Late last year, Roger (Arnan) published a brief summary of his two-year analysis of seven schools in Thailand, reported in The Nation, which was spun negatively in the Bangkok Post. While I haven’t seen the data on which he bases his analysis, his research and recent paper (from ICLS 2010) do not look negative; though they note that urban schools whose students already have access to computers (and, presumably, to libraries) do not see short-term improvements in traditional test scores, despite seeing improvements in basic literacy.
This is not surprising — OLPC does not target wealthier urban schools except as part of national saturation deployments, such as in Uruguay, Peru, and Rwanda where the entire system is undergoing a change in how it approaches learning in and out of school. Continue reading →
After a 10-month wait for approvals, the UNRWA OLPC core team, administrators, parents and children of Rafah took part in a brilliant beginning to the UNRWA OLPC program in Gaza, with a celebration event on April 29th. I was fortunate to spend the days beforehand with this team and their community. They worked tirelessly – children, parents, teachers, developers, and administrators – and it was inspiring to work with them.
The Palestinian people have the optimism, resourcefulness, and dedication to turn a speck of dust into a garden. Not just any garden, but one that the entire community shares.
And the XO has a special feature beyond its tech specs and activities – it can energize a community to have hope for their children. One member of the core team, Jamil, remarked; “This is XO is a humble machine, we can take it and do great things with it.”
In a mere 12 weeks after their first intro to the XO, the Gaza core and community team:
- prepared infrastructure
- designed and gave workshops for 200 teachers and 12 administrators
- introduced the XO to 2000+ students
- helped these children introduce the XO to their parents
- created a digital library
- ported their own ILP learning games to run on the XO
- integrated Memorize, Chat, Browse, & Speak into classroom activities
- helped teachers begin distributing homework via the XO
- witnessed initially skeptical parents begin to advocate at shops and mosques for XOs for all the children of Gaza
UNRWA Amari Girls School, an elementary school in the West Bank
OLPC has launched a new deployment in the Middle East in conjunction with the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA). Since the start of its operations in 1950, UNRWA has been a vital provider of basic necessities, health care, and education for Palestine Refugees. Largely funded by the two Give One Get One campaigns and other contributions, OLPC hopes to enrich the education of these children whose lives have been uprooted by warfare. The first wave of 2,700 donated laptops will reach the Gaza and the West Bank in January 2010. Check out the new Middle East page on our website for more information.