Educational content ideas


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OLPC is in the process of compiling an educational Content repository-- that is, a collection of software, texts, and other materials that will be available to users of OLPC laptops.

Use this page to offer ideas and suggestions for materials to be included in the repository (other than Ebooks, which are their own topic).

  • If you have an idea for an educational activity that you would like to contribute to the project, see Educational activity ideas.
  • If you are interested in contributing your existing lesson plans or curricula, see educational networks below.

Ideas for content repository

Please read through the ideas already contributed to this page and make sure that your contribution is brief and relevant. In particular, make sure that you have some understanding of constructionism, since the content included in the repository should relate to the constructionist model in some way.

  • If you have an idea for a type of material you think should be included, add your idea to the list of content by type.
  • If you don't see an appropriate section for your idea, start a new section (or subpage).


List of content by type

Communication Tools

See also special needs education

Curriculum Standards

Data Sets


  • Photographs of the world Glossopedia is a free, kid-friendly, free-of-advertisements, interactive, online encyclopedia of life for kids 7-12. Each article is image rich, containing a minimum of 30 still images and video clips. Hundreds of photos and videos of animals, plants, people and places which are accessible at no-charge to children wishing to use them in projects and reports. Unique to Glossopedia, all images in the site enlargeable to a 500 pixel version and can be inserted by children using various XO applications, such as Abiword, or other applications.
  • Images of people
  • Other works of art
  • Sketches, diagrams, blueprints


See also music

  • Recordings from the world
  • Composed music
  • Video from the world
  • Video of performances
  • Animations is a german foundation, which wants to improve child-understanding of media and comercials. they provided materials to theacher, parents and kids. only in german avaible. maybe you guys have a look there.

Reference works

Reference works may include:

  • Dictionaries A free dictionary project sponsored by the Wikimedia Foundation. A take at a second-generation wiktionary. Containing a special OLPC children's dictionary collection
  • A comparative dictionary for over 25 Indian languages is available which will add rich content for every child's laptop.

Details can be seen at

The Indian Lexicon is at (also available in semantic sequence and sequence of english meanings)

The language-specific words of key words of each language can also be presented in the required language scripts using UNICODE.

Dr. S. Kalyanaraman Sarasvati Research Centre

Retrieved from ""

  • Atlases and Maps (Afriterra, et al.)
  • New encyclopedias and Almanacs A free dictionary project sponsored by the Wikimedia Foundation. Glossopedia is a free, kid-friendly, free-of-advertisements, interactive, online encyclopedia of life for kids 7-12. Each article contains text, video clips, audio files (vocabulary pronunciation guides, recorded animal sounds, etc.), photo galleries, maps, interactive features, and content-related vocabulary lessons. Each article is written with children in mind, using appropriate vocabulary, sentence structure and paragraph length for 3rd through 6th grade students.

Repositories, clearinghouses, archives

  • Knowledgeforge - and its supporting technical project @ the o.k. foundation
  • Educational materials portal, Ron's Buchanan hyperlink treasury
  • [1] Global Learnport will be launching a prototype of a new online learning portal that will be based on the interests of the individual learner. It will incorporate widgets that allow the user to create their own page of modules based on their interests. Connected to the modules will be content and resources that are educational. The prototype site is expected to be operational late in May 2008.

Textbooks and instructional material

Material may include workbooks, manuals, illustrations, graphs, charts, diagrams, maps, etc.

School Books

Special Needs Education

There are children in this world who have just a computer to communicate. The challenged children. Maybe they will give you some insight into learning and interacting with a computer. This is a Dutch web site Kiki wants to talk. Its made by her dad, you can translate it with 'babel fish.' --Niels L 15:42, 31 August 2006 (EDT)

I am a speech-language pathologist who specializes in computer-augmented communication (augmentative and alternative communication or AAC). The OLPC laptop would make a very good communication aid for people with disabilities given the right software. There is a tremendous opportunity here for disabled students who might not otherwise have had a chance to participate in education before. Gobo Fraggle 19:25, 12 December 2006 (EST) edited, 22:40, 27 December 2006 (EST)

Reactive Colours provides an engaging, accessible computer environment for spontaneous imaginative play and learning, in which even the most anxious autistic individuals may relax and communicate. Our software can also have a major role to play in the stimulation of language use and the development of early ICT skills.

Our software can freely accessed via our website [2] or could be made available for installation on the OLPC.

Development and release will be through a creative commons licence.

I also see a great potential for this laptop to be successful as a assistive technology for people overseas and in the U.S. The ruggedness of the design and actual affordable price are two factors in the XO's favor. The built in camera and video recorders are HUGE assets as well.

