OLPC Santa Barbara
Who We Are
Founded in 2008, OLPCsb is an organization at the University of California, Santa Barbara that is a collaboration of interdisciplinary students, faculty, staff, and external partners.
One Laptop per Child, Santa Barbara works to utilize the benefits of technology in the education of children on a local and international scale. Our efforts include creating educational software for kids, researching the effects of collaborative technology in the classroom, and connecting children from around the world to interact on a meaningful level. In partnering with other schools, universities, organizations and individuals, we also aim to create synergy with others who are working towards the same goals. And as we move forward, we work to create documentation of how such endeavors can be accomplished, so that others may work towards this brighter future alongside with us.
(note: www.olpcsb.com domain name has expired and will not be renewed)
OLPCsb Research (currently no content due to the sensitive nature of research protocols)
We work to create educational software that is wanted by teachers for their classroom, and shown to be useful in the field. This includes utilizing current research on things like reading instruction and multimedia design. Below is some information on software concepts we are working on (note: names are not official). OLPCsb Programming
Based on a math exercise/test used in California 3rd grade classrooms, this program is meant to help both students and teachers quickly gauge the math skills (addition, subtraction, multiplication, division) of a student. In short, success is gauged by the user's ability to correctly complete math problems within a time limit.
Concept Demo. This link is to a conceptual demo for Math minute.
This program will be designed to provide users with not only the answers to math problems they incorrectly answer, but to provide them with the option of multiple explanations for how one gets the answer. The key point here is that since different children learn things in different ways, a child trying to learn math should be given a variety of explanations to choose from, so that they may learn in the way that best fits their needs.
note: We focus our software work on what teachers have specifically told us would be useful to them. The following program idea is a concept one of our members is developing on his own, and thus is not guaranteed any future production. But he thought you might like to hear about it, and thus here it is.
This software would provide users with practice in reading via stories. The intended benefit is for the user to have the option of having words sounded out, given audio and written definitions, or described using pictures. Concept Demo
The designer is also looking into how we may utilize/adapt current UCSB vocabulary-learning research into a software package. This research is currently being used within a local elementary school with much quantitative success, and thus why we are looking into how we could transfer its success to computer format.
Pen Pal Program
This is an international pen pal program designed to have children interact on a meaningful level, with focus on a project that fits the academic needs of both schools' curriculum.
The foundational-piece connection is between a local Santa Barbara, CA school with a school located in Zambia.
(more to be added soon)
Research on the effects of XO laptop usage on the dynamics of an elementary school classroom. This includes effects on the spread of ideas within the classroom, children's ownership of education, and collaboration between students.
(more to be added soon) (we are checking on what we have permission to share, in order to stay in line with research protocol requirements).
Work is currently underway to full establish a computer lab within a low-income school in Zambia. This project provides benefits in two levels. First, it provides a school-in-need with access to educational tools that are available through the laptops and the provided internet connection. Second, this school will also become a member of the pen pal program, helping us develop the framework for how to connect schools of varying wealth, location, and curriculum focus in a meaningful way.
Project funded by a scholarship awarded to Andrew MacNamara by the Donald A. Strauss Public Service Scholarship Foundation .
(more to be added soon)
Helping Other Groups
An intended goal for us is to help upcoming charity groups with their own endeavors. The following is a link to online resources we have found that can help many groups get started or become more efficient in what they are currently doing: Organizational Resources
Getting Flash to work on the XO olpcsb flash support
Technology Management Program, UC Santa Barbara. http://www.tmp.ucsb.edu
University of California Santa Barbara. http://www.ucsb.edu
Kellogg Elementary School, Goleta, CA. http://www.kellogg.goleta.k12.ca.us/
American International School Lusaka. http://www.aislusaka.org/