News from 2008.
Week of December, 14th
G1G1 Brussels: The campaign officially went global last week as the first pallets of XOs arrived at OLPC Europe. Adam Holt deplaned from Boston at almost the same moment, and went straight to work on the repackaging assembly line, which hard-laboring OLPCers there call “The Sweatshop.” The French OLPC Foundation program, known as Un chez toi, un chez moi, is building momentum. They’ve created a viral action to get to the maximum number of people in a minimum amount of time, and have produced supplementary Zimi videos in 13 languages on Dailymotion (http://www.dailymotion.com/olpcfoundation/video/x7f7jj_onelaptop-per-child-zimis-story-fu_school). As we reported last week, they also have a French TV star video on the Dailymotion France homepage (http://www.dailymotion.com/fr/featured). Articles have started to appear: http://www.mood-for.fr/one-laptop-per-child-france-olpc/. Their objective is 1725 new orders in the next two weeks. The European country that books the highest sales gets a red XO. This publication contains confidential information. Distributing or forwarding it beyond the intended recipients, either in part or in its entirety, is strictly prohibited. If you have any questions about this notice please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
In the UK, Daniel Drake has been working with Racepoint UK, which has secured one big TV spot just before Christmas, plus two radio spots with Nicholas and three significant print spots. The Dutch group has set up meetings for next week. http://wiki.laptop.org/go/OLPCNL_meetings. Christophe in Austria is working on a program for Amazon’s Germanlanguage webpage, Amazon.de, which will debut next week. In Belgium, OLPC began the SWIFT internal project of G1G3 and conducted demonstrations and seminars at the various SWIFT campuses. In its second week of "telephone boom" for G100(0), the OLPC team contacted 200 corporations with first calls, and had promising results from four of them.
Cambridge: The Change the World (CTW) program is creating a new opportunity for OLPC to reach a wider audience interested in bringing XOs to the world’s children. Under CTW, with a minimum donation of 100 XOs an individual, organization, business or any other donor can now be an active member of the global XO community, with support from OLPC. Jennifer Amaya, Nia Lewis, Julia Reynolds, Darah Tappitake, Mel Chua, Reuben Caron and Frances Hopkins have devoted considerable time over the past two weeks to building a foundation for the program. They’ve ascertained that the key audiences for CTW are teachers, charity groups, corporate sponsors, and people in all of our communities. To hone their message’s tone and content, the CTW team reflected on why an OLPC experience is unique. They went back to the basics, focusing on the elements of an XO program that make learning about the learners, and enable the learners to connect with the world around them. [...]
Week of December, 7th
Perú: Rodrigo Arboleda traveled to Lima and Cuzco to advance on purchase orders for the provinces of Cuzco, Callao, Tumbes and Aucash. He met in Lima with local representative of Tumbes Province. He also met with Jose Miguel Morales, chairman of the Entrepreneurs for Education Foundation, which is working with groups of Peruvian miners to put XOs in mining town schools.
Next, Rodrigo traveled high into the Andes to Cuzco with Oscar Becerra and Raul Díaz Chavez, who is the Peruvian vice minister of education. The three met with the provincial governor, Hugo González, who renewed his pledge to buy 190,000 laptops, 50,000 of them ASAP. Also in Cuzco, Rodrigo helped celebrate the arrival of 4,000 more machines destined for provincial school children. Many of the kids who attended the affair had to travel ten hours on mules, and then by bus, from their remote villages. Rodrigo expects Cuzco’s governor will catalyze action from his counterparts in Callao and Aucash, where Oscar is finalizing similar pledges.
Colombia: Rodrigo then joined Nicholas aboard a Colombian military aircraft to La Macarena, where the Army just deployed 700 machines (Weekend, November 9th and 23rd).
For decades a stronghold of the FARC guerrillas. La Macarena had no TV, no roads and, until recently, no Internet access. Now, thanks to a collaborative effort among OLPC, the ministry of defense and the ministry of telecommunications, there are 700 XOs in the hands of La Macarena’s school children, and the town is fully connected to the world. Children who once knew only killings, kidnappings, land mines, extortion and death can see a ray of hope in their lives. Nicholas gave several TV and other media interviews, met with civic leaders and NGOs and was accompanied by Jason Wishnow from TED, who is going to produce a video of the visit.
Europe: The grassroot groups all gathered in Brussels for the weekend to make plans for G1G1 across the continent. OLPC France has produced a video featuring the French TV star Gérard Klein to promote the OLPC project and the G1G1 in France. See it here: http://www.dailymotion.com/video/k3BzeizM7iZn6ARUiF . Next Wednesday OLPC France will hold a press conference with AMD where Walter De Brouwer hopes to show the video. They also sent out a promotional press announcement: http://olpcfrance.org/xo . The Brussels office began this week to contact the 150 largest European companies with a special offer for G100(0) http://www.olpceu.org/content/initiatives/g100g1000.html Before the end of the year, the 500 biggest corporations in Europe will have been contacted.
Walter gave a talk at the European Commission's Inclusion Days in Vienna entitled "Lessons in educational terrorism." http://ec.europa.eu/information_society/events/cf/person.cfm?personid=16051&eventId =einc08 Nirj Deva addressed the parliament in PNG about the XO, and together with Michael and Barry successfully persuaded the government to make the XO a priority (Weekend, November 30). OLPC Europe will be their representative in Brussels and approach the EU formally about EDF funding with help from the ACP secretariat. Sam Lounis and Giuila D'Amico attended the annual conference of CSR Europe, the association of CSR departments of European companies. A lot of valuable new contacts came out of the meeting. OLPC Europe now has agreements with seven countries to do cross-border tax deductions for charity at a fixed processing fee. By the end of next year, they hope to have 10 to 20. The Swift internal employee G1G3 starts next week.
Brazil: Juliano Bittencourt participated in a São Paulo meeting of the five Brazilian 1:1 schools. In the spring of last year, the Brazilian government selected five schools in the country to test different models of educational laptops donated by three vendors. OLPC donated laptops to two schools; one in São Paulo and other in Porto Alegre. Intel donated Classmates to one school in the city of Piraí and another in Palmas. An Asian vendor, Encore, donated 40 laptops to a single classroom in a school in Brasilia. The three-day meeting included the teachers, principals and students of the five schools, plus representatives from the ministry of education, President Lula’s office and several universities involved in the Brazilian 1:1 initiative. [...]
Perú: Carla Gòmez Monroy spent the week in country. She planned on working with teachers and students on community-based projects at a secondary school in Tarapoto City. She also visited schools, met with teachers, advised the locals on technical issues and helped with the repair of machines.
