OLPC / Ondalivre

Join Us on Educational Technology Debate

laptop.org - Sun, 03/23/2014 - 22:25

If you are looking for cutting edge commentary and deep analysis of one laptop per child movements around the world, or really, any and all uses of technology in education, please direct your attention to:

Educational Technology Debate

That's where everyone is now. Join us there. Thanks...


Categories: OLPC / Ondalivre

Shutting down OLPC News

laptop.org - Mon, 03/17/2014 - 23:05

Resumen en español al final del artículo

Today we're announcing that we have decided to shut down OLPC News. That means we'll stop publishing new content but we won't take the site offline.

In retrospective this is something that I should have done six months ago when Wayan first brought this up. Or at the very least I should have simply used my Happy New Year from OLPC News post to do so because reading through it now it actually says almost everything I'd want to say in a goodbye post.

Writing up my South America experiences in Wayan's kitchen in August of 2010

So rather than repeat myself, my next thought was to take you on a quick trip down memory lane into how I got started on this rollercoaster ride with OLPC News and OLPC 7 ½ years ago. However 100 words in I realized that I was about to really repeat myself because I wrote all that up 2 ½ years ago when I formally took over the site and announced the Post-Wayan Era.

As such all that really remains to be said here is to thank all those who made OLPC happen (else, we would have had nothing to write about) and everyone who contributed to, commented (and yes, that also includes you Mephisto), shared, and read OLPC News and for making the past 7 years here such an amazing experience.

Looking at Google Analytics shows that we've had more than 2.2 million unique visitors and over 7.3 million pageviews since the site was launched. Including Wayan's Goodbye One Laptop per Child, OLPC Association's reply to it, and this final piece we'll have published 1842 articles which received a total of more than 16,000 comments. Aside of all these numbers I think it's fair to say that OLPC News has had a significant impact on the discussions around OLPC and within the wider ICT for Education (ICT4E) community (though I'm well aware that there's a range of opinions on whether that impact was positive or negative;-).

As for myself: What I wrote in that Happy New Year post back on December 31 still very much applies:

The core challenge that drives me remains figuring out how to integrate information and communication technologies in education in developing countries.

So while I will definitely remain part of the olpc community, I'll also continue to explore other approaches to improve learning with the support of technology. Given how much I enjoy writing you also shouldn't be surprised to stumble across the occasional post by yours truly on one or another ICT4E outlet. Especially since I strongly believe that the larger ICT4E world can still learn a lot from the aggregated experiences around OLPC and thereby avoid what Alan Kay once called "re-inventing the flat tire".

If you want to keep in touch please feel free to e-mail me at christoph@derndorfer.eu, keep an eye out for the occasional post on my personal blog or simply follow me on Google+ or Twitter.

Resumen en español: Hoy estamos anunciando que hemos decidido cerrar OLPC News.

En retrospectiva esto es algo que debería haber hecho hace seis meses, cuando Wayan por primera vez lo sugirió. O por lo menos debería haber simplemente usado mi Feliz Año Nuevo de OLPC NEWS articulo para hacerlo ya que lo leo ahora realmente dice casi todo lo que me gustaría decir en un post de despedida.

Así que en lugar de repetir a mí mismo mi siguiente pensamiento fue que le llevará en un viaje rápido como me inicié en este viaje con OLPC News y OLPC hace 7 años y medio. Sin embargo despues de 100 palabras me di cuenta de que yo estaba a punto de realmente repetirme porque escribí todo esto hace 2 años y medio cuando tomé formalmente el sitio y anuncié la era post-Wayan.

Como todo lo que realmente aún no se ha dicho aquí es como dar las gracias a todos los que hizieron posible a OLPC (sino habríamos tenido nada que escribir) y todos que contribuyeron, comentaron (y sí, eso incluye también a ti Mephisto;-), compartieron y leyeron OLPC News y para hacer los últimos 7 años aquí una experiencia increíble.

