In late July I was very privileged to help roll out the world’s first 100% saturation of OLPC XOs to the country of Niue, in the Pacific near New Zealand. There are around 400 students, and every single one got a laptop! I was in charge of the server/wireless infrastructure, and the imaging of the laptops as well as technical training for the people there on the ground. I worked closely with Ian Thomson who coordinated it (from SPC) and Grisel Carriera, a education specialist from Australia. Grisel and I were volunteers for the project, and Ian/Grisel between them basically coordinated the teacher training.
I thought I’d write up a few notes about the project, although most of the details are on the OLPC Niue wiki page. Basically I spent a week setting up the (currently) fairly beta XS software on the server, setting up a WDS wireless network (to get network connectivity for the XOs throughout the entire two schools without an extensive wired LAN) and a few additions to the XS software such as Moodle (which will soon be integrated) and some great locally relevant education resources pulled together by David Leeming who is working with Ian in the Pacific OLPC deployments. I used the XO 703 image with about 30 applications including Speak, Cartoon Builder, Flipsticks, Colors, Scratch, Ruler, Stopwatch, Wikibrowse (v9 as v10 is all Spanish!) and Sudoku, as well as all the default applications in the activity pack. They worked really well!
Check out some photos below! One of the schools was a primary school, and one a high school, and I believe the primary school will gain the most benefit, but it will be an interesting experiment how the high school goes with them. Ultimately in Australia we will only be looking at primary schools, because they aren’t really made for high schools.
- OLPC Niue documentation
- Some Photos from OLPC Niue rollout
- Teacher training documentation
- Information about OLPC in broader Oceania
If anyone wants to volunteer for these kinds of projects specifically in the next month or two, please drop me an email at pia dot waugh at olpc dot org dot au with when you are available, your interests and skills, as Ian and David need more volunteers for Pacific based projects 🙂 For people able to volunteer in the medium to long term, there will soon be a rego system available.