran Turtle Art and Scratch workshops las tweek, during a “vacation camp” for 3rd and 4th graders from Holmes Elementary School. It sounds like a it was a great success, with the children using Portfolio to make presentations of their work at the end of the week. Read more about it in the weekly Sugar Digest.
There are roughly 58 million primary school students in Latin America, according to UNESCO’s latest data from their Education For All initiative. 5% of children in that age range are not in school. And 5% of them use XOs: 1.5 million children have their own, and Peru’s urban initiative is giving another 1.5 million students in urban schools access to XOs through a program where groups of 3-5 students share a laptop.
Today 4/5 of these students are in Uruguay, Peru, Argentina, and Mexico. But new programs are growing rapidly, in Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Colombia, and elsewhere.
That’s a lot of budding Pythonistas, Scratcheros, and Linux users!
Now if only my own home country would start providing computers and connectivity to its students as a matter of course…
Back in May, we held an international Scratch Day event in our office called “Rwandese Kids Scratching their Communities.” This event had local students familiar with Scratch, an interactive programming activity on the XO laptop, planning and holding their own workshop. They taught teachers, family members and anyone else who came how to create Scratch projects.
This day was open to all and many new children found their way into our offices to learn more about Scratch and the XO laptop. Two such boys were Joseph (grade 3, 10 yrs old) and Erize (grade 2, 11 yrs old).
In the months that followed, Joseph and Erize kept coming to our offices (near
their houses) to use the laptops. During this time, they not only mastered use of the laptop, they spread word to their friends, and now help and guide other children who have begun coming to the office. Their homes have become popular places with family and friends coming each night to learn more and use the laptops.
The boys had been reserved and quiet, but are now outgoing and confident. Their English has expanded from a few sentences to conversational in just a few weeks. It is clear their work with the laptop has empowered them. They are so happy to be involved with OLPC, that they have each created their own business card and tell everyone in the neighborhood that they work for OLPC!
Joseph and Erize, on their own, chronicled through pictures an afternoon of themselves and their families at home with their laptops:
Since 2009, OLPC Greece has provided one laptop per child in 35 classes and groups around the country. 580 XOs in all, with the inolvement of many teachers. They have kept us updated via our wiki and regular emails, and shared some interesting work from their students.
My favorite post is from the 3rd graders at the Sminthi School — they made large tiles of stencil art, rearranged it on a school wall, and turned it into stop-motion animations with Scratch (video). Their professors Psychogios, Rigas, and Aspioti, brought this work into with their math, informatics, and art classes.
Recently the OLPC Greece team published a short summary of their work from the first two years, and their goals for the coming year. They note the need for local hardware labs, software updates, and technical support. You can follow their work, in Greek, on the public mailing list for the pilot. (An excellent practice!)
Students and teachers work on a stencil in Sminthi
A month into our olpcstories contest with Nickelodeon Latin America, we have received some friendly media coverage in Latin America (in La Crónica in Mexico, and CanalAr in Argentina) and have gotten many contest submissions.
The contest rules are out for the OLPC/Nickelodeonstorytelling contest. OLPC and Nick will be judging the submissions together. All XO users in Latin America are eligible to compete by submitting a story, anination, or other multimedia clip of up to 3 minutes. Contest ends August 29.
The Government of Peru and LEGO’s Education group have been testing the WeDo toolkit in classrooms with XOs since it was released in 2008. This year they have launched a national program to distribute WeDo kits to roughly 20,000 schools.
LEGO’s Lars Nyengaard writes:
“I am happy to announce that the first major deployment of WeDo for XO will happen in Peru, starting this year. An amazing 20.000 schools will be populated with WeDo. 80.000 teachers will be taught in WeDo and the constructionist approach. More than 1,5 million children will experience WeDo across Peru.
We visited Brazil and Peru to understand the challenges for education in some of the underserved areas. Personally, I will never forget my visits to Brazil, the people I met and the children trying out our WeDo prototypes… we have pursued the original idea of bringing robotics constructonism and WeDo to countries, where the OLPC XO is deployed. I am happy, joyful and invigorated by the decision of the Peruvian government to deploy 92.000 WeDo sets with programming software, activities and teacher training.”
OLPC has been testing many different types of sensors and electronics kits, since the earliest work on Turtle Art with Sensors. The XO has also become a fine dedicated Scratch machine, and WeDo kits are easily enabled from within Scratch (with some handy video tutorials). If you can get your hands on an XO and a WeDo kit, try this with your friends, children, and students.
The PaleXO volunteer team, whose Arabic language blog we recently added to our sidebar, has been working with the OLPC children in the West Bank for the past year. They’ve run some local installation events and software workshops, and are planning a Scratch Day to encourage kids to make Scratch activities. They often host events at Birzeit University.
They also have the best group OLPC shirts I’ve seen since the rise of the velociraptors… it’s a snapshot of the Sugar desktop with the most common activity icons on it, so they can simply point to the right icon on their shirt when working with students during a workshop. Brilliant. Barbara brought back some lovely photographs from there as well as the ones we posted earlier from Gaza.
For those who haven’t noticed Scratch taking over the world, OLPC France published a lovely essay about the contest and the value of Scratch and Etoys for young students.
La promesse selon laquelle le projet CEIBAL donnerait aux élèves du pays des perspectives de réduction du fossé numérique et d’inclusion numérique n’est pas vaine, puisqu’ils sont désormais en mesure d’échanger d’égal à égal avec les jeunes créateurs Scratch appartenant à une communauté internationale à laquelle on doit déjà près d’un million de projets (projets Scratch) de par le monde.
The promise that CEIBAL would address the digital divide and digital inclusion for the nationls’ students is not in vain, since they are now on an equal footing with the young Scratch artists in an international community which has produced nearly a million Scratch projects.
In Uruguay, Efecto Cine and Plan CEIBAL are running an “ANIMATE” contest through June 15 for the best Scratch submissions by students across Uruguay. Ten winners will be announced, with the top four receiving mini-DV cameras for their schools. (Rules)
Meanwhile, an updated Scratch activity is being developed with full Journal and camera integration, and a new activity release is expected within the week. Kudos to everyone working on the project.
Efecto Cine and Plan CEIBAL are running an “ANIMATE” contest through June 15 for the best Scratch submissions by students across Uruguay. Ten winners will be announced, with the top four receiving mini-DV cameras for their schools. (Rules)