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May 26, 2009 at 5:54 pm Leave a comment

I cannot believe we’re leaving for Kigali in TEN DAYS.

The lack of updates may make you think we’re not doing anything. Au contraire. We’ve been hugely busy coordinating with MSP (in Canada and in Mada), OLPC, and others. We’re working on developing learning projects, which are cross-application (utilizing more than one XO activity) and multi-subject projects that engage kids in a constructivist project. We’ve been playing with the ideas of a conservation / biology-based project, as well as a family history one. The kids we’re working with are between 6-12, but most are on the younger end of the spectrum. That means we’ve got to make sure the projects are as simple as possible.

We unfortunately did not receive the BP solar panels (we applied for free ones), as there were none available for the next few months. Shipping was prohibitively expensive, so that wasn’t necessarily the most viable option. We’d like to get on the grid, but there are structural issues in-country preventing that (the power company says they aren’t doing new connections, which is strange, to say the least). Our alternate solution is solar panels bought and installed in Madagascar.

Our other main issue is teacher buy-in. We know that this is probably one of the biggest variables re: sustainability. If the teachers don’t buy-in, the classroom impact of the XOs is lessened. The kids will definitely be able to learn a lot using the computers outside school, but the impact of them within the classroom could be huge. We’re planning on addressing teacher training first, and concurrently, with our work with the kids.

We’ll be updating the blog from Rwanda and Mada, hopefully fairly regularly. It seems like we should get okay dial-up in Madagascar in Ambatoharanana, which is good news.

We’re having a meet-up with the OLPC DC Learning Club tomorrow, which is really exciting as well. (More info here.)

OLPC Ampitso Meetup
Wednesday, May 27, 6:30pm
Looking Glass Lounge
Back Beer Garden
3634 Georgia Ave NW (map)

And welcome to everyone linked by OLPC News or by the OLPC MG listserv! We appreciate your comments and feedback. (Nous parlons français si vous voudraiez laisser un comment.)

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OLPC Ampitso

This is the OLPCorps team from GWU and UMD. We'll be deploying 100 laptops to a rural village in Madagascar this summer. Stay updated by subscribing to our feed and checking back regularly. For more information on what we're doing, use the tabs above!
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