Projects/CMU Project Rwanda

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Blog:

http://cmuprojectrwanda.wordpress.com

Summary

Working closely with OLPC directors and faculty from Carnegie Mellon’s Qatar campus, we have decided to travel to Rwanda from May 11-22, 2010 to a Rwandan elementary school that has been provided with laptops through the OLPC program. We wish to explore the different functions of these laptops with the children, and to show them the different ways in which it may be used both for educational purposes, and as a means of expression and exploration. This will be a test of how creative ideas can make students excited about technology and learning. We will be experimenting with how these creative methods of learning affect how students respond to teaching. Rather than teaching students through traditional methods of memorizing multiplication tables, we want to let students explore their creativity. As these children are tomorrow’s leaders, we would like both the CMU Pittsburgh and Qatar campuses to establish a presence in the country and connect with the youth at this early stage so that they we will continue to welcome us in the future. Furthermore, Carnegie Mellon University’s College of Information Technology (CIT) wishes to build a “Center of Excellence” in Rwanda in the coming years. On a micro level, we will be preparing these students for the future possibility of studying at this center of excellence, further connecting Carnegie Mellon with Kigali, Rwanda.

The impact will not stop with our visit to Kigali, but will continue for years to come as we look to establish a pen-pal mentorship program between CMU students and the children of Rwanda. Therein lies the sustainability of our project, as we will remain in contact with these children, serving as mentors and friends, continuously encouraging them to continue on their paths for higher education and to flourish as leaders in their nation.

Process

Process

As stated previously, Project Rwanda will take place from May 11-May 22, 2010. Students from both CMU campuses will travel to Kigali during this time. While in Rwanda, we will be holding a Summit for the children, allowing them to experiment with things that they would not get to experience in the classroom. We want to bring out the creativity and spark we know these children have through art projects, class discussions, presentations, or team building and leadership workshops and supplement it with OLPC's innovative programs such as Tam Tam Edit - a program for music composition where the children can create, modify, and organize notes on virtual "tracks" which allow for virtually limitless variations in musical styles or Measure - a program that allows children to connect and observe physical phenomena and real world events associated with it, the children can create measurements, sounds, graphs, and electrical signals based on their observations. Essentially, we want to get them excited about learning through technology and team building.


Tentative Schedule

Project Rwanda Summit (May 11 - May 22)


Wednesday 12: Arrive at Kigali Orientation between CMU Pittsburgh and Qatar students - orient ourselves with eachothers campus cultures, discuss goals, how we want to have an impact, go through project itinerary Tour city to familiarize ourselves

Thursday 13: Visit designated school Meet with the teachers to discuss how our project goals align with their teaching styles and to understand their needs in the context of Rwandan culture Project Kickoff!

  • Introduce ourselves to the children
  • Play fun games such as four square to break the ice
  • access to projector?

For the next 4 days: Exploration through Summit class programs Give a simple demonstration of how to use the laptops and to get them excited through programs such as scratch, tam tam jam to do a laptop orchestra, record for a video creation, e-toys, and low ropes team builder link to olpc software: http://laptop.org/en/laptop/software/activities.shtml

Friday 14 (4 hrs after school): Session A: explore scratch - 1.5 hrs ; explore record - 1.5 hrs Recess 1 hour: Soccer! Low Ropes! Session B: explore record - 1.5 hrs ; explore scratch - 1.5 hrs

Saturday 15 (4 hrs after school): Session A: explore tam tam jam -1.5 hrs; explore e-toys 1.5hrs Recess 1 hour: Rwandan students game! Low Ropes! Session B: explore e-toys 1.5 hrs; explore tam tam jam 1.5hrs

Monday 17 (4 hrs after school): Session A: explore scratch - 1.5 hrs ; explore record - 1.5 hrs Recess 1 hour: Frisbee! Low Ropes! Session B: explore record - 1.5 hrs ; explore scratch - 1.5 hrs

Tuesday 18 (4 hrs after school): Session A: explore tam tam jam -1.5 hrs; explore e-toys 1.5hrs Recess 1 hour: Rwandan students game! Low Ropes! Session B: explore e-toys 1.5 hrs; explore tam tam jam 1.5hrs


Wednesday 19: Showcase Finale - products of learning - music compositions, movies, time lapses, animations! We put on a slideshow of the week Excursion with a Rwandan technology leader Study the interaction between the Rwandan government and private NGO enterprises

Thursday 20 and Friday 21: Setup Penpal Program Connect with teachers on sustainability

Saturday 22: Farewell (convey to the children that our relationships do not end when we depart) Return to the US

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