OLPCorps FAQ

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Welcome to the OLPCorps Africa Frequently Asked Questions page. If you have a question that isn't answered below, please add it to the talk page.

Contents

The page is designed to answer any additional questions or concerns you or your team may still have after reading through the OLPCorps Africa wiki. The questions have been categorized into separate groups, so please ask a question in the appropriate section. The OLPCorps Team frequently monitors this wiki and will update it on a regular basis.


What is OLPCorps?

OLPCorps is a unique grant program focused specifically on learning in developing countries (currently focused on Africa). Student teams are equipped with the tools, resources, and know-how to develop grassroots learning environments in an African country of their choice. OLPC is drawing upon the world's student leaders to spark a university-led grassroots initiative in this global learning movement. Through OLPCorps, OLPC is creating a global network of student leaders who will create a lasting impact at the local level, build a network of student activists, and initiate a grant program that will become renown.

Does OLPCorps work outside Africa?

No, not right now. However, OLPC does offer internships from June-August specifically for students interested in Latin America, starting this year in Uruguay and Peru. Please see the Internships page for more information.

Do I receive credit for this grant program?

If students would like to have credit for their experience in this grant program, this should be arranged with their academic institution. Students who have been accepted to OLPCorps and need additional documentation can contact OLPCorps@laptop.org with details.

Please refer to OLPCorps Africa for questions or concerns on eligibility for OLPCorps.

I am under 18, can I still apply?

We cannot accept students who are under 18 years of age.

What type of candidates are looking you for?

A candidate from any country studying any major is eligible. In general, we are looking for student leaders who are passionate, creative, dedicated, and enthusiastic about One Laptop per Child and our mission on education.

Is this a project that would be suitable for a graduate student?

Yes!

Can I team up with students from different schools?

Yes!

Why is OLPCorps only for undergrad & graduate students?

To date, OLPC has had a limited grant program and few chances for university students to become intimately engaged in the OLPC movement. Most importantly, students are known to be key leaders in social causes. The Learning Movement should be no different. Thus, OLPCorps affords these student leaders the ability to step-up. We are working on other programs to involve people of all ages, professions, and skills; suggestions welcome.

I'm graduating in June, can I still participate this summer?

Yes you can!

When are proposals due?

The application for 2010 is not yet available. Keep posted via this wiki page.

When are teams selected?

After the 2010 application is closed, OLPC will notify teams via emails and through our wiki page (date TBA).

How many teams will be selected?

OLPC will choose up to 100 teams, no more. If proposals are not of high enough quality or OLPC does not believe that the proposing team can successfully implement the deployment, OLPC will not fund them. Therefore, OLPC could fund anywhere between 0-100 student teams, depending on the quality of teams.

Why focus on children 6-12 years old?

The XO is designed for the use of children ages 6 to 12—covering the years of the elementary school—but nothing precludes its use earlier or later in life. Children don’t need to write or read in order to play with the XO and we know that playing is the basis of human learning. Moreover those digital activities will help the acquisition of the writing and reading skills. Read Core Principles.

What if the children in my school/community are older than 6-12?

Preference will be given to student teams that will be working with children 6-12 years old.

Can we give XOs to several schools to start computer labs?

One does not think of community pencils—kids have their own. They are tools to think with, sufficiently inexpensive to be used for work and play, drawing, writing, and mathematics. A computer can be the same, but far more powerful. Furthermore, there are many reasons it is important for a child to own something—like a football, doll, or book—not the least of which being that these belongings will be well-maintained through love and care. Read Core Principles for more.

My team cannot set up a server or do technical installation, can we apply?

Preference will be given to teams which have some level of technical competency. If your team does not have someone who is technically-oriented, you should partner with someone or some organization who is. Please view OLPCorps Africa for a list of possible partners. Interested students have listed their technical skills on our wiki and are looking for teams. For more information regarding technical issues, see the Support FAQ

Should I submit my proposal early?

No preference will be given to early submissions. All student teams are judged equally, regardless of when they submit their proposal, as long as it is submitted by March 27th.

What is the required supporting letter?

A supporting letter by the locally based NGO or the school itself is a prerequisite for admittance. The head of either partnering institution must provide you with a formal letter stating their awareness of your project proposal, approval, and intention to support the project after the summer. If the institution has the ability to financially support the project, this should be clearly stated. This letter must show full endorsement of the project in order for OLPC to select your team. This letter must be attached when you apply or the team will automatically be disqualified. Letters should not exceed 1 page.

What do I do after I have submitted my application?

All teams are strongly encouraged to continue working toward developing their project, as if they were certain to deploy 100 XOs. For the best chance of success, teams should fundraise, write grants, and work toward the deployment guide through April 10th when the winners are announced. Be clear with groups you are in touch with that your work will depend on being selected as an OLPCorps team.

