July 21, 2016

Project Rive: Reaching Students in Haiti

Internet out of the Box

The last time I was here, in Matènwa, the Internet was so slow it was almost more frustrating to use it than to pretend that it didn’t exist. The cell phone towers were installed, but the cell phone company didn’t … Continue reading

by Sora at July 21, 2016 12:22 PM

July 19, 2016

Juan Chacon Free Software & Education | El Salvador

Setting Up a RHCSA Practice Laptop - Part 1

In order to practice for the RHCSA at home, I took an old Dell Latitude E6500 with 4GiB of RAM and purchased a 500GiB hard drive on which I could install CentOS 7 with a server GUI as the base operating system and them multiple virtual machines using KVM with which to experiment and learn.

My package selection for the install was a Server GUI installation. I partitioned the hard drive with 1 GiB of swap, 500 MiB on a standard partition for the /boot, and 30 GiB for the root partition.

I also created a 60 GiB partition for /home, and then allocated everything that remained (375.27 GiB) to /var.  The reason for giving some much space to /var is that the default KVM / qemu setup on CentOS 7 places virtual hard drive images in /var/lib/libvirt/images, so I wanted plenty of space available for multiple images.

After the install finished I wanted to see what the partitions looked like, so I ran
$ sudo yum install system-storage-manager
and then
$ sudo ssm list
which revealed the following:

Device Free Used Total Pool Mount point
/dev/sda 465.76 GB PARTITIONED
/dev/sda1 500.00 MB /boot
/dev/sda2 0.00 KB 465.27 GB 465.27 GB centos
Pool Type Devices Free Used Total
centos lvm 1 0.00 KB 465.27 GB 465.27 GB
Volume Pool Vol size FS FS size Free Type Mount point
/dev/centos/swap centos 1.00 GB linear
/dev/centos/root centos 30.00 GB xfs 29.99 GB 26.73 GB linear /
/dev/centos/home centos 60.00 GB ext4 60.00 GB 55.88 GB linear /home
/dev/centos/var centos 374.27 GB ext4 374.27 GB 349.02 GB linear /var
/dev/sda1 500.00 MB xfs 493.73 MB 293.59 MB part /boot

To be continued in Fall of 2016..


by jelkner (noreply@blogger.com) at July 19, 2016 10:39 AM

July 01, 2016

Hands of Charity XO Project | Kenya

Connecting Kids Wildlife Studies – Latest Report from Bonnie



Wildlife Protection : One Planet Education Network brings  Bungoma Kenya SSBI Hands of Charity partners with Haiti, and US students together. 


Click to support this work: Support These Kenya Kids

SKYPE with Haiti  and US students started well whereby our learners were very happy about having a distance learning event in their schools. We started with Namwesi primary school on Friday where teachers went to prepare learners on what the skype will be about. and prepare distance learning event whereby as Bungoma team were to talk about wildlife especially Rhino and Elephants with learners from different schools of NYC, Haiti, North Carolina and representave from AWF and Marinelife representative talking about hawksbill turtles.

Bungoma team was so proud to talk to George and others including Dr. Ronelus who they said his a black American teacher of Haitian origin.
On Monday 6th June 2016, was a great day for Namwesi primary pupils to participate in the distance learning event to prepare notes on wildlife so that they can do their presentations perfectly Those to participate were, Brighton, Shamillah, Obadiah, Evans and Faith.

It was 2.00 pm when Hands of Charity staff arrived Namwesi school compound to facilitated a long waited event. Students were much eager to see and hear from American students. “Tunaenda kuongea na wanafunzi wazungu”, we are going to talk to white students. You could find them making fun of talking like Americans. When time came, 3.30 pm our hp device donated to us by Small Solutions  and BRCK router were set ready to perform.

When the heard an incoming Skype call from George Newman they smiled in a secret manner not showing up there curiosity towards what was going to happen the next minute.The call was answered by video and they heard and saw Mr. Newman first then followed by different participants. Thereafter, all the eyes was on the screen to see what will happen next. Our students were surrised to see Dr. Ronelus with his students and his bass voice. They were also much interested with how their colleagues classrooms well equipped compared to Bungoma classrooms.



