[Health] XO Computers in Ethiopia

Mel Chua mel at melchua.com
Thu Jun 5 18:03:03 EDT 2008

Thanks, Andrea - forwarding this thread to the list so they can read the 
conversation (nutshell: Andrea is going to Ethiopia to conduct baseline 
needs assessments for the Millennium Cities Initiative, wants to use the 
XO to teach children about public health / sanitation etc. info, looking 
for ideas).

Health community - any resources / curricula you can point Andrea to 
would be awesome.


Andrea Castro wrote:
> I'm so sorry for the late reply; I've been trying to wrap things up
> before Ethiopia. No I would not mind beign forwarded to the health
> mailing list.  Thanks for your suggestion in teaching; I don't really
> have experience with teaching (I've tutored a little) but it sounds
> like a good suggestion to just have the children play around, explore,
> and figure things out on their own.
> On Thu, May 22, 2008 at 7:12 AM, Mel Chua <mel at melchua.com> wrote:
>> Hi, Andrea - thanks for your note!
>> First: would you mind if I forwarded your email to the health mailing list?
>> There are some people there who have been working on health and sanitation
>> content who are looking for people like yourself who are going out to the
>> field and would be willing to try the materials out with local children. If
>> you have connectivity while in Ethiopia, they'd love to work back-and-forth
>> with you and the children while you're in the field (doctors, health
>> researchers, etc. writing letters back and forth to the students you're
>> meeting, and so on).
>> Second, your project sounds wonderful! Thanks for doing this. In terms of
>> suggestions on how to use the the laptops to teach children - I don't know
>> how much teaching experience you have or how you usually like to run
>> tutorial sessions, but I've found (after 8 years teaching and tutoring and
>> ~2 years working on OLPC) that the best way to teach kids things with XOs is
>> to hand them the laptops and stand back until they've gotten used to playing
>> around with it (with occasional short demos and nudges as needed), and
>> afterwards giving them a short intro to the topic I want to introduce and
>> what I'm thinking of having them learn, and having *them* come up with
>> projects they want to do and ways they want to learn it. I have a highly
>> improvisational style, though, so your mileage may vary.
>> Some resources you may find helpful:
>> http://wiki.laptop.org/go/Health
>> http://wiki.laptop.org/go/Educators
>> http://wiki.laptop.org/go/IRC - we use the #olpc-health channel on Freenode
>> quite a bit, and it's probably the best place for you to meet people in
>> realtime. If you're new to IRC, the easiest way is to sign on to
>> http://forum.laptop.org/chat - no account creation needed - and then type
>> "/join #channelname" (no quotes) where #channelname is the name of the
>> channel you want to join. In this case, that's #olpc-health.
>> Good luck packing - hope this helps, and please let me know if any questions
>> come up!
>> -Mel
>> Andrea Castro wrote:
>>> Dear Mel,
>>>   Lonny Grafman gave me your contact information.  I'm a recent
>>> graduate from Humboldt State in Environmental Resources Engineering.
>>> I am currently conducting baseline needs assessments for the
>>> Millennium Cities Initiative (under the direction of Jeff Sachs at
>>> Columbia University).  I am in the process of completing one in
>>> Kumasi, Ghana and will next be travelling to Mekelle, Ethiopia.  As a
>>> graduation present, my mom bought me two XO computers that I will be
>>> taking to Mekelle.  Part of my baseline needs assessment is assessing
>>> progress toward reaching Target 7 of the Millennium Development Goal
>>> and looking at how much investment is required to provide 50% more of
>>> the population with access to water, sanitation, sewage, and hygiene
>>> education.  I will be looking at household's,hospitals', and school's
>>> access to water and sanitation as well.  I thought that I could take
>>> the two computers with me and give lessons to students on my free time
>>> (after I make a few contacts at the schools for which I will be
>>> assessing the availability of drinking water and toilet facilities).
>>> I will be leaving the US June 7th and returning Aug 1st.  I was
>>> wondering if you had any suggestions about giving lessons with the
>>> computer.  Also I thought you would like to know that I am bringing
>>> two computers here, so that in the future, when you may be looking for
>>> potential areas to send the computers, you can keep in mind that there
>>> will already be two in Mekelle, so that if more become available, more
>>> children can use the computer at a time.  Hope to hear back from you
>>> soon, Andrea Castro

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