OLPC Oceania expands to Kosrae, with US support

Since our first partnership with the Secretariat of the Pacific Community, which began in 2008, OLPC has seen significant deployments in Niue (the first country in the world to realize one laptop for every child), Nauru, the Solomon Islands, Vanuatu, and Papua New Guinea.

Last year we expanded our work in the region to start pilots in 12 other countries from the Pacific Island Forum.  One of the pilot projects developed was a well-received program in Kosrae, one of the four states of Micronesia.

As Michael Hutak reports on the OLPC Oceania blog, we are now working with Micronesia to build on the success of that pilot. Kosrae recently secured a $400K Supplemental Education Grant from the United States under the Compact of Free Association agreement between the US and Micronesia. Kosrae plans to implement a full-scale deployment of OLPC to all of their students from 1st to 8th grades.

 

 

In July, Kosrae deployed laptops to all 810 students and teachers in grades 5-8.  The first laptop was handed out at Utwe Elementary School, by Kosrae State Governor Lyndon Jackson (with Department of Education Director Lyndon Cornelius looking on).

ceremony was held at Tafunsak Elementary School to announce the program, attended by US Ambassador Prahar, who encouraged everyone involved to use their new tools well.  As Oceania expands its OLPC program, this looks like a model to follow, with collaboration from many sectors of the local and international community.

A photo from the handout at Wachung Elementary school, visited by Cornelius and former Senator John Martin.

The second half of the deployment, for the students and teachers in grades 1-4, will take place later this year.

TuxPaint contest for kids, with Sugary prizes

The Tux Paint dev team last week announced a 2011 summer drawing contest, with prizes including three OLPC XO-1′s, Sugar-on-a-Stick drives, and TuxPaint shirts.  All children 3-12 are encouraged to submit their best Tux Paint art; the best 10 drawings will receive prizes. The contest is sponsored and judged by the retail company Worldlabel, which will showcase the winning art on their blog.

HOW TO ENTER:

  • Download Tux Paint
  • Make your drawing in Tux Paint and save it in png format
  • Send your finished drawing in png format to worldlabel@gmail.com and include “Tux Paint” in the email subject line
  • In the email submission include: 1) the artist’s’ name 2) the artist’s age 3) the title of drawing 4) the country where the artist lives
  • All artwork must be the contestant’s original work created on Tux Paint.
  • Only one entry per child

Entries will be judged on the quality and originality of the artwork. Extra points will be given to drawings that tell a story.

Entries must be submitted by midnight USA Easter Standard time on 12 September 2011. Winners will be announced no later than 22 September 2011. All entries will be licensed: Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported and will be exhibited on this page.

Kudos to Russell Ossendryver and the other devs who keep Tux Paint one of the best drawing activities out there.

Second-grade Physics Activity

Cherry Withers writes about using a couple XOs, and some other netbooks with Sugar on a Stick, in a second-grade classroom.

I had 10 minutes of set-up for my small “talk” with a classroom full of 2nd graders and 40mins of instruction/play time. All told, I had 5 net books working with SoaS and 2 XO 1.5s…  The class was tackling Motion, Force and Balance on their Science curriculum and I thought the Physics Activity would fit in perfectly. They haven’t tackled the Law of Inertia (and I guess didn’t have plans to for this year).

I didn’t start with Physics right away. For the first law I opted to have them stare at an unmoving object, a plastic bowling pin. I told them to use their brain power to move it. Needless to say after almost a minute of doing this they were ready to knock the thing down (which they did in so many ways: shaking the desk, blowing on it, and just the good ol’ hand knock-down) They recorded their observations and we were ready to move on to the second law.

I set it up so that they already have Physics opened. I had them draw a ramp but didn’t tell them how to draw it. I told them to use whatever they can find in the program to do so. I got the variation: some groups drew it with the pencil, some with the triangle tool and a few found the polygon. Then I asked them to drop a ball on the top of the ramp and see what happens. They quickly figured out that their ramp would tip if they drew a big ball. Brianna’s group already knew the tricks (this is her favorite activity) and told everyone to “pin” it down. So we talked about what happens to the ball and how it ties to the 2nd law of inertia. One of the kids did ask me a question that stumped me for a second: “How do you know if it in fact goes on forever? You can’t see it go on forever. What if it did slow down and stopped some where else?”…

I told them to try to stop ball from rolling off forever. Some did try the easy way by just drawing an enormous “block” at the end of the ramp, but others found more creative ways: piling up blocks, some drew a bunch of tiny triangles and squares to slow it down, walls that are bolted and pinned. One group surprised me by thinking out of the box: slow down the ball with tiny objects on the floor and then bolt it down with pins. It was late in the exercise when one of the groups discovered the “pause” button.

Overall, it was a fun experience for the kids and they just absolutely loved the Physics activity.

Open Education at LinuxCon

Sebastial Dziallas organized a day-long session on Open Education at LinuxCon last week. They spent half the day discussing the needs of teachers and Sugar development. Caroline Meeks, Karlie Robinson, Colin Zweibel and others presented.

Mairin Duffy wrote up the event well, and the OpenSource Education channel offers lovely newsmag-style overviews as well.

OLPC in Micronesia: the Manual

David Leeming of OLPC Oceania has developed detailed deployment docs for a recent pilot in Kosrae, Micronesia, over at Wikieducator.    It is an excellent summary of what has been learned in the region to date, and useful guidance for anyone trying to organize a deployment for anywhere from 10 to 10,000 students.  I hope to see more great things from this project.

UPDATE (Aug 20): David has published an excellent Teacher Training Manual based on those notes.

Sugar on Nokia, Ubuntu, and computers near you

Sugar has been moving steadily to many platforms and distros beyond the XO and Fedora. Last year Guy Sheffer helped to get it working on the Nokia 810. This February it was repackaged for Ubuntu. And Mirabelle, the latest version of ”Sugar on a Stick”, is a bootable image for a USB key that lets you use almost any computer to run Sugar.

Have you tried the latest Sugar Activities on your favorite laptop? Give it a try, run an intro session at show-and-tell or a local computer lab, or introduce it to a child you know who is learning to use computers… and let us know about it.