The common killed animals among the BIG 5 include;

Lion Elephant Rhino

LION: Reason why poached  Is poached and killed mainly because of it’s skin and heart according to our local understanding.Its skin is used for making leather shoes and bags. Its heart is used by the army soldiers as food. Locals belief that, the hearts make them to be as brave as the Lion ( a myth)

ELEPHANTS Are huge animals. They are mainly hunted because of their tusks.

RHINO They are mainly hunted for their horns.2.The horns cure cancer3.Other communities believes that the horns acts as a right of passage from childhood to adulthood.4The horns are used in making ornaments in some countries e.g. Kenya and Switzerlandwhich include, braceletes, bangles, earrings,. Cancer cure

SKIN The skins are removed from their bodies and sold in manufacturing industriesThe skin is used in making leather shoes, bags and clothes according to local understanding.

Suggestions to the government as a way of improving wildlife security.

1. We would like the government of Kenya to employ more game wardens.

2. Do capacity building to the entire community and who the government suspect as the poachers on the importance of wildlife and,

3. Employ the poachers who freely surrender themselves to the government as a way of stopping poaching.

4. Those people with big farms to be allowed the government to build sanctuaries as a way of bringing security near the citizen.


Earns Kenya foreign exchange after the tourist had visited Kenya. It is a pride of our country. The forests acts as water cachment areas and bring rain fal. l Help other tourists to have trips in Kenya to see animals that do not exist in the other countries.


RHINO: A Rhino is one of the big animals in Kenya. It is strong wide and big animal that feeds on grass. It issaid that it normally feed on grass at night. It stays in the forest

ELEPHANT:An elephant is a huge animal found in the forest. It lives for about 80 years. Its young one is called a calf. It normally feeds on grass during the day. They have two tusks on their noses and a strong trunk that runs from the forehead. They are mainly hunted for their tusks/ivory.

Daniel_PosterStopDestroyingFriday Butonge primary school. – class seven

Used paint activity to choose colors. . They drew a green vegetation as a simple of a place having enough rainfall and a good place for crop farming. Kids indicated rivers passing through that vegetation area and colored it with blue as a symbol of water and big trees showing the importance of forests. The purpose was to tell others on the importance of afforestation and effects of afforestation. The idea of afforestation is coming up to due increased number of cutting trees in the area they come from. 51 students attended the sessions as 26 laptops were used per session.




by smallsolutionsbigideas at July 01, 2016 03:20 PM

Sridhar Dhanapalan

A Complete Literacy Experience For Young Children

From the “I should have posted this months ago” vault…

When I led technology development at One Laptop per Child Australia, I maintained two golden rules:

  1. everything that we release must ‘just work’ from the perspective of the user (usually a child or teacher), and
  2. no special technical expertise should ever be required to set-up, use or maintain the technology.

In large part, I believe that we were successful.

Once the more obvious challenges have been identified and cleared, some more fundamental problems become evident. Our goal was to improve educational opportunities for children as young as possible, but proficiently using computers to input information can require a degree of literacy.

Sugar Labs have done stellar work in questioning the relevance of the desktop metaphor for education, and in coming up with a more suitable alternative. This proved to be a remarkable platform for developing a touch-screen laptop, in the form of the XO-4 Touch: the icons-based user interface meant that we could add touch capabilities with relatively few user-visible tweaks. The screen can be swivelled and closed over the keyboard as with previous models, meaning that this new version can be easily converted into a pure tablet at will.

Revisiting Our Assumptions

Still, a fundamental assumption has long gone unchallenged on all computers: the default typeface and keyboard. It doesn’t at all represent how young children learn the English alphabet or literacy. Moreover, at OLPC Australia we were often dealing with children who were behind on learning outcomes, and who were attending school with almost no exposure to English (since they speak other languages at home). How are they supposed to learn the curriculum when they can barely communicate in the classroom?

Looking at a standard PC keyboard, you’ll see that the keys are printed with upper-case letters. And yet, that is not how letters are taught in Australian schools. Imagine that you’re a child who still hasn’t grasped his/her ABCs. You see a keyboard full of unfamiliar symbols. You press one, and on the screen pops up a completely different looking letter! The keyboard may be in upper-case, but by default you’ll get the lower-case variants on the screen.