As parents in San Pedro de Cumbaza, Perú, held a meeting, their children shot video of the proceedings with their XOs.
Paraguay: Vicenta Cano, the pedagogical advisor to Paraguay Educa, reports that they are putting the teacher training and the pedagogical vision of the project in sync. The workshops for Caacupé's teachers will happen during the vacation period; the first from December 9th to the 23rd, and the second from February 9th to the 16th.
Cambridge: Cynthia Solomon, Brian Jordan, Nia Lewis and Julia Reynolds assembled photos from the laptop countries for tailor-made presentations to last year’s G1G1 donors. The hope is that the real images and stories will help inspire people to donate again this year - despite the sour economic climate - as they see the incredibly positive results already achieved. Claudia, Julia, Cynthia, Brian, and Barbara met with David Sengeh to a discuss a 30 machine deployment in Sierra Leone that will begin in a few weeks. Literacy is a key issue and they will work on ways for using laptops to help develop different literacies among the participants. They brainstormed with David the possibilities for the project in terms of saturation, target population, high school students/tutors and possible activities (applications) for the students. They also discussed what data David needs to gather in order to measure impact.
Week of November, 30th
Give One Get One OLPC is adding two new donor options this weekend, Give 100 and Give 1000, which allow individuals, groups or companies to send laptops anywhere in the world. The difference between G100 and G1000 is not price-per-laptop but the support that OLPC will offer afterward (detailed at laptop.org). However, there is a pricing difference for the 50 least developed nations and the rest of the world, a per laptop cost of $219 and $259, respectively. We also added a mechanism to acknowledge somebody (with either a physical or electronic card) in whose behalf you gave a laptop. The general flow between OLPC and Amazon is illustrated below:
Papua New Guinea: It was a momentous week for the ongoing effort in Oceania as Papua New Guinea (PNG) embraced OLPC to boost basic education and economic development in this poor South Pacific nation. In a keynote speech before a major international conference in the ramshackle capital of Port Moresby, the island country's acting prime minister, Dr. Puka Temu, told attendees that OLPC “will bring enormous benefits,” to PNG. It “will cover over 7,000 educational institutions from elementary to secondary schools,” Temu said, and “benefit over 1,160,000 children and 35,700 teachers." Several small-scale pilot projects, deploying OLPC-donated machines, have been underway in PNG since earlier this year. [...]
Argentina: Antonio Battro met with the governor Santa Fe province, Dr. Hermes Binner, and his staff. Binner told Antonio he is willing to launch OLPC in Santa Fe, beginning with the first schools next March. Crucial to Binner’s decision is the example of his friend, President Tabaré Vásquez of Uruguay, and the enthusiastic report of the CEIBAL experience made by Lilia Puig, a former member of the Argentinian House of Representatives, who recently visited Montevideo with David Asteggiano, Santa Fe’s secretary of state for science, technology and innovation. [...]
Week of November, 23rd
OLPC chose buzz over bang for the opening days of the G1G1 launch. There was minimal fanfare from major broadcasting or print media, but plenty of word-of-mouth and chatter in the trade press, and an air of excitement in the blogosphere. Now broadcast ads will begin to run, and a full-fledged media campaign soon will start. Unlike last year’s campaign, which began with a splash and then attenuated rapidly, we expect to build interest, and sales, as we move ahead. A cornerstone of the strategy is our nationwide billboard effort, which is much more extensive than last year’s. Here’s a map of the deployments: http://maps.google.com/maps/ms?hl=en&ie=UTF8&msa=0&msid=10077270797530438 4594.00045b09ae1350c559d9e&z=4 Meantime, OLPC Europe is getting ready for global G1G1. As they await price, shipping and delivery instructions from Boston, the grassroots groups of Austria, Germany, France, Holland and four other European countries working together on the media front. Thanks to loyal fans in Israel, Greece, UK, Dubai, Jordan, Portugal, Italy and Spain and with the important help of AMD - a media team has been set up and is waiting (patiently) to get started.
Washington DC: Nicholas participated on Monday in three CNN shoots (domestic, international and on-line), as well as a Fox News segment. That night, he did a 20second segment with PBS’s Charlie Rose. Also on Monday, Nicholas attended a small meeting - 20 people in all - hosted by Bob Zoelnick of the World Bank to discuss the role of ICT in development. All the usual suspects, besides OLPC, were there. Unfortunately, the conversation turned very anachronistic, with participants harping back to digital literacy as an end, rather than a means. Job creation through outsourcing was regarded as a new and good idea. Nicholas tried to emphasize that the World Bank should try to foster a nationwide culture of learning learning in the young, rather than help establish a few more industrial parks for young entrants to the job markets. [...]
Brussels: Walter De Brouwer reports that during European Development Days in Strasbourg OLPC Europe met with the head of the international affairs department for the city of Bonn, and did a presentation and demo of the XO. They also spoke to Gaudentia Kabaka, the Tanzanian deputy minister for higher education, science and technology, and met President Marc Ravalomanana of Madagascar. . On the corporate front, they held a conference call with Allianz SE, which is highly interested in OLPC and wants to cooperate with us. The chairman of the Industrial Design Institute of Poland will work to arrange a meeting in January between OLPC Europe and the Polish minister of education, as well the prime minister.
Week of November, 16th
Last week was a blur in Cambridge, New York and throughout OLPC world wide as we prepared for our first global campaign. Beginning with a Monday morning “war room” session in Patmos, 1CC deployed every available hand to ensure that all will be ready for tomorrow’s launch.
Everyone on the team contributed to G1G1 in some way, and everyone’s ready to jump into action should any new technical challenges suddenly pop up. Seth Woodworth, C. Scott Ananian, Christian Schmidt, Stefan Unterhauser, SJ Klein, Eben Eliason and Henry Hardy worked many hours on servers and new content for laptop.org. The site went live on Friday afternoon. Check it out: http://laptop.org. Great job everyone!
Mel Chua, Adam Holt, Frances Hopkins and SJ organized volunteers to restructure, review and update the many Frequently Asked Questions that have been collected over the last year, http://wiki.laptop.org/go/Support_FAQ . Paul Fox helped manage and send email thank you notes to last year's G1G1 donors, as well as to this year's list of interested people. More than a hundred thousand messages went out. SJ has helped manage many of the community efforts, website and news efforts ahead of the launch.
Eben created a Global G1G1 GoogleMap which allows everyone to post the location of their XO. In just a few days the map has been viewed more than 41,000 times, primarily by last year's G1G1 participants who received their email thank yous. Add your XO at http://www.google.com/maps/ms?ie=UTF8&msa=0&msid=114558805698125207804.00 0001132ad0d5f3d14f8&z=0 (A direct link from laptop.org will be added shortly).