Google Analytics muestra que hemos tenido más de 2,2 millones de visitantes únicos y más de 7,3 millones de páginas vistas desde que se lanzó el sitio. Incluyendo los dos posts de Wayan de la semana pasada y esta pieza final habremos publicado 1.842 artículos que han recibido un total de más de 16.000 comentarios. Aparte de todos estos números creo que es justo decir que OLPC News ha tenido un impacto significativo en las discusiones en torno a OLPC y dentro de la comunidad más amplia de las TIC para la Educación (ICT4E) (aunque estoy muy consciente de que hay una gama de opiniones acerca de si ese impacto ha sido positivo o negativo;-)

En cuanto a mí: Lo que escribí en ese mensaje Feliz Año Nuevo de nuevo el 31 de diciembre todavía es muy válido:

El reto principal que me impulsa sigue siendo encontrar la manera de integrar las tecnologías de la información y la comunicación en la educación en los países en desarrollo.

Así, mientras que sin duda seguir siendo parte de la comunidad olpc, yo también voy a seguir explorar otros enfoques para mejorar el aprendizaje con el apoyo de la tecnología. Teniendo en cuenta lo mucho que me gusta escribir también no debe sorprenderse de tropezar con un mensaje mio en una o en otra publicacion sobre ICT4E. Sobre todo porque creo firmemente que el mundo ICT4E todavía puede aprender mucho de las experiencias globales alrededor OLPC y así evitar lo que Alan Kay una vez llamó "volver a inventar la rueda pinchada".

Si desea mantenerse en contacto por favor no dude en enviarme un correo electrónico a christoph@derndorfer.eu, mantener un ojo hacia fuera para el puesto ocassional en mi blog personal o simplemente seguirme en Google+ o Twitter.

Categories: OLPC / Ondalivre

News Flash: OLPC Association Lives On

laptop.org - Wed, 03/12/2014 - 14:27


While the One Laptop Per Child Foundation, the Boston branch of our favorite laptop project is dead, the OLPC Association, the Miami-based group focused on XO sales, jumped to life yesterday and pronounced its viability.

Here is Giulia D'Amico, Vice President of Business Development, on their present and future:

OLPC's mission to empower the world's children through education is far from over. OLPC is thriving and making more inroads at bringing education to those who can't easily access it. OLPC recently formed a strategic alliance with the Zamora Teran family through many of their enterprises and their philanthropic foundation, the "Fundación Zamora Teran to deliver XO laptops not only to Central and South America, but also to Africa.

Aside from distributing more laptops in several schools in Costa Rica, Uruguay is receiving its first 50k units of the XO-4 Touch (running Android) in a few weeks' time. In addition, the XO Tablet is currently available directly through governments and NGOs, as well as in Europe and Canada and through all major retail outlets in the United States including Walmart, Amazon, Toys 'R Us among the others.

OLPC also has outsourced many of the software and development units because the organization is becoming more hardware and OS agnostic, concentrating on its core values - education. As an example, we've partnered with the Smithsonian Museum to bring feature-rich, interactive and more targeted content to our young learners.

We have more exciting things planned in the horizon including the implementation of very large scale projects in several regions of the world, so be sure to stay tuned.

For those following along at home, the XO Tablet is interesting, I like it for the US market, but I don't see it as a developing world education solution.

Categories: OLPC / Ondalivre

Goodbye One Laptop per Child

laptop.org - Mon, 03/10/2014 - 09:15

Here is a question for you: 8 years on, would you recommend anyone start a new deployment with XO-1 laptops?

With the hardware now long past its life expectancy, spare parts hard to find, and zero support from the One Laptop Per Child organization, its time to face reality. The XO-1 laptop is history. Sadly, so is Sugar. Once the flagship of OLPC's creativity in redrawing the human-computer interaction, few are coding for it and new XO variants are mostly Android/Gnome+Fedora dual boots.

Finally, OLPC Boston is completely gone. No staff, no consultants, not even a physical office. Nicholas Negroponte long ago moved onto the global literacy X-Prize project.