Who determines the country in Africa?

You and your team decides which country in Africa you will be working in, not OLPC. The only requirement is that 2 team members attend the workshop in Kigali, Rwanda.

Does my project need to meet every requirement/suggestion?

NO. We are looking for creative proposals, not just proposals that fit every requirement. For instance, if your proposal focuses on street children instead of rural children, that's great, too. Be creative!

Can we partner with spiritual organizations?

Yes.


When is the workshop in Kigali, Rwanda?

The date for the workshop in 2010 is TBA. The workshop for the 2009 deployments was June 8th to June 17th. Teams arrived at least 1 day before and were encouraged to arrive as early as the 6th in order to adjust to the time-difference and leave room for flight-delays or any other unexpected circumstances which may arise.

Where will the workshop be held?

The workshop will be held in Kigali, the capital of Rwanda. Due to the number of participants we must accommodate, the exact location is to be determined.

Why Kigali, Rwanda?

Rwanda will serve as a core hub within Africa. Also, OLPC's Learning Team will be based in Kigali.

Are all team members required to come to Kigali?

No, only 2 participating team members must attend the training session. Both team members must be proficient in English. The entire workshop will be held in English.

Do I pay for the flight to Rwanda?

Teams are given up to $10,000 per team to cover operating costs, like their flight to Rwanda and host country. Student teams must send at least 2 team members to Rwanda. Student teams are encouraged to fundraise to cover costs, if they exceed the stipend. Flight expenses are not covered by OLPC separately of the $10,000 stipend.

Do I pay for my costs in Rwanda, like food, lodging, and transportation?

No. OLPC will arrange for accommodations, transportation, and food for students who attend the OLPCorps orientation in Rwanda. However, there will be several optional cultural and social activities planned during the workshop that students are encouraged to attend at their own expense.

Where will I sleep in Kigali?

Accommodations will be arranged by OLPC.

How will I travel to and from the airport?

OLPC will arrange transportation to and from the workshop and airport for all student teams.

Why is there a training workshop?

From previous experience in implementing OLPC deployments, the training period is a critical component to a successful OLPC deployment. The training workshop will cover a wide-range of topics and will allow adequate time to explore these in depth. The following themes will be covered, but you can get a better idea by reading through the Deployment Guide:

  • Power - what works best for your environment?
  • IT Infrastructure - a hands-on opportunity to learn setting up hardware, a network, etc.
  • Pedagogy - alternative learning environments, how to reconceptualize contemporary notions of "school" and "learning", constructionism
  • XO Programs - a survey on various XO programs, including Scratch, Turtle Art, etc. In addition, we will look at the implications these programs have upon learning.
  • Case Studies - what to do and not to do so you can prevent yourself from some common pitfalls and issues that will arise.
  • Networking - hundreds of like-minded students from universities around the world will convene in one location and for one purpose. Students will build a life-long network of student leaders interested in one-to-one computing.

Can someone outside of our team, like a local teacher, join in Rwanda?

Yes, if a local teacher or community member is able to attend, your team is encouraged to have them participate. At least 2 student team members must attend the workshop. A local person, like a teacher, cannot take the place of a student. In addition, more funding cannot be allocated to cover their costs. Student teams must manage their stipend on an individual basis.

My university ends after the workshop starts (June 8th). Can I still participate?

Only if you can make arrangements with your university to attend the workshop. At least 2 team members must be present in Kigali for the workshop the day it begins. Student teams who apply but cannot attend the full workshop will not be accepted. If 2 team members attend the workshop and the remaining team members meet you in your host country, you are eligible.

Is Kigali, Rwanda safe?

In general, Kigali is safe. However, like any major city around the world, there are specific areas students should avoid. We will provide you with a safety sheet which will outline precautions and other safety issues. Most of your time in Rwanda will be spent training, working with other teams, and learning.


What kind of activities will I do for 9-10 weeks?

Activities will be based upon the community that you and your team will be working with. In addition, you should consider creative project-based activities. Throughout the workshop in Kigali, we will guide you and your team with several key principles to facilitate learning.

Does the 9-10 week commitment include the orientation in Kigali or does it begin after June 17th?

The duration of the Grant Program is 10 weeks (June - August), including the orientation in Kigali. Teams should arrange with their local partner to stay for at least 9 weeks.

If one team member is unable to commit to a full 9 weeks, is the team still eligible?

At least 2 team members from the team must be able to commit to the 10-day orientation and at least 9-week in-country stay.

What countries are eligible as potential deployment zones?

