[OLPC India] Partnering with OLPC - Pondicherry

Satish Jha sjha at vsnl.com
Wed Sep 10 02:22:05 EDT 2008

   1. We need content to use XO in the mainstream academics. Obviously this
   would take time and small pilots are needed to demonstrate the potential
   benefits of deploying XOs. Such deployment has to be for co-curricular
   activities. Getting the mindshare of teachers and get them to to put in
   efforts is a major issue..

*What is content in a primary and secondary school? It may be beneficial to
begin with the available curriculum. Digitizing curriculum is a routine
activity that companies like Aptara or Techbooks perfected in the markets
they worked in. We can leverage the existing experience base in this area
and start with the existing course curriculum. Besides, the capabilities of
various applications already loaded on XO can help children understand the
capabilities of computing at their own pace. *

* *

*Getting teachers to appreciate it is an issue in general. However, our
experience is that XO usually gets their attention rather quickly.*

2.Funding is the next problem as the school budget per child per year is far
far below Rs 10,000. Auroville is a non-materialistic collective. Most
teachers are full time volunteers or given a fraction of  outside salaries.

*Auroville is a great brand name in itself and that may be leveraged for
people to step up to contribute to its cause. We need to leverage all we
have to get the donors excited about supporting this movement.*

3. Only 6 schools use English as medium of instruction. Others use Tamil.
So, Tamil localization of the content is important.

*Localization is an area OLPC prefers to leave to those who need it. That
may be an empowering approach as that engages the local community. Given
what we hear about the FOSS movement and its passionate approach to open
source, localization should not be a big challenge. We already have
Devnagari keyboards and I have seen Marathi scripts on XO being used by
grade 1 students. Have you tried asking the FOSS/ Open Source community in

4. Many people rise doubts regarding timing. Is this the right time to begin
the pilot? When would the content be ready? When will the price comedown to
the (promised land) of $100? Who will make it available? If we run the pilot
and content is not ready to use XO-1 for all academic activities, we may be
acting prematurely?

*If children simply begin to learn what is already on XO, a whole new
momentum may start building. We need to develop local capabilities As far as
I know, there is no wrong time to learn computing. I have seen nearly every
child with access to screen based toys and learning tools to start using
them from 2 years of age.*

5. The current stand of Government sort of strengthens the doubting voices.

*Any government is the last  to embrace technology. When they do, they
typically have a much longer learning curve as well. However, unless we
approach them, they will not know what to say. We need to change the
attitudes of the Government. *

6. Normal issues of setting up, support etc and local human resources.

*There are clear best practices that we have put together. What is critical
is to embrace these practices and build on them.*

On Wed, Sep 10, 2008 at 1:10 AM, JV Avadhanulu <jv at auroville.org.in> wrote:
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