Adam and Kim Quirk helped prepare the Amazon storefront. They worked on everything from policy statements to help pages, links, terms and conditions, and release management. Many hours were spent on the phone with the very patient and helpful people from Amazon US and Amazon UK. The storefronts will be live at six am Monday, EST. Mel announced that community testers have set themselves a short term goal of having all 28 G1G1 shipping Activities documented and tested before Christmas. She also reports that work on scripts for configuring XO/XS test beds now has some community volunteers. Our thanks go out to those volunteers!
Along with just about everyone else in the office, the test team was involved in a number of G1G1 activities, from organizing video footage to updating support documentation. We have deployed a new machine at the MIT colo in anticipation of the G1G1 campaign. A major effort to prepare the website, wiki and infrastructure for increased traffic has been underway, as well. The infrastructure changes meant that OLPC’s primary public-facing machines and services were unavailable from approximately 16:30 to 21:30 Tuesday, November 11th. Web, wiki, and mail services were impacted. Scott Ananian spent much of the week shoring up web services in advance of the launch. Our wiki and web site are now running in well-documented virtual hosts, from content version-controlled in git. Our wiki now sits behind a reverse proxy, in a configuration closely matching that used by the Wikimedia Foundation for Wikipedia. We also have in place low-bandwidth fallbacks in case of high load. Work will continue to gradually unload and untangle the over taxed pedal.laptop.org.
A highlight of the week was a visit to 1CC by Tom Brady, quarterback for the New England Patriots, who came by to shoot a video for G1G1. The XO amazed him. Brady asked if some machines could be sent to his sister’s school in California, as well as a second shipment to his other sister, who is working in Uganda. Our pro bono partners at Racepoint, Mediacom and Taxi have devised an impressive media campaign. Several new videos begin tonight (Sunday) on the OLPC You Tube channel, as well as on Google TV, laptop.org and elsewhere, and they include an excellent animation on our mission. New content will debut throughout the week.
FaceBook members can join the OLPC cause and invite their friends to do the same. Additional FaceBook and Google gadgets will be updated in the next few days. Tomorrow, G1G1 will be featured on more than 4,000 billboards and other outdoor venues nationwide. Commercials will air on all major broadcast channels, cable and on radio. Newspapers and magazines will begin with print ads.
Don’t miss Nicholas tomorrow night on PBS with Charlie Rose, who is devoting his program to OLPC. It also will run on charlierose.com. If you’re near Boston on Thursday night, the 20th, come to Hall D of the Science Center at Harvard to hear Nicholas and Calestous Juma speak. The topic of the 7:00-9:00 program is “One Laptop per Child: Changing the World.” The OLPC staff will put on demonstrations. Sponsors include the Harvard College Global Hunger Initiative and multiple other Harvard groups. Light meals will be provided. OLPC’s regular business proceeded apace as well: Development Arkansas: Nicholas spent a morning with the senior Walmart management at their Bentonville headquarters exploring a broad agenda that ranged from the Foundation to their 4000 retail stores to on-line sales and logistics. The next step is a more focused discussion. The idea is an agreement, if we have one at all, by 1/1/09.
Week of November, 9th
G1G1 has gone global. Nicholas announced to delegates at the World of Health IT conference in Copenhagen last week that all 27 EU member states would take part this year. Meanwhile, the SWIFT company in Brussels said that G1G1 will be promoted internally - as G3G1 - throughout its worldwide operations, including the company’s major east Asian offices in China, Hong Kong and Singapore. With re-launch just eight days away, there will be an all-hands meeting in Patmos on Monday at 11:00 to discuss status and to solicit ideas. As Ed Sullivan used to say, this is going to be a really big show. We will have more than 3,000 billboards and outdoor spots ready to go up next week in many different locations throughout the United States. Mediacom continues to solicit national and local television, radio, digital and print space for G1G1 commercials and messaging. Two commercials to run on Google TV, major television stations and elsewhere are wrapping in South Africa. [...]
Week of November, 2nd
Antonio Battro presented Pope Benedict XVI with an XO on Friday at the Vatican. The occasion was a papal audience for the Pontifical Academy of Sciences, of which Antonio is a member. They spoke about OLPC’s philosophy and objectives in the developing world. Benedict seemed deeply pleased by our work. Antonio is in Rome to address a plenary session of the academy. Development New York City: John Lennon will be a spokesperson of sorts for OLPC in the upcoming G1G1 campaign – with Yoko Ono’s blessing. Taxi is preparing scripts and working on special effects to present Lennon in his own voice on 15- and 30-second videos. Lennon will say that he could only imagine what you can do now. In parallel, MediaCom, with one of the world’s largest media communications agency networks, is working on placing TV, print and web ads.
Also in New York, Nicholas and Mayor Michael Bloomberg kicked off the Audit Bureau of Circulation’s bi-annual meeting at the Waldorf Astoria. Attendees heard an appeal for pro bono ad space in weeklies and dailies. The same afternoon, Nicholas was the closing speaker at Ad Age and Creativity's annual "Ideas” conference.
Brussels: Walter De Brouwer brings news from around the world: In Central Asia, the government of Kazakhstan wants to meet OLPC in Astana in the coming weeks to discuss contract issues. The project under discussion involves 25,000 laptops, but depending upon negotiations the number of machines could rise. (A small XO pilot already is up and running in Astana.) The Benin and Botswana delegations were impressed with what they learned at the ACP meetings. Benin is arranging a follow-up meeting for November in Strasbourg. Botswana has invited a team to meet with its prime minister in Gaborone. Caribbean. This week Louis Michel, the EU commissioner for development and humanitarian aid, announced a renewed collaboration with Cuba for education aid. The OLPC Europe team had several meetings with the Cuban delegation. Among the victims of hurricanes Gustav and Ike was the Cuban education infrastructure; 40 percent of the island’s schools were damaged. There is a possibility of a major OLPC deployment. In the Pacific, OLPC Europe has finished its preliminary work for Michael Hutak and Barry Vercoe from Brussels Vanuatu seems ready to make an order of 40,000 units as discussed with the Minister of Education, Charlot Salwai, and Director General Daniel Lamoureux. Also Raelyn Esau, the deputy director of policy & planning at the Tongan ministry of education, and Josefa Natau, director of the ministry of education of Fiji, were enthusiastic about going forward with OLPC. Michael and Barry will follow up. Europe. Bonn’s mayor, Bärbel Dieckmann, has invited OLPC to make an official presentation and discuss Bonn’s support of sister cities.
