Millennium Development Goal nr.2 : Universal Primary Education by 2015
Humanity is getting more and more kids to school ... but sometimes to get them in classes of 45 to 240 students, with a teacher that was soo poorly paid, the teacher readily left for the private sector and was replaced by someone who didn't finish primary education. Fortunately that surrogate teacher was thrown in front of that kind of classrooms only to find out there was no blackboard, or the chark was missing and the kids had no books let alone excercise books, some had a pen and paper, some not. Good luck ! (as per http://eudevdays.eu/topics/inclusive-sustainable-education-systems )
In many refugee camps, there are no organized educational facilities, teachers, or anyone else who can read. It is important that education can continue there, so kids don't loos a whole school-year. In the RDCongo - Kivu Region where you have / had several armies leaning heavily on the availability of child soldiers, disrupting the school system was a strategy to make sure kids couldn't finish school-years, had to do years over and over again ... till they finally drop out, ready for the armed fractions to welcome them with open arms in a career in their militia. Providing every kid with a portable PV solar powered school in a box and chatbot teachers, is a serious factor to counter the destabilisation strategy of such militia: when these militia arrive, the families and kids have minutes to grab some stuff together, e.g. their portable school, get to the refugee camps under security of the Monusco Blue Helmets. You might be interested in reading what this team is doing in the RDCongo Virunga Park where you have these rebels: http://wiki.laptop.org/go/OBJECTIF_BROUSSE_Ecoles_OLPC In other regions, other refugee camps, many kids can't read. Children in these circumstances must not be out-of-scope. These completely illiterate children should be able to use OLPC activities combining visual and audio abstractions to gain a level of functional local language literacy and PC competency.
The first and most important benefit of an OLPC laptop in the hands of many of the target users is acquiring local language written literacy and functional PC literacy. Only then can the user avail himself of the vast stores of educational e-books written in his local language available on the OLPC.
Much interest is focused on software which demands pre-existing functional literacy, however OLPC recipients could routinely be illiterate, without anyone else able to help them.
Characterisitics of such an 'Activity'
The OLPC should become a self-contained local language literacy device where absolutely no literacy is assumed to previously exist (as it is networked, with sound and microphones). Some ideas for the 'activity':
- Starts directly upon bootup
- Some of the OLPC hard buttons are disabled
- The complexity and display of Sugar can be mainly hidden
- Initially uses only a small subset of the keyboard.
- Combines the use of the microphone, speakers, display and input into a very intuitive system that drives local language reading literacy and writing through basic mataphors and CBT techniques.
- Is robust enough to use only universally understood metaphors (i.e. fruit, not apple) be globalized (able to be customized to all languages, though the use of localization files)
- Does not depend on any networking (as it could be the only one in the area)
- Can develop reading literacy, as well as cursive (via the touch pad) and typing fluency
An activity available like this can then move users toward the goals of consuming the knowledge base of e-books, and all the other activities, while equipping him with functional handwriting and typing as well.