OLPC Summer Newsletter

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Note from the CEO

IN THIS ISSUE Note from the CEO

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OLPC and Sesame Workshop Join Forces to Deliver Children a Love for Learning

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The XO is Equipped with New Language Learning Program

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Becoming a Digital Citizen

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Principle Walker’s Reaction to OLPC at Miami Holmes Elementary School

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Upgrade Skype and upgrade a child’s education

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How will you Change the World?

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The Hult Global Case Challenge

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One Laptop Per Child launches new XO-1.75 model

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Around the world

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The Americas

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Beacon Council Honors OLPC with Special Judges’ Award

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OLPC Featured in Oliver Stone’s 2012 Film, SAVAGES

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OLPC Featured in the SFMoMA Exhibition

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How OLPC Is Impacting Their Lives and Offering Hope By Dr. Michele Borba

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Dear Friends, The past few months have been very productive and rewarding for One Laptop per Child. As you will see in this newsletter, we are continuing to expand around the world. Recently, we have experienced wonderful progress in Asia. In particular, thanks to the hard work of OLPC Australia and two very supportive MPs, the government of Australia has allocated $11.7 million to fund the expansion of OLPC throughout the continent. OLPC’s “One Education” initiative is an innovative approach that proves it is possible to distribute technology for social change by placing complete ownership with those most responsible for its success –teachers, children and the community. We also bring you success stories from Afghanistan and Armenia in Central Asia. In Armenia, 3,300 XO laptops have been distributed to children and teachers in 16 schools. In Afghanistan, OLPC’s equal opportunity mission has overcome cultural boundaries in areas where gender gaps remain prominent. If they are allowed to attend school at all, many girls in conservative regions must study in segregated “girls only” educational environments. To address such a constraint, we made better use of existing female teachers and delivered interactive training materials to rural educators. Our laptops have also allowed young girls to participate in learning by enabling them to study together in their homes or communities. OLPC’s programs in both Armenia and Afghanistan simultaneously engage and empower students, allowing them to build a better future for themselves, their families and their communities. Without the ability to offer educational content in different languages and to adjust programs for various cultures, we would not be able to bring such opportunities to a majority of children worldwide. While OLPC is delivering more XO laptops around the world, we are also working on providing more content on those laptops. To that end, we have formed a partnership with Sesame Workshop, the nonprofit educational organization that revolutionized children’s television programming with the landmark Sesame Street. The Workshop produces local Sesame Street programs, seen in over 150 countries. We have also teamed with Little Pim, an award-winning language program for young children. In other news, through July 29, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art will feature an exhibition on the XO laptop and OLPC’s programs in Rwanda, Afghanistan, Uruguay and Peru. We are also happy to announce that Dr. Michele Borba has joined our team as Goodwill Ambassador. Dr. Borba is an internationally recognized author, speaker, and educator on parenting, character education and bullying prevention. In the months ahead, we look forward to announcing strategic alliances with other leading makers of children’s software and content and with multi-lateral educational organizations. As always, thank you for your ongoing support of One Laptop per Child. Sincerely,

Rodrigo Arboleda Chairman and CEO One Laptop per Child Association


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OLPC and Sesame Workshop Join Forces to Deliver Children a Love for Learning The fun and engaging programs OLPC has teamed with Sesame ries that is one of the longest running Workshop to provide disadvantaged children’s shows in Mexico—having included on XO laptops will feature children worldwide with the chance a 98 percent approval rate by moth- the Sesame Street Muppet™ characto learn, create, and play with Sesa- ers. Takalani Sesame has seen simime Street content. The partnership is lar success in South Africa, while it a product of both OLPC’s and Sesa- features a unique local interpretation me Workshop’s mutual belief in the of the program. The show has a spe-

ters in games, e-books, video clips, character photos, and printable activities such as coloring sheets. Children in need will be able to play with

educational power of media to help cial focus on HIV/AIDS that seeks to the Muppets, while developing a love all children reach their highest poten- educate about safety, tolerance and for learning through otherwise inacthe presence of stigmas. cessible technology. tials.

“We are very pleased to partner with the like-minded organization, One Laptop per Child. As joint forces, we can reach the children who most need our help.” - H. Melvin Ming, President and CEO of Sesame Workshop.

© 2011 Sesame Workshop. All Rights Reserved.

Sesame Workshop is a non-profit organization that has a mission to provide children with access to new channels of learning, sharing and self-expression. The Workshop is the producer of Sesame Street, the revolutionary television program that creatively engages children in learning. Sesame Street programs are locally adapted and available in over 150 plus countries. The Workshop has also produced other well-know shows, such as The Electric Company, that help young children and families develop critical literacy skills. Sesame Street content will be preloaded on XOs in Latin America and South Africa, with plans to distribute to additional international territories. The educational packages loaded on laptops will include, Plaza Sésamo and Takalani Sesame, which are adaptations of Sesame Street for the respective areas. Plaza Sésamo is Sesame Street’s Latin American se-

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© 2011 Sesame Workshop. All Rights Reserved.


