ideas to stimulate developer and educator communities

Bryan Berry bryan.berry at
Fri Apr 6 19:28:27 EDT 2007

Here are some ideas I have to stimulate the developer and educator
I have linked them to

I discussed these ideas w/ Walter and Dick Rowe but I am copying you guys
just in case you have some genius ideas to add.

Specific to Developers:
1) Need certificate recognizing core developers from a major education
institution like Stanford
2) Discounts on RHCE exams
3) Discount on the yet-nonexistent Python certification

 Stimulating Content Communities
Stimulating Open Content Communities for OLPC

This is Part III of the Grassroots series. I am skipping over Part II
"Teambuilding" because it has proven harder to write. I will come back to
it. Thanks to Xavi Alvarez for reminding me to work on it and the wiki

OLPC seeks to provide every child with a powerful learning platform and
an-ever evolving array of powerful learning activities. To accomplish this,
OLPC must not only build and distribute the base platform, it must nurture
and encourage three groups of people:

   1. Software Developers
   2. Educators
   3. Artists

These communities may be international and have sub-groups by nation or
linguistic region. Here are my suggestions for comprehensive programs to
stimulate the development of these communities. I have put special emphasis
stimulating communities in developing nations.

Developer Program

Engineers in developing nations need more financial incentives to
participate in Open Source projects than engineers in the developing world
require (often none), typically due to the financial pressures placed on
them by their families. We need to convince both student developers and
their teachers that they should switch their academic focus from J2EE to

Benefits for Core Developers:

   - Certificate from an internationally recognized technical university
   -- ideally MIT.

      - Other possibilities are the MIT Media Lab or Open Source Lab
      at Oregon State. Certificates are a big deal in the developing world.
      - Certificates could be based on amount of code contributed to, participation in code reviews, hardware
      development etc.
      - Discounted internet access and possibly provide extra UPS --
   this benefit would vary country by country and a grassroots organization
   would have to coordinate it.
   - Free hardware -- important step, OLPC is already doing this
   - Discounted or free examinations for related IT certifications for
   accomplished developers

      - Red Hat Certified Engineer (RHCE)
      - A Python programming certification -- I know this doesn't
      exist but OLPC is a good enough reason to start one
      - Internships -- We intend to offer internships at OLPC Nepal
      but this may not be feasible in a country without an active OLPC

 Events to Stimulate Interest in OLPC

   - Regional and international events to stimulate interest in
   development, should emphasize commercial value of skills learned from
   working on OLPC, for example: "learn Python and you could eventually
   work for Google, Red Hat, etc."

      - Regional and national programming contests with significant
      prize money, for example in Nepal $2000 USD would be a
substantial prize and
      huge incentive

         - Separate contests for Activity Development, hardware
         development, and power systems development, could be
organized similar to
         - Pie-in-the-sky idea -- regional Google Summer of Code
         style summer camps focussed on OLPC

      - Regional or national programming hackfests and sprints

Educator Program

The term educator includes many types of individuals including working
teachers. I refer to an educator in the OLPC context as anyone who generates
instructional content and/or facilitates learning with kids.

It will be hard to convince veteran teachers to use a radically different
method of instruction. However, we can convince the next generation of
educators who have recently graduated or are still in university. If we can
win their support they will ensure that OLPC is an integral part of their
respective national education systems in the long run.

We especially need to recognize individuals that digitize histories,
literature, other academic works under the creative commons license.

Benefits for Core Educators

   - A Certificate from an internationally recognized Education Body or
   Academic institution -- a certificate from the Harvard Graduate School of
   Education would be ideal.

      - Unfortunately, a certificate from Brazil's Ministry of
      Education would mean little in Nepal
      - Possible Certificates: Certified Teacher Trainer, Certified
      Curriculum Developer

   - A Certificate from an educators local Ministry of Education
   recognizing their contribution to OLPC

   - Points towards academic tenure -- We will pursue this in Nepal
   - Free hardware
   - Discounted Internet Access

Events to Stimulate Interest in OLPC

   - Regional and National seminars to develop different kinds of
   learning activities
   - Regional and National awards for learning activities
   - Teacher Training Seminars

 Artist Program
We need artists to help develop the creative possibilities of the XO.
Specifically I am thinking how to involve musicians, photographers, and
graphic designers. Frankly, I am at a loss how to best reward this community
as I don't have a creative bone in my body and I only hang out w/ computer
geeks. However, we really need to stimulate this community. Please
contribute your ideas for the artist program.

We need artists to 1) generate learning activities around art and design and
2) Digitize paintings, music, photos, etc. under the creative commons
license so that children around the world can enjoy them.

Benefits for Core Artists

Events to Stimulate Interest in OLPC

   - Etoys Art Competition

   - TamTam and SynthLab Composition -- Could be run through TamTam

      - Students could post their composition to the Tamtam site
      - site visitors could vote for their favorite composition
      - We need some kind of competition to spur digital musicians to
      implement different instruments and rhythms into TamTam
   - SJ Klein's idea -- create a drop-in center where storytellers,
   musicians, and graphic artists could get their work digitized.
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