Posts Tagged ‘olpc’

olpc in school disability units

21/09/2010 Leave a comment

Today Nevyn and I went to visit a school disability unit. They have a mix of students who are in mainstream classrooms full time, part time, through to students who are in the unit full time.
They invited some neighbouring schools teachers and we all played with some XO-1.5s. Nevyn and I explained olpc and Sugar then helped the teachers experiment with Sugar activities.
Tam tam mini was a big hit. We also played with Write, Memorize, Measure, and Physics. Oh and Turtleart and Scratch too.
They liked the membrane keyboard and the robustness of the laptop. There were interesting questions around using USB devices such as special mice, can you get braille membrane keyboard, and also about special assistance software.
Everyone looked to enjoy the session and it will be interesting to see where to from here.
One of the teachers had downloaded a Sugar .iso to run in a virtual machine on her Mac. She uses parallels which I have not used before (I use Virtualbox) so we will be learning with her about how to get Sugar working with parallels (if possible). I showed her Virtualbox with Sugar in it, so she can see Sugar works on a Mac, and we can fallback to Virtualbox if we can’t figure out parallels.


XO appears in 99 comic

02/09/2010 Leave a comment

olpc laptop in a comic

Today I was sent an email telling me that the olpc laptop is in a comic! It has been spotted on the site.


Volunteer day at Unitec

01/09/2010 Leave a comment

Today was Volunteer day at Unitec.

We had an olpc stand and there was lots of interest from the students, so gave out an information sheet that tells them where to download Sugar on a Stick, how to join the mailing list, and where we meet in Auckland on Saturdays.

Tracey came to help with the stand.

There is a huge variety of international students at Unitec and some were interested in translations for their country.

Some of the other volunteer organisations at the event included:

* Fire service
* Trade Aid
* Refugee services
* Citizen Advice Bureau
* Volunteering Auckland
* Auckland Zoo
* Special Olympics
* Habitat for Humanity

There were lots more but I didn’t get around to them all unfortunately. All in all, I think it was a well organised and well attended event. Volunteering can really help students get experience that can lead to employment, so well worth running the event for the students. Volunteer day at Unitec

Back from olpc deployments in Samoa

17/08/2010 Leave a comment

I returned from two weeks volunteering for olpc (one laptop per child) in Samoa yesterday. It was full on. We visited two primary schools and worked with year 4 to year 6 students. They had used the laptops for 3 months before we arrived and we went to install a school server at each school and wireless access points, as well as to provide training for the teachers and students. The two schools were quite different and one school was extremely under resourced with practically no books to teach from or for students to read and not really any posters on the walls.

Arriving in Apia we went to the government first.

Samoa government building, Apia

This is where we stayed when we first arrived in Apia

Seipepa, Alamagoto, Apia, Samoa

We met with parents in the schools to make sure they got to know us and had an opportunity to ask us questions. We then invited the children to show the parents what they can do with their laptops.

Meeting with parents

There was some resting on the trip too, we did take a little time to relax on the beach and do some snorkelling, but as is evident in the photo, our laptops were always close as we kept working to get everything done before we left.

Relaxing at La Lagoto Resort, Manase, Savaii, Samoa

Anyone is welcome to talk to me about the trip and ask questions. I will be writing up more information soon.

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Going to Samoa

30/07/2010 Leave a comment

Tom and I are off to Samoa to visit two one laptop per child deployments for two weeks.

It’s like the night before Christmas here with all the excitement of our trip to tomorrow. Except, this time we are the elves trying to create and then wrap all the gifts to make the delivery run.

We have 2 Asus EeeBox PC 1021 (Atom 330, 2GB ram, 250GB harddrive) machines for servers, 6 Ubiquiti Networks PicoStation, 2 switches and loads of bits and pieces to connect it all.

We have setup the servers with the school server image and been preparing it for the Samoa requirements, running around madly trying to get the translation finished, collected ebooks and learning objects, and put lots of XO activities onto the servers. We have printed resources and stationery to give the schools.

The bags are packed with our clothes and we are just doing the last few preparation things. We know we are going to run out of time, but doing our best.

We are really looking forward to meeting everyone and hearing what they have been doing so far. The schools don’t have internet, so I will write up about the trip on our return.

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Travelling with the olpc laptop

20/07/2010 Leave a comment

Last week I spent four days in Melbourne. I don’t think it is possible to travel anymore without a netbook and this trip I wanted to challenge myself to travelling with only one backpack to keep me as mobile as possible. I took the olpc laptop – the XO – as my travel laptop.

I wanted to use the operating system that olpc deployments use with a few tweaks. So I lived in Sugar and the Gnome desktop. I installed Skype, xchat for irc, empathy for jabber, and a few packages to make it all work. (Details here –

The hardest bit was touch typing on the membrane keyboard. I normally type up to 80 wpm with 99% accuracy but I think I was reduced to about 40wpm and 60% accuracy initially, though I did improve during the four days.

The XO laptop was light and easy for me to transport. Its robust so I was never worried about breaking it by squashing or dropping my bag. It easily connected everywhere I went and had enough battery (I took a spare just in case) for what I was doing.

One of the aims was to ensure I was ready for my volunteer trip to Samoa on 30 July where I will only use the XO as part of supporting olpc deployments in two primary schools on Savaii. I feel prepared now. Another advantage to using the XO for the trip was that people came up and asked me about olpc so it was a great conversation starter. A lot more Australians know what is going on in their own country now (there are deployments to aboriginal children) and it is great to get that awareness level up.

If anyone wants to play with the olpc laptop they can contact me. You are most welcome to ask me questions about olpc and Sugar (the learning platform), from the technology side and the educational philosophy behind these not for profit organisations. If I can’t answer your questions I can point you to places where you can find answers.

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