[OLPC-Philippines] Launch of eKindling in the Philippines!

Sandeep C. sgc0611 at gmail.com
Tue Jul 7 22:03:20 EDT 2009

Hi All,

It is with great pleasure that I wish to announce the launch of eKindling!
Short for Education Kindling, eKindling is the result of our collaborative
attempt to formalize an organization in the Philippines that will allow us
to further our common mission and vision as a community. Simply said -- This
is an education project.

Having been conceived through the "OLPC process," eKindling is supportive of
current XO-related initiatives. Projects, partnerships and volunteer efforts
will continue to be encouraged. The *FAQ* below provides more detail about
the organization and why we are pursuing this route.

Many thanks to everyone who has helped in getting us to this point. Your
efforts are priceless! With your continued support and collaboration, we can
finally see the vision become a reality in the Philippines.


Sandeep Chandiramani



*Frequently Asked Questions:*

*What is your mission?*

We are much more than providing free laptops.

Our official mission is to enhance educational opportunities through open
source, learning and technological innovations for the empowerment of
children in the Philippines.

* *

*What is your vision?*

This is an education project, not a laptop project!

Thus, through innovations in learning and technology, we want to empower the
youth of the Philippines to become digitally literate, critical thinkers and
productive members of society. In doing so, we believe that they will be
better prepared to tackle the challenges of an increasingly competitive job
market and globalised world as well, as become an agent of change towards
the betterment of themselves and their communities.

* *

*How is this different from other computer classes?*

Most programs teach "computer literacy", which focuses on the basics such as
email, power point, word processing, and web browsing. Many others use
"edutainment" software to teach things like the 3 Rs “aRithmetic, wRiting,
and Reading.” Both of these approaches fall far short of what's possible
with computers.

We believe that children are creative learners, and as such, they can
construct new knowledge through playful exploration and problem solving. Our
curriculum, which will be based on the methodologies used by OLE Nepal and
Waveplace, will serve to enhance already existing curricula in public
schools.  Thus, we do not aim to replace established curricula.

In partnership with Squeakland and local stakeholders, we hope to develop an
interdisciplinary curriculum that leverages constructivist approach and that
focuses on programming as well as the 3 Rs. Again, this is an education
project. Creating effective educational content and curriculum will be a
primary goal.

* *

*Why is your name eKindling?*

In the words of the Greek Philosopher, Plutarch, a mind is not a vessel to
be filled but a fire to be kindled. We strongly believe this and as such, we
wanted our name “eKindling” (or Education Kindling) to reflect this.

Although there are branding benefits to naming ourselves “OLPC Philippines,”
we believe that it would limit our growth. In a rapidly innovating
technological terrain, we want to be able to adopt better technologies that
may help us achieve our mission more efficiently and effectively.

Ultimately, our vision transcends the notion of simply giving each child in
the Philippines a laptop. We recognize that the XO laptop is simply a
vehicle that delivers quality education that each child deserves. We focus
on the mission, not the vehicle.

*Does this mean you are not using XO laptops?*

* *

No, XO laptops are still our primary choice of hardware. In the foreseeable
future, we believe that its design and price still holds a competitive
advantage over all other competing technologies. Thus, XOs will be the main
tool in our pilot deployments

With that said, we suspect that Sugar on a Stick will play an increasing
role in our future operations.

* *

As an organization, we recognize that hardware is simply the beginning. We
put equal emphasis on the software and educational content. OLPC is simply
1/3 of the equation. Sugar Operating System (Sugarlabs) and Educational
Content (Squeakland) are equally as important. Understanding this from the
onset will increase our chances of success.

* *

*Who owns this project? *

* *

We firmly believe that no one person owns the OLPC project. The community,
which includes all stakeholders (educators, parents, entrepreneurs,
students, donors, engineers, etc) owns the project. Collectively, community
members are the experts and we look towards them for guidance and support.
The value provided by the community is central to our strategic plan. Thus,
to maintain a sense of ownership and trust, our organization strives to be

Learning from the experience of OLE Nepal, we maintain that this is
community driven.

* *

*Are you looking for partners? *

* *

Yes, we are looking for partners! We are looking for partners that know how
to get things done. They will guide our approach, especially as we move
forward with our small-medium deployments. You know your communities the
most and we look forward to serving them with you.

If you are an academic institution, private corporation, non-profit
organization, corporate social responsibility program, or government
department, please feel free to contact us!

* *

*How can I help? *

There are many ways you can help!

Right now, we need money. Every dollar you donate will help us help more
children. If you are also a grant writer, please help write applications for
seed funding and deployment programs. Increasing our funds will increase our
capacity to deploy pilots!

We also need help with educational content. Feedback and input regarding our
curriculum would be truly appreciated!

Spread the word in your social networks, blogs, etc. Spread the word!! We
need as much support as possible. Engage!

Follow us on twitter: www.twitter.com/eKindling. We will continue to post
volunteer opportunities and announcements about new partnerships,
developments, deployments, etc.
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