The XO is Equipped with New Becoming a Digital Citizen Language Learning Program OLPC Partners with Common Sense Media Learning English on the XO just got easier for elementary students around the world. OLPC has partnered with Little Pim, an award winning foreign language education program for young children, to make learning English a simple and enjoyable experience. Adding Little Pim content to the XO laptop will help millions of students excel in English, even as a second language. Little Pim’s success can be credited to its unique Entertainment Immersion Method, which engages a child’s natural love of play and learning through repetition. The program is led by a fun character, “Little Pim the Panda,” who

immerses children in different languages through a series of activities. Little Pim helps children retain new vocabulary, while enhancing analytical memory and concentration skills. OLPC and Little Pim share the belief that learning should be a joyful process. Rodrigo Arboleda, Chairman and CEO of OLPC, commented of the partnership: “We are delighted to join forces with Little Pim to

make learning language more fun for children. OLPC and Little Pim share a common philosophy that children learn best when learning and play are seamless activities.” Julia Pimsleur Levine, CEO of Little Pim, stated: “We are thrilled to partner with OLPC and help bring Little Pim content to millions of bright young minds around the world.”

OLPC’s latest XO soft- nization has numer- use media and techware will include Digital ous partnerships with nology independently, Passport, a program companies designed



as Digital Passport pro-

Com- Comcast, AT&T, Direc- vides a series of engag-

mon Sense Media that TV, NBCUniversal, Time ing videos and games teaches educators and Warner Cable and Netf- that



children the basics of lix—allowing it to reach ranging from online pridigital citizenship.



homes vacy, appropriate shar-

Common Sense Me- worldwide. Moreover, ing, and respectful cell dia is an independent its free digital literacy phone use, to name nonprofit that provides and citizenship curricu- a few. Through these parents and educators lar programs are used programs, children part with the guidance that in over 30,000 schools of OLPC projects will they need to help to- in the United States. day’s children thrive in

be able to learn how

Designed for students to safely and respon-

a world of media and in grades 3 through 5 sibly access the digital technology. The orga- who are beginning to world.

P r i n c i p l e Wa l k e r ’s R e a c t i o n t o O L P C at Miami Holmes Elementary School “I believe that the overall experience with OLPC has been a positive and refreshing addition to the curriculum program at Holmes. The program has impacted the school community by providing each student with access to technology that extends their learning beyond the classroom. I see that the children are enjoying their machines and use them within small group Jorge Martinez- KF David Lawrence - The Children’s Movement Carlos Ibarguen - KF president Atunya Walker - Holmes principal Alberto Carvalho - Miami Dade Superintendent Rodrigo Arboleda - CEO OLPC Jorge Arrizurieta


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instruction, in the cafeteria (with extension activities) and some grade levels take them home and return them on a daily basis. Parents and grandparents of the community have responded with a lot of interest and excitement in the program and have told me that their children are privileged to be able to participate in OLPC”.

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“On Nov 29th, we heard about the Hult Global Case Challenge through an email that our teammate received from Ahmad Ashkar, CEO of the competition. The competition sounded intriguing, and after confirming that non-MBA schools could apply, our team (which was formed as part of a class project) decided to apply. We submitted our application the night of the deadline, Nov 30th, which was an essay describing why we, as a team, should be chosen. Below is that essay: Every group that calls itself a team obviously shares a high level of trust and camaraderie amongst teammates, but one thing distinguishes our team from the rest. It is what makes a good team great— a high level of emotional intelligence. It is the confidence that all our individual skills and knowledge, along with our passion to make a difference in the lives of others, creates a positive synergy that is more effective as a whole than as the sum of its parts. Having worked together in several group projects, we have realized the significance of respecting each other’s opinion as well as encouraging constructive feedback, thus creating a pro-active team environment. We believe that innovation is a by-product of curiosity of the mind, freedom of expression and healthy conflict. We make a great addition to the Hult Challenge both as a team and individually, bringing together a set of strengths and experiences that complement one another. Our team is: Elizabeth “Beth” Cullinan, Reginald “Reggie” Cox, Ketaki Desai and Tim Kelly. Beth, a former WV Army National Guard and former President of “Engineers without Borders” (Pittsburgh), believes in overcoming adversity by using a logical approach to challenging issues. Reggie mentors adolescent groups from the Pittsburgh Public Schools as a Program Director for a non-profit organization, and has an innate propensity to engage and interact with large groups of people. Ketaki, who was the former President for the Network of Indian Professionals (Pittsburgh) believes in leading by example, and raised $2,500 for the organization “Association for India’s Development” running the Pittsburgh Half Marathon. Tim is a graphic and web designer for the Institute of Complex Engineered System—Carnegie Mellon University, volunteers for the “Hall of Heroes—United States Armed Services” and is currently creating a website that honors the soldiers lost in the line of duty during the war on terror. As students of the Masters in Public Management Program at Carnegie Mellon University -Heinz College, we embody the willingness and desire to utilize our education in a collaborative spirit to solving world problems. As professionals from interdisciplinary fields—education, healthcare, graphic design, and engineering—we bring a different perspective based on our respective experiences. As a culturally

How will you Change the World? 2012 Hult Global Case Challenge Competition One Laptop per Child was one of three NGOS to participate in the 2012 Hult International Business School’s Global Case Challenge, the world’s largest crowdsourcing platform for social good. In the third annual event, thousands of students from 130 countries competed in one of three challenge tracks – Education, Energy and Housing. After a preliminary round in February, the finalists presented their innovative solutions at the grand finale, which took place on April 26, 2012, at the New York City Public Library. Rodrigo Arboleda, Chairman and CEO of the One Laptop per Child Association, and Charles Kane, OLPCA Board Director, took part in the judging for the Education track, which selected a team from Carnegie Mellon University as its global winner. President Bill Clinton, 42nd President of the United States, honored the winning teams from all three tracks. Other distinguished guests included: Muhammad Yunus, Founder of the Grameen Bank and Nobel Peace Prize Recipient; Michael Treschow, Chairman, Unilever; Mario Cuomo, 54th Governor of New York;

Jonathan Reckford, CEO, Habitat for Humanity; Steve Andrews, CEO, SolarAid; Darell Hammond, Founder and CEO, KaBOOM! Members of the Carnegie

“continue on page 19”


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Mellon team had previously spent time volunteering at an OLPC deployment in Rwanda. The team’s solution identified three key areas of focus for OLPC: 1) strategi-

cally selecting countries to target; 2) ensuring streamlined laptop deployment; 3) creating a global brand for Sugar, adding value to the existing XO hardware.

