Saturday, 2 May 2015

We are not wasting our time (8 years for me) :-)

Not many people bother to read details of research data for some critical in-depth analysis. OLPC and the XO laptops were designed for children who have no computer access for joyful self-directed learning. I care about fluid intelligence which is important for young children who are growing up fast. The evidences I found so far support this impact when we sieve out other variables and as the right questions.

"There were positive impacts on the Raven's Progressive Matrices test among children who did not have a home computer before the intervention, but no significant effects for the sample as a whole" 
(http://www.nber.org/papers/w18818

Some positive effects are found, however, in general cognitive skills as measured by Raven’s Progressive Matrices, a verbal fluency test and a Coding test.
( http://www.iadb.org/en/research-and-data/publication-details,3169.html?pub_id=IDB-WP-304)


This support my observations working with the poor children as a Psychologist who does intellectual evaluation on both rich and poor children. Learning/play tools make a difference in cognitive stimulation and learning.

On a personal note till today I have yet to see a better alternative to the XO laptops. There are many ways to cook something .... with different impact on our taste bugs. Perhaps something will be in preparation for basecamps olpc 2.015 if people are willing to dine, celebrate and work harder.

 XO4All as it will be 10 years this year in Nov :-)



Monday, 13 April 2015

Insights into XO usage


These are not assignments . Some work by children who shared XOs in a community. 


 English translation:

 " Thank you teacher because you gave us an opportunity to learn. We all wish you teacher ... thank you teacher"



and


EnglishTranslation: 

"Today I am very happy as I have a gathering of my friends. My friends name are ......and many more. I have forgotten their names. I wish them always healthy. bye2"


How true.....


"This is not just a matter of giving a laptop to each child, as if bestowing on them some magical charm. The magic lies within -- within each child, within each scientist, scholar, or just plain citizen in the making. This initiative is meant to bring it forth into the light of day." 
—Kofi Annan


Friday, 13 March 2015

XOs in Deployment


Packing (NOW in Malaysia and posting this) up for another trip to Malaysia. This time for a small urban micro-deployment in my hometown Malacca. It will serve children who are underprivileged  - a mix of refugees children and indigenous OA children. Again this is made possible through donations from my past Malaccan classmates. dLEAP2 will be launched on March 16-17. Getting help from the first dLEAP deployment - 4 children will be driven all the way down (4-5 hours) from their hostel in Tras, Pahang by their warden. They will bring extra XOs  to help in out for the 2 days training.

As much as I love the XO laptops there are two drawbacks. One is weight. In deployments be-careful not to break your back :-( if you have to transport them yourself. 




The other  issue is video playing. While tablets and smartphones are multimedia ready out of the box, the  XO  need some technical intervention for it to work right. Licensing issues with Flash and Codec make distribution of an integrated solution harder.

The "endless spin" is frustrating when children, teacher and end users expect pictures that moves.    


Issue two can change if we recognized that working video streaming capability in a laptop is MUST and not an addon. Let's unleash what the XO can do as it celebrate its 10 years in 2015.


XO4All

Now off to Malacca by car!







Monday, 16 February 2015

olpc 2.015: Year of the RAM


The XO has come a long way since its inception in November 2005 thanks to the hundreds of volunteers. This year 2015, will be 10 years since the 1st protoype was shown to the world. Let us celebrate how far we have come and not forget why we participated:

"This is not just a matter of giving a laptop to each child, as if bestowing on them some magical charm. The magic lies within -- within each child, within each scientist, scholar, or just plain citizen in the making. This initiative is meant to bring it forth into the light of day." 
—Kofi Annan

This is my first posting in 2015. Hope 2015 will bring another round of momentum to keep the spirit alive for olpc 2.015 and beyond. Perhaps a world-wide reunion and celebration!

Personally, it has been an incredible journey of learning for me when I got my G4G4 XOs and celebrated the Year of the OX in 2008. We had fun taking the XOs for rides in the Year of the Ox,Tiger, etc. The Year of the Dragon and Snake  followed.

olpc 2.015 will kickstart in the Year of the RAM.

 I still dream that XO4All will become a reality as I remained optimistic after all these years! 



Friday, 19 December 2014

A Year in Summary (2014)

The year 2014 is coming to an end. Wishing everyone a Happy New Year.  I had a chance to re-watched the videos of basecamp2013 as I try to think about "What's Next" and reflect on what have been achieved a year after basecamp2013.

From a larger picture, it is indeed sad that many key people at the OLPC headquarter in Miami have moved on to new jobs. The office has  relocated elsewhere (where ?) .  OLPC website at http://www.laptop.org is not very update. Very little news are coming out from HQ. Expect the XO-4 laptop to be the last iteration of XO being developed. Have not heard also on the OLPC tablet.

In the true spirit of olpc 2.0,  volunteers have started new projects. Today it is about  trying to work with whatever resources or network left over and building new partnerships. New and cheaper devices (herehere and here ) are coming out  into the market. Unfortunately none has achieved the full functionality afforded by the older and current XO laptop.Thus  I remain a XO die-hard evangelist but pragmatic since OLPC sponsorships are  slow  to come by.  Need to seek new ways and directions to support what we do in 2015 and beyond.

This year basecamp2014Trek was a success. The journey took us from Penang, Ipoh, Tras, KL to Malacca. I met up with new people who support the work n Malaysia. Videos recording of the trip can be found here. Memorable digital pictures offer glimpse of what the "treking". Highlights include bringing four Orang Asli children to the Penang International Science Fair (Nov 15-16). That was the bootstart basecamp2014Trek event.  These lucky 4 four kids had a chance to meet the Chief Minister of Penang when he visited our workshop area.