A standard PC keyboard
A standard PC keyboard

Unfortunately, the most prevalent touch-screen keyboard on the marke isn’t any better. Given the large education market for its parent company, I’m astounded that this has not been a priority.

The Apple iOS keyboard
The Apple iOS keyboard

Better alternatives exist on other platforms, but I still was not satisfied.

A Re-Think

The solution required an examination of how children learn, and the challenges that they often face when doing so. The end result is simple, yet effective.

The standard OLPC XO mechanical keyboard (above) versus the OLPC Australia Literacy keyboard (below)
The standard OLPC XO mechanical keyboard (above) versus the OLPC Australia Literacy keyboard (below)

This image contrasts the standard OLPC mechanical keyboard with the OLPC Australia Literacy keyboard that we developed. Getting there required several considerations:

  1. a new typeface, optimised for literacy
  2. a cleaner design, omitting characters that are not common in English (they can still be entered with the AltGr key)
  3. an emphasis on lower-case
  4. upper-case letters printed on the same keys, with the Shift arrow angled to indicate the relationship
  5. better use of symbols to aid instruction

One interesting user story with the old keyboard that I came across was in a remote Australian school, where Aboriginal children were trying to play the Maze activity by pressing the opposite arrows that they were supposed to. Apparently they thought that the arrows represented birds’ feet! You’ll see that we changed the arrow heads on the literacy keyboard as a result.

We explicitly chose not to change the QWERTY layout. That’s a different debate for another time.

The Typeface

The abc123 typeface is largely the result of work I did with John Greatorex. It is freely downloadable (in TrueType and FontForge formats) and open source.

After much research and discussions with educators, I was unimpressed with the other literacy-oriented fonts available online. Characters like ‘a’ and ‘9’ (just to mention a couple) are not rendered in the way that children are taught to write them. Young children are also susceptible to confusion over letters that look similar, including mirror-images of letters. We worked to differentiate, for instance, the lower-case L from the upper-case i, and the lower-case p from the lower-case q.

Typography is a wonderfully complex intersection of art and science, and it would have been foolhardy for us to have started from scratch. We used as our base the high-quality DejaVu Sans typeface. This gave us a foundation that worked well on screen and in print. Importantly for us, it maintained legibility at small point sizes on the 200dpi XO display.

On the Screen

abc123 is a suitable substitute for DejaVu Sans. I have been using it as the default user interface font in Ubuntu for over a year.

It looks great in Sugar as well. The letters are crisp and easy to differentiate, even at small point sizes. We made abc123 the default font for both the user interface and in activities (applications).

The abc123 font in Sugar's Write activity, on an XO laptop screen
The abc123 font in Sugar’s Write activity, on an XO laptop screen

Likewise, the touch-screen keyboard is clear and simple to use.

The abc123 font on the XO touch-screen keyboard, on an XO laptop screen
The abc123 font on the XO touch-screen keyboard, on an XO laptop screen

The end result is a more consistent literacy experience across the whole device. What you press on the hardware or touch-screen keyboard will be reproduced exactly on the screen. What you see on the user interface is also what you see on the keyboards.

by Sridhar Dhanapalan at July 01, 2016 07:26 AM

ICT4D Views from the Field

Second Training with Peace Corps Volunteers in Samoa: Upolu Island


The SolarSPELL team held the second of two trainings with Peace Corps volunteers in Samoa in mid-June, 2016, on Upolu Island.

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The SPELL team was appreciative of the opportunity to get to know the volunteers here before the training started; another welcoming and informative group! They had already heard about the SPELL from their fellow volunteers on Savai’i Island the week before, and were extremely positive and enthusiastic about the solar digital libraries and being able to use them at their schools around the island.

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This group had a lot of great questions and ideas for us, in moving forward. We loved the tough questions they had and the insightful thoughts shared during the discussion. And we’re particularly look forward to hearing from them with suggestions for improvements for the SPELL!

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In fact, we’ve already heard from a few of them over Facebook, with tremendous posts and news—please keep that fantastic communication coming! Below is a picture sent by one of the volunteers (Meagen) who introduced the SPELL to the teachers at her school, and she reported that the teachers ended up staying late because they lost track of time looking at everything on the SPELL. They wouldn’t even respond to her questions, they were so involved in it!