Afghanistan: The ministries of education and IT will be working closely with Roshan, the country’s leading cellular provider. They have agreed to provide connectivity for the program, including all hardware infrastructure and one year of internet access. The MOE has also partnered with Paiwastoon, a leading Linux/Open Source provider in Afghanistan. Their CEO, Mike Dawson, attended the OLPC May event in Cambridge. Paiwastoon will lead the localization into Dari/Pashto. Dr. Habib Khan is working with a technical assistant, Salman Minhas, who has helped with Dari/Pashto translations. In the next few weeks, Dr. Habib and Salman will travel to Kabul to hold teacher preparation workshops. Dates for travel will be determined, following the installation of a new education minister and depending upon staff availability.
Palestine: After several months of working with USAID in the West Bank and Gaza, we have secured official donation numbers and approval to ship XOs from both the Palestinian Authority and the Israeli government. The Palestinian ministry of education has been working on teacher preparation and deployment plans, and eagerly awaits the first bulk shipment of XOs. Representatives of the MOE have attended the past few OLPC Cambridge workshops.
Perú: Ongoing production of their order had been interrupted by Perú’s inability to secure a competent shipping vendor. Robert Fadel, Gustavo Marrioto, Rodrigo Arboleda and Jeff Mandell spoke by telephone with Oscar Becerra, Hernan Pachas and their extended teams. The group discussed pricing for new orders, ordering opportunities for provincial governments as well as deployment, and, of course, shipping. The immediate solution is that Perú will be quoted the CIF Price as Ex-Works, but it will include free shipping. This, apparently, absolves them from the need to issue an RFP for a shipping vendor. OLPC and Perú will revise their current framework agreement to update the above and other terms. Perú will develop an internal process for the consolidation of provincial government orders. Perú remains firmly committed to OLPC and is discussing a 500,000 unit order in 2009. Production: The chart on the following page details OLPC shipments over the past year. This chart is not a sales or a production forecast but actual distributions of XOs. Because of the chart’s scale not all deployments are shown; however, it does reflect nearly 99% of all XOs built as of October 24. The numbers in the “In Country” and “Kids” columns overlap. Also a built XO is either “In- Country” or “In-Transit”. Do not reproduce or republish this chart without first contacting Robert Fadel.
Week of October, 26th
New York City: Nicholas met with Joel I. Klein, chancellor of the New York City Department of Education, the largest public school system in the United States. There are more than 1.1 million students in New York’s 1420 public schools, as well as 80,000 teachers. PS 5 in the Bronx (PK-5, 682 students) is fully operational; all kids in all classes have their own XOs. A second school is about to begin saturation deployment. The discussion with Klein included how to rollout all kids in NYC, including options such as doing all first graders, versus doing grades one to three in one third of the schools. A curious detail emerged. NYC classifies laptops as having a 3-year life expectancy and thus they are not eligible as capital equipment expenditure. The federal government requires five years. This puts the XO in a unique position.
Brussels: OLPC Europe spent the week at the ACP Secretariat, meeting with, and do demos for, ministers of education gathered for the annual council. They spoke with teams from the Democratic Republic of Congo, Mozambique, Malawi, Namibia, Djibouti, Lesotho, Swaziland and Togo, plus advisors from Burkina Faso, Ivory Cost, Mali, Gabon, Tanzania, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Equatorial Guinea, Seychelles, Botswana and Mauritania. Discussions were initiated with the ministers of education from Cuba and Dominican Republic. OLPC Europe renewed acquaintances with the MOE’s of Barbados and Jamaica, and also did demos for those from Fiji, Vanuatu and the Philippines.
ACP representatives from Mozambique, and Togo, check out the XO.
The meetings all went very well. Countries in the southern part of Africa will coordinate together in order to use the Regional Envelopes of the EU development budget. The group will include South Africa, Namibia, Botswana, Lesotho, Swaziland and Malawi, all of whom have already submitted proposals. Contracts will follow. Thursday Carla Gòmez Monroy had an OLPC and XO training session with the SWIFT ambassadors. On Friday, Walter De Brouwer and Giulia D’Amici attended the Internet Governance Forum (IGF) hosted in Cagliari, Sardinia. The IGF was strategically hosted in Sardinia in preparation of the G8 countries which will convene there in June of next year. IGF will submit a discussion agenda to the next G8. Walter gave a talk on the "ultimate openness" of OLPC towards the "lock-in" of other projects. During the Forum, OLPC met Carlo Prado, Special Advisor to Gilbert Gills, the former Brazilian minister of culture. Gills will take the OLPC message back to Brazil and will talk to President Lula.
Week of August 24
Haiti: This week was spent in planning recruitment of the core staff members, the 5 x 2 teams (with one educator and one IT in each) that will be in charge of the five schools/training centers, or EFACAPs. Each EFACAP in turn will oversee another team of 12, scaling the project to about 60 schools. The examination for the core staff will take place next week. The team has been finalizing a practical guide for the trainers.
“We also designed a few projects and activities,” they report. “M. translated the Scratch Reference Guide into French. And since everything wasn't clear when she was translating it, Bastien insisted that we should explore Scratch interactively as soon as possible. We eventually did, having a lot of fun together showing off our crazy sprites. This was also a way to build confidence in the way we conduct the training sessions.
“On the technical side, the team continued to work on the translation. They are all familiar with Pootle, and some of the team knows how to handle the administrative tasks. As Bastien was busy installing the latest version of Sugar (Joyride) the team wanted to do the same, so we requested developer keys and started to upgrade their XOs. There is a webpage explaining how to do this with a USB drive (see the link below).
“We continued to work on the online support. The website offers a very simple interface to submit bugs, questions, problems, suggestions, etc. When someone fills in an online form, an email is sent to the person in charge of pedagogy/software/hardware, and a wikipage is automagically created for further references. Part of the team is now familiar with the wiki and we're in the process of moving documentation there. Some were concerned about publishing something that wasn't perfect, but they were convinced that going collaborative is also a way of putting the burden of perfectibility on everyone’s shoulders.
“The building that houses the laptop team improves with each day. We now have a steady Internet connection, desks and a fan.” Guy Serge Pompilus and Bastien were invited to talk on a program at Radio Métropole, the largest station in Haiti. The discussion was very engaging, and focused on education, rather than on technology.
Mongolia: The Educational TV station is now committed to partnering with OLPC to produce an ongoing series of shows that will inspire more effective learning. Elana will supervise the production of three, five-minute proof of concept segments. The segments will feature footage from their experience with workshops in the countryside, kids working on the XO and core team teachers giving brief introductions to various applications. The segments will be aired during September. On the first, the president will appear on the station, where he’ll discuss the laptop initiative with the core team teachers and Elena. The segment will be broadcast nationally.