A touchscreen of some sort would be the most important modification I can see that would allow the XO to become a useable AAC device. Of course, good communication software is also important. I intend to try to work on this when I receive my XO.

I think the major limitation I will run into (besides the fact that I am a novice!) is that AAC programs, particularly ones with computerized speech output, tend to take a lot of space on a device that may not have it available.

List of content by subject area


Algebra and Geometry
  • algebrageek is a new site aimed at the instruction of Algebra and Geometry according to the Content Standards of the California Department of Education. It is an active site being used to teach ninth and tenth grade students from South Central Los Angeles.
  • Interactive Geometry geogebra

Mathematics (statistics and probabilities) theory+exercises

Higher Mathematics

Computer Skills and History

A Conceptual Guide to 2 for Windows and Linux - A 280-page guide written specially for use in an academic environment. Contains 10 hands-on lessons and 4 quick reference guides for the open source office productivity suite 2. Released under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike and GNU Free Documentation licenses. Available at

A Conceptual Guide to NeoOffice 2 for Mac OS X - A 288-page guide written specially for use in an academic environment. Contains 10 hands-on lessons and 4 quick reference guides for the open source office productivity suite NeoOffice 2. Released under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike and GNU Free Documentation licenses. Available at

Rggurley 14:55, 18 February 2008 (EST)

Ask museums to provide content. In particular, places like The Computer History Museum might be encouraged to provide both virtual museum content and usable simulations of old computers. Thus games could be included in a form which invites the players to revise the game and thus understand how it was made to work at all. This could have benefits beyond OLPC students.

Nitpicker 17:37, 16 October 2006 (EDT)

Language Skills

  • See the language learning subpage to add ideas (for Second Language-Learning).
  • Show and tell (a talk with/without a slideshow/video on the laptops, for first and second language practice and confidence-building).

Literature and Stories

Memorization and Regurgitation Support

At first glance this seems to be counter to constructionist principles but it doesn't have to be that way. Many of the cultures in which the OLPC will be deployed, have strong traditions of rote memorisation and regurgitation of material. Examples are the Chinese with their alphabet of thousands of characters that represent whole words, Islamic countries with memorisation of the Quran, and various African countries in which oral culture is still treasured. Many of the great literary works of western culture such as the Illiad, Kalevala and Rig Veda, began as memorized and regurgitated texts.

There is an old Arab saying There are two doors to learning, memorization and understanding. Unless one has entered the first door, they can not pass through the second.

For example, let's look at how memorization of the Quran could be supported by the OLPC so that children learn it faster and use it as the door to understanding. Instead of distributing the Quran as a plain text file, it could be distributed in XML format with the Arabic text and some Javascript embedded into it. The Javascript could include mouseovers that provide tooltip boxes with translations and explanations in the child's native language. Memorization is easier when the words have meaning.

The XML could have embedded support for voice output of the text. Sometimes a voice output driver needs hints to get the correct pronunciation of certain words; this would be hidden in the XML and used by the voice reader. In voice output, it does not make sense to speak partial words and often not even single words. Therefore, the XML would indicate phrase and sentence boundaries for a speech selection tool. And finally, the Quran is filled with stories and parables that are meant to teach children how to live a good life.

Phrases in the Quran text could be highlighted to indicate that they are links to other content. This content could simply be an exposition of a parable or it could be another application. For example, the phrase Allah will deprive usury of all blessing, but will give increase for deeds of charity could be a link to an application about Islamic banking principles and investment, calculating risk, accounting principles, etc. In this way, the Quran text leads to education in mathematics.

6/19/08 Comment: I am an advocate of constructive learning, but I also know that there is much information that could be learned through memory games. This would be helpful for young people who have suffered a brain injury and require cognitive rehabilitation activities to reclaim lost information and to support learning new terms.

Health and Hygiene Education

for details, see Health

Health and hygiene information should be provided and localized. Guidelines include making material available for young and illiterate audiences, focusing on prevention for older audiences who will care, on engaging presentations for younger audiences, and on information about improving community health.

How-to Construct/Fabricate/Repair Documents

  • See the How-tos page for more ideas

Consider including "how-to" construct/fabricate/repair documents. Think of Mother Earth News or the Peace Corps. Wikibooks (part of WikiMedia) probably have some books.

At the least, include information about the laptop itself and how to repair it... so that when one truly goes south, someone else with a laptop can help.