That's not to say the OLPC idea is dead. OLPC Miami is still servicing the major deployments in Uruguay, Peru, and Rwanda, and has licensed commercial rights to the brand to Sakar/Vivitar, which introduced an XO Tablet for American children.

Yet let us be honest with ourselves. The great excitement, energy, and enthusiasm that brought us together is gone. OLPC is dead. In its place, is the reality that technology is a force in education, and we all need to be vigilant about when, where, and how it's used.

So take a moment to mourn the loss of OLPC, and then join us for the larger Educational Technology Debate on where all ICT4Edu efforts are going.

PS: A hearty shout-out to Mike Lee, Christoph Derndorfer, Brian Berry, Yama Ploskonka, Jon Camfield, and all the rest who made this journey the ride of a lifetime. Thanks, and see you on the next roller coaster.

Categories: OLPC / Ondalivre

A PhD Thesis About OLPC Asks: What are we doing? What are we bringing?

laptop.org - Wed, 03/05/2014 - 23:39

My name is Lars Bo Andersen and I have spent the last five years studying OLPC and, in particular, one small project at a school in Nigeria (which I call Akila's school after one of the students).

I have written a PhD thesis about OLPC, Akila and the school which I defended at Aarhus University in Denmark on the 27th of February:

There is, amongst others, a chapter describing the theories and debates around OLPC, there is one investigating how the initiative rose to fame and there are several more specific investigations of the laptops at Akila's school (e.g. chapters 5 and 6).

In this post I would like to share some general thoughts with the OLPC News community and, if possible, have them debated in the comments.

Let me give away my position from the start: I was/am highly enthusiastic about the opportunities of new technology for learning (I have benefited from these my whole life). But studying OLPC and the project at Akila's school has convinced me that we need to fundamentally re-conceptualise what it is we do when bringing laptops, tablets, internet, etc. into impoverished settings.

What OLPC projects do, I argue, is not to bring in laptops, but to reconfigure already existing networks of relations between children, teachers, hardware, software, pedagogy, parents, poverty and so forth.

But my argument is not only that we should re-conceptualise what we do, but also what we bring. What is it, really, that we are working so hard to deploy/implement/sustain?

I argue that XO laptops (or tablets) too are networks of relations. Not objects, not tools, but networks of relations.

The various XOs are, in the strongest (ontological) meaning of the word, sitting on each their respective network within which several actors are busy deploying each their own variant of the XO. I have described these many criss-cross deployments as a development encounter.

At Akila's school, for instance, the different deployments running through the network make the XOs suffer from a multiple laptop disorder. The laptops have several different identities and logics, some of which are even mutually exclusive and in friction.

The point is that not only is Akila's laptop different from itself, it is also different from Negroponte's laptop, or the ones in Peru and Uruguay.

What laptops are and what they can do is the outcome of dispersed negotiation (in the network).

In fact, we readers of OLPC News are part of this negotiation. When I claim that laptops are networks, some of you may write (or, at least, think to yourself): "nonsense, that is not what they are; they are tools with which to learn; they are X, no, wait, they are X and Y, but, in either case, they are not networks".

This is not just your opinion, or mine, this is in very specific ways something we are working to realise in praxis.

In this outlook, the rational, modern world of stable identities (XO as formally described) causing well known effects (trojan horses, mega change, literacy, empowerment, digital inclusion, learning French in Paris...) has turned trickster.

The purpose, impact and logic of laptops are evasive and emergent - not beyond control and not within control.

Even Negroponte, when claiming that laptops (or tablets) are for helicopter deployments, must accept that it is not really for him to decide - he is not alone in the network. Or, that is, he may make helicopter deployments in Ethiopia, but not at Akila's school, in Uruguay and elsewhere.

The world is acting back at Negroponte just like the Nigerian teachers are acting back at the Sugar philosophy.

We (as in all of us working with OLPC projects around the world) invest ourselves in the network, we add to the laptop, and so too does children, parents, NGOs, Quanta, solar panels, satellites and everyone else.