The Mongolian Linux community will support schools in UB, and introduce linux and programming concepts to certain classes. Some members will also create introductory videos for Linux terms, as well as other hello world introductory videos. They are currently looking for ways to support the IT needs of the project and are generating a list of low-cost technical solutions that would suit Mongolia. Their participation will be key for long term sustainability and success.
The core team teachers planned and led a training session for 120 teachers. They were able to introduce the idea of programmable objects, project-based learning and troubleshooting in 4 days. The UB teachers were skeptical of the XO on the first day but by the end of the fourth day they refused to return their computers! Next week they will work with teachers from the countryside as well as teacher trainers from Project Read. The minister of education has committed to having the computers in schools by September 1st. There was a fair in Sukhbataar Square, held by the educational television station. Everyone in the education sector, including schools and businesses, was invited to show their achievements. School 51 chose to feature the XO computer as a display of the good work done at their school. The students and core team teachers introduced the XOs on stage. There was a lot of enthusiasm from the crowd.
Minister of Education Bolermaa visiting School 51 booth, and the core team teacher showing Turtle Art-related exercise on paper.
The last of the amazing interns went home on Tuesday. They were a tremendous asset to OLPC and we could never have achieved all that we did on the learning and tech side without their hard work and dedication. I hope that they will continue to stay involved with OLPC and help us design a strong internship program for next year. Thanks to all of you!
Rwanda: Planning continues by the Rwandan coordinator, Richard, and Juliano, representing OLPC, and the Rwandan working group. The team prepared for the distribution of the laptops on September 2nd and also the OLPC Regional Workshop that will be held in Kigali from Sept. 29 to Oct. 2nd. The project team is very excited and every day dedicating more time and resources for it, since now it is clear that the laptop initiative is fully supported by high levels of the government. This Ministries of Finance and Education are currently working on a budget to order 50, 000 laptops next year.
Birmingham: On Saturday Birmingham held its XO eXpO to commemorate the accomplishments of the children and teachers working with XO laptops over the summer. A full report will appear next week.
Coming Events: Rwanda will host a regional laptop event in Kigali, September 29 through October 2.
The beginning of the week will provide a practical approach to learning and laptops for country teams, teacher developers, educational ministry teams, NGO and other partner organizations, university researchers, free software practitioners and other volunteers. We will work with the Rwandan team, teachers and children with laptops with a focus on powerful uses for learning. On October 1 the Rwandan government and OLPC will host a major regional event on laptops, learning and development. In addition to Rwandan government officials, Nicholas Negroponte and others from OLPC, Miguel Brechner of Uruguay, and others will attend. Development Brussels: Walter, Isobel and Justyna discussed possible XO deployments with representatives from Uganda, Namibia, Gambia and East Timor. AMD's Jens Drews visited the office to plan cooperation for an event in Dresden, which twins with Brazzaville in Congo. Also, Walter and Philippe van Cauteren, a director of the City Museum for Contemporary Art (S.M.A.K.) in Ghent, discussed a "One Artist Per Child" project in association with Sotheby's.
Week of August 19
It was a proud moment for OLPC as tiny Uruguay rolled out its 100,000th computer - almost all of which are Internet enabled. The scene was the Villa García Elementary School near Montevideo. With more than a thousand pupils, it is one of the country’s largest primary schools. Chuck Kane, Claudia Urrea and Antonio Battro all looked on as President Tabaré Vázquez presented the 100,000th XO to a six-year-old student. Miguel Blechner of CEIBAL spoke briefly, too. The news media were everywhere. Many of the children captured the moment by turning their XOs around to take their own still pictures or video.
In the afternoon, Claudia and Antonio accompanied Mónica Baez and Graciela Rabajoli of CEIBAL on a visit to a school near Colonia. Over the next few days, CEIBAL presented several anti-smoking school initiatives, showing the work done by students and teachers with their laptops in their communities. The children discussed their work in a workshop. David Cavallo arrived from a long trip to Asia and Africa to participate in these meetings.
OLPC looks forward to the next wave of rollouts in Uruguay, which continues as a great example of a successful deployment. Sincere congratulations to the people of Uruguay from everyone at OLPC.
CEIBAL maintains an excellent Spanish-language website at: http://www.ladiaria.com.uy/files/ladiaria_20080814web.pdf.
Also Carla Gómez Monroy has documented the Uruguay deployment at: http://wiki.laptop.org/go/OLPC_Uruguay/Ceibal
Haiti: The team was busy with teacher reports, the operations manual and Kreyol translation. They also worked on their practical guide for trainers and on some hand-outs for trainees, as well as designs for a few pedagogical activities and projects with and around the XO, trying to integrate existing curriculum when it makes sense.
All translations are complete, except eToys (65 percent) and Scratch (15 percent), which require special care. Next step is a linguistic review.
Mongolia: Teachers continue to create curriculum material online. Work continues to solidify local partnerships with both NGOs and governmental agencies.
The XO was featured in Mongolian Computer Timesmagazine this month. The article was generally positive although the writer questioned how Mongolia could afford to support the initiative. Elana Langer was interviewed on Eagle TV, a popular TV station. The questions reflected a concern from the Mongolian people about the criteria and process by which the government will choose to distribute the laptops.
Lastly, a Mongolian athlete has just won the country’s very first Olympic gold medal, in judo. There were street celebrations in UB. Many hope this sudden boost to national pride might galvanize the government into a functional organization.
Rwanda: The team is refining their strategic plan, looking past the initial rollout of 5000 laptops to create both a vision and a plan for a national laptops project.
Monday and Tuesday they participated in a series of meetings with Richard Niyonkuru, the project coordinator, and representatives of several other governmental agencies. During the rest of the week, a team formed by representatives of the main governmental agencies visited the three schools selected to receive the first 5000 machines in the provinces of Rwamagana, Gasabo and Kicukiro.
The visit was received enthusiastically by the students and teachers. The team did a basic site survey to isolate the main initial challenges. One will be the size of the schools and classrooms. The average Rwandan school is large, with 1500 students, and so are classrooms, which range to 70 students or more.
The Kagugu school in Gasabo province has 3105 students, and some classes with more than 100 children. Usually the classrooms have only one power outlet, which will make laptop charging a challenge. The sheer size of the schools and classes will also make for networking issues. Kagugu staff also raised interesting questions over how to define and implement the project policies, and ownership of the Xos.
