Fri Mar 28 06:29:39 EDT 2008
to be trained on any new educational tools. The initial training is
especially important to get off to a good start. They found it important
to include the XO and its training in the normal structure of the
educational system. There are a lot of traditions on how to do things,
role of teacher, supervisor etc. and those need to be respected in order
to avoid conflicts.
The training is done by the IT department and teachers with
specialization in ICTs for education.=20
The emphasis is on how to teach with the XO, not the technical aspects
of how the XO works. The teachers don't want to be technicians and are
not comfortable with technology. That said, they have to be comfortable
using the tool (XO).
The best way to train in technology is to start with small groups. After
that they created working teams to visit school during class time.=20
The training workshops were repeated several times for each teacher.
After a few training sessions, the teachers felt comfortable with the XO
and didn't need further technical support. Teaming an educator and a
technician was a great way get started. However, its a difficult model
to scale. The target is one technician for each 1,000 children. That's a
rough guess so we need to follow up to see how well that works.
There is a vision of school based portals and regional and national
sites for collaboration. Its not final where they will be hosted but
some may be cached or served from the school while others are served
centrally. They also have issues with managing teacher accounts and
needing too many passwords. The portal design work is ongoing.
There was a lot of interest in blogging but so far all Villa Cardal blog
messages were given to a single technician who then posted them.
See the Villa Cardal blogs at:
The kids want to keep on blogging!
However UI issues are a barrier. Pablo and I wrote up an overview of the
challenge and a set of requirements to address them at:
Please comment and add to it as needed.
They want help from the community to build new software to address these
needs. I want to create a core team of supporters for this deployment.
Whatever we learn here can be reused in other deployments.
If you want to help, send me an e-mail or sign up at:
We need developers, project managers, artists, UI designers, Spanish
speakers and anyone else interested in helping out.
If we can be responsive to this first request we can develop a close
relationship and learn about how to make the XO a success around the
Once we solve the blogging problem there are plenty of other challenges
we can uncover and address as a team.
Other technical and infrastructure comments:
- School server is the gateway for all internet traffic for security
(firewall/NAT and filtering). The filtering is done by Dansguardian.
- There is no web caching done on the school server right now.
- Each school in the project must have internet access. Most schools
have 1 Mb/s. Cardal has 2 Mb/s. BW is set depending on size of the
school. So far, no problems reported with internet access or bandwidth.
That said, not all children can be connected at the same time. That
problem was solved by teachers coordinating so that classes take turns
using the WAN.
- The mesh was not worked well but it is getting better with each build.
They just started to use some mesh capabilities but in general it has
not been a critical need and they don't currently use activities that
require a mesh.
- They have updated the laptops a few times using the automatic update.
The updating system is not so easy... They're still working on it. Now,
some updates are automatic, others not.
- There has been a lot of demand to support Flash.
Here are some other links on the XO roll out in Uruguay:
Main project blog: http://olpc-ceibal.blogspot.com/
Main public project page: http://ceibal.edu.uy/
Uruguay based volunteers group working on the next roll out:
More information about the community-support