Samoa SPELL use from Meagan Good

After the training finished that afternoon, Bruce launched one of the SPELL libraries in the pool, just to demonstrate how waterproof it is…and that it floats!

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by ljhosman at July 01, 2016 04:39 AM

June 23, 2016

ICT4D Views from the Field

First Training with Peace Corps Volunteers in Samoa: Savai’i Island


The SolarSPELL team held the first of two trainings with Peace Corps volunteers in Samoa in early June, 2016, on Savai’i island.



This training was particularly exciting for a few reasons: first, because all of the PC Volunteers in Samoa are English-language teachers, and/or librarians at their local schools. Thus, the SolarSPELL digital library is truly addressing a need within an existing initiative (or, as I prefer to say, hitting a synergistic sweet spot).



The training was also fantastic because the SPELL team had the opportunity to hang out with and get to know the volunteers on this island before the training started. The group was incredibly welcoming and inclusive! Their enthusiasm during the training was incredible and quite contagious. It was really tremendous to hear how relevant they found the information on the libraries, and to see how excited they were to start using these digital libraries at their schools.




The team also had the opportunity to visit a few of the schools where volunteers are stationed, and to see the libraries they were in the process of setting up there.



It was particularly exciting when we visited the second school: classes were finished for the day, but the teachers were still there. When we showed them the SolarSPELL it was pretty incredible, as every teacher there had a smartphone with her. We showed each of them how to connect to the library with the WiFi on their phones, and within minutes (seconds?) they were all surfing the SolarSPELL website.



In fact, one of them had never used the WiFi or Web Browser features on her phone before, because Internet connectivity is neither common nor affordable here. She was so excited to learn that she already had these capabilities on her very own phone, and could now surf the library’s “Internet” for free!


by ljhosman at June 23, 2016 05:00 AM

June 21, 2016

One Laptop per Child

Why schools should provide one laptop per child

, Professor of Education and Informatics from the University of California, Irvine and ,  Assistant Professor from the Michigan State University, recently posted an article asking if there is a need to abandon attempts to integrate technology in schools due to a recent international study published by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, which found no positive evidence of impact of educational technology on student performance.

According to the article, Professor Warschauer and Assistant Professor Zheng, have conducted their…

…own extensive observations. We conducted a synthesis of the results of 96 published global studies on these programs in K-12 schools during 2001-2015. Among them, 10 rigorously designed studies, mostly from the U.S., were included, to examine the relationship between these programs and academic achievement. We found significant benefits.We found students’ test scores in science, writing, math and English language arts improved significantly.

And the benefits were not limited to test scores.

To find out about their conclusions and read the full article, please click here.


Disclosure statement

Mark Warschauer has received funding for his research from the National Science Foundation, the Institute of Education Sciences, the Carnegie Corporation, the Smithsonian Center for Learning and Digital Access, the Spencer Foundation, the John Randolph Haynes and Dora Haynes Foundation, and Google Research.

Binbin Zheng does not work for, consult, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organization that would benefit from this article, and has disclosed no relevant affiliations beyond the academic appointment above

by mariana at June 21, 2016 12:50 PM

June 20, 2016

One Laptop per Child

. @MoneyGramMe Foundation Reinvests in Innovative Educational Organizations in 2016

Grants of nearly $300,000 will support educational programs

Original post from  MoneyGram

DALLAS, June 14, 2016 /PRNewswire/ — MoneyGram (NASDAQ: MGI) today announced the MoneyGram Foundation will award seven grants across seven countries for the first grant cycle of 2016. The foundation will renew its support to innovative educational programs operating in India, Jamaica, Laos, Nicaragua, Pakistan and Vietnam, as well as in four cities in the United States.

“The MoneyGram Foundation is honored to continue to support programs around the world that are making a meaningful and measurable difference for children’s education in communities where our customers live and work,” said Pamela H. Patsley, MoneyGram’s  executive chairman. “MoneyGram is proud to expand our foundation’s work to Laos and Nicaragua through these established programs.”

