Support meetings/20090301

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Primarily discussing OLPCorps Africa, support for it, and how to apply / how to get involved as part of the org team / how to become a remote mentor for a group.

Contents

Attendees

  • ixo, Bellingham, Washington State
  • Aziz, Boston area
  • Caryl Bigenho, Los Angeles
  • Christoph Derndorfer, Vienna, Austria
  • Dan Bennett, Cambridge, Massachusetts
  • Paul Commons, Indiana
  • Sandy Culver, North of Boston
  • Reinder de Haan, The Netherlands
  • Anil Daswani, Silicon Valley
  • James Elkins, Cornell University
    • Newly formed Cornell OLPC for Eli Luxenberg, interested in OLPC Africa; has brother in Peace Corps / Mauritania
  • Adam Holt, Cambridge, Massachusetts
  • Asad Moten, MIT, Massachusetts/Tanzania
  • Aaron Konstam, San Antonio, Texas
  • Mafe Mago, New Jersey / Philippines
  • Christine Mary Maggio, New York
  • Yama Ploskonka, Austin, Texas
  • David Sengeh, Harvard University, Massachusetts / Sierra Leone
  • Maria Varela, Chicago
    • Recently of United Nations World Food Program in Italy
  • SJ Klein, Cambridge, Massachusetts