After Penang it was Ipoh and Tras. We celebrated Universal Children Day at the SEMOA farm in Tras with a village like feast. SEMOA farm is where 40 XO laptops are donated for  the digital Learning & Education Asli Project (dLEAP) inititive. The kids had a fun  time using the XO prior to the night feast. Managed to take photos of the children using their XOs in open spaces even at night. 

I used a camera shot as background for this year e-greeting card remix.


So what will 2015 be like? 

For  2015 there is a need to initiate more followups and activities to keep the olpc 2.0 momentum/spirit burning in Malaysia. Hope we can invite people/volunteers in deployments like Haiti,  Nepal to Cambodia and OLPC supporters to come to Malaysia again. 

It is significant that 2015 will be 10 years since the OLPC XO laptop was announced to the world in 2005.  Let's celebrate 10 years anniversary and XO Day with a final bang!

I have a dream for basecamp2015Peak in Nov 2015. Doable if people continue their personal olpc 2.0 journey. 




Merry Christmas & Happy New Year.



Thursday, 16 October 2014

More Musing: 11 months after basecamp2013@Malacca

Yesterday was Oct 16, 2014. It has been 11 months since basecamp2013@Malacca. During this period many things have transpired. To keep the momentum for Malaysian OLPC initiatives I have have been back three times to feed the seeds with the help of friends and volunteers.

The dLEAP project initiated by my schoolmates of MHS with XO laptops sponsorship are benefiting the Orang Asli (OA) children in the SEMOA farm at Tras, Bentong. This impromptu short-interview of the warden at SEMOA describe the changes she noticed over the months.  Personally, I have seen OA children use the XO laptop with high exploratory behaviors which surpass those of urban Hong Kong children that I am more familiar!

To enable more voluntarism and use of XO laptops for different communities the  mOLC  (mobile Open Learning Chest) have been field tested. Some interesting observations are reported in this KopiTiam video made over breakfast while I was back in Malacca recently. Ms Tay who coordinates this is a passionate teacher in Termerloh.


What is next?


For this year, Basecamp2014Trek will kickoff at the Penang International Science Fair on Nov 15-16,2014 with workshops and a exhibition. Sponsorship from dLEAP fundraiser YS Chua will enable three OA children to visit Penang and learn from the fair. This will be an eye-opening experience for them on the world of science and technology.


We will also celebrate XO Day as it is  9 years since the OLPC XO laptop was announced to the world on Nov 16, 2005. Basecamp2014Trek will move south from Penang where we hope to set up a physical basecamp at the SEMOA farm. The timing is perfect as it allows us to celebrate  United Nation Universal Children Day on Nov 20 with the children and for some sharing by the 3 kids after the Penang trip.

On Nov 21 UNICEF will be holding a public forum to launch the State of the World's Children report in Malaysia. Its theme "Innovation for Children" is very relevant to what we are doing and we hope to attend. It will also be an an excellent networking opportunities to meet people with similar passions.

After 21st we hope to visit more old and new sites for possible deployments. Personally when the signs are positive that Malaysian children will benefit greatly from what we do, it is time to look into how to kickstart a social-enterprise project. Our efforts need a more sustainable future in Malaysia.








Thursday, 15 May 2014

Musing: 1/2 a year after basecamp

This weekend will be 1/2 a year since basecamp@Malacca, 2013 ended (read Nancie Severs present and past  blog here).  As I muse on the past the issues of impact change and teachers support constantly surface. A recent blog is positive that MOOC can make a difference. However even with money change is not that easy. I notice the constant OLPC bashing  never seem to end. However there is a  thoughtful  blog that gives credit to OLPC 1:1 initiative despite some doubts if we are still alive:

“One laptop per child” visions began almost half a century ago with Alan Kay’s Dynabook concept. Kay pursued education initiatives for decades. The nine-year-old OLPC consortium aimed unsuccessfully for a $100 dollar device, encountering technical and organizational challenges. The site’s once-active blog has been quiet for six months. Its Wikipedia page reflects no new developments for two years. Media accounts consist of claims that OLPC has closed its doors; these are disputed, but the debate speaks for itself.  

Over the past week I have been watching old Video1 &  Video 2  to try to capture the spirit of the past. This  tireless spirit is acted out once again  in OLE Nepal, with TurtleArt Day being conducted by Walter Bender and core OLPC supporters. Some attended basecamp2013.



For children to learn in the digital age they must have access to the digital tools. With tools (e.g. XO laptop) available for some fortunate communities, adults must allocate time for usage. This is critical when the laptop or tools are not own by the child and dependent on adults for access. It is universal for any reform initiative  that  “ .....  At some time, you have to persuade people.”  (the ending line of this long article)

Can teachers learn?  My hope is  teachers learn and support each other in the process. My hopes are raised when I received e-mail with updates: 

" we spent a good 3 hours today with the XO ..... I am pleased with the response as the teacher learned the activities ... showed much promise. Down the line, she began to imagine and suggest how to use some of the activities for the kids ... I am really pleased!! I am confident that she will explore some more when she gets home, and knowing how to move around the XO, she will manage well"

Getting champions will keep the fire burning. I ponder if organising basecamp2014 can make new impact, but keep reminding myself: "if it happen, it will happen". So far I am happy the the mobile  Open Learning Chest is been used and going to different communities.

Nevertheless 2015 is worth thinking about when OLPC reach a decade since it was announced.


.