O n e L ap t o p P e r C h i l d launches new XO-1.75 model light sensor and accelerometer deep IDLE screen

new “grid membrane” keyboard

One Laptop Per Child has introduced a new version of its familiar green machine with a considerably better battery life, at a reduced base price of $185 per unit. Underscoring OLPC’s leadership

in low-cost, innovative technology, the X0-1.75 also features an automatic backlight dimmer, an improved grid keyboard, and a three-axis accelerometer, which has translated into a new “Etch-

a-Sketch” program in Turtle. The lengthened battery life comes from the introduction of a Marvell Armada PXA618 processor, which reduces power consumption roughly by half. The XO-1.75

will ship for $185 and up, and will be available with 4GB or 8GB of flash storage. Over 75,000 units of the XO-1.75 have already been ordered by OLPC projects in Uruguay and Nicaragua.

This July, the Fedora Project is offering over 200 open hardware devices including the OLPC 1.75 in their ‘Summer of Open Hardware and Fun’ initative. Applicants must be active Fedora Project community members and will need to submit a brief summary of how they will use the hardware. Red Hat is providing free shipping for all random drawing winners; applications will be accepted until July 31, 2012. Apply at fedoraproject.org/openhw2012.

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t thin





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k g l o b a l l y, a c t d i g i t a l l y A F G H A N I S TA N




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Canada reaches aboriginal communities and the Government of Ontario, OLPC Canada’s 1 3 S C H O O L S — 7 P R OV I N C E S — 3 T E R R I TO R I E S mission is to empower 2 2 9 5 S T U D E N T S — 2 8 2 T E AC H E R S Aboriginal youth to play an active role in their own education through access to learning-centered technology. OLPC Canada collaborated with Aboriginal students, education specialists and social organizations to develop eight customized programs. Designed to advance a child’s interest in learning, these programs address challenges facing Aboriginal students such as literacy, physical and mental health. In late 2011 Jennifer educational levels and incomes than other Canadians. Education has been Martino was hired as Director of OLPC identified as the most important factor Canada to work with the communities, teachers and students to integrate the for bridging this gap. OLPC Canada was launched in Sep- XO laptops into local curricula. Actember 2010 as a core program of The cording to Martino, the OLPC project in Belinda Stronach Foundation (TBSF). Canada is as diverse and challenging With sponsorship from Vale (the as in any developing country. Schools world’s leading nickel producer), BMO are located in rural and remote areas, (Bank of Montreal) Financial Group each facing unique social and eco-



Canada is one of the most economically developed and socially progressive countries in the world, however the welfare of Canada’s Aboriginal population of nearly 1.2 million people lags behind the rest of Canada. The Aboriginal peoples – comprised of First Nations, Inuit and Metis – are the country’s fastest growing demographic, and face lower life expectancy,

nomic circumstances. Martino recalls a 6th grade student named Alex in his first year of school. Alex had previously lived in a home off the highway without electricity or running water. Upon enrolling in school and receiving his laptop, Alex applied his knowledge of gears and began to do amazing things with the Physics activity on the XO. By adding squares, circles, triangles and other shapes and seeing them come to life, Physics helps children experiment with forces of gravity, friction, inertia, magnetism, etc. Martino was also impressed by Alex’s willingness to teach other students how to create complex tricks with this unique program. The laptop has given Alex something in common with other students and has opened avenues of creative collaboration. Other stories of collective and individual achievement are featured on the OLPC Canada blog at www. olpccanada.com/blog. To date, 2,600 XO laptops have been distributed to Aboriginal children, ages 6-12, in 13 sites across 7 provinces and 2 territories. An additional 900 laptops are on the way for a total of 3,500 laptops.

An evolving story: OLPC Jamaica How










An old saying goes, “Tall oaks from organization responsible for early little acorns grow.” Such is the case childhood education in Jamaica; and with One Laptop per Child in Jamaica. San Francisco State University, providIt is not a huge deployment in terms of ing general support to the Jamaican number of XO laptops but in terms of OLPC initiative. After a week of teacher training, local enthusiasm it is off the charts. The OLPC project in Jamaica origi- 115 XO-1.5s were distributed to chilnated in September 2008 with the dren in early 2011. The 5 and 6 year donation of 10 XOs and the establish- olds had no trouble picking up how ment of a Centre for Excellence at the to use the laptops, learning quickly University of the West Indies (UWI) in from each other in a viral manner. In Jamaica. In 2009 the UWI team dem- a short time, the kids became avid usonstrated the XO and Sugar activities ers of TuxMath, an application that lets to primary school teacher trainees at them hone their arithmetic skills while they defend penguins from incoming Moneague College. At the end of 2009 PACE (Project for comets or offers them a chance to explore the asteroid belt Advancement of Childonly their factoring hood Education) Cana“With the XO, the with abilities to bring them da, a federally chartered non-profit organization children get to through safely. A recent Jamaican asfounded in 1987 to sup- go places and port Jamaican primary explore, and they sessment showed that Grade 4 children in school education, funddon’t have to the 2010 had scored 47% on ed two small XO pilots at Providence Methodist be i n a c l a s s - a basic numeracy test, Basic School and August r o o m s e t t i n g . ” and that the scores of the Grade 4 children in 2011 Town Primary School. Other supporting partners included: who had received the laptops jumped LIME, the Caribbean’s leading com- up to 61% – a 14-point improvement munications company; the University – and the highest average score that of West Indies Township Project, which the school has ever seen. These early results have been very fosters collaboration with members of the community, the private sector and encouraging to all participants in the other stakeholders; the Early Child- project – teachers, parents, the chilhood Commission, the government dren, their communities and partners.