Agenda Item 1: OLPCorps Africa

Guest Speakers: Paul Commons, Bryan Stuart, Asad Moten, David Sengeh

Notes

  • Sierra Leone project generated idea to fund more local projects; rarely have very small local deployments been funded. Idea came up to fund 100x100 and over time evolved to OLPCorps; within past couple of weeks decided to focus on university students with a grant-like program; started as internship program but was reframed as a grant. University level because of support and resources from universities which can leverage student populations and expand student participants; want to connect with universities in Europe, Africa, Latin America. Chose Africa for this round. Been setting up functional framework.
  • Q: Are US universities prioritized?
A: No, Africa Student Associations are targeted, i.e., David Sengeh, Stanley [?] and Sustainability. Ideally hoping for 1/3 African universities, 1/3 US universities, 1/3 European universities
  • Q: Distribution?
A: Can be from anywhere in the world
  • Q: Requisites?
A: University student; somebody on the ground e.g. NGO, school contacts, working in the community (e.g. Chief) and some letter of support documenting relationship
  • Q: Stipend available (from website)?
A: Not a stipend per se; it's to cover your operating costs; nobody walks away with a salary.
NOTE: flight expenses may be covered by up-to-$10K-maximum-per-team stipend See http://wiki.laptop.org/go/OLPCorps_FAQ#Do_I_pay_for_the_flight_to_Rwanda.3F Yamaplos 21:48, 4 March 2009 (UTC)
  • Q: Can interns come from Africa and serve Africans?
A: Definitely: OLPCorps is actively seeking to get Africans more involved, ideally 1/3 or more of applicants will come from Africa.
  • Q: Length of program? All this year or spread out?
A: Up to 100 maximum will be approved for the summer of 2009. Future programs will be molded on successes achieved.
  • Q: Is money coming from OLPC or a separate organization?
A: Money is coming via OLPC, not sure who precisely donated which funds. Today's call is about the program, not where exactly each laptop and $ is coming from.
  • Followup Q: Is the student requirement arising from an outside funder?
A: The money is there and the terms are set; no contingencies attached and sufficient financing is available to start the program.
  • Q: Why is university involvement mandated?
A: Provides self-screening, so less issues screening participants. Currently enrolled students are eligible. We need to mitigate the issue of the potential flood of applications if open to all. Students can do amazing things. There is a concern about a limited number of responses given timeline, but we are more interested in having quality programs. We have targeted Student Organizations who have relationships with NGOs (non governmental organizations). Students shouldn't have to worry about money; a lot of the pre-work has been done, so there is time. Students working with NGOs is the most promising model, building grassroots community, people sharing information between the OLPC community and the local community. Focus is on expanding number of students involved in OLPC. EG. Cornell just held a meeting for OLPC; group is partnering with the "free culture" movement with perhaps 20 ppl at Cornell, 4 in core group so far.
  • Q: Request for Cornell student’s perspective on the question, "Can students implement?"
A: Agreed with idea that time is very short and there are a great number of students interested; whether or not a Student Association can be successful is dependent on existing relationships.
  • Awareness needs to be raised among the schools and see what kind of response comes
  • Optimistic for success; taking initiative is key; proposal is not very extensive, applicants need to work with group doing deployment
  • South America (and parts of Africa, like Australia) share reversed seasons; might we use this to find students in the Southern Hemisphere to help in Africa?
  • Participation prerequisite is sustainability, so that will self-screen
  • This may be the only way to obtain small deployments of laptops so this needs to be looked at carefully; large issue, should be discussed further but will not be resolved now and should not affect the balance of the agenda for discussion today.
  • Trying to raise funds through different channels for years; difficult to find someone who is working harder to do something in Africa
  • Important for us to find a way for people to make proposals. [Someone might have] emails describing these models. Small projects have the potential to encourage people to start small projects that will fail. We need to find a way to help them.
  • Q: What is a good proposal? What are the parameters?
A: University students; at least 2 team members who are proficient in English and who will attend workshop/training in Kigali, Rwanda with the learning team. Outside of that others can join and work with the students. Deployments have to occur within Africa. Following workshops, people have to be with deployments for 9-10 weeks. Need evidence that they have thought through everything, person knows the community well, defined the program – e.g., integrated with schools and mosques, very community based, great evidence of relationship with secondary group applicants. Probably strongest part is these connections with potential to continue. Wikified, connected to OLPC. Programs available for critique, communication with participants and OLPC network. Everyone wants to see this succeed, hoping for robust communication among the students, the OLPC community, the secondary applicants. Partnership and collaboration is strongly encouraged among existing OLPC groups. 1 member of each team should participate in a workshop at MIT/OLPC in Cambridge, Massachusetts October 10-12, 2009 (all expenses covered by OLPC).
  • Need a platform for proposals to be published and shared for critique. Important for people to give input to applicants before they are done. Cornell’s website should be up tomorrow; Cornell will post to wiki. Will create an OLPCorps Cornell page and post.
  • CBigenho: Consider the Positive, this could be a great model for other programs all over the world, a very good thing.
  • Workshops are being held at Kigali as central hub location where OLPC has offices and local Ministers who have been instrumental are already involved.
  • What You'd Get: 100 XOs, 1 server, $10,000 operations cost per team. Two people get the same as 10 people. Teams can decide how to manage this. You will need to organize electricity and/or networking.
  • EG. If you decide you need Internet and solar power (can be incredibly expensive) this can be most challenging part. The $10k is fixed because each deployment is different and there is no way to address all unique needs individually; provides a fixed maximum amount to all, deployments' additional needs must be addressed through universities, other sources of funds.
  • Q: Re NGO selection, is there a work plan to identify NGOs that could be good partners?
A: Successful long term relationships are key. Let's work on it.
  • Q: How did [Paul Commons'?] South African partner get chosen?
A: Existing relationship with local person. Worked for 7 months to clarify long term requirements and since that time they have been going back and working with the schools continually. Agency that has capacity and understands scope is key; need to facilitate connections with groups that might be savvy/knowledgeable. NGOs that might work might be existing groups applying directly to the program; may be that some of the most successful groups would be donors or trusted groups working on other projects – e.g., malaria or microfinance projects. Because of existing relationships, there is trust of a group that has a need/awareness that could be nominated. Could be as simple as adding these interested groups to the Wiki. Also publish in newspaper. Students & non-student should cross-fertilize ideas. Up to us, not up to the NGOs to think about details.
  • Want people to get going right away with no delay; every student group should have someone sign up to OLPC's Grassroots mailing list, which is a completely public list. Post to Support Gang any more personal discussions you don't want Googled.
  • Small projects have been challenging; issue is deployment.
Main difference between this and others is that this is fixed in time; workshop at beginning; deadlines; working w/groups that have an interest in doing future work/education rather than just anyone who would have any use for a batch of computers for their own work. Will improve as we move forward and it evolves over time.
  • DBennett: By far the most organized and well developed OLPC program to date. The student requirement may support their funding/resource access to sustainable funding.
  • Can’t speak to eval yet; have not heard a simple specific way to evaluate claims. Would still like to see the project come up at the end of the first summer and hear good stories about people happy to come back.
  • Once evaluation of new groups and proposals process down pat, add that to the description of a similar program; great; that’s a project we can get support for.
  • Getting qualified proposals is the bottleneck in any kind of deployment; without a community of people on the receiving end of the laptops, it’s not going to sustain itself after we leave. Teach a man to fish. Concern expressed about qualified university students coming forward given there is less than a month until their March 27 application deadline. Can take a very long time to line up funding.
  • One of the issues is trying not to overprivilege groups who are great writers but shop around old grant proposals.
  • Student requirement is connected to the outside support, true at the individual and OLPC level?
  • Q: What about White House? State Departments of Education?
A: OLPC has certain strong governmental connections, but we need to be proactive and move to meet the timeline.
  • Balance different perspectives: Everyone who has a great project should write their proposal, and every great proposal should be submitted. Both complement, so need to connect to student groups
  • Anil: always looking for a structured way to participate; one model is that OLPC is enough, another model is that OLPC needs to collaborate/partner. Will have to see how this evolves. Main point is I would love to participate.
  • Ideas: Preapp process by March 27 so that numbers can be estimated for planning while giving applicants another chance to finalize? Late deadline for "2nd tier" of more solidified applications?
  • Q: What is second tier?
A: 2 pressures: final acceptance vs. accept soon so students can plan their summer and so Kigali can prepare
  • March 27 Application deadline is fixed.
  • April 10 is announcement of accepted proposals.
  • Re: opening to outside students, Change the World Program was intended to give opportunity for those who are employed to get involved; this is aimed at getting students involved, find new projects to buy machines.
  • Change the World program existed for just a few months, but in its original form (Give Many) it existed for most of the past year with a few gaps.
  • There wasn't a lot of activity, but the activity that was happening was interesting, where are the interesting deployments past & present?
  • People who are proactive and take initiative will be viewed well.
  • Q: Is there one single example of one project that was presented in a way that was ok?
A: There is a model project; South Africa deployment, finished w/ application and putting up Wiki for comments, suggestions, shared info; [someone?] will send link to model project.
  • Q: How do you help people be effective in their 10 weeks given things can move slowly?
A: Organizing to get support for students/learning. David Cavallo will initiate various learning seminars. Posting opportunities for communities to get involved. Remote Support will be welcome. Planning and organization should be included. Paul’s ending link to the Wiki re: how to be involved in this deployment.
  • Suggestion: Schedule a separate call on OLPCorps [this will be 6PM EDT Sunday Mch 8th, 2009], invite student groups!

