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One Laptop Per Child?

posted Jan 25, 2010, 8:18 AM by Reinoud Vaandrager
Every tuesday and thursday some volunteers (including me) help out with teaching children in an after school class. Here they can brush up on various skills such as English, Math, etc. These classes are invaluable to the kids since here they actually get the opportunity to get some 1:1 time with the teacher (regular classes here often consist of between 60 and 80 pupils...).

One of the subjest I like to teach is obviously computing. So with the donated OLPCs (Thanks Manuel & Tilek!) we introduced the kids to the wonderful world of keyboards and mousepads last week. The kids had heard they were going to be taught "the computer" earlier that day, so a lot of them turned up! We only had 3 laptops available (all running on battery since the school has no electricity) so we had to divide the kids up in 3 groups: class 1&2 (the youngest primary schoolers), class 3&4, and finally class 5&6 (the oldest).



Once they got their hands on it and figured out how to move the mouse and start new applications they were totally hooked. Especially the application with the webcam was a huge hit :). Unfortunately the OLPCs are not as child-proof as they claim to be since all the kids had dirty hands and fingers, so in no time the mousepad started malfunctioning due to the layer of dust and dirt that stuck to it after the first minutes of use.

All in all, there is great enthusiasm from the kids to learn more about computers and computing, so I'm currently working with Joshua to set up a computer lab in the RUDEC office. All in all we should have 5 laptops and a printer. Before we install the laptops though, we need to dust proof one of the rooms we want to use for this purpose (the fine dust is a real laptop killer; it is everywhere and gets into the systems easily, because it appears to contain iron it seems to short circuit any electronics and send them to their digital graves). Anyway more on the computerlab project later. We need to do some fundraising though to get the money to do the dustproofing of the room so If you are willing to help out, please donate! ;)
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