[OLPC India] India Digest, Vol 22, Issue 19

Sameer Verma sverma at sfsu.edu
Mon Sep 22 13:58:15 EDT 2008

On Mon, Sep 22, 2008 at 12:25 PM, Ananya Guha <nnyguha48 at gmail.com> wrote:
> I think Marc's basic question has not been answered.
> Regards,
> A.S.Guha.

And what is that basic question?


> On Mon, Sep 22, 2008 at 9:19 PM, Sameer Verma <sverma at sfsu.edu> wrote:
>> On Mon, Sep 22, 2008 at 10:08 AM, Marc Valentin
>> <mvalentin at oeuvredespains.org> wrote:
>> > On Mon, Sep 22, 2008 at 4:31 PM, Sameer Verma <sverma at sfsu.edu> wrote:
>> >> On Sun, Sep 21, 2008 at 3:43 PM, Satish Jha <sjha at vsnl.com> wrote:
>> >>> I am overwhelmed by the kind of support this project is receiving from
>> >>> everyone.. from individuals to institutions and corporations and
>> >>> governments.. they have all been trying to do their best..
>> >>>
>> >>> My corporate relations adviser informs me that an airline has agreed
>> >>> to give
>> >>> a number of free tickets for the staff, a business house is willing to
>> >>> offer
>> >>> office space and support for all the schools it runs and the children
>> >>> they
>> >>> have run up in six figures and so on..
>> >>>
>> >>> However, our goal is to reach out to those who cannot help
>> >>> themselves.. And
>> >>> our efforts are focused primarily in that direction.
>> >>>
>> >>> While individual initiatives greatly contribute to the cause,
>> >>> aggregating
>> >>> them in an organized way may get a lot more out of them.
>> >>>
>> >>> We should also keep in mind that our production batch size is 50,000
>> >>> at one
>> >>> time and unless we can scale up, the program will have different kind
>> >>> of
>> >>> management challenges.
>> >>>
>> >>> In this listserv, if we can focus on how to aggregate to large
>> >>> numbers, it
>> >>> will be a great help indeed.
>> >>
>> >> Maybe what we need is a simple list or table of people who what small
>> >> batches of XOs in their school, village, neighborhood etc., organized
>> >> by location, etc. That way we can combine small batches into a larger
>> >> order. If 50 schools of 1000 children each speak up, we get 50K. It
>> >> could very well be a simple form that people fill out with all these
>> >> details and contact info, potential donors (whether they have any or
>> >> are seeking, etc).
>> >>
>> >> This could even scale worldwide...
>> >>
>> >> Thoughts?
>> >
>> > I think it must be very exciting to see all the children of a school
>> > roaming around with XO laptops but I don't see the educative aspect in
>> > it. First, you need capable and motivated teachers, very difficult to
>> > find.
>> I disagree. First, you need capable and motivated *children* and
>> that's easier to do than to retrofit a thirty-something teacher with
>> new thinking.
>> > Second, children can easily share the laptops during the day,
>> > they are not going to spend the whole day using the laptops, isn't it
>> > ? It depends on the quantity of divisions in the school but with one
>> > division, 50 laptops are certainly enough so during a class using XO,
>> > each child can have his own laptop. (That was the source of the
>> > misunderstanding in a previous message : we have 35 laptops and 50
>> > would be just perfect).
>> I am tempted to say that I find your lack of faith disturbing :-)
>> (subtle Star Wars humor)
>> I've seen children work with the XO. Yes, you need teachers to keep an
>> eye on things in a classroom, and yes you will need to educate them
>> about the project and process, but give the children some credit. I
>> don't know how old you are Marc, but I am willing to bet, the kids are
>> a lot younger :-) They learn faster and in much better ways than you
>> and I can. I started KinderGarten with chalk and slate. Why should we
>> subject the children to chalk and slate if we can bypass it?
>> So, kids walking around with XOs is educational? I think so. Every
>> time they learn that multiplication is addition done several times
>> using Pippy, they learn. I didn't learn that until 11th grade (not
>> very sharp, was I?) when I learned to write BASIC programs. Why?
>> Because the nuns at my convent school never bothered to teach me. They
>> surely did a good job of beating it into me (all the way up to tables
>> of 14), but that's another story. See more at
>> http://sameerverma.org/blog/?postid=164
>> > If you consider the budget aspect only : 1000 laptops means $200,000
>> > only for the hardware. You still have to count the training and the
>> > maintenance. It is a very big amount, too big for a 1000 children's
>> > school.
>> Yes, that number is true. In fact, if you look at Habib Khan's
>> spreadsheet, you'll see what some of the real costs are.
>> http://wiki.laptop.org/go/Image:OLPC_Cost_Simulation_Model_for_South_Asian_Countries_by_Habib.xls
>> We have to be realistic. The idea isn't doing this cheap. The idea is
>> to get someone who *can afford it* to pay for it. The XO costs are
>> still less than $350 or so for an ASUS EEE PC. All other costs will
>> remain the same, if not increase.
>> > I know donations can come from abroad but local people will
>> > feel you mis the point, the main problem in India is the lack of
>> > infrastructures
>> Lack of infrastructure can be bypassed or circumvented by the XOs
>> bringing their own infrastructure with them. If we wait to build the
>> infrastructure, that might be another ten years gone by.
>> > and the poor attendance of the teachers and the
>> > students.
>> I believe this has improved dramatically once the children have a
>> reason to be there. In Bhagmalpur
>> (http://wiki.laptop.org/go/OLPC_India/Bhagmalpur), the school has a
>> near 100% attendance. The real reason? Free mid-day meal from the UP
>> government. Post lunch, the school looks empty and the kids raid the
>> village backyards and gardens in search of mischief.
>> I don't intend to discount your opinion in any way. After all, you
>> have a school of 35 XOs. Your input is valuable. We are all on the
>> same team here. At least, I hope so. However, some of the thinking
>> with this project is incredibly disruptive, and will require us to
>> think in disruptive ways. Otherwise, the XO Speak will dictate "Two
>> one za two..." and the children will repeat.
>> Sameer
>> --
>> Dr. Sameer Verma, Ph.D.
>> Associate Professor of Information Systems
>> San Francisco State University
>> San Francisco CA 94132 USA
>> http://verma.sfsu.edu/
>> http://opensource.sfsu.edu/
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