The recipients in the foundation’s first grant round of 2016 include:

  • Agastya International Foundation, to continue funding three mobile science labs traveling to Darbhanga, Mumbai, and Aligarh with the mission of providing an experiential, hands-on science education program to thousands of economically disadvantaged children.
  • Children of Vietnam, to fund the construction of a 25 x 30 foot weather-resistant school building in A Pat village in Tay Giang District, Quang Nam Province, complete with ceiling fan, lighting, electrical system, water system, indoor plumbing and awning for shade. When complete, it will be the sole school building for the community.
  • Developments in Literacy, to fully fund the operational and administrative costs of the Nai Abadi school located in Rawalpindi, Pakistan.
  • First Book, to fund a book donation through the Día de Los Libros initiative in the United States (Dallas, Los Angeles, New York and Miami) and Jamaica.
  • Grants for Innovative Teaching (GFIT), a Signature Project of the Junior League of Dallas that encourages and supports excellence in teaching by awarding grants up to $2,000 to Dallas ISD teachers for innovative projects that otherwise would not be provided for in schools budgets.
  • One Laptop Per Child (OLPC), to fully fund the implementation of the “MathemaTIC” educational program in two schools in Chinandega, Nicaragua. The schools will receive 300 laptops to complete the program.
  • Pencils of Promise (PoP), to fund one of 14 schools Pencils of Promise will build in the Luang Prabang Region of Laos this year. A typical PoP school has 4 classrooms and a minimum lifespan of 20 years.

The MoneyGram Foundation plans to distribute two more rounds of grants in 2016. To learn more about the MoneyGram Foundation and the projects it supports, please visit moneygramfoundation.org.



by mariana at June 20, 2016 12:00 PM

June 15, 2016

OLPC Basecamp @ Malacca, Malaysia

Documenting dLEAP

  It is June, 2016. Since my last visit in December in 2015 I have been thinking of documenting the dLEAP project. Managed to get a written version done with links to videos that capture in  detail how the project evolved over the last 2 years. It was a journey.

Writing the acknowlegement revealed how many people are helping in their own ways.

“together we do so little, Together we can do so much”  - Anonymous

by T.K. Kang (noreply@blogger.com) at June 15, 2016 02:34 AM

June 05, 2016

XOs in Honduras

Former student

Junior got in touch with me today.  It was the first time in several years that I had heard from him.  He told me that he is studying computers at his high school.  He left the countryside and now lives in San Pedro Sula, the biggest city in Honduras.  He said he was thankful for the opportunity to use XO computers when he was an elementary school student.  He said that he's the only student from a rural school.  I'm so glad to hear that he is continuing his studies and that he found something he really likes- computers!


by Becky Young (noreply@blogger.com) at June 05, 2016 11:48 PM

May 30, 2016

One Laptop per Child

Switched-on youth – CASE STUDY: @OLPC

Technology plays a momentous role in shaping the future of our societies and ensuring that the next generation is prepared to cope with the burdens – and embrace the opportunities – to come. So, how exactly are we enabling our youth to contribute in this digital era?

Read this article by Stephanie Spurr posted at International Innovation where

Mariana Ludmila Cortés, VP of Business Development at OLPC, explains how the non-profit organisation is enabling children in developing countries to access educational devices for self-empowered learning.

You can read the article here and/or download the PDF here.


by mariana at May 30, 2016 07:07 PM

May 20, 2016

ICT4D Views from the Field

75 New SolarSPELLs Built!


On Friday May 6, 2016, students at Cal Poly built 75 new SolarSPELL libraries! What’s more, this feat—which included drilling, wire-stripping, soldering, gluing, taping, Velcro-ing, and much more, was accomplished in just a few hours.



The group did, in fact, get a jump-start on the build on Wednesday, May 4, having had the opportunity to set up all of the equipment, describe and train on what needed to be done in terms of assembly and building, and identify any potential bottlenecks for the assembly-line manufacture that would take place on Friday.





These SPELL libraries are destined for schools in Samoa, Tonga, and the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM). In all three locations, we are working in partnership with the US Peace Corps, to provide their Volunteers with this educational technology to assist them in being able to carry out their mission of being teachers in remote, rural schools.


