After years of volunteering for One Laptop Per Child and Sugarlabs (I started mid 2008), it is very exciting to share with you that there are now New Zealand schools using the “One Laptop Per Child” XO laptops in both English and Maori. There are more than two million XO laptops distributed around the world, with over five thousand in the Pacific, and over seven thousand in Australia.
A not-for-profit charitable trust, OLPC New Zealand has now been established in New Zealand to “to empower educators to lead and inspire children to learn through innovative use of affordable technology”.
The first school to get them is Te Wharekura o Manaia. You can read all about it in the Hauraki Herald. Based in the Coromandel, this is a bilingual school making the most of the opportunity to have laptops in Te Reo. When I visited this school I met some of the fabulous teachers and students who are using the XO laptops and saw just how much they had discovered in their first weeks.
With over one hundred laptops now in the hands of kiwi kids, it is a good time for you to step forward if you want to be involved. There are lots of ways you can help, so contact the OLPC New Zealand trust to find out how.
Warning: It’s late, parts of this post might not make sense.
We had a great Manaiakalani meeting tonight. We did our usual update on where we are at with issues and current development objectives, but then we revisited our design principles. This was a very useful exercise as there have been changes since the design principles were written. These changes were made because of indepth honest discussions that we have had over the last six months at our meetings – rowdy, passionate discussions where lots of points of view were brought to light and thrashed about.
We had lots of guests at our meeting and we were given feedback which was very useful. Helen Barrett in particular as she gave us her feedback in terms of a change process as well as suggesting we invite teachers to come to the meeting. Also really useful feedback came from Erin Barrett who said something along the lines of: everyone in this room has got it (the process, the risks etc), we need to educate the stakeholders (connect them to what we are doing). There were others who gave feedback so it was a really rich opportunity.
I want to come back to the inviting teachers feedback. Dorothy and I spoke about this later in the evening and she reminded me that it is voluntary to attend. When she said that I saw that it is the same problem as we experience with the One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) community. There are lots of developers in the olpc community but not anywhere near as many teachers. No matter how much OLPC emphasise “it’s an education project” not a laptop project, many people still perceive OLPC to be about laptops and perceive that you can only contribute if you know how to write code. The reality is very far from the truth. There are lots of other ways to contribute, whether that be translation, distribution, funding, education, promotion, research, the list goes on. I am not a developer and I am contributing to Manaiakalani and OLPC. In both Manaiakalani and OLPC the voices that need to be heard and need to lead the decision making are the voices of learners and teachers, and I think the role of the developers is to facilitate the changes, so technology is developed to be appropriate to the pedagogy desired.
An absolute highlight of the meeting was having three students with us. They were invited to participate as equals to us, to raise questions and put forward ideas, but I think they were quite shy. We had some time at the end of the meeting which we used to talk with the students and we ended up talking about their career aspirations and fields of study in science. I look forward to seeing their blog posts about their experience attending “the Manaiakalani Hackers meeting”.
The preparations for olpc Community Summit are obviously well under way with the final details meeting yesterday. We packed folders for attendees with maps and info, we talked through the logistics and were shown the rooms we will be using.
|From San Francisco 2010|
The venue is fantastic, with one of the most extensive food courts I have ever seen as well as plenty of restaurants for feeding the masses. We enjoyed a vietnamese lunch to confirm the quality ;-)
|From San Francisco 2010|
I fly out on Monday evening 18 October and will meet with Pablo Flores at the airport. That is pretty exciting as Pablo is from Uruguay, has been working with Plan Ceibal, and is a researcher. Lots to talk about with Pablo.
Alex Kleider is picking us up from the airport and hosting us – thanks Alex!
I will try to find time each day to blog about what I did and share photos :-)
You can read about the olpc Community Summit by visiting http://olpcsf.org/CommunitySummit2010/
A massive thank you to Internet NZ for funding me to go to the olpc Community Summit that will be held in San Francisco from 22-24 October 2010. Information about this event can be found here: http://olpcsf.org/CommunitySummit2010/
I am particularly looking forward to meeting some of the people I have spoken to so regularly online and getting to hear face to face about some of the great work that people are doing for olpc. The sharing of ideas and planning for the future will be fantastic.