Deployment Success Stories

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Success Stories

Each member of the panel gave a brief introduction and summary of projects they worked on in terms of challenges faced and how to create success.

  1. Claudia Urrea
    1. Critical Success Factors for OLPC deployments
      1. Ownership of the machine
      2. The computer going home travels with new ways of learning
      3. Students spend time in exploring and appropriating the XO
        1. The teacher should be focussed on education rather than teaching the kid the technology, which the kid can pick up very well on their own
      4. Deployments should involve everyone at all levels
        1. Parents
        2. Academia
        3. Public sector
        4. Private sector
        5. Teachers
        6. Education department
        7. Government
        8. Volunteers
        9. OLPC, including how OLPC interacts with the other stakeholders, volunteers and participants
      5. Scale – engage at scale in all areas
    2. Stories
      1. They just finished handing laptops to all kids in Lareoha, Argentina
      2. They are already thinking about changing the way education works and teachers are trained
      3. Teachers are seeing the value of the XO and are asking for more training
  2. Tim Falconer
    1. Background
      1. Waveplace have done 18 pilots in the last 5 years; this has not all been success; this has required persistence
      2. Goals
        1. Model pilots
        2. Confident mentors
        3. Transformed children
        4. Courseware ecosystem
    2. Success
      1. It’s all in the details; in helping people stay motivated; overcoming the challenges and breaking through to the good feelings that make it sustainable
      2. Children with a sense of achievement
  3. Daniel Drake
    1. Involved in large deployments around the world including Africa, Asia and a large amount of time in Latin America
    2. Challenges
      1. Internationalisation, especially in countries with a large number of languages such as Ethiopia. Some countries have no official keyboard layout for the language.
      2. Charging the laptop is difficult given the small number of locations where there is sufficient power. For example, 2 power outlets with many power strips daisy chained to charge 35 laptops. The children are eagerly waiting in their class waiting for the teacher to bring the next laptop that has finished charging to the door,.... which they recognise as theirs by the colour of the OLPC icon on the case. Many countries are coming up with charging solutions to rack laptops and charge and move them around easily.
      3. Wireless access points. Best strategy is one access point per classroom. Often they need cages around them and high wall mountings to avoid vandalism
      4. School servers have been stored in padlocked metal cages to protect them from vandalism or theft.
      5. You need full time people working for the project locally. The core team for Paraguay was ten people, nine of which were from Paraguay. These tend to be young energetic people who push the norms.
  4. Pablo Flores
    1. This is an independent community that is discussing how to build independent education and a new future. It is very important that people from all backgrounds are discussing these kind of things. This is a very grown up way of working and is a success factor we should be working on.
    2. RAP Ceibal started in early 2008, originally a network of people connected through a mailing list trying to help with giving laptops from logistics of opening boxes to helping the teachers with the laptops. More and more this group started to work with the families as well as the children and teachers.
      1. They found that where there was not enough work with the families, the breakage rate of the computers gets higher.
      2. The network now has around 2000 volunteers for helping with giving laptops and flashing the computers. In a single day they managed to re-flash 40,000 computers.
      3. “RAP Plazes” were sessions working in the park with children, parents and the community
      4. “RAP SMS” is now available where teachers can text support questions and they get an answer from volunteers who also maintain a database of common questions and answers
      5. Project from UDELAR (University); 40 university teachers and 500 university students
        1. Working on training, with families, and teachers, including social awareness. Often working in small groups of ten people, with up to 40 or 50 groups operating around area.
        2. Researching various areas including technology and networking; how to solve the local problems they are facing
  5. Sameer Verma
    1. Professor at the business school at SF State University
    2. OLPC SanFrancisco has 160 people on the mailing list with monthly meetings of between 3 and 85 people over the past three years.
      1. 12 projects running in the SF Bay area
      2. 15 laptops in Madagascre
      3. Several projects in India including a deployment of 40 and another with 25
      4. 115 XOs just cleared customs in Jamaica
    3. Jamaica case study
      1. Broke the project down into key areas and ensured there were people skilled in each on the team.
        1. Education
        2. Technology
        3. Social outreach
      2. Didn’t get much traction at the ministry, but had research interest to collect data and write about it, involvement from local volunteer team, and a school that wanted to deploy the laptops.
      3. They paired up with a teacher training college in Jamaica. They build lesson plans every day as part of their job – now they build lesson plans around Sugar for sharing with the school to help integrate use of the XOs and XSs in the teaching of children. They plan to use a dozen or so sugar activities paired with lesson plans. In addition they are keeping the parents and the education authority informed and in the loop, the idea being that this will become a pilot that will enable a bigger deployment to get off the ground, using this initial project as a hub for reaching out to other schools.


