Literacy Programs


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In many refugee camps, there are no organized educational facilities, teachers, or anyone else who can 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 competancy.

Critical Importance

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':

  1. Starts directly upon bootup
  2. Some of the OLPC hard buttons are disabled
  3. The complexity and display of Sugar can be mainly hidden
  4. Initially uses only a small subset of the keyboard.
  5. 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.
  6. 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)
  7. Does not depend on any networking (as it could be the only one in the area)
  8. 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.

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