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/Nickelodeon storytelling 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.
Hat tip to Claudia, Christoph, and Giulia.
Team BUTIÁ from Uruguay has been working on an XO robotics project for over a year. They showed off their line-following XO-robot, butiabot, in Montevideo this weekend. An XO running TurtleArt code hooked up to a mobile robotic platform followed a dark line along the ground.
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.
EPAK is located in Kigali. The school has a total of 420 XO laptops, 350 were given by the government; another 70 laptops were given by international humanitarian organization, Right to Play. There are 680 students and 15 teachers. So that each student at the school has access, students in the morning session will share their laptop with students in the afternoon session. Laptops were first dispersed during the OLPCorps training. 15 OLPCorps members and Paul Commons, Reuben Caron, and David Cavallo of OLPC led the distribution and training sessions.
On day one, the team prepped by discussing a variety of issues which were likely to emerge, such as language barriers, how to address concerns of integrating the laptops into the curriculum, etc. Teams touched upon each issue individually and designed approaches based on this discussion. For language, a majority of the translation was led by Kaçandre Bourdelais from Laval University. However, during the individual training sessions, French speakers were assigned to a separate teacher to manage translation. The training provided mostly individual attention on programs that teachers wished to explore in more depth. Teachers varied in the activities they explored, from Measure and Scratch to Turtle Art. Later that afternoon, the same teachers were seen explaining what they had learned to their students and how they’ll have the same opportunity the following week.
Day two began by reflashing and NAND blasting several hundred laptops before distribution–only to find out halfway though that the image file was corrupt. As a result, the majority of the morning was spent installing the latest build. By lunch time, however, all EPAK’s classes had laptops. One particular lesson Corps teams took from this experience was the variety of teaching styles carried out in the classroom. Some teachers, like P1, preferred more strict, instructional techniques, a few teachers valued individual exploration, and others attempted group work. Unfortunately, unexpected power issues at the school forced us to stop by late afternoon.
Kicukiro Primary School is located in Kigali. There are a total of 3242 students, 44 teachers and 780 laptops. These laptops will be distributed after July holidays, so that each child has access, the Headmaster has decided that each classroom will have 20 laptops per classroom. The headmaster Felix says that “kids left their old schools to come here because they heard we would have laptops.”
Language was the main hurdle here. More photos and conclusions after the jump.