Birmingham: This week the team worked with the instructional technology staff member who will be in charge of this project everyday to try to prepare documents requested by the executive director of IT. This included a learning manual that is briefer than the online version, and will help with the Just In Time Learning sessions to begin before teachers get the laptops. The team also worked with headquarters staff from the music, PE and Special Ed departments to introduce the laptops. The music department LOVED Tam Tam.
An XO eXpO is scheduled for August 23. There will be attendees from many stakeholders in the community, so it should be an exciting event.
Week of August 12
India: Nicholas and David Cavallo spent Monday in Mumbai with Satish Jha, president of OLPC India, under the aegis of Reliance. The day’s events included a national video conference, a meeting with Johny Joseph, chief secretary of the state of Maharashtra and a lecture to the Asia Society. Maharashtra is huge, with 100 million people, or about 10 percent of India’s total population.
On Tuesday, Reliance and the Digital Bridge Foundation organized a one-day workshop for teachers, laptop donees and volunteers. The goal was to provide a basic understanding of the XO and the OLPC approach to learning in a saturated deployment. The program motivated many attendees to launch new XO deployments and also to improve existing XO sites in India.
On Wednesday a similar workshop was held in Goa, organized by Dr. Rita Paes, the director of a local teachers’ college, and sponsored by the Goa Chamber of Commerce. Just as in Mumbai, more people and sites were engaged. With the support of local business and the teachers’ college, they will pursue a statewide deployment initiative for Goa, which already is advanced in providing connectivity and computers to schools.
Nicholas, David, Satish, Manusheel Gupta and the Reliance team also visited the remote Vastishala Khairat-Dhangarvada School, 81 km from Mumbai, where Carla Gómez Monroy deployed XOs some months ago. The children sang for their visitors, and presented them with red roses. Sandeep Surve, Khairat’s single teacher, believes deeply in the OLPC program. “Education through XOs has completely solved educational problems like child absenteeism, parent-teacher interaction, and lack of interest towards education,” he said. “Children relish coming to school every day, and their interest towards education has risen dramatically.”
Haiti: It was a busy week at OLPC Haiti as the team wrapped up the summer camp at Republique de Chili. Every major television and radio station came out as well as several government officials, including the ministers of education and communication and public works. One of the second graders showed off her problem-solving skills to the minister of education. When her computer lost power as she was attempting to demonstrate her very impressive work in E-toys, the student ran to charge her laptop while a reporter held the minister's attention. Within five minutes she returned with a gentle tug on the minister’s sleeve, excited and determined to display her work.
At the end of camp, the teachers wrote reports on their personal XOs for the Ministry of Education. They were uniformly enthusiastic about the program, and training team, and impressed with how the kids easily worked with one another. They thought the training period was too short, that the students’ parents should have been more involved and they asked for more content.
The team spent the rest of the week working on the operations manual. This was both a content-driven task and a team-building exercise, led by national coordinator Guy-Serge Pompilus, and organized into three parts - administration, technology and pedagogy.
The translation of Pootle is now 67 percent complete, and the core system is 97 percent finished. Translation of the Getting Started OLPC guide is in progress, and the team is double-checking the current translation because many volunteers did not use Haitian kryol. They also have started to translate Scratch, as well as finish Etoys.
Rwanda: This week saw the first teachers’ development workshop, conducted from Wednesday to Sunday in the Regional ICT Research and Training Center. Sixty-five teachers participated from the three launch schools in the districts of Kagugu, Nonki and Rwamagana.
The core team involved the teachers in simple XO activities, such as using the camera, text editor, and Speak. They explored mobility by taking activities outside the classroom. The main goal was to break any initial fear among the teachers, and to make them comfortable with exploring the laptop by themselves. They also used more complex tools such as Scratch, doing basic programming to create short dialogs in a very playful way.
The experience was valuable to the core team, too, for they will be the ones to provide long-term support as the deployment expands to more schools. The OLPC team feels they are gaining broader acceptance from other ministries and organizations. The national coordinator, the primary participants, the core team, and the OLPC team continue to develop a strong collaboration. People are very enthusiastic.
Week of August 4
Thailand: OLPC held a five-day regional workshop in Bangkok, with more than 50 participants from six countries. The goals of the workshop were to:
- gain a deeper and more pragmatic familiarity with the ideas about laptops and learning from both a micro scale (child-level) and macro scale (national level)
- form next steps for laptop introduction in participating countries
- strengthen network among countries in the region
The workshop went extremely well. Special highlights included sharing of work in the rural areas in Thailand as exemplars of high-quality work, and integration of school and community; storytelling with the XO by Barbara Barry; computational uses of the XO by Roger Sipitakiat; Nicholas’s talk on Thursday evening; and the Ban Samkha children’s orchestra using their XOs to play traditional Thai music in TamTam. Along with the Thais, delegations from Bangla Desh and Malaysia both committed to purchase laptops.
Mongolia: The team returned on Monday afternoon from a two-week tour in northern Mongolia, where they ran workshops for local teachers, kids and parents. Together with the Mongolian core team, we worked in one city center and two small villages, introducing the XO and constructionist learning methodologies. The core team teachers designed and ran the last workshop on their own. They came up with some wonderful and surprising ideas, including a physical activity to teach angles and degrees to students, which they then try in turtle art and etoys. It was amazing to watch.
Tyler worked with the IT team to set up servers in two of the villages that will be receiving laptops. Neither location had school connectivity, but the network worked well.
Nicholas joined us in Khatgal, a small village in the Khuvsgul province on our last day of training. A sheep was slaughtered and cooked in his honor.
It was interesting to note the various dignitaries’ motivations for involvement in the project. The new head of ICTA, for example, was inspired by the XO’s open source environment. He wants the students in Mongolia to learn Linux and is working to get all government agencies and higher institutes to cross over to a Linux platform.
The prime minister mentioned how moved he was to see children from a poor district in UB receive their individual computers. He felt the project not only will change education, but also what he called the "mental" state of poor children who see their neighbors with the luxuries of life while they go hungry.
Rwanda: The 20-member core team is ready to initiate teacher development. The team discussed ways of introducing generative themes for children to use for developing projects. There also was considerable discussion on the issues of working with schools and communities.
Haiti: The team is currently wrapping up the pre-pilot Camp XO 2008 at Ecole Nationale Republique du Chili. As we entered this final full week we began to look at E-toys.
In our weekly meeting with the teachers, T1 teachers asked what type of assistance they would receive to better understand integration of the XOs into their curriculum. They are naturally concerned because the XO is such a novel tool, so different from their previous experience. The team has been trying to explain to the teachers that their goal shouldn't be to know the technology better than the students, but to seek ways to utilize the tools to further learning objectives and enhance the overall learning experience.