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Peru: Digitizing the Amazonian Communities From the very beginning, Peru has been a major supporter of the One Laptop per Child program. Thanks to the leadership of former President Alan García Pérez, nearly 1 million children in Peru currently have XO laptops – a major step toward social inclusion across a very diverse country. In the next phase of the project, the federal government is encouraging Peru’s 25 regional governments to take greater initiative and ownership of the program. Under Proyecto Iversion, each regional government must establish its own OLPC plan that specifies project goals, required resources, training plans and measurement methodologies. Recently, the federal government approved the OLPC project plan of the Amazonas region in northern Peru. The plan put a heavy emphasis on teacher training, which was delivered during the first week of June. Other regional governments are expected to follow the example established by the Amazonas region and will soon present their OLPC plans to the federal government.

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Peru is a country characterized by varying terrains. High mountains, deserts and jungle all exist and challenge the population and the government on a daily basis. Overcoming the logistics and distribution challenges in Peru logically led the Peruvian government to a phased approach to their OLPC project. With a strong focus on social inclusion, the first laptops were deployed in the most remote regions. In some cases it took nine days from Lima’s port of Callao for laptops to reach remote villages. These remote locations also presented considerable challenges in providing Internet connectivity and electricity for the children’s laptops. Over the last three years the government has made a concerted effort to overcome the challenges and create a successful deployment. While early evaluation results could perhaps be characterized as mixed, it is documented that the children have shown a marked improvement in cognitive skills, perhaps the highest form of learning. For this the credit goes to President Garcia for his visionary belief in the OLPC project and to all the Peruvian government


officials and teachers who made it happen. It is an unprecedented accomplishment to distribute over 900,000 laptops in three years in some of the toughest conditions imaginable. In late 2011 President Humala was elected and he adopted a de-centralized approach to education. Rather than following the philosophy of his predecessor he delegated responsibility and authority to each of the regional governments. This approach, which has been used in Brazil for over 100 years, permits a more localized strategy to better match local requirements. Given the diversity of cultures and languages in Peru, a more localized approach should further improve results in the OLPC project and continue the improvement in cognitive skills. To support the local governments OLPC is finalizing Aymara and Quechua language versions of the laptop using a combined OLPC-local team. After completing these two primary indigenous languages, OLPC plans to develop additional languages. These indigenous languages are also spoken in Ecuador and Bolivia and will

support OLPC expansion efforts there. In June OLPC will begin a training program for 13,000 new laptops for the Amazonas region, the first region to order laptops under the new President. This program will include technical, teacher training and community development support through a team of four OLPC staff. This team will be supplemented by a team of Peruvians paid by OLPC who will serve as the training staff for future regional programs. This training will also be made available to previous recipients of 24,000 XOs who the Amazonas has determined would benefit from additional training. Peru is now the largest OLPC project in the world. The capabilities OLPC is building to support regional governments will hopefully enable the project across Peru to improve student learning outcomes, teacher participation and motivation and Government involvement. The lessons learned at the local level will be shared with other deployments around the world.

e.Studyante: A new OLPC and connectivity program in the Philippines School children in the Philippines face Communications (providing Internet conmany challenges. Even a simple walk nectivity) and the Synergeia Foundation, to school can be an arduous journey. In launched the e.Studyante program at some parts of the country, the children the Manuel L. Quezon Elementary School must cross mountain peaks, wade rivers in Tondo, Manila. and trudge along muddy roads to get to The e.Studyante program focuses on school. Whey they finally do arrive, they using technology to help make educaare faced with scarce resources – over- tion more engaging. It distributes XOs to crowded classrooms, outdated books students, provides other tools and trainand lack of school supplies. It is hardly an ing for teachers, and evaluates and upenvironment conducive to learning. dates educational software and materiSeveral OLPC als. On launch projects are day at the Maunderway in nila school, the Philippines “Education is the key to unlocking P&G employees to help make inter-generational deprivation, helped children learning more experience the fun and con- as it offers the knowledge people excitement of nected to the receiving their world. eKindling need to live healthy, happy lives.” very first email is a nonprofit ever from Presidedicated to dent Benigno creating meaningful learning experienc- Aquino III and then sending a reply back es by bringing technology-based, educa- to the President. tional innovations to children, classrooms According to Chad Sotelo, P&G Counand communities across the country. This try Marketing Manager, the program’s group has been working on the Lubang ultimate goal is to provide 1 million lappilot in the province of Occidental Mind- tops by the company’s 100th anniveroro for several years. Based on that suc- sary in the Philippines in 2035. P&G is cess, the provincial governor expanded encouraging all Filipinos to support the the initiative to four schools in the south- e.Studyante program by buying P&G promotional packages and spreading ern part of the island. At the end of 2011, P&G (Procter & the word about the program to their Gamble) Philippines, along with Smart families and friends.


