Professors Doug Kranch (of North Central State College) and Terri Bucci (of Ohio State University) are launching an XO Educational Software Project this year. This will be a collaboration between them and their students, and partners in Haiti, to develop math and science modules for the XO. They are also developing a simple router/server setup that Haitian teachers can use to support such software — NCSC’s fall course on client/server development will focus on this work.
The project aims to meet Haitian curricular standards, with ongoing feedback from schools around Croix des Bouquets, in collaboration with teachers, students, and university faculty and students from University Episcopal in Port-au-Prince. These contacts are supported by Ohio State’s ongoing Haiti Empowerment Project.
Nkubito Bakuramutsa, OLPC project coordinator at the Rwandan Education Ministry, talked to the Rwanda New Times this week about the first 10,000 students and teachers who had received laptops through the country’s OLPC program. Rwanda is on track to distribute XOs to 50,000 students by the end of the year, with another 50,000 following soon after.
Laptop preparation in Kigali
The national deployment team recently finished setting up their software build, and is now flashing 2,000 XOs a day. This is a good milestone for the team — learning how to rebuild all parts of the system on their own is important, and as Zehra can attest the first time you get a NANDBlast production line up and running is memorable.
Paraguay’s national deployment, run by Paraguay Educa, has been developing its own build of a Sugar operating system for its students, with help from Sugarlabs. They are calling it Dextrose. The newly-formed Activity Central group, a Sugar-development consultancy, is helping with this work, and supporting some local developers in Paraguay.
Dextrose is a spin of the core Sugar build that will focus on teacher tools and content in Spanish.
While initially developed with feedback from classrooms in Paraguay, this will hopefully become a platform that other deployments in Latin America can use. While Peru has been shy about frequent software upgrades, preferring to have something stable for years at a time, Uruguay and other smaller deployments are good candidates to start using Dextrose as well.
Toshiba is testing my favorite laptop design, a dual-touchscreen model: the Libretto W100. It will be available to the public in a ‘limited run’ later this year, for around $1,100, and will sport a pair of 7″ touchscreens. They say the laptop will run Windows 7 and offer a variety of keyboards for the ‘bottom’ screen.
It’s good to see this design get out there and effort put into software for it — we will eventually move away from static keyboards altogether, and I would love to see it happen in this decade.
Activity and collection designers have gotten a lot of attention in recent days. Some of the heated discussions at FUDCon targeted the rpm v. xo debate — concluding among other things that content bundles and installation for non-technical users are regularly neglected by packaging systems (as rootaccess is required for a lot of package work).
Numerous related projects were mentioned [CPAN, Ruby Gems, autopkg, Firefox extensions], and Michael Stone and C. Scott Ananian both got their licks in. At the same time, a recent discussion about “making activity designers happy” brought up other ways to simplify making and publishing activity bundles.