Grassroots events in June
Some of the great projects that are currently underway in the OLPC world began with personal connections between an enthusiastic volunteer and a school or developer working directly with schools and teachers in a deployment region. A few that come to mind are the blogging project in Uruguay that Greg Smith has helped facilitate as well as his work with server development for Nepal‘s school trials last month; and the Spanish-language educators list (email@example.com) that Yama Ploskonka has recently gotten off to a very active start.
As part of an ongoing effort to increase direct connections between the communities and schools interested in and implementing OLPC, we are holding a long week of grassroots events in early June. There will be an unconference for general grassroots organization, a week-long bootcamp for people interested in becoming advisors for local user groups (both in Cambridge), and a weekend-long grassroots jam in Manhattan.
Bootcamp admission is by application, and the event is targeted at active community members; limited support is available or travel (and crash space) for the bootcamp, for people who cannot otherwise afford to come.
Please take a look at the event pages above, and sign up for those you are interested in joining, whether or not you can attend.
OLPC is having a flag day of sorts on Tuesday — a media event at the Media Lab with attendees from many countries where we are working, and presentations from a few of the government officials responsible for country deployments. It is unfortunately not open to the public, but I will do my best to publish summaries and link to any raw materials from the events on the blog; and to pass on any comments and questions you may have for country implementers and teachers.
Some of the country representatives will be in town for the rest of the week, for a project and learning workshop; stay tuned for points of interest for the community that come up. I am particularly looking forward to finalizing details of the educational blog project underway in Uruguay, with help from Greg Smith and Tarun Pondicherry, and the WebJournal project that Robson Mendonca will be working on this summer in Brazil with Juliano Bittencourt.
If you have projects you’d like to see pursued more actively, or data you would like to see from countries and schools, leave a comment here…
Out of the darkness of ignorance
comes… wikipe-tan. enlightening newspapers everywhere.
Noone knows where sugar-tan comes from, but the Raelians like her.
Update : Now It Can Be Told — this winsome creation comes from Winona of the Weecast.
OLPC thoughts, pictures, labs
It’s springtime in Cambridge, and there is change in the air. Walter Bender, my mentor and OLPC’s longtime president, resigned last month and is looking for new ways to support the project’s educational mission.
A storm of discussion followed recent statements about OLPC pursuing XOs that could dual-boot Linux and Windows, with flame wars about being subverted by Microsoft, OLPC’s educational focus, and the reported uselessness of proprietary tools and systems for learning. A lot of useful conversations were started, some of them spawning a new mailing list focused specifically on education; but in the short term there was a lot of smoke that had nothing to do with education at all. I have been dismayed by the willingness of many people to exaggerate what is known about how the world and education work, in order to fit their preferred narrative…
Leslie Hawthorn commented astutely it is precisely the failure of a grand, sweeping narrative that has been most distracting from a new and wonderful global meme — something which needs swift repair.
Meanwhile, Nepal has started their second laptop deployment, to much fanfare and colorful reception. Some photos from the weekend’s unwrapping, care of Ties Stuij:
laptop distribution | other xo pics
And, finally, here are some quaint turn-of-century sugarlabs for your delectation.