For anyone who has asked “Is it working?” or “So these things are for kids in developing countries. What happens when they get there?”, there is a fantastic article up on OLPC News called OLE Nepal Notes from an OLPC Deployment. It details a six month old deployment of 135 XO laptops to children in Nepal.
Some choice bits:
0 laptops stolen, lost, or otherwise missing. One laptop has been seriously damaged when the child who owned it cleaned it carefully with soap and water. Otherwise no laptops have been seriously damaged as a result of use.
We conducted four days of teacher training off-site and five days on-site in the classroom with both the students and teachers. A large portion of our teachers had never used a computer before but they learned very quickly. Their enthusiasm was amazing. Training during the off-site sessions formally ended at 5:30 pm but the teachers stayed in our training room each night until 11 pm, pounding away on the XO’s and asking endless questions.
I am continuing to contribute to the program whenever possible by helping out with the support queues and other discussions on the mailing lists. But there is also a need for software to be written. Most of the XO runs on Python, a language I very much want to learn, and seeing this list of ‘most requested applications’ just tickles that interest further:
- Easier way to play music and video
- A better E-Book reader
- A lot more activities for learning English
- All the Nepali textbooks in digital format
- A comprehensive digital library with lots of Nepali-language reading materials
- A Typing Tutor program for learning English and Nepali
- Interactive learning activities that match the Nepali curriculum
- A car racing game (the kids)
This naturally during my copious spare time… But what a noble cause.