Sunday, May 31, 2009

Almost there...

Only a week until training begins for an epic journey with possibly the most progressive educational tool in existance - the XO Laptop! I remember the first time I used an XO, it seemed to me a stroke of genuis, and frankly, it was just cool! Immediatley, it was obvious that children would get the same gratification, if not more, from the open-source applications on this MIT developed, dream machine.

After visiting our deployment school and meeting some of the students, my excitement grew for the upcoming project; Rwandese kids are so ubelievably intelligent and creative. However, its often difficult to realize this becuase they're also painfully shy. This can seriously hinder their education because they are reluctant to raise their hand and participate in class. Luckily, our partner school is well aware of their timid students and answered with passionate, engaging instructors - a perfect combination with the XO laptop.

Just to give a little introduction to our project, we are deploying at a primary school in Gisenyi, Rwanda, a small town sharing a fence with Goma, Congo. We are giving 85 kids their own computers, in whats called the 1 to 1 ratio. They in turn will mentor a lower grade once a week and share their experience. Because we were allocated 100 laptops, the other 15 are going to a computer lab for the school. Our curriculum is based on learning the English language, money management, business and social sciences. Of course technology will be the core of the program, exposing the children to the Internet and global society.

Our team is made of students from Utah State University and associates from the Ungana Foundation. We'll be collaborating with the Independent University of Kigali in Gisenyi to provide the students with Internet, power, instructors and a foundation for XO laptops.

Its going to be an exciting summer for all of our team in Rwanda, the students afforded this opportunity, and the community which is now on the edge of technology. I think I speak for everyone on our team when I say thank you OLPC, together we are providing these children promising futures!

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