OLPC Turkey pilot project
After advertising OLPC in Turkey and evaluating the Public's response to the project, representatives from OLPC Turkey have decided that a small and successful pilot project is the safest and the most effective way to promote the entry of OLPC to Turkey. The volunteer organization İLKYAR has agreed to jointly plan and support the pilot project. According to this plan, İLKYAR will bring the OLPC XOs (one for each student and teacher in the school) to a YİBO that İLKYAR has access to, provide the students with a starting education with OLPCs, follow up with the students, and also put together a local support and repair group for the OLPC XOs. OLPC Turkey representatives will facilitate localizing the OLPC operating system and programs to Turkish, arranging the shipment of the OLPC XOs to İLKYAR, monitoring and evaluating the pilot, and strengthening the link between the pilot school and the OLPC support group in Cambridge (in particular, making sure that the students and teachers in the pilot school submit help queries and that the OLPC group understands and responds to these queries).
The following people take active role in planning and implementing the pilot project.
- OLPC Turkey representatives from MIT Turkish Student Association: Yasemin Gokce, Asli Turgut, Petek Saracoglu, Yunus Sasmaz, Alp Simsek, Serkan Cabi, Zekeriyya Gemici, Burkay Gur.
- Representatives from İLKYAR: Prof. Hüseyin Vural, Prof. Yasar Ozden and Ali Yılmaz.
There is agreement among the OLPC Turkey representatives and İLKYAR representatives about the desired characteristics for a pilot school. All sides agree that the school:
- should mainly have students whose families cannot afford laptops
- should not be too rural so that the technical issues in setting up the pilot are less severe. In particular, the school should have electricity, enough power to charge many laptops simultaneously, if possible, should also have Internet connection
- should be relatively easy to go to from Ankara (i.e. either on the main roads or in town centers) to make setting up and following up relatively easy for İLKYAR
- the school administration and the teachers should be willing to cooperate with the pilot project
- it would be good to have a school that has a computer teacher/educator.
On March 11, 2008 Prof. Hüseyin Vural from İLKYAR sent the OLPC Turkey representatives a list of 8 potential YİBOs that more or less fit the above description and which İLKYAR has access to. Here is the initial list sent by Prof. Hüseyin Vural with relevant characteristics.
İLKYAR has further contacted school administrations and suggests that Mecitözü Kız YİBO on the above list is very appropriate for a pilot project: The school fits the above description by and large, moreover, the students, the teachers, the school administration, the town governor, the town's Director of Education are all excited about the project and willing to be the pilot school.
To Do List
- A timetable needs to be set. The goal is to do the pilot during the Spring semester of 2009 (which starts in February 2009).
- School selection needs to be finalized. The sides are leaning towards Mecitozü Kız YİBO.
- Once the school selection is complete, the following information should be processed:
- Exactly how many teachers and students are there at the school? (this information will be used to calculate the number of laptops to be prepared and the costs. the current plan is to have: one XO for each student, one for each teacher, one for the headmaster and a few extras)
- How strong is the electricity power at the school? How many wall plugs are there? (this information will be used to plan the details for the charging of the laptops, and plan for the additional equipment that may be necessary to this end)
- How fast is the Internet connection? (facilitate planning for equipment)
- Question that needs to be answered: What other gear (than the OLPC XOs) would be needed for the pilot? Servers, antennas, a few bulk chargers etc.
- A local technical support group must be established in Turkey. This group will handle repairs, will deal with recycling and local-shipping of the XOs, and will interpret the global help questions (in tandem with the global support team).