OLPC Pakistan/Atlas School

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OLPC has started a Pakistani pilot in Atlas School in Rawalpindi Pir Wadhai. Dr. Habib Khan announced the launching of the pilot project at the Atlas Public School, located in the slums between Rawalpindi and Islamabad.

School   :  Atlas public school         
Students :        150                   
Teachers :          7                    
Laptops  :         27                    

(Class room 15 March 2008)
(15 March 2008)
(15 March 2008)

Many thanks to our Afghan volunteers, Usman Mansour “Ansari” and Sohaib Obaidi “Ebtihaj”, who discovered the school and will be mentoring students and their teacher.

School and background

Atlas public school is located in the Rawalpindi district near Pir Wadhai (Pakistan). It's not far from Islamabad the Capital City of Pakistan. Atlas school located in very populated area and to reach there we passed through a busy road. Childrens living there belongs to poor families. Education has become an important factor for the development of their children. Total numbers of students are 78 from grade 1 to grade 6 and their timing is from 2.00 -5.00 PM.

The area is economically poor and lacks security measures and basic facilities. There are about 100 Afghan refugee children (Grades 1–6),many of them work during the first part of the day to support their families and attend school in the afternoon.

Handing out the Laptops

Teacher first interaction with XO

First day when we came. It was Wednesday.When we came to introduce the OLPC Project to their school, they weren’t expecting us.We introduced the principal & teachers to the project, and we had our first session with them. After 3 days we again went there and in the evening, we handed out the laptops to the Teacher and school children in a special meeting we held with them for that purpose.

There we found a family Father, Mother and their 15 year old son, they all teaching in school from 5 years.

(XO Family)

Children Receiving their Laptops

Saturday evening, we had set the meeting at 3 PM. We started at 3.30 PM, when more childrens were around. The principal welcomed the OLPC in school and met with our Director Dr Habib Khan. Principal spoke of how honored the school was to be the first one to receive the laptops and to participate in the development of the project in Pakistan. After him, Our Director Dr Habib Khan spoke, explaining the purpose and details of the project.

(Child receiving XO)

We handed out the laptops following the school lists. Each child came to the front to receive an XO laptop and to have a photo taken. Everybody was very excited.

Week 1 March 17-22

In afternoon on Monday first week, all children were in their classrooms with their laptops charged. Most of them had already tried it at night, and it was a mix of discovering new things and sharing with others what they had already discovered. Teachers kept on teaching, letting children explore their new laptops and encouraging them to do the class work. There we faced language issue because children could only speak Pashto or Dari. Thanks to Dr Habib Khan & our Afghan volunteer ( Usman & Sohaib) for explaining every thing in Pashto.

The first day of our pilot project was full of excitement, Children didn’t know how to control and use the cursor (mouse) in XO when it just not moving in the direction they want. When we were asked by a student to help him, to solve this we tried about 2 or 3 minutes to move the cursor but couldn’t.One student from grade 4 told us to add some chalk (used to write on black board) on touchpad and when we did it works

Technical Issues

There were 4 batteries issues over the weekend as these batteries were not charging. So, we replaced those batteries. and the new ones are working fine. We replaced those batteries from the new machines.

Most of the problems were software related as we were running build 406 on B2 machines. Like Mesh was not working. But when we manually create mesh network, machines do not share acitivies. We tested Chat and Abiword activity but it was not working. And some times it stuck. Second as there is no journal activity in those software builds, copying data to usb drive and moving files requires some linux expertise which the teachers and students are totally unfamiliar.Third camera has the major issues, as we move the courser in the screen the screen gets deteriorated, after saving the photos the camera doesn't comes to its original state i.e. state to capture pictures again.Fourth Translation cannot be activated as the strings on the pootle are upgraded accordingly to the new builds and the sugar interface that we are using in 406 is very old.Last issue that we faced was with E-Toys application. E-Toys application was in its early development state when its was shipped with 406 build so it gets stuck most of the time.

Week 2 March 24-29