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Nagorno-Karabakh deploys 3,300 OLPCs to connected schools The unrecognized territory is looking at the future by investing in its children’s education Earlier this year the Nagorno- in the NKR, and more impor- opportunity to forge a betKarabakh Republic (NKR) has tantly it will make information ter future for themselves and launched the deployment available to them and their their country. The happiness stage of its New Educational families. Today, unfortunately, expressed by these children’s Strategy (NUR) with the dis- not all districts of NKR have faces confirms what Eduardo tribution of 3,300 XO laptop Internet access. The process Eurnekian, the driving force computers to children and has started and I am sure that behind NUR, has noted many teachers in 16 schools in Step- within a short period of time times. The world commuanakert, Shushi and Karin Tak. we will be able to establish nity sees Nagorno-Karabakh within the context Prime Minister Ara of war and regional Harutunyan, Minister of Education and “This program will improve the conflict. People fail to Science Vladik Kha- quality of education of elemen- take note of the children who are born chatryan, NUR Project Manager Sebas- tary school students in the NKR, and live there. These children are entitled tian Arias Duval, and Ashot Ghazaryan, and what is more important, will to the universal right Chairman of the Ar- make more information avail- of education and access to information.” menian representaThis is the end of tion council of AGBU, able to them and their families.” Phase I of the projpresided over an ect. Upon conclusion April launch event at the Ashot Ghulyan (Bekor) equal educational opportuni- of Phase II, all cities and students in grades 1-4 of NKR will general education school in ties in all NKR.” NUR Project Manager Se- be included in the program. Stepanakert. Currently, all schools where Welcoming the project or- bastian Arias Duval said that ganizer and benefactors, the program’s objective is to the NUR program is to be imVladik Khachatryan said, provide a better level of edu- plemented have been provid“This program will improve cation to future generations ed with a Wi-Fi network with the quality of education of in NKR. “With this powerful Internet access. elementary school students tool the students will have the

Afghanistan expands its coverage May 24, 2012 (Takhar, Afghanistan) – The 406 children and teachers in Abdul-ur-Rahman experimental Middle School grade five today will receive an XO laptop as a gateway to new modern educational system. The project is designed to use technology to overcome educational challenges and improve results and opportunities for children and teachers. It is already actively used by over 4,800 children in Afghanistan and more than 2.4 million worldwide. Already completely translated into Dari and Pashto, the XO laptops provide access to a digital library in the school with thousands of pages of content. The laptop is specially designed for a rugged environment for children, using three times less electricity than normal laptops; the built in sealed dust free system is well suited to the Afghan environment. It can thus help overcome difficulties with lack of

time or guidance as teachers work in shifts by providing quizzes, simulators and feedback to children-extending learning time and providing access to more content than ever before. “The main goal of this project is to

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improve the teaching and learning environment in the school while giving students the opportunity to further their educational experience at home using the XO laptops. Children that have access to this type of tool can

further their education and be actively engaged in their own study. They learn, share, create and have the opportunity to collaborate with their fellow students. They become connected to each other, to the world and to a brighter future.” Said Salim Hayran Afghanistan OLPC Program Director and Information Communication Director at the Ministry of Education Afghanistan’s Ministry of Education and Ministry of Communications and Information Technology are the government institutions tasked with improving education and the information technology sectors. They work to collectively embed communication technology and standardizing technology in the education sectors and establish platforms to transform Afghan society and government institution into an information based society and governance.


A u s t r a l i a

50,000 laptops will reach Australia

OLPC Australia began in 2008 as the idea of Rangan Srikhanta, founder and CEO. Today the organization continues its mission of delivering 500,000 XOs to primary-school-aged children across the continent. On May 8, 2012, the government of Prime Minister Julia Gillard announced that its next budget would include $11.7 million to fund further expansion of OLPC in Australia. This government grant will enable the delivery of an additional 50,000 laptops along with

associated training, software development, and support for teachers, students and their communities. According to Srikhanta, the government’s contribution will support the “One Education” initiative. OLPC Australia’s One Education program, a culmination of years of research and development, expands the power of the XO by making teacher support an intrinsic part of its program. Using the Little Green Machine, One Education’s “Seed

Beacon Council Honors OLPC with Special Judges’ Award On April 25, OLPC received Holmes Elementary School.

The award, sponsored

a special judges’ honor at The honor acknowledges by Baptist Health Systems, the 10th Annual Beacon organizations for outstand- was received at a gala celAwards. The Beacon Coun- ing contributions to the lo- ebration at Marlins Park cil, Miami-Dade County’s cal economy in terms of job that included nearly 1,000 official development part- creation, business expan- business, civic and governner, recognized OLPC for sion, corporate citizenship ment leaders. its digital literacy effort at and industry leadership.



and Grow” plan strives to create local sustainability one classroom at a time. In order for students to receive laptops teachers must complete 15 hours of online training to become XO Certified. Additional training turns educators into XO Experts, which qualifies them to instruct others to become certified. XO Certified teachers then engage students by helping them become XO Champions or XO Mechanics. XO Champions are proficient in basic software support, and

XO Mechanics are able to repair the laptops. As a result of this approach, the children gain a comprehensive understanding of the XO and play a major part in the roll out of the program. One Education proves that it is possible to distribute technology for social change by placing complete ownership with those most responsible for its success. Through the initiative teachers, children, and the community are engaged in an eco-system of learning.