In the tech team meeting, we identified local sources of solar panels for each school that may need them. It is still difficult to determine which schools will receive decent internet connection because of Haiti's mountainous terrain.
Week of July 28
Rwanda:Preparations continue for the distribution of the first five thousand laptops. The core team completed translation of Sugar and Scratch into Kinyarwanda, the Rwandan national language. They received digitized textbooks for most grades and started the scanning process for the remaining books. They also were able to reduce the PDF file size more than 16 times, making it possible to load several books inside the XOs. The school selection process goes on. It is a challenge to match community saturation with available electricity. Carine Umutesi from RITA and Eugene Karangwa from the ministry of education are searching hard for such a cluster of schools. The scheduled date for laptop distribution is August 11th.
Haiti: The core team is wrapping up Camp XO 2008 at Ecole Nationale Republique du Chile. On July 31st, the last day of camp, the kids will display their work and demonstrate their skills to several officials and the media. Thursday, August 1st, will be parents’ day.
The team also is running full speed in preparation for the start of school in September. They have decided to go with solar panels. This week, they will visit two schools in the region as part of the XO school selection process.
Mongolia: Nicholas visited the scenic Lake Khuvsgul region, where he met with the Mongolian team at the end of their latest rural swing - three stops in the north. The village/town has a population of 2000. The team includes six Mongolian teachers from Ulaanbaatar who are being trained to carry on the learning workshops as more laptops roll out at the beginning of the school year in September. Nicholas meets President Nambaryn Enkhbayar on Tuesday to press for full deployment, every child in the country, as in Uruguay.
Perú: Kim Quirk visited the Chavalina School in Chincha, a poor community of 50,000 located about 200 km south of Lima. Chavalina and three other Chincha schools were selected by the ministry of education to receive XOs. Her report:
“Chincha was hit very hard by the earthquake last August, and they are still rebuilding the school and many homes in the town. The school we visited has 70 students, aged six to 12, in three classrooms with three teachers.
“The teachers are very excited about the laptops, the program, and the fact that their students were selected to participate. The kids are obviously excited about the laptops and showed us how they are using the machines - write, record, paint, puzzles, memory, and more.
“They received their XOs in late April, and already have had five or six problems with the 70 machines deployed, which has made it a little difficult for them. When a laptop breaks, the child goes without. It also takes a long time to charge the laptops as they only have one working electrical outlet, and one power strip. There is little direct sunlight in Chincha for four to five months out of the year, so solar is not a good option.
“They have no Internet connectivity, so this might be a good place for us to help get Telefonica involved.
“We discussed with them the formal process for submitting a repair or spare parts request, so they could do their own repairs. We also suggested that all the Chincha schools form one repair center.”
More pictures from Chincha:
India: Satish Jha, OLPC India’s CEO and president, has started working with Manusheel Gupta. Satish will be formally introduced locally be Nicholas on August 4 during OLPC India Day. (See poster below)
Satish already is discussing a customs duty exemption for the XO with government officials, and will pursue the subject in upcoming contacts with various agencies, including the Ministry of Finance.
Nepal: Rabi Karmacharya reports “the government of Nepal has allocated three million rupees in this year's budget for the One Laptop per Child project. It is not a huge amount, but it is a significant step by the government to indicate that they are seriously considering OLPC in Nepal. We are now insisting that the Department of Education seek more funding from donors to implement One Laptop per Child in two districts. We have told them that Open Learning Exchange Nepal will take care of piloting in three other districts.”
Week of July 21
Haiti: The students at Republic de Chile School continue to have a great time exploring with their XOs. The fifth graders erupted with joy as they discovered
“YouTube” during their continued exploration of electricity. They ran around to the other kids and teachers to show off their discovery. The fifth grade teacher expressed concern whether her students fully understood all the information about electricity that they were getting online.
The fourth graders spent the first half of the week analyzing their video interviews of their family and community as part of their transportation study. Several of them were unable to complete their interviews because their parents, fearing for their safety, required the children to hide their XOs when outside of school. There was some discussion among the teachers whether parents are hindering learning in their efforts to protect their children.
The third and second graders spent the first half of the week learning how to create their own game in Memorize. Accustomed to old top-down pedagogy, it took some time for them to let their creative instincts take over. Not to be left out, the first graders showed off their writing and articulation skills (see image below).
During the second half of the week, the Haitian core team and Wanda Eugene of OLPC took a trip up the mountain to meet with the teachers, directors, and administrators in Jacmel, the next site where the XOs will be distributed. Thursday morning, they visited Cap Rouge, which is a wifi-ready city, in the region of Jacmel, where this is no electricity and whose public primary school has an enrollment of more than 700 students. The school itself is solar powered.
The teachers, directors and administrators were really receptive and asked some big questions, such as, How will the XOs transform education for everyone?
Rwanda: Juliano Bittencourt met with Théoneste Mutsindashyaka, the state secretary for primary and secondary education, who re-affirmed his commitment to the project and stated that Rwanda will be expanding its commitment next year. Mutsindashyaka also has decided that the deployment in Rwanda should start by saturation of Kigali, the capital city of the country where electricity is available.
Juliano also briefly met with Daphrosa Gahakwa, the minister of education, and Nkubito Manzi Bakuramutsa, executive director of the Rwanda Information Technology Authority - RITA. Mr. Nkubito shared his enthusiasm for hosting a regional OLPC workshop in the country and offered total support.
The RITA team has translated 96 percent of Sugar into Kinyarwanda. They are now working to improve the quality of the translation. The Rwandan core team and the OLPC team began started to work with Scratch in order to give them a better understanding of the tool before beginning its translation. The team also gained access to the digital version of the text books used in Rwandan schools. Together with the staff from RITA, we are studying the best way to load this content inside the laptops
Birmingham: The team continued to work with youth at the Birmingham Public Library to learn about diagnosing problems with the laptops as well as experimenting with their disassembly.
They held meetings with the technical project manager to discuss a plan for bringing laptops to all the primary schools. They will meet with the city’s curriculum leader next week to continue to work on the professional development plan.
The summer camp is going well. Students have formed into groups and plan to create projects addressing health issues from diabetes to nutrition. They intend to make commercials and games in Scratch to help educate the community about their chosen healthcare topic.
Mongolia: The core team and the OLPC group went to the countryside in the north of Mongolia to begin delivering laptops and to work with children, teachers and parents. Due to lack of connectivity in the region, the full report will arrive in the next two weeks.
Cambridge': The group developed more materials for doing solid learning projects using the programming languages available on the XO for distribution to the countries.