Quanta adds assembly lines, some of you write activities, and I add a story about Akila to supplement Negropontes stories from Cambodia, Ethiopia and elsewhere.

By the way: how can satellites add to laptops? Well, the satellite-isp-company-network adds a rather substantial invoice to Akila's laptop each month in order for the laptop to bridge the digital divide.

So, what does this mean? That everything is relative and unpredictable?

No, but it is a call to attention that 'XO' is simply the name we give large heterogeneous ensembles (Sugar+Quanta+AMD+Plastic+Scratch+Akila+Teacher+Papert+Batteries....) in which the specific components differ from deployment to deployment.

I have tried to re-think (by way of many others) what it is that we do and what it is that we bring.

A good question to the community, besides from general comments, is, then, what do you think we do and what, really, are we bringing?

Categories: OLPC / Ondalivre

OLPC Upgrades 7" XO Tablet and Adds 10" Version

laptop.org - Thu, 01/02/2014 - 22:48

Resumen en español al final del artículo

Ahead of next week's Consumer Electronic Show in Las Vegas - an event which OLPC Association has repeatedly used for making announcements in recent years - Brad Linder from liliputing.com reports that OLPC Association and Vivitar will release a slightly updated version of the 7" XO Tablet. Additionally they will add a 10" version of the XO Tablet to the lineup.

Brad's article says that the updated 7" XO Tablet is expected to cost $150 whereas the 10" version should cost $200. There's no information on when these new tablets will become available and if they'll also be available outside of the United States.

As the comparison table I put together below shows the hardware upgrades compared to the currently available 7" XO Tablet are quite small. In fact the only core component that received a significant upgrade is the CPU which is reported to be a quad core model with an unknown frequency as opposed to the currently used 1.6GHz dual core version. The front and back cameras also received upgrades to more up-to-date specifications. The 10" version is reported to additionally include a GPS module and a larger battery.

Brad also writes that:

Vivitar says optional accessories will include a wireless keyboard and a few things you don't normally see marked as tablet accessories, including a digital microscope with up to 300x magnification and a digital telescope with up to 200x magnification.

The addition of these accessories doesn't come as much of a surprise given that OLPC Association showed off a microscope (which upon closer inspection looks to be this $27 AGPtek-branded model) and the telescope designed by the French Academy of Science to Engadget all the way back in May of 2013. At the time they were discussed as accessories for the XO-4 laptops but I assume that the accessories will be quite similar to what was shown back then.

At this point it is unknown whether the new XO Tablet's will also come with an updated version of Android and/or additional content accessible via OLPC Association's Dream interface.

Overall the upgrade of the 7" XO Tablet is nice but very incremental and hardly anything to call home about. The introduction of a 10" version might potentially attract some additional buyers although the reported 1024 x 768 resolution is definitely on the very low-end for such a large display. I'd say that based on the currently available information these announcements don't significantly improve the XO Tablet lineup's value proposition compared to other consumer products. But then again, it's not like the upgrades hurt it either.

So if you're interested in purchasing an XO Tablet then I'd suggest taking a look at one of the dozen or so articles we've published in which different people shared their experiences and impressions of the device, software, and content.

Resumen en español: Por delante del Consumer Electronic Show en Las Vegas - un evento que OLPC Association ha utilizado para hacer anuncios en los últimos años - Brad Linder desde liliputing.com informa que la OLPC Association y Vivitar lanzará una versión ligeramente actualizada del 7" Tablet XO . Además se va a agregar una versión de 10" de la XO Tablet. El artículo de Brad dice que se espera que la actualizacion del 7" XO Tablet va a costar 150 dólares , mientras que la versión de 10" debería costar $ 200. No hay información sobre cuándo estas nuevas tablets llegaran y si también estarán disponibles fuera de los Estados Unidos.