On the same evening of the build, the University hosted a gala evening for alumni, called the Evening of Green and Gold. SolarSPELL was invited to set up a display and speak to alumni about the project’s accomplishments.



Even though the build was exciting and fostered a sense of accomplishment, there remains quite a bit more to be done besides building the hardware of the library. After the build, the students transitioned to working on gathering additional content for the library (especially content curated for our new partners Samoa and Tonga), testing out the new website, building a new-and-improved how-to-use guide.


We look forward to deploying the first batch of the new SPELLs in Samoa in June!

by ljhosman at May 20, 2016 03:50 PM

May 18, 2016

One Laptop per Child

3 Becas 75% para maestría en Innovación Educativa – Universidad ORT


La Universidad ORT México es una institución de educación superior dedicada a impulsar y fortalecer al sector social a través de la formación de profesionales comprometidos y competentes en áreas de Responsabilidad, Emprendimiento y Liderazgo Social.

Derivado del Convenio OLPC – ORT, ofrecemos 3 becas del 75% para la Maestría en Innovación Educativa, para las primeras tres personas que concluyan el proceso de admisión.
Licenciatura en Administración y Responsabilidad Social* (EN LÍNEA)
Especialidad en Ética y Sociedad RVOE SEP 20150321
Maestría en Administración y Emprendimiento Social RVOE SEP 20150324
Maestría en Innovación Educativa RVOE SEP 20150323
Maestría en Educación Ambiental RVOE SEP 20150322
Maestría en Orientación Educativa para la Prevención de Adicciones*



*La Licenciatura en Administración y Responsabilidad Social y la Maestría en Orientación Educativa para la Prevención de Adicciones, se encuentran en trámite para obtener el Reconocimiento de Validez Oficial ante la SEP.

by mariana at May 18, 2016 01:27 AM

May 13, 2016

One Laptop per Child

What to pay attention to when teaching

A Drop in Performance Can be a Sign of More Advanced Thinking

Sidney Strauss
School of Psychology
Center for Academic Studies
Or Yehuda

Branco Weiss Professor of Research in Child Development and Education (Emeritus)

School of Education
Tel Aviv University

We all know that children get better at solving problems as they get older. Learning is always upwards and onwards. Children get better in their understanding over time. For example, children age 6 can solve all the problems they were able to solve at age four, and then some. This commonplace understanding of learning on the part of educators, parents, etc. is confirmed in our everyday observations.

But there is a surprise here. A line of research I began in the 1980’s, and which continues to this very day, shows that what we take for granted is not always the case. Studies of cognitive development indicate that, for some tasks, children have what is called U-shaped behavioral growth. What this means is that younger children solve a task correctly, older children solve the same task incorrectly and still older children solve it correctly.

Here’s an example. Let’s say we have three cups, two of which have the same amount of water at the same temperature and one of which is empty. We tell the children that the water in the two cups is cold and that they are equally cold. We then pour the water from those two cups into the third, empty cup and proceed to ask the children what the temperature in now. Children age around 4 say, correctly, that it’s the same temperature because all we did was mix same temperature water. Older children around age 6, say that the mixed water is twice as cold as the original water because there is now twice the amount of water. And children around age 8 return to the correct answer that it is the same temperature as the original water because even though there is the more water, that doesn’t mean the water is colder. It’s just more cold water at the same temperature.

Lest the reader think this is an isolated phenomenon that is found only for temperature this surprising finding has been found for tasks that tap children’s understandings of other physics concepts, such as viscosity, sweetness of water, density and pressure. And U-shaped behavioral growth has been found in other domains, as well, such as language learning, the use of metaphors and more.

So how does this happen? How is it that our commonplace understanding of always getting better has sometimes been shown not to be the case? How is it that children are getting worse in problem solving over time?

One answer to these questions is that children actually do improve their underlying thinking over time, but sometimes an advance in what gives rise to answers leads to a drop in their performance in problem-solving. For example, to return to our case of temperature, the youngest children do not pay attention to the amount of water; the older children do pay attention to the amount of water but erroneously think that more of one thing (amount of water) increases another thing (temperature); and the oldest children also pay attention to the amount of water but they don’t think that it affects the temperature.

