[olpc-help] Update on XOs in Uruguay
andrew2006 at flight.us
Fri Mar 28 22:35:52 EDT 2008
>I had a call in February with Pablo a lead on the XO deployment in
>Uruguay. Here are some impressions and lessons learned from their
>The main point is that the kids like to blog!
>We really need to hear from them too!
>They need some help making blogging easier. See below for ways to help
>make that happen.
>The XO roll out started in May in Villa Cardal with 150 children. Phase
>2 is underway now. Targets for deployment are 150K XOs in 2008 and 300K
>in the field by the end of 2009.
>It went better than expected for the first 150 children and 6 teachers.
>Children used the XO much more when the teacher was motivated. Classes
>with younger children used it less than older children.
>Teachers had the choice about when they wanted to use the laptop.
>The only directives were:
>- The teacher chooses the moment the laptops are used. However, they are
>encouraged to use them.
>- The laptops are used as a tool. They don't substitute books and
>notepads, and the curriculum doesn't change.
>From the start, the teachers requested training on the XO. They expect
>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.
>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.
>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:
Hi, we will be piloting the OLPC project in high-poverty areas of South Carolina, US (to my knowledge, we are the third US state, after New York and Alabama)
Thank you for sharing your assessment and observations.
It would be also interesting to know what other activities besides blogging you were able to effectively implement, or planning to implement.
Although we may not have the same challenges with bandwidth here, we would certainly have to devise a teacher training strategy. In addition, we would, as anywhere else, need to align the XO activities to our curriculum/standards, and attempt further us toward our overarching educational goals (thus, the pedagogical facet of this project, in addition to the technical one)
>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.
Yes, it would be great to continue to enhance the UI.
>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.
Is the signal two week? I just had two XO's play "PlayGo" with each other, over the mesh, at a distance of about 60 feet.
As of yet we only possess two units, for testing.
Does the mesh speed go down when it is "congested" with dozens of units?
>- 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.
I have downloaded and installed flash, from
rpm did not issue errors; yet, i don't see any results of the installation. Web browsing still seems to be without flash capability.
I hear the Opera browser (although not open source) has an XO build, and, i presume, it is flash-ready(?)
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