All countries within Africa are potential deployment zones. However, we will review in great detail any applicants who are applying to deploy in a conflict zone. Only in special cases will we consider funding such teams.


When is the MIT/OLPC Summit?

October 10th-12th in Cambridge, MA.

Is there a schedule for the Summit?

The OLPCorps team is developing this schedule. It will be published in the coming months.

What is the purpose of the Summit?

The Summit will serve a number of purposes: to connect OLPCorps Alumni, provide follow-up reports, lay-out future plans, strengthen your global network, increase learning opportunities, meet the OLPC Directors, and much more.

Where will we stay?

Lodging will be covered by OLPC. The OLPCorps team is in the process of finding accommodation for 100 students. Students will most likely stay in dorms from a neighboring university.

Are expenses covered?

All expenses will be covered for one student from each of the accepted teams.

Can more than one person attend?

More than one student may attend, provided they cover all costs out-of-pocket, including transportation, lodging, food, etc.

Will each team receive a grant?

Yes. Each team will receive up to $10,000 to cover operating costs. Each team is responsible for managing their budget accordingly. Furthermore, each team should specify in their grant how much money their team will need.

What if the grant does not cover all team members' costs?

Additional funding will most likely need to be found through other avenues, especially if your team consists of many students.

Where can I find additional funding?

There are numerous ways to find additional funding, including grants, scholarships, private network fundraising, and universities. Student teams are encouraged to partner with their university for additional funding. Most universities have funding specifically for programs and projects like OLPCorps. Student teams are also encouraged to work with their partnering institution, like an NGO, to find funding to sustain the project.

If my team finds additional funds through donation, can the donations qualify for tax exemption?

Student teams should raise money for their projects using the One Laptop per Child Foundation's 501c3 status. In doing so, donations are considered tax-exempt, giving donors more incentive to financially support projects. For an organization to be considered 501c3, it must operate exclusively for charitable purposes, as in OLPC's case. Please note: the use of funds is limited by the donor's restrictions. That is, if a donor specifies that his or her donation fund Internet or power, for example, then the money must be reserved for that purpose - no exceptions. We recommend that the donor specify nothing so that the funds may be used to support any expense the core team will incur.
The OLPC Foundation tax ID number should be used in return (This will be provided upon acceptance). You should provide the donor with this so that they can specify their donation as tax-exempt when filing their taxes. A return address, name of team member in which the check should be addressed, and stamp must accompany the donation in order for One Laptop per Child to return the funds to your team.
Donations will be sent to:
One Laptop per Child
P.O. Box 425087
Cambridge, MA 02142
USA

What does each team receive?

1 server (with a USB/Ethernet adapter). 100 XO laptops. Up to $10,000 per team. OLPC may provide some teams with solar panels for off-grid environments. However, this is not guaranteed. Student teams should look for alternative financial support to fund power. Please specify in your application if you are working in an off-grid environment. Teams should also plan to purchase access points, Ethernet switch/hub, power strips, power adapters, extension cords, Ethernet cables as necessary depending on the conditions of each deployment.

My team was accepted, but we cannot find enough funding. What can we do?

If a team determines that it cannot successfully implement the project due to finances, but has been accepted, the team will work with OLPC to determine other alternatives. The team may have to wait until the following summer to deploy.

Why does OLPC specify “Up to $10,000,” not $10,000 per team?

Teams should specify the amount that they need in order to successfully complete the project. A team of 2 who are already based near Kigali will not need the full $10,000. On the other hand, a team of 5 coming from a very distant country from Rwanda, like the US, England, or China, and are working in an African country, like Senegal or Namibia, which is far from the workshop location, should specify that they will need the full amount. This is primarily due to the flight costs.

Could a portion of the grant, clearly outlined in the proposal budget, be put towards operating costs of the partner school?

If the school will incur operating costs directly related to the OLPCorps deployment, you can allocate part of your budget towards those costs. Be clear in your description of the costs.

What is OLPC's learning strategy?

OLPC is based on a set of core principles

What ages? Why?

We are targeting young kids, ages 6 to 12. We strongly believe that by giving young kids access to digital technologies and information, and by introducing them to powerful ways to use them, they will be in a better position to make a future difference in their communities and the world.

Why the XO laptop rather than other computers on the market?

There are several reasons that make the XO different from other portable computers in the market. First, the XO consumes only a fraction of the energy of any other regular portable computer and so minimizes implementation costs. The XO works with alternative sources of energy (solar, eolic, etc.) and thus allows us to give access to children who would otherwise not be able to use the technology. The XO has a unique physical design (resistant to water, dust, and extreme climates) and a screen that can be used to read in daylight. These qualities make learning possible, not only in the classroom, but also at home and in communal areas where meaningful learning experiences also take place. And finally, the XO comes with free and open-source software, and digital content, which gives children, their parents and teachers, as well as other members of the community, the freedom to change, create, and share their own solutions with others.