“In a global economy where the most valuable skill you can sell is your knowledge, a good education is no longer just a pathway to opportunity – it is a pre-requisite.” President Barack Obama

O L P C F e a t u r e d i n O l i v e r S t o n e ’s 2 0 1 2 F i l m , S AVA G E S On July 6, Americans will get a glimpse of OLPC’s XO laptops in Oliver Stone’s film, Savages. The movie includes several short clips of Balinese children using our little green machines. Produced by Universal Pictures, the film features an ensemble of cast that includes Taylor Kitsch, Aaron TaylorJohnson, Blake Lively, Salma Hayek, Benicio Del Toro and John Travolta. The movie is based on the novel of the same name by Don Winslow and features Lively, the girlfriend of marijuana dealers, being kidnapped by Heyek’s and Del Toro’s Mexican drug cartel.

OLPC Featured in the SFMoMA Exhibition Through July 29, OLPC will be fea- cate, is the curator of OLPC’s SFMoMA tured in the San Francisco Museum exhibition. OLPC’s overall program is spotlightof Modern Art exhibition, The Utopian Impulse: Buckminster Fuller ed for its innovative approach to edu-


PROGRAM HIGHLIGHTS By 2017, Rwanda intends to have distributed 500,000 laptops to primary school students As part of the government’s commitment to equality and social inclusion, schools for children with disabilities are also included the OLPC program When students receive their laptops in first grade, they transition from learning in French to English

Kinyarwanda / English


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AFGHANISTAN Farsi / Pashto / English






PROGRAM HIGHLIGHTS The Afghani XO model only uses about 25% of the power usage of a regular laptop Due to the lack of connectivity in rural areas, a foot petal was developed that can fully power the laptop while in use In addition to educational tools for children, the Afghani XO includes information on family health and economic development for parents












lives. The XO machine communicates Behar’s interest in products that connect with human emotions and enable self-expression. The green machine is an example of the utopian impulse that drove Fuller and later Behar, and reflects the lasting impact of the two men on society. The exhibition currently features OLPC’s projects in Rwanda, Afghanistan, Uruguay and Peru.




cation, its creation of socially responsible products and environments, and its overarching goal of improving


where internet connectivity is provided both at schools and in the community The distribution of laptops provided a method of documenting and identifying children throughout the country 99% of students have access to the internet


and the Bay Area. The collection features over 60 works that represent Fuller’s most iconic ideas, as well as projects inspired by his thinking. Fuller, a 20th century inventor, was interested in meeting the demands of an expanding civilization. His concern in bettering life for humanity influenced Yves Behar, founder of Fuseproject and creator of the XO laptop. Behar, a worldwide renowned designer, entrepreneur and sustainability advo-





- YVE S B E HAR F o u n d e r o f fu s epro jec t



Spanish / Quechua

rates of poverty, illiteracy, social exclusion Peru is the largest OLPC deployment to date The Ministry of Education has trained more than 115,000 teachers using the XO






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LESSON 1: Never underestimate k id s ’ abi l i t y t o be t h e m a s te r o f t h e i r o w n l e ar n i n g My first Rwandan visit was to the Murambi School in Kigali for deaf and mute children. In addition to being handicapped and destitute, many were also orphans. I walked into the first classroom with low expectations, and was mesmerized. The room was bare–no books or school supplies could be found. I saw only old wooden desks, one blackboard, a cement floor and a teacher, but I also noted that each child was working intently on an XO laptop. Here were kids with limited language skills and no verbal abilities, who were engrossed in learning and their excitement was contagious. I knelt to see what they were doing on those laptops, and got the surprise of my life: these nine and ten-year olds were programming! Any doubts that I’d ever had about the impact computers can have on impoverished kids died on the spot. I saw that specially-designed computers can support a child’s learning and thinking, and when a child cannot talk-or hear–he still is not limited. These children were clearly learning to “talk” to their XO computers in their own way. They also confirmed Seymour Papert’s brilliant words from long ago: “If we really look at the ‘child as the builder’ we are on our way to an answer.” The kids confirmed how we could close the achievement gap in third world countries. LESSON 2: The “right” technology can make kids excited about education and their future. My experience with OLPC in Rwanda was extraordinary, but I had to see more. Will the effect of these XO laptops impact children living in other cultures or regions? So I visited a Title 1 school in an impoverished area outside Miami, flew to Managua, Nicaragua and ferried my way to a remote island called Ometepe, and even interviewed scientists who invented the XO laptop at the MIT Media Lab at Cambridge. Everywhere I heard two common themes: “Students are far more engaged in their learning after receiving XO laptops.” And: “Parents report that their kids are using the computers to learn at home.” What’s more, kids in my travels verified those opinions. Nidia Raquel Morales Alvarez, a long name for a precocious tenyear old I met in Managua, told me that her XO computer “greatly advanced my learning.” When I probed for details she explained: “Yesterday I learned about industrial agriculture. Tomorrow I’ll be giving a presentation in my classroom about farming techniques.” She added that her favorite laptop activity at home is doing research on Wikipedia. Her goal, she said, is to become an engineer. I have







Courtesy of Joe Dickie

How OLPC Is Impacting Their Lives and Offering Hope By Dr. Michele Borba Parenting, Child & Teen expert. cally, it came from children far from home who provided it. It all began with a most unexpected phone call. General Mills contacted me to ask if I’d like to be a spokesperson for its “Win & Give” campaign where U.S. kids had the opportunity to win an XO laptop from One Laptop per Child (OLPC) and trigger a donation of the same laptop to kids in Africa. Would I be willing to travel to Rwanda to visit schools and help deliver the laptops? Well, I jumped