Week of July 14
Haiti: OLPC Haiti made significant progress with children and teachers using generative themes to guide beginning to develop projects on their laptops. What started as a simple discussion of a television show that several kids could not watch because they had no electricity at home, turned into a fifth graders’ project to explore electricity. Using the XOs, they developed thought-provoking questions about electricity. Then, armed with their laptops as recording devices, they went out into the community to interview residents.
Not to be outdone, the fourth graders tackled the question of transportation. They broke up into groups to explore a wide range of problems and solutions, including rising fuel costs.
The third graders began their exploration of music using TamTam. The focus on music allowed them a chance to express their favorite music styles, artists and instruments, which gave them a unique way to connect learning to their culture.
Mongolia: The week's work started off with an update from the core team members who’d joined the OLPC team in the Gobi. The team discussed the challenges that face deployment on logistical, educational and support levels. Having experienced the lack of electricity and connectivity first hand, these core team members were now in a better position to address those challenges.
The team noticed how quickly children were able to pick up the programs and how willing teachers and parents in the countryside were to learn from children. Everyone noted how the fears that teachers would be intimidated by the intelligence, pace, and openness of students was ungrounded in the rural areas. In fact, their experiences in the rural areas with children, teachers and parents all working well together and helping each other were liberating and enabled better planning for adoption.
On Monday afternoon the Gobi team prepared some exercises and project ideas based on what they learned from their teaching methodology. They went over the exercises and ideas with the rest of the core team.
The entire core team also worked together to deal with translation issues. Partly it was a team-building exercise, but also the goal was for the national team to take responsibility for the issue and its solution.
The teachers also were encouraged to design what they wanted to learn. Some teachers are quite adept at eToys, and were keen to get to know other programs like Tam Tam and Pippy/python. On Tuesday afternoon we had them break up into groups. Some of them worked with interns Tyler and Cris to learn Pippy.
Rwanda: Juliano Bittencourt and his wife Silvia arrived in country to support the development of the laptop sites and national team. In this first week, they met several times with Carine Umutesi from the Rwanda ICT Agency (RITA), and Eugene Karangwa from the ministry of education in order to create an action plan for the laptops in the schools. The plan covers points such teacher training, deployment logistics and development of community awareness. It also addresses the identification and selection of content to be loaded onto the XOs, as well as the need for a schedule for the start in the first schools.
The creation of a core team that will support schools in the roll out of the project was the most discussed topic, since it is essential for success and growth. RITA set up a team to translate Sugar and the main activities to Kinyarwanda. They started working on Wednesday and so far have translated most of the Sugar-XO and part of the Sugar-Buddle packages in Pootle.
Juliano and Carine Umutesi from RITA met with Desite Alex, from Rwanda National Curriculum Development Center - NCDC, in order to identify available digitized textbooks that can be loaded onto the laptops. Since major publishers do not create materials in most local languages, including Kinyarwanda, NCDC developed and retained copyrights on some textbooks of their own for students in the first through third grades.
Birmingham: The summer workshop at the Glen Iris School has begun with 40 students, who will create projects along the generative theme of educating the community about health issues.
Eighty elementary school teachers went through the first phase of professional development. They responded positively. The next step for them is to work with children in parallel with their own continued learning.
The Birmingham schools received their remaining 14,000 laptops. The city began information sessions at the public library. Various community groups and businesses have joined forces to help students, parents and other community members learn more about the laptops, as well as learn how to do the more straightforward repairs. Plans continue for a large public Expo at the end of the summer term to demonstrate the possibilities, heighten awareness, and build towards citywide impact.
Week of July 6
Rollout Update: Since November 2007, OLPC has shipped nearly 400,000 laptops. Better than a quarter of those machines went to donors who participated in the G1G1 program. Simultaneously, OLPC has been working with countries to prepare for their donee XOs, many of which already have been received. The two largest rollouts, Peru and Uruguay, account for nearly half of all units shipped to date, but have yet to receive the bulk of their orders.
Papua New Guinea: From June 16tht hrough the 20th, OLPC Oceania made its second PNG deployment (Weekend, June 15) of 47 XOs at the Dreikikir Elementary School in East Sepik Province. Dreikikir is about a four-hour drive inland from Wewak, the provincial capital. The machines were all updated to build 703/G1G1 activity pack with Speak and Flash added before the deployment to the school’s first graders.
Tony Aimo, PNG’s acting minister of education, attended the official launch ceremonies, and repeated the government’s support for the XO program. Aimo announced the government’s commitment to a full saturation deployment of XOs at the school, which has about 500 students.
Acting Minister Aimo arrives for the launch ceremony.
David Leeming and his team spent a day in teacher training. He reports that videos from the deployments in Peru and the Solomon Islands were very helpful. Each teacher who took part in training also received a signed certificate.
Week of June 30
Week of June 23
Elana Langer and her team of interns arrived in Ulanbataar on Monday June 16th to join Enky Zurgaanjin and other Mongolian interns. Several immediately began testing and registering computers, while those who speak the local language began assisting in the immense task of translating the interface into Mongolian.
Wonderful partnerships with local organizations such Project Read, the Peace Corps and the local university computer science program were solidified. Each of the organizations has committed two or more people to join our core team for intensive training this summer.
They in turn will build capacity within their organizations to help bring the powerful, effective and enjoyable uses of laptops for learning to children in rural areas. Project Read will soon purchase an additional 2000 computers with grant money from the World Bank.
On Friday there were two official ceremonies at UB schools receiving the laptops. A workshop for 240 teachers is scheduled to begin in the capital on Monday morning.
It is presidential election season in Mongolia and the XO and OLPC figure prominently in the campaign. All candidates support one laptop per child.
On Monday the first laptops were distributed to the children of the Republique do Chile school in Port-au-Prince. The children were excited and extremely enthusiastic. They shared activities spontaneously and explored by themselves. They asked many questions of the teachers, of the people from the technical/pedagogical team, and of each other. While waiting for their machines, they formed themselves into an XO.
The spirit among the adults is great. Some of the teachers really “get it,” and we know we can count on them. Bastien Guerry, who has represented OLPC in Haiti, returns to France for a couple of weeks to publish a book. Wanda Eugene will arrive in Haiti at the end of the month, to be joined by Bastien in mid-July.
In what its sponsor, the World Food Program, calls the most successful women’s mountaineering expedition in history, a multi-caste team of Nepalese women (Weekend, April 6) carried an XO apiece up to base camp on Mount Everest late last month. At 17,700 feet, this is believed to be a new non-airborne altitude record for the laptop. Before scaling the summit, the women demonstrated their XOs at base camp, where they also formed a mesh network with the machines, which were powered by portable solar arrays.