  • A Musica Look at Waste - Instructions on creating musical instruments from waste material (I got permission by the author to create a Content Bundle, which I plan to do)


An online humanities class at a school with laptops for each student is under development at Parkway Academy of Technology and Health (PATH), a Boston public high school. is the class wiki. Students each have an account on the wiki and use their webspace there to store their work. There is also a forum in use for online discussion. --TimMcKenna 22:49, 16 October 2007 (EDT)

Immersive Microworlds -- Etoys

Consider including as much of the Squeakland Etoys library as there is room for. Most Etoys are small in size and could be included in a single SqueakPlugin.image file.

Content in Spanish

Though these projects do not offer significant content yet, if olpc shows interest and need, surely many Wikipedia users will participate. --Javier Carro 18:20, 19 April 2006 (EDT)

Social Sciences

I hope that the "SOCIAL SCIENCES" are not forgotten, as I request frequently at Science Exhibits: Where are the social sciences exhibits?... I usually get the "...uh?" answer, and I tell them, "yes, the history exhibits, with the history of housing, transportation, communications, labor, etc."

Since the fight against poverty is a motivation for OLPC, some readings about poverty, development, international relationships should be offered to discussion.

An example of easy glossary of economic terms, among which "Poverty", is provided here: A lot of freely downloadble datasets about most countries in the world is connected here: As soon as OLPC takes off, a special edition of this site, targeted to young people, could be developed.

Medical and public safety/health documents

Information on medicine and public safety is not always available where these laptops are going. Many governments (including the U.S. through NIH) have medical / public health / public safety information that could save lives if provided on the laptop, and at least those could be freely included.

Science Learning

The OLPC is the best-ever electronic device for the support of back-yard and amateur astronomy.

Ask universities to provide content. Good online Physics examples:

Physics interactive exercises Geometry in similar spirit

Educational Commons

Animated Satelite imagery
WeatherSat storms tracking with your geo location as center of screen :location geo data can be found from wikipedia article of a city nearby.

New suggestions (not yet sorted)

  • A guide to grammar and style for writing, similar to Strunk and White's "Elements of Style".
  • A reader that helps dramatic performance -- I'm imagining a group who all have the script of a play, who divide up the parts (eventually with hints as to which parts can be doubled?!), and each has their own XO highlight their own lines. (And maybe someone else can be working sound effects from another XO.)

Other ideas for content

Making Connections & Describing Needs

It would be good to hook up laptop users with NGOs interested in helping out. Giving the NGOs a specific place to describe themselves and their services would help laptop users make connections that are hard to make with just a search engine. Also, as the laptop users develop their own pictures of the world, the resources, and the opportunities available to them, they'll need a visible place to record their own needs.

USB Library

This laptop will not have a CD Rom drive. USB will be medium of transport - if no internet connection is available.

Let's not forget that a wide variety of USB peripherals are available and supported by Linux ranging from CD-ROMs and memory-sticks to video cards and soundcards.

Even though the laptop will not have a CD-ROM drive integrated, it is not a far stretch to assume that CD-ROM drives will be readily available. Even in a dirt poor remote agricultural village in Southeast Asia, it is perfectly feasible for a circulating library to travel from village to village on a motorbike with 2 USB CD-ROM drives and a big stack of CD-ROMs containing content. In fact, such a circulating library can also act as an email network by collecting and delivering emails using store-and-foreward techniques. This is not just imagination. There is at least one instance of an email network relying on motorcycles carrying the messages from location to location.

It is worthwhile to do some research in the FidoNET BBS technology which is still in use in the 3rd world to do store and foreward messaging where Internet access is unavailable.


The laptop's unusually high resolution display makes it unusually good for free-view (parallel or cross-eye) stereograms. It requires some practice to pick up the skill. Currently used mostly in journals for protein illustrations, and historically for stereo photographs. But at 200dpi, and young eyes (tiny fonts), one could experiment with a 3D interface. --MitchellNCharity 14:22, 12 January 2007 (EST)

Wow, I've never seen that!

If you have never seen snow, a short video clip of snow falling in the woods could have a high "wow" factor. The kind of thing kids watch again and again and again. Similarly for ocean, mountain, desert, farm, rainforest, savanna, metropolis, cow, whale, raptor, etc, etc. TV and movies take some of the edge off, and you can surf... but consider an example. Say I want a "cow" moment. Just as if I walked up to one. I want a cow face in front of mine, with a ear twitch, blink, and swipe of a big wet nose with a long flexible tongue. What I don't want is fifteen minutes of wading through the internet, google, youtube, etc, trying (unsuccessfully) to find something similar. I want someone to have already groveled around and collected wonderful breathtaking clips. Volunteers? MitchellNCharity 18:44, 1 May 2007 (EDT) (further thoughts on my user page)

Educational networks

see Education networks

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