En general, la actualización del 7" Tablet XO es bonito pero muy gradual y no muy excitante. La introducción de una version con 10" podría potencialmente atraer a algunos compradores adicionales aunque la reportada resolución 1024 x 768 es en la gama baja muy para una pantalla de este tamaño. Yo diría que en base a la información disponible en la actualidad estos anuncios no mejoran significativamente la propuesta de valor de los XO Tablets en comparación con otros productos. Pero al mismo tiempo no es que las mejoras lastiman tampoco.


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Categories: OLPC / Ondalivre

Happy New Year from OLPC News

laptop.org - Tue, 12/31/2013 - 18:34

Resumen en español al final del artículo

photo by DustyDingo

As I sit here and go through our posts from 2013 instead of getting ready for tonight's celebrations I can't shake one thought from my head: It's been a weird year when it comes to One Laptop per Child.

And no, I don't mean that it's been a year in which nothing happened. However as you can tell from the low quantity of posts - in the past 12 months we've published only about two dozen articles - there haven't been too many things that got me excited enough to start writing about them. The reality is that much of what has happened has been somewhat depressing.

Even though many people within the global olpc community have denied it for much of the year it's now become painfully obvious that OLPC as an organization is very different today then it was back in 2012 and earlier. Of course different doesn't automatically mean worse but personally I can neither get excited about nor much believe in the value of the XO Tablet which is what OLPC Association in Miami largely focused on in 2013.

The core challenge that drives me remains figuring out how to integrate information and communication technologies in education in developing countries. We've learned a great deal about what works and what doesn't work through OLPC since it was launched all the way back in 2005. And I dare say the world is a better place thanks to the efforts of the organization, its employees and everyone involved in the global community.

However I feel that this year has shown that for many reasons we've reached an impasse.

OLPC Association as an organization is no longer looking at the right questions, doesn't come up with relevant answers, and has hence lost the capacity in terms of people and associated leadership role that the capital letter OLPC has had for the majority of the past few years.

As a lower-case olpc community and wider ecosystem we have not quite figured out how to deal with that change. Yes, people are working on interesting technology solutions, some of which might prove to be highly valuable down the road. But beyond that it's not clear who will solve - or at least try to solve - the tough challenges related to what I've called the six criteria for successful implementations of ICT for Education projects in developing countries:

  • Infrastructure
  • Maintenance
  • Contents and materials
  • Community inclusion
  • Teacher training
  • Evaluation

If we want to be successful we will have to address these challenges ourselves and head-on rather hoping for someone else to do it for us. After all that's the spirit that led to the creation of OLPC and everything that has happened since then in the first place.

The question - regardless of whether you're in Austria or Zambia - no longer is whether to use information and community technologies in education or not. It's about what technologies to use and even more importantly how to use them. If we want to have a say in answering these questions instead of seeing the world's classrooms filled with inappropriate devices and outdated pedagogy approaches we better up our game and focus on what's important. Else we'll find ourselves a couple of years down the road, standing on the sidelines, complaining about this missed opportunity, and wondering what we did wrong. And I don't know about you but that's not what I want to be doing come 2018.

With these thoughts in mind I wish all of you a Happy New Year and look forward to 2014! :-)

Resumen en español: Como ya estoy muy tarde para una fiesta no me queda el tiempo para hacer una traduccion al español pero si alguien tiene una pregunta que me avisan en un comentario o por correo electronico. Feliz año nuevo desde Austria!


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Categories: OLPC / Ondalivre

olpcnews.com on Android stock browser on an XO-4 Touch [Flickr]

laptop.org - Tue, 12/31/2013 - 00:55

Christoph Derndorfer posted a photo:

More information available at: wiki.laptop.org/go/Android

Categories: OLPC / Ondalivre

Android 4.3.1 running on an OLPC XO-4 Touch laptop [Flickr]

laptop.org - Tue, 12/31/2013 - 00:55

Christoph Derndorfer posted a photo:

More information available at: wiki.laptop.org/go/Android

Categories: OLPC / Ondalivre

Thu, 01/01/1970 - 01:00
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