[Olpc-za] Cape Town project/pilot idea
adventureafrica at mac.com
Fri May 9 11:44:04 EDT 2008
Begin forwarded message:
> From: Dennis Stevenson <adventureafrica at mac.com>
> Date: 04 May 2008 8:31:39 PM
> To: devel at lists.laptop.org
> Subject: AFRICA - LIFE SKILLS PROJECT IDEA
> Life Skills & Marine Ecology
> 1. Name:
> Dennis A Stevenson
> 2. Email address:
> denniss at iafrica.com
> 3. Organization:
> Cape Windjammers Education Trust
> Cape Town, South Africa
> I am the president of a registered charity called Cape Windjammers
> Education Trust – www.capewindjammers.org .
> It is CWET’s mission to use the power of training under sail for
> life skill, leadership and career development thereby contributing
> to sustainable peace and development in the region. Training under
> sail is internationally recognized for being an efficient tool to
> induce sustainable behavioral change in youth (Edinburgh University
> research). It is implemented widely in many countries around the
> world with the exception of the African continent. It is CWET’s aim
> to make this tool widely available for South African civil society
> organizations and the youth they are working with.
> Our organization is run entirely by passionate committed volunteers,
> and has a very lean budget.
> Here is my vision for the OLPC:
> Ø 90% of our trainees are still at school and most come from
> disadvantaged circumstances, and many are at risk due to their gang
> and drug infested environs. They are thus ideal candidates to
> receive an OLPC.
> Ø We take them on a 5-day, offshore voyage of adventure.
> Ø In addition to teaching them life-skills and seamanship, we
> have developed a marine ecology appreciation course (several of our
> volunteers are post-grad marine biologists) as well as teaching them
> math and science disguised as navigation.
> Ø A wet and windy boat is not a good environment for a book or a
> bunch of photocopied pages. Nor for any conventional computer.
> The OLPC will be ideal for the distribution of static learning
> material that must be taken to sea. The lightness and the one-
> handed grip suits an environment where one must always have “one
> hand on the boat”.
> Ø South Africa has 11 official languages and any one course will
> have trainees from several of them. Hence the need to develop
> where possible language independent material. This fits the nature
> and philosophy of the OLPC.
> Ø But static material, however necessary, is not what grabs a
> child (I have two sons 12 and 14 so I know whereof I speak). There
> is enormous scope for interactive material in experiencing the world
> of seamanship, navigation and marine ecology. I have not yet
> explored all the possibilities but for instance:
> o Marine species recognition and logging
> o Animations of ocean currents, tides and winds
> o Illustrate the way the marine species use and are affected by
> the ocean currents and winds
> o Animations of ships’ navigation lights, shapes and sounds for
> safety at sea (first you see only the lights, secondly you state
> what type of vessel(s) it is (e.g. a submarine towing a hovercraft)
> the the ship is revealed
> o We could simulate a marine radio network using the OLPCs and
> the children could practice radio procedure, sending and receiving
> “mayday” messages, etc.
> o Interactive scalars and vectors, shaping a boats course
> o Etc…
> o All of these will make great games (the way kids like to learn)
> Ø Logging and Blogging: the youngsters learn that the ship’s log
> needs to be written up regularly. In like fashion we expect them to
> keep a log of their experiences and thoughts. Where possible we
> want them to put up a Blog on the net. Here is an example from the
> girls we sent to take part in the Tall Ships cultural exchange in
> Europe last year:
> We also taught them how to use a video camera and how to film on
> board a ship and so in addition to written journals they made a
> video journal (available on request). How much better if each
> child had an OLPC with a built in camera, and could make their own
> multimedia journal entries as things happen or thoughts occur to
> them. Where we are using more than one vessel the children would be
> able to exchange experiences across boats on the mesh network.
> Ø The multimedia journals will be taken back to their school and
> community where they can be projected from the OLPC while the child
> gives his/her report back.
> Ø After the 5 days at sea plus the preparation and debriefing
> days the OLPC will have become an extension of the child and they
> will go on to use them to explore and discover more and more
> Ø Having been on a sailing adventure and arriving home with a
> laptop will give the child a lot of credibility among their peers
> and community. This will allow them to exercise their newfound self-
> confidence and leadership skills. And to break out of the “you’ve
> got to be in a gang to be somebody” trap. We expect each child that
> we have invested in to be a multiplier and to influence many others.
> 8. Description of your experience, both with hardware and software:
> Ø 25 years in the Life Insurance Applications development team of
> an international, Fortune 500, financial services company, the
> biggest in Africa (see www.oldmutual.com).
> I started in programming, and progressed to systems analysis,
> systems design, application systems architecture and Business/IT
> strategy and process design. I achieved the positions of Chief
> Architect (Life Assurance) and the Principal Consultant for Strategy
> and Architecture. I was especially valued for my innovation and
> human/machine interface design, constantly being at the forefront of
> new technology exploitation. I have had the advantage of having
> been schooled in the days when memory and random access storage were
> tiny and code had to be very tight and sparse, plus having lead
> design in the days of designing for the client server environment
> where the client was a PC and the server was a mainframe. Early on
> in my career I designed the first online, real time updating, system
> using a database, in the financial services sector in South Africa.
> Late in my career I had the pleasure of designing the first
> Insurance sales system operating on a salesman cell phone and
> resulting in an issued policy on the mainframe legacy systems all
> within the space of the client interview.
> I designed the web-based sales system for our UK company. I
> published numerous websites starting in 1995 right up to the present.
> Ø 5 years as a consultant at the head of my own company (see www.ITStratCon.com
> Ø And now, though I still have the company, I don’t accept
> contracts anymore because I am involved full time with being
> o A stay-at-home Dad for my two early teen boys.
> o President of Cape Windjammers Education Trust
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