Carla - This report is wonderful. We love your strategy, stories, and photos. It feels like being there and seeing the children's excitement and passion for learning in a new way. Post more like this one! Cheers, your friends from World Wide Workshop, NYC.
Power shortages reported
(apologies: I drafted a comment like this, but lost it somewhere in the wiki..)
I recently read a news report about power shortages at the Galadima School. I have seen general information elsewhere in the OLPC wiki about alternative energy sources, but wanted to know if you had a more specific response to this article. I detected an implication that energy problems were not foreseen by OLPC. I'd like to blog about your project, so I'd appreciate any comments you have. Thanks.
Tom 03:45, 2 July 2007 (EDT)
- We have very much anticipated power shortages, which is why we have put so much effort into making a laptop that requires an order-of-magnitude less power than a conventional laptop. This means that the laptop can be powered by hand, pedal, solar, etc. This is also an argument against the conventional wisdom of distributing conventional laptops, used computers, and desktop machines that can be made less expensive than a laptop. (There are numerous other reasons for the laptop design as well, including environmental robustness.) All of that said, we have not yet begun mass production of the human-power or solar-power options, so there is currently a shortage of these devices. --Walter 08:57, 2 July 2007 (EDT)
I was very struck by mention that the kids started compiling dictionaries from local languages to english as I was collecting material to write up a wiki page on importance of constructivist localization.
Once past the initial launch, even if deployments are mainly urban (including slums) there will be the immmediate opportunity for much more extensive pilots in remote rural areas with lack of electricity and schools. The speed at which these pilots can be implemented and show results will determine the lag before massive funding from developed countries convinced that this is a project that shows results so its important to enable them to start early.
In many countries a significant proportion of primary students and an even higher proportion of non-students do not speak the official educational languages but local minority languages. This is itself a major reason for underdevelopment etc.
- As you note ("underdevelopment"), this hurts people. Groups like SIL keep people down in poverty by encouraging the preservation of language incompatibility. Remember the Tower of Babel story, where language incompatibility is a punishment: it keeps us from working together to build great things. It also divides cultures, which often leads to war.
- Under your assumption, Europe should be "underdeveloped", please don't confuse cultural diversity with cultural bigotry, nor language with culture. Languages, frustrating as they may be, are not much of a problem when there's a will to communicate, instead of dictate.
Official localization of software and content will only be to the national official educational languages both for policy reasons and practicality. First task of primary education is to teach literacy in such educational languages. But it can only be taught in language the child already speaks. Well established that teaching literacy in mother tongue language is best preliminary (or at least simultaneous) with teaching literacy in a second language such as an official educational language.
No way to provide localized content in such languages in advance.
eg As well as international language like English, Hausa, Yoruba and Igbo might be official educational languages for Nigeria, but there are several hundreds of other languages spoken in Nigeria, including some with several million speakers.
BUT kids and teachers can start doing it themselves and they WILL want to, as demonstrated by this report of very first pilot. So need to make that as easy as possible, which, as with Sugar etc themselves, requires significant thought and effort.
Informal translations would be by speech. Teacher or child who speaks both official language and a local language would record an annotation with informal translation.
Selected such annotations would be turned into written annotations, which would in turn be turned into proper translations, with phonetic transcription markup so that they can be easily spoken as children read texts etc eg with timed text "karaoke" animation.
Strongly urge closely studying the reasons why these kids started producing dictionaries and considering what software developments would enhance the process so that remote pilots can be accelerated.
No time to elaborate but my guess would be that facilities for speech annotation (both of content and widget tooltips/balloon help) would be key. Plus a version control transcription/translation dissemination system designed for use by people who are completely unfamiliar with current .po files and source code repositories etc used for translation - with various models for project organization. (Verification, approvals etc).
It's common to show dances in reports from far-off places, but imagine this turned around the other way:
A person in Nigeria reads a report about something in the USA. The report concludes with pictures of people square dancing, or maybe doing the chicken dance. Maybe it even shows people dressed up like pilgrims, with powdered wigs and tights, or similar.
IMHO, lots of people would be embarrassed to be seen like that. AlbertCahalan 22:46, 13 August 2007 (EDT)
- These pictures were not taken or posted by a voyeuristic American; this is the way the local community wanted to express itself. We are giving them the tools of expression and communication and they are using them --perhaps not it ways you'd expect but they aren't and shouldn't be asking for your approval. --Walter 07:28, 14 August 2007 (EDT)
Galadima/ Nigeria over time.
I think this is a wonderful project. I excitedly anticipate hearing of final orders being placed and tales of children in Nigeria putting together their own start-ups... In the mean time, I have some questions about the current status: How long will this pilot program last? Do you all plan on leaving the current XOs at Galadima? Do you all have plans for any other pilot programs over the next year or two?
- - An enthusiastic supporter, Ashley.
Where is that Galadima picture before and after XO deployment?
The before picture showed the whole class bored. Now I only see the after XO deployment with happy faces. Thx --SvenAERTS 01:45, 8 March 2012 (UTC)