Asia Workshop Discussion

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Localization & Language

Problem 1

Low Quality of teaching. Resulting from:

  • Poor Infrastructure
  • individual capacity of the teacher & student
  • Possible solutions
  • Advocacy, policy & govt. in formal and anon-formal education to improve school standards
  • Distance Learning
  • Support & Resource Needs
  • Government
  • Funding support from private & public donors
  • equipment & technology (satellite, tv, etc)

Problem 2

Local Language installed in OLPC to motivate the learning and ease the process.

Possible solutions

  • Invest & motivate content creation
  • Assist high level knowledge/ learning for complex subjects
  • universal icons
  • Learning by doing
  • Support & Resource Needs
  • Local language software & content
  • Approach to teachers & students to maximize the exiting resources.

Comments There are new opportunities now that open media (e.g. wikis) is available. Because initiatives like OLPC is non-profit there can be many people offering help. Technology makes this logistically possible (just like how wikipedia has become so successful). Initiatives like Wikitextbooks is becoming available, which will provide high-quality content.

Issues in Rural Education



  • We assume most areas were OLPC will be introduced will have some electricity, perhaps at the school but not at the homes. So, how can we manage and power the laptops?
  • Charge laptops at the school to take home. Student may pay a small fee.
  • Use alternative energy sources to assist. Such as, Solar energy, water mill, wind, natural gas from cattle.
  • When a new method is involved, the main issue becomes how to bring the method and ideas to the rural area in a sustainable way.
  • Educating the teacher, students can help


How to connect rural communities. Point-to-Point wireless for long distances and then cellular or mesh for the local connections.

Distance, Terrain

Determined mostly by the government

Social Issues

  • Perhaps it is easier to introduce empowering learning in rural areas than in urban schools.
    • The school is more connected to the community
  • There could be resistance to the laptop from the community/parents/religious groups.
    • Village meetings to discuss and explain the benefits and opportunities are important
    • Infrastructure to help prevent undesirable behavior such as pornography filters are necessary.

Economy (Reducing rural poverty through education)

People are poor.

  • Knowledge Empowerment. Education provides indirect but sustainable income to the community.
    • Better understanding about deforestation led to better forest preservation, which led to more water for plantation.
    • Better understanding about financial management allows for better decision making about investments and loans.

Personnel: Learning how to learn

How to get MIT people in a box?

  • Community involvement. Everyone needs to agree upon what to do.
  • Taking ownership of initiatives. Not waiting to receive help from the outside.
  • Building partners with quality and skilled facilitators.
  • Building a good leadership in the local community
  • "Learning by Doing!"

Fixed Curriculum

Although the education system has some flexibility for new learning initiatives, many teachers still prefer to stick to the central curriculum.

Introducing new initiatives to the curriculum itself leads to some concerns:

  • Time. Schools are still bounded by standardized examination.
    • Teachers are under pressure to deliver what is expected of them.
  • Teacher workload. It is a lot of work for them to adapt their existing curriculum.
  • Teacher's fluency with the tool, the language used, ability to adapt to the curriculum.
  • Government support. Schools will not want to participate without the blessing from the government.
  • Professional support.
  • Pressure of assessment.

Ways out

  • Finding ways to convince the teachers and students that this is a worthwhile effort
  • Model lesson (examples) for teachers as references
  • Model school (perhaps pilot sites) sharing their experience
  • Providing guidelines for teachers


  • perhaps one place to work with is the teacher colleges, which can eventually lead to new generations of teachers that can work in model schools.
  • A "model school" should perhaps focus on what can be really meaningful to the learner. For example, can we do a personal-curriculum? where every child comes with their own proposal of what they think they should/want to learn.
  • Although examples and Models help motivate the change, it does not guarantee it. So the real question is how to create sufficient momentum for change.
  • Using global job markets as means to motivate the direction of what is taught in schools.
  • Almost every where we have tried out the laptop, parents have expressed their appreciation of our efforts because they can see how learning has become motivating and engaging for their child. This could serve as a force for change.
  • Another force is from the child. Once they have experience what is possible through the laptop, they will come to school with very different demands then their previous generations. Schools will eventually have to change to answer to these new demands.

Assessment and Measurement

Discussion group for Assessment and Measurement

  • Difficult issue to measure learning outcome in Thailand
  • Typical measurement: teacher-prepared class-tests, national board exams for grades 3,
  • Moving to classroom-based research
  • Assessing quality of school for certification every 5 years
  • In Malaysia, traditional assessment technique is to give scores and grades

3 different assessments

  1. Assessing learning progress of individual learner
  2. Assessing OLPC skills
  3. Assessing OLPC rollout success

What should be meaningful learning progress indicators?