Notice that not paying attention to the amount of water (that leads to a correct answer) is less advanced than attending to the amount of water (that leads to an incorrect answer). What that means is that in tasks such as this, as our thinking advances, there is a drop in performance.

Normally, were we to see a child solving a task correctly and then after a while she solves it incorrectly, we might get worried. But the way I showed how this drop works, we would understand that that drop in performance is a sign of cognitive advance.

What this implies is that, when teaching, we should pay attention to children’s reasoning about a problem more than if their answer to that problem is correct or not.


Strauss, S. (with R. Stavy). (Eds.). (1982). U-shaped behavioral growth. New York: Academic Press.

Sydney Straus is a member of the OLPC Learning Board.

by mariana at May 13, 2016 01:55 AM

May 12, 2016

Ghana Together

Axim Public Library Update


…that’s the total number of book checkouts recorded by the Axim Library staff in 2015! That’s probably about 14,000 more than recorded before the advent of the Mobile Library! As one Ghanaian put it to Maryanne Ward on a recent visit: “They have done well, by God’s grace.” And, we might add, by determined human effort!

Beginning early Dec 2014, the library staff---Gaddiel Eyison and James Kwesi Armado, led by their Regional Director Mercy Ackah---initiated a successful Mobile Library Service, powered by a motor-tricycle, which serves 15 Primary/Junior High schools in Axim proper and surrounding villages. We worked with our partner, Western Heritage Home, to put that over the top.

Regional Director Mercy Ackah meeting with staff

For the benefit of our Ghanaian readers, the schools (apologies for spelling errors…) are:

Morning Star
Saint Augustinos
Christ the King
Brawire Akymim
Life International
Roman Catholic

2,384 children paid the 1 cedi fee (about 25 cents US) for their once-per-year library registration fee in 2015. First term 2016 is coming along nicely, too. (Actually their parents did...)

Major thanks to:

-Parents, who pay the registration fee, encourage their child’s education, see to their uniforms and notebooks, and listen to them read aloud. Not so easy with probably no electricity for lights in the home. The library staff admonishes the children: “take this book to the house and read it to your mother!” Mom learns to read a bit better, too, and enjoys seeing her child’s progress.

-The elected Axim Municipal Assembly, led by Mr. James Baidoe, Municipal Chief Executive, which budgets 90 cedis/month (about $25) for fuel for the tricycle, provides the rooms in the Axim Community Center to house the library, and tries to fund basic supplies such as tape, pens, book card/pocket paper, etc.

Check-out time!

-Headmistresses and Headmasters and teachers who work around the weekly disruptions---the Mobile Library is here!  (Not perfectly scheduled---the tricycle is not very speedy!) And support the library staff by encouraging the students, monitoring the care of these precious books (do you know how scarce they are??), urging the children to ask their parents for the registration fee.

The Mobile Library is here! TERRIFICALLY EXCITING!!!

-Friends who donate books---wonderful books---the kind of books they’d be happy to give their own children or grandchildren---no 40-year-old encyclopedias for our world-class students in Axim!

-Ebby Mienza and his family who pack up the books that have been shipped to them in Maryland and get them to the container. And the shipperwho gets the container onto the ship, and takes it across the Atlantic.

Ebby Mienza and his daughter re-packing books into standard-sized boxes for the shipping container. They have processed thousands of books in this manner. Ebby grew up in Axim.

-Friends in Accrawho meet the ship at the port, off-load the books, do the import paperwork, and deliver them to the Axim Library.

Two very good guys. Ishmael Baidoe (left) lived for years in Finland, George Hayford in Atlanta. They are back "home" in Ghana and help by collecting books from the port at Tema and delivering to Axim. No easy task!

Most recent shipment, delivered to the Axim Library and still being unpacked as we write. 19 boxes!

-The Ghana Library Authority (the national government department that oversees libraries) that pays the staff, provides accession numbers, a National Service worker to help, tries its best with minimal resources to champion public libraries country-wide, and nourishes intellectual freedom.

There are challenges:

-In rural areas like Axim, this is the first generation where many students finish junior high to say nothing of senior high. Leaders are trying to instill the reading habit, but schools generally have few textbooks and no library books, so the public library is IT!

Students with their library books in their classroom. With these books, they can