Does the XO laptop come with a Curriculum?

People mean different things when they use the word, curriculum. They may be referring to instructional software about a specific topic or instructional plans allowing teachers to facilitate a learning experience. At OLPC, we are not defining what children should learn with the XO because we believe that those decisions need to be made at the local level. We offer support by providing tools (in the form of activities) as well as concrete ideas of how to become familiar with those tools and how to use them to facilitate a meaningful learning experience. The tools can be single purpose activities such as Record, Write, Chat, Calculate, Paint, etc.; games such as Maze, Memorize and Implode; content specific activities such as Moon and TamTam; or more sophisticated and open ended activities such as TurtleArt, Etoys, Scratch, and Pippy that allows users to design and create projects about a variety of topics. We also make it easy for people to package digital libraries of reading materials or books in the form of “content collections.” Ultimately, the activities and projects will be designed by university student teams and local schools, with considerable support from the OLPCorps and OLPC Learning Teams. We will explore these issues via online seminars before the deployment and at the workshop in Rwanda.

Does the XO laptop come with alphabets/languages other than English?

Scratch?

Scratch is a block-based multimedia environment on the XO. Scratch is taught to students from almost any background: as young as 6 years old to introductory computer science students at Harvard University.

Is there additional reading I can do to prepare better?

Yes, we encourage all students to explore whatever their interest may be that relates to this project. A list of possible reading materials is being compiled by the OLPCorps team for students who are interested. If you know a great article, please add it to this section.


What can I do to prepare before winners have been announced?

  • Explore OLPC's sites: http://www.laptop.org & http://wiki.laptop.org/go/Home.
  • Explore the XO and why it's such a revolutionary resource-rich learning tool, not just a "laptop".
  • Learn how to edit wiki and contribute. It's easier than it looks!
  • Participate in online seminars hosted by the OLPCorps Team (To Be Announced).
  • Collaborate with other teams! Remember, up to 100 teams will be selected. Winning teams are not selected just on proposals, but also on how well they work together with other teams.
  • Help translate this FAQ into your language!
  • Match interested individuals to existing teams.

OK, I have been selected, what can I do to prepare now?

  • Make sure that you have a visa if needed.
  • Make sure that your passport is valid. Keep in mind, some countries will not permit entry if your passport will expire at any time three months after your departure date.
  • For all team members, send the following to OLPCorps@laptop.org: flight details, copy of visa, scanned copy of passport
  • Participate in online discussions (TBA).
  • For each team member, send a 1/2 page biography, contact info, and a jpg image of you to OLPCorps@laptop.org.
  • Learn how to edit this wiki, someone from your team needs to know this.
  • More to come!


How will the laptops be shipped?

OLPC has partnered with Brightstar to ship XOs around the world. Shipping will be arranged with accepted teams on a case-by-case basis.

Who will cover the shipping cost? Must each team include shipping cost in their budget?

Teams do not need to include shipping costs in the budget. The OLPCorps team will work with our logistics partners to arrange for shipping.

Will customs be an issue?

You should work with your local partner to determine how you'll take receipt of the XOs and equipment from the customs office. If necessary, OLPC can work with teams on customs-related issues.

I don't have a passport. What do I do?

Every country has unique circumstances in acquiring a passport. Please find out by either researching online or contacting your consulate or respective government agency in determining the best course of action for your circumstances.

Do I need a visa for Rwanda?

Every country is unique. Here's a helpful resource http://rwanda.visahq.com

  • A Rwandan visa is not required for citizens of the United States for stays up to 90 days.
  • A Rwandan visa is not required for citizens of Canada for stays up to 90 days.
  • A Rwandan visa is not required for citizens of the United Kingdom for stays up to 90 days.
  • Please edit your country's details here!

Do I need a visa for the country where I'm deploying XOs?

Every country is unique. Please share what you find out with others below: your university, the country of your residency, your country of deployment in Africa, and whether your team requires a visa.

  • University, Country of Residency, Deployment Country, Yes/No
  • Please enter what you find out about visas for your country.

Will OLPC pay for my visa and passports?

No. OLPC provides up to $10,000 to cover operating costs, like visa and passport requirements. Student teams should budget accordingly.

How do I contact an OLPCorps team member?

The primary method of communicating questions with the OLPCorps team is through this FAQ wiki. In order to reduce the volume of emails, please post a question on the wiki page before emailing. If the question is unanswered after 1-2 days, feel free to email OLPCorps@laptop.org.

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