  1. Age or grade-based learning targets of core subjects (e.g. local languages, English, Math, Sciences, Economics, Social Sciences, etc.)
  2. Social Awareness targets (e.g. global, financial, civic, health, etc.)
  3. Targets for ICT literacy and skills
  4. Targets for learning and innovation skills
    1. Creativity and innovation (e.g. originality in work, open to new ideas, etc.)
    2. Critical thinking and problem solving (e.g. making complex choices, solving local problems, asking significant questions towards developing better solutions, etc.)
    3. Communication and collaboration (e.g. community involvement, assuming shared responsibility for collaborative work, learning to transcend geographiccal barriers, cross-cultural issues, etc.)
    4. Leadership, initiative and responsibility
  5. Project-based learning targets

Borrowing ideas from

How should we measure?

  1. Checklists
  2. Exams
  3. Projects – individual and group
  4. Observation by teachers / guides / mentors / parents / older brother/sister
  5. Self-assessment
  6. Peer assessment
  7. Documentation of work
  8. Community use of techniques and devices (civic awareness, healthcare, disaster preparedness, market information, appropriate technologies for local livelihoods, etc.)

Teacher Development

  • How to bring practical ideas to the teachers.
  • Changing teachers perception of education.
    • Provide hands-on experience and training
      • Teachers often grow up in the same kind education they are reinforcing
  • How to use the new tools to support the learning process.
    • Perhaps work with "innovators" first


  • Who will do all the above work? The government?
  • Since teachers will have to be involved? What's in it for them? Why should they do this?
    • Because it is mandatory?
    • Financial incentives? By the government?
      • This will probably vary depending on the country.
      • Some places teachers will be satisfied just with the opportunity for professional development
      • Some other place teachers would need compensation during training.

Community-based efforts

  • Method: There are unlimited uses communities might adopt, therefore below is not a list of possible community-based efforts, but principles for harmonious, sustainable deployment which takes account of the needs of the entire community. Arrived through brainstorming, commonsense, and consensus... proposed for further discussion.
    • The Laptop should be deployed through a process of community participation and consultation and should be fully integrated into existing systems and tools
    • Without compromising child ownership or education, access to the Laptop should be provided not just for the child, but the family and the community
    • Communities should develop their own principles and guidance for coordinating communal use
    • Where appropriate, children should be included and participate in using the technology for whole-of-community actions and projects
    • The technology should be available to contribute to community efforts, solve community problems and not be leveraged for private personal profit or gain
    • Knowledge and data generated with the laptop is in the public domain, needs to be freely available and shared
    • Without discouraging community-level market activity which supports sustainability – such as microfinance, technical services, spare parts and maintenance – communities should put in place disincentives to the emergence of a secondary commercial market for the XO.
    • Communities should share local knowledge, best practices and lessons learned with like communities and within their regional and national contexts.

Next Steps

On the last day of the workshop participants were asked to create a plan for implementing OLPC in their respective countries.


  • Find a central coordinator, who will create relationships, policies, set up workshops and do follow-ups. There will be a central agency with four independent departments. The agency will: create a plan with local NGOs, provide technical support, provide for a network of learning and sharing. OLPC should provide monetary and technical support. The most important thing to make OLPC successful in Thailand will be government attention and support. To get the support this agency will show the advantage of OLPC for Thai students and the future of learning in Thailand.


  • The first step is for the Malaysian team to become more acquainted with the XO machine. The team notes that this workshop was very useful. The main issues as they see it are teacher development and content. The next step is a teacher training. OLPC support for this training would be very beneficial. Digital materials would also be useful when approaching governmental officials.


  • Notes that there were many local problems during XO deployment. Through all citizens having access to technology, it will create equality. Suggests compiling e-materials and resources. This will help define how to teach using the XO and defining a teaching objective. It is important that this be clear. Every teacher should be provided with materials. Children and policy makers should also know what kind of resources are available with the XO. Another issue is educational standards. In Mongolia, some courses are not introduced until the 5th grade, but the XOs are going to primary school students; so now students have the opportunity to have access to this knowledge much earlier. In addition to e-learning materials, teachers, as part of their training, should receive a guidebook. Support from OLPC is also very important. There needs to be more detailed information provided to participating countries.


  • Thinking of working with twenty different schools in twenty different districts. Possibility of local NGOs, etc. providing support. 6,200 XO machines. First objective is to form a core team of managers, technical experts and policy makers/consultants. Their support is important. Given that the XO uses Linux, most likely open-source volunteers can be recruited from both universities and local private schools. Will explore the possibility of using Windows on the XO machine. Localization will be essential; the interface will help with this. In Bangladesh, not all students can speak English, so it will be important to provide Bangladeshi scripts. This might be a manufacturing challenge because the language is very complex. Hopes to make use of some material for older grades. In the beginning the OLPC deployment will only be for schools with a strong infrastructure. Some extensive work might be needed here--it will possibly increase the costs significantly. Connectivity limitations will need to be discussed with OLPC. It will also needed to be decided if servers will be needed. Possible use of national servers. Teachers will need to be equipped with different pedagogy. There will also need to be different types of assessment. Will need to confirm funds from the governments and other businesses/organizations. OLPC can greatly help with technical support, as well as providing Bangladeshi keyboards, localization, and content.