  1. How can you justify deploying laptops in the light of such fundamental socio-economic problems?
    1. Enabling education is a way to give hope and enable the next generation to overcome these problems
    2. Some very simple activities such as physics can demonstrate how people can
    3. Teachers and the school play an important role in the community and in overcoming social problems. Kids can also play a role in this as they learn from using these laptops and take these machines home to share what they are doing with their family
  2. How can we effectively share lessons learned?
    1. This is a big issue that has not yet been adequately solved. There is much information shared around the internet but this is not coordinated and it is very difficult to access what is relevant for you. There are also challenges communicating how different teaching plans are used and how they relate to the sugar activities. Every day we see ideas on how to teach different things and how to use activities to bring these to life for children. Teachers are having ideas every day but there are no tools for sharing this. Such tools would make a big difference to these programs.
    2. The team at SF State Uni all use Moodle to document all the work they are doing, which they are sharing openly for others to copy onto their own Moodle platform.
    3. Nepal is a great source for those wanting to focus on basic skills with lesson plans... except these plans are entirely in Nepaly. They are seeking to translate these and looking to volunteers who can help.
    4. Some resources for lesson plans or shared activities:
      2. – translating videos into different languages
      3. will be curating some of this
  3. To what extent do you see opportunities on the ground for volunteers who are non technical to take part in large deployments from their current location in the US, UK or whereever?
    1. Most times this takes some coordination effort and can be challenging. Some kinds of support that would be helpful:
      1. Economical support
      2. Sharing lesson plans
      3. Providing support to translate content
      4. Identify and contact local teachers who are using XOs and creating lesson plans that integrate the activities into the curriculum and finding ways of sharing these with other deployments around the world
      5. Playing with the technology, learning about sugar on the stick, and thinking out of the box for new ways of using the activities or integrating it better into the curriculum.... taking into account as far as they can the nature of the local communities in the remote deployment
      6. Taking part in testing programmes can be possible even for non-technical people under the coordination of others who are more technical, such as the group run by Tabatha in New Zealand. This can be a big help for developers.
      7. Finally, everyone can be involved in raising awareness and getting the message out there on twitter and facebook and the like.
  4. has just been created to show different deployments around the world. It is also a way of enabling people to get in touch with each other and find others that can help with them. How would each panellist like their project to be represented on this map?
    1. We need help with courseware. If you know the fourth grade curriculum or what ten year olds need to be taught that would be the big thing.
    2. What you can do is just email each deployment and ask them what their main needs are and how someone can help... e.g. in Argentina people simply wanted to know who else really technically understood the XOs
    3. Provide a way for people doing a deployment to see what other deployments are happening and be able to connect with those people and see how they might be similar or different, and how they may be able to share, collaborate or help eachother
    4. Its important to also define the communities that are working – groups of people that have a working dynamic, not just deployments. It could be a government team, a small or local community in remote parts of the country. It would be useful to have different layers of detail in the map. It could also be used by people who have time and want to travel and help out to find out who needs what kind of help where.
    5. It would be great to identify the learning teams in different deployments. It would be useful if volunteers could use the map to see who it makes sense for them to connect with.
  5. What are the key factors to consider when putting a new project in place?
    1. Have a really strong local partner. Somebody who has been getting things done in the region for 15 years. Rely on them for nearly everything and don’t pretend you know anything about what they do.
    2. Having a team of people is important. Working with a partner, ensure you have a good portion of their attention as an OLPC deployment is going to be a big time drainer, especially at the start. You have to make sure these people are going to be there to stay... permanently on the ground working from day 1 on the project. Its also important to have a technical team that is strong enough and big enough to handle the project.
    3. Try and figure out if there is really a need for this. It will be very difficult to convince people of the need for this if there are already computers and technology in heavy use. Find a university that is close to you that you can partner with who have talented people who understand the issues. Then as quickly as possible, push the ownership onto the local people.
    4. It depends on the goals of the project; literacy? Digital divide? All communities are different. It is important to build a multi-disciplinary team locally that can work with the global community. Document what you do and share it with others, and get them to share what they have done with you – successes and failures and why. Don’t just get a budget for laptops – its important to be able to fund a local team that works directly with the community.
    5. The most important thing to remember is that the program is not yours – it is owned by and is deployed for the community. You have to work closely with them and make the project theirs; understand their goals and challenges. Get in contact with the different IRC communities and lists online to benefit from the experience of different communities.