I’ve been a teacher, writer and researcher for over thirty years and like many, I’m haunted knowing that millions of children on our planet will never receive an education or ever walk into a classroom. Imagine! I’ve pondered again and again how we can give poverty-stricken kids-especially those living in remote areas where teachers, textbooks, classrooms or even running water don’t exist-a chance to learn. I did find the answer, and ironi-

at the chance! I knew that these were no ordinary laptops. The XO laptop is made from durable plastic so that it can withstand tough weather conditions (think Africa or the Sahara Desert), is childproof, even looks like a toy and has instant connectivity. It comes fully equipped with curriculum in a child’s native language (29 languages and counting now), retails for $185, is designed by some of the world’s most brilliant minds at MIT Media Lab and

their abilities to become collaborative learners. But in dozens of OLPC observations I found the opposite: in classrooms enriched with technology-and ones in which teachers are trained in best practices–there is more-not lesssocialization amongst students. Educator training in collaborative instructional strategies certainly helps, and teachers that I observed were not only trained by OLPC trainers but continued learning ways to utilize technology in monthly staff development trainings and I saw the benefits. Nicaragua is one of the most impoverished countries in the western hemisphere. One in three Nicaraguan children are chronically malnourished. OLPC has delivered hundreds of XO laptops to classrooms. I observed a number of classrooms and saw a variety of cooperative classroom lessons in schools who had used XOs computers for a few months: sixth graders LESSON 3: Computers can increase-not working in base teams learning how to reduce-student collaboration. mind-map different types of calendars Another concern is that computer use will (Mayan, Greco, Julian); third graders make kids more self-focused and squelch paired with partners and identifying no doubt that she will. Seven-year old Lidia, also from Nicaragua, said that her XO is helping her as well as her family learn. Her mother and father now know how to use the computer, because she is teaching them. “All kids should have a computer like me, so they can learn,” Lidia told me adamantly. But kids in Rwanda had echoed those same sentiments. Jean Luc, a young boy from Rwanda, admitted that his computer is his ‘new life.’ “I always make sure my XO is charged before I take it home, and then I work on it all night. Right now I’m composing music. Do you want to hear my song?” he asked. “Would I ever!” And so my new friend shared his composition--and memo to Bono: Watch out, your competition is coming up! This kid is talented. Jean Luc also divulged that his secret hope is to grow up and become a musical programmer. It’s my hope for him as well.

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was developed based on sound theory that supports how kids learn best. So three weeks later I found myself flying to the small East African nation that had experienced unspeakable horrors of genocide. Within 24 hours of landing a few extraordinary children taught me valuable lessons on how to close the achievement gap and educate impoverished kids on our globe. Here are those lessons.

bird species; first graders learning how to use the XO drawing program and discovering beginning programming skills with their “learning buddies;” fourth graders who were mentoring younger students who needed “catching up” on computer skills. “We help each other,” one boy explained. I also saw the same collaborative spirit in OLPC classrooms in Liberty City, Miami. I watched a young girl having trouble navigating between programs. She turned to a classmate for help, and within seconds the boy was by her side teaching her basic computer skills. The same cooperative spirit happened in Managua as kids sat beneath mango trees with XOs in their laps helping their classmates learn new computer skills. Classrooms with computers came alive as children worked, shared and created together on their laptops. Each click of the mouse was helping them become more connected both to the world and to a brighter future. XO computers can support collaborative learning

practices and increase, not reducestudent interaction. “We teach each other!” a young Nicaraguan boy told me, but I was already convinced. LESSON 4: Technology Can Inspire Teachers In my visits I’ve seen the impact that XO laptops have on children’s education, but I’ve also witnessed how those computers enhance a powerful concept called, “Teacher pride.” In every classroom and in every country I saw educators excited about teaching. A teacher at Holmes Elementary, a Title 1 school in Liberty City, Miami, had tears in her eyes as she described how the laptops affected her teaching: “I can’t wait to come to school now. My students are so exciting about learning! You can’t believe what a difference those laptops have made on my children’s lives.” I can also validate that impact. Holmes was in danger of being closed due to dismal test scores. Within two years, its “D” school rating is now at a “B” level-and rising. Inspired teachers, a powerful principal, and the right curriculum can make all the difference. Gloria, a sixth grade teacher in Managua, was exuberant about the OLPC project. “I’ve taught for twenty years,” she said, “but I’ve never seen anything that has helped my students or my own teaching better than these laptops. In just one week, the children learned not only how to use them, but how to teach themselves. I can’t keep up!” A teacher in Rwanda admitted that her initial hesitancy about computers. “I didn’t know how to use them,” she said. “But my studiverse team, in terms of gender as well as ethnicity, we truly represent the global outlook that is required to making a change in the world. Choose us—not because we claim to be better than any of the other amazing teams participating in the Hult Global Case Challenge, but because we promise to commit our time and effort towards an idea that will be a significant step forward for “One Laptop per Child” to reach its goal – of empowering the world’s poorest children through education. “It is amazing how much people can get done if they do not worry about who gets the credit.” ~ Sandra Swinney On Jan 9th, we learned that our team was selected for the regional round in Boston. We selected the Education track to compete in (our choices were Education, Housing, or Energy), which meant that we would get the One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) case study. We chose Education because we had experience in this field,

