OLPC Pakistan 2nd Pilot Project
Mehfooz Shahid Model School
Korral Valley Islamabad, Pakistan
After a one week intensive teacher preparation workshop, came the day of deployment of the laptops at Mehfooz Shahid Model School in the beautiful valley called Korral. Everyone was very enthusiastic and excited as the children eagerly awaited the arrival of the laptops at School. One curious mother accompanied her daughter to school in hopes of discovering what it was that had kept the child restless all night. The school was identified by National Rural Support Program, Islamabad www.nrsp.org.pk and to begin with they have already placed an order for the purchase of 100 XO laptops. Thanks to the farsighted ness of NRSP CEO who has pioneered introduction of OLPC in Pakistan.
The 4th grade has a total number of 15 students, i.e. 8 girls and 7 boys. Despite the limited number of OLPC’s available, we successfully deployed laptops to every child in the 4th grade. And to ensure that all other students have access to XO’s an additional 10 have been placed in the school library. They kids have been encouraged to use them and are free to by check them out from the library and take them home for overnight exploration.
Each XOs deployed with these features:
- A picture sticker of the student was placed on top of the XO laptop. Making it more fun looking.
- Each child was given opportunity to place their name tags on their XOs.
- OS build 656 is used.
- Firmware build was Q2D14
- Quran Majeed Activity was available
- Qirat Activity was available
- National Anthem activity was available
- XO Core bundle was available including e-toys and Turtle Art.
Set in the school library, the distribution of the XO laptops became quite ceremonial. The children’s wide mouth grins and nervous shifting in chairs, gave an image of a prize distribution ceremony, with the recipients, behaving quite similar to the awardees of a distinguished award. Everyone celebrated the occasion. Besides the teacher’s and students, their siblings, parents, and other community member’s were also present on the occasion. A crew of Associate Press of Pakistan joined us to cover this ceremony.
Dr. Habib Khan began with an introductory presentation to the children about XO and guided them about its initial usage. The tutorial gave insight on how to use the laptop and care for it. Parent and Teacher’s also joined in distributing the laptops amongst the children.
Launch day was 5th May 2008 and the pilot will spread over the next 6 weeks. Preparing teachers before launch is an essential ingredient of the success of the experiment – a lesson we learned from our first pilot of Atlas School where we ignored teacher preparation and distributed the XOs to both children and teachers This arrangement required us to visit the school on regular basis to guide both teachers and students. It worked but was a challenging task. In the case of Mahfooz Shahid Model School we prepared teachers through a week long Teacher Preparation Workshop. As a result of this training the teachers are very confident in using the XOs in the classroom and to guide children. In addition, we prepared an action plan to visit the school twice a week, to observe and monitor children, trouble shoot problems and collect data related to full scale deployment, and most importantly to judge its impact on children
The week passed smoothly and we had no reports of issues and problems. Introduction of OLPC has created an ambience of cooperation in the entire community of Mahfooz Shahid School – children, parents, teachers and community leaders are all wow and say “thank you” to Nicholas Negroponte for this revolutionary wonder