> OLPCorps will have its own conference call set up for Sunday [20090308] to discuss
> ways the community can become involved. Spread the word to anyone you know
> who has an interest. If someone wants to help to set this up, take minutes,
> etc, please send an email to OLPCorps@laptop.org so that we can do this
> right and get this program running. 

- P. Commons Email Re: [support-gang] S-G + OLPCorps: let's re-ignite some old flames 
Date: 03/03/2009; Time: 5:56 PM EST

Agenda Item 2: Contributors Program++; Radical Overhaul Advances

Contributors Program++: Radical Overhaul Advances How a working open-source Social Networking Platform has the potential to enable OLPC/Sugar projects of all sizes to stand up on their own 2 feet and SHINE. How we can help shape the early prototyping of this ambitious system in the coming month, thanks to Molecular.com volunteering.

Notes

  • Holt reviews where we are: Contributors Program is back in business now; Project DB is still live and a great RDBMS, but will be phased out; we shipped hardware for about 10 projects over the past 10 days. Take a look at the new site -- new graphic etc, please give feedback! Would like to go live as soon as Monday March 2nd...
  • Immediate feedback: looking good.
  • Sandy's intro comment: If you take a new "Contributors" ticket, the first email should include, "you responded some time ago, are you still interested?" Try to foster some back & forth, in addition to just checking their shipping address!
  • We are still working on some of Contributors Program applications from people who applied around Nov/Dec/Jan. And need to email folks who registered but failed to apply.
  • Thanks to those who worked damn hard on the Draft overhaul this weekend!!
  • Critical piece: Show us your project for real; show us that the whole world might get something out of this. Crux of the whole thing. Making this the most prominent link on the page? Working on it...
  • Future v3.0 Prototyping: Working on user/group project cross-fertilizing beyond just Contributors Program. Better organized and more socially networked system we can consider for the Contributors Program within 3-4 months. in a couple of weeks, will have demo site where people can experiment, create profiles, etc. May script migration of content from current projects?
  • We are hoping that one of the architects of the social network tool can speak next Sunday 4PM Eastern Time meeting? While open source, modifications can be hard within server environments -- we need modern tools community can grow with. Progressive Updates should arrive in early March, page layouts, wireframing for now. Followed by intensive sprints, goal: nothing-to-demo-site & subsequent iterations in 2 week chunks where possible.
  • Closing note: Caryl’s son brought XO to Chicago Classroom of the Future and was very well received.

Additional Info from Agenda

  • Repair Centers/Localism Milestones : who's making the most progress building Local XO Libraries? (LA, SF, Oregon proposals all underway now, alongside Australia, France, Switzerland, Germany...) How might Local Project Pools *really* build community //and// responsibility? How might we prepare SJ alongside, to reach out to ~80,000 G1G1 recipients from 2007 and 2008 asking if they want to get to know genuine peers nearby, offer/receive help, support & sure a sprinkle of True Love?
  • Vital Avenues/Concerns we've ignored because you Haven't Spoken Up ;)
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