Following One Laptop per Child’s (OLPC) Give 1, Get 1 program last year LAPTOP Magazine was committed to witnessing the impact of giving an XO to child of the developing world. To that end, we donated 30 XOs to the village of Ouéléssébougou, Mali. Starting in September we began a series of blog posts that followed our pilot program in Mali, Africa. You can follow the details of the experience in each of the posts found here, but the pictures below provide a glimpse into this powerful experience.
The 30 XO laptops donated by LAPTOP Magazine arrive in Mali.
Most of the teachers and volunteers involved had never used a computer before. Here former LAPTOP employee Salimata Fandjalan Bangoura, the project manager for OLPC Mali, instructs the teachers on laptops and the XO before the eight week one-on-one laptop program begins.
Due to a delay in shipments of solar panel chargers, it was necessary to install electricity in the classroom where the program would take place. The laptops had to be plugged in most of the day as battery life is just about two hours. We did not install a server or connectivity for Internet access.
Ouéléssébougou's Mayor goes hands on with the XO. The engagement of the entire community was essential to the project. On completion of teacher training, an opening ceremony, attended by the town's mayor, village chief and police and government representatives, allowed parents and other villagers the opportunity to participate in distributing the 30 XO laptops to the eager third- and fourth-grade students.
The third and fourth grade students are given their XOs for the eight week program. The kids immediately loved the webcam and used it to take pictures of themselves.
During the first week of instruction, the students mastered everything that took the teachers and volunteers two weeks to do. They could open and close activities, take pictures and record videos, write about themselves in the Write application, Chat with one another, and connect to different mesh networks.
After spending the morning learning how to use the laptops and reading and writing, the kids eat lunch.
After the first three weeks of the program, the kids are able to bring the laptops home and use them outside the classroom like the XO was designed to do.
Parents told Salimata that their kids shared the laptops with their families. One mother even told her that she would take the laptop from her son to practice typing and to take pictures of herself.
A story a student wrote on his XO.
A few students teach each other how to create a project on Etoys, a preloaded program.
After eight weeks the XO became a second language to the students, but unfortunately they have to part with them so other students at the school can get a chance to learn from the laptops.
A small party was thrown on the final day of the program and each of the children got certificates of participation. The 30 XOs are now used in a computer room in the school. Based on the successful eight week program, it is our hope and the hope of the government of Mali that more XO laptops will make their way to the country and its children.