dents told me not to worry. They taught me!” Then she smiled and said, “The laptops have changed my teaching!” One of the teacher’s students was listening in at the door. “So is it true?” I asked. “Did you all help your teacher learn to use the computer?” He looked up with a huge grin and nodded. “She likes the computers now just like us,” he said. It can’t get much better than that! LESSON 5: Kids want to learn and parents are grateful when their children are given the opportunity. My last day in Africa I visited the most memorable school. There was no running water, toilets were primitive makeshift outhouses, school supplies were scarce, play equipment consisted of tattered jump ropes and maybe a few cans or balls to kick. The village was poor, but the place was buzzing with excitement. This was the day OLPC would deploy 300 XO laptops to their students. The whole communityparents, grandparents, aunts and uncles, storeowners, clergy, and even the mayor-had walked miles to the school to witness the momentous occasion. Drums were beating, students were dancing, teachers were ecstatic, and parents were literally beaming. I saw what was clearly “joy and hope” on the faces of these moms and dads. They knew that their children would shortly be receiving an extraordinary gift: the chance for an education. The students lined up to receive their green and white XO computers, and were literally shaking from excitement. I can’t begin to describe how thrilling it felt to give kids those laptops. Each child waited for what must have seemed like an eternity,

some of us having previously worked with students in the United States as well as internationally. The best and brightest MBA teams from over 130 countries competed (including the US Ivy leagues like HBS, Yale, Columbia, MIT Sloan, Wharton, etc) to build a sustainable solution for OLPC to scale their current model. Our goal was to distribute laptops, and hence education, to 10 million children in 5 years. The competition started with over 4,000 applications, of which approximately 60 teams were selected to compete in each of the 5 cities hosting the regional round of competition—Boston, San Fransisco, London, Dubai and Shanghai. On Feb 25th, each team presented to a panel of judges and two teams were chosen to present to an audience of over 400. Then, one team was declared the Regional Finalist and selected to move to the Global Finals in New York City on April 26th. In New York, six teams were first judged by the OLPC C-level team during

and when their turn finally came they would take the computer oh so carefully, utter words of thanks, and then this look of absolute elation would emerge. Pride? Hope? Wonder? Awe? I’m not quite sure, but it was priceless. I’ve never experienced anything so riveting. I watched one boy staring at his computer with a look of almost disbelief. “This is really mine?” he seemed to be thinking. Then he turned, walked back to me and pointed to a small pin that I was wearing that bore the initials, “XO.” He then tapped the same letters engraved on the top of his computer. “Yes,” I said as if to let him know that the XO laptop and I were somehow connected. The child grasped his new laptop closely to his chest, and then suddenly tears started to flow down his face. That did it-it was impossible to contain my emotions, and the tears started. We sat down on the grass with his laptop between us, hugging and crying. Believe me, we made quite a sight.

a 45 minute presentation. The final presentations were in the New York Public Library with all the fanfare of the Academy Awards. Two teams from each track were called out to present to a final panel of judges including: Dr. Muhammad Yunus (Nobel Peace Prize winner and Founder of Grameen Bank), Governor Mario Cumo (New York), Michael Treschow (Chairman of Unilever), Jonathan Reckford (CEO, Habitat for Humanity), Steve Andrews (CEO, SolarAid), Rodrigo Arboleda Halaby (Chairman and CEO, One Laptop per Child) and Darell Hammond (Founder and CEO, KaBOOM!). After much trepidation, and over 4 months of intense preparation, finally, President Bill Clinton announced our win! Our solution is based on the experiences of Carnegie Mellon students who worked with One Laptop Per Child in Kigali, Rwanda, as well as discussions with several grassroots volunteers. Our team identified three key areas of focus for OLPC moving forward: (1) strategically

Somehow-despite our differences-we understood the enormous significance of that day. The moment reminded me that best lessons often come from a child’s “silent” words. Ma k i n g t h e E a si e s t D ecis i o n o f My Li f e That was the day I became convinced that the answer to providing education and hope to children in third world countries is the One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) project. I told the OLPC members who were with me I would do anything I could to support their mission. So when the One Laptop Per Child project asked if I’d serve as their Goodwill Ambassador, it was the quickest decision I’ve ever made: a resounding “yes!” My next stop for OLPC is delivering laptops to children in Armenia who are not even recognized by the United Nations. Children–all of our children-deserve an education, and a chance for hope. Extraordinary kids living in remote, impoverished areas of the globe taught me that hope is possible.

selecting countries to target, (2) ensuring streamlined laptop deployment, and (3) creating a global brand for the opensource XO software, adding value to the existing hardware. Our solution incorporates data on basic human needs, as well GDP, to develop a strategy that will allow us to reach countries worldwide. Once on the ground, we will build on established partnerships with nonprofits to ensure that the communities receiving the laptops feel a strong sense of ownership. On the software side, we will crowd source educational applications to developers around the world, adding value to the existing programs created by Sugar Labs. Finally, we will create an online community for students to interact globally and rate these applications. This not only advances OLPC’s mission of providing education to the world’s poorest children, but also delivers it to those children in the developed world who will greatly benefit from the XO laptop.

Our solution will revolutionize how children worldwide can connect and create an everevolving network for education and learning. The computers will supplement teachers’ efforts by encouraging students to actively learn in and out of the classroom, regardless of the technology available to them at home. Our next step is to start implementing our ideas in the form of a Benefit Corporation LLC. in Pittsburgh. “You don’t have to change the world by yourself,” is our advice to anyone interested in championing a social cause, as a takeaway from our experience with the Hult Global Case Challenge. Connect with others, learn from what they have already accomplished, and share your talents to work together toward achieving a common goal. These are daunting issues, and we are confronted with an enormous number of hurdles along the road to success. The only way we are going to get there is by putting in our best efforts, sharing resources and not worrying who gets the credit.” by Carnegie Mellon University Team

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I n s t i t u t i o n a l

P a r t n e r s

How to reach OLPC: One Laptop Per Child Association 848 Brickell Avenue, Suite 1130 33131 Miami, FL - USA Ph: +1 305 371 3755 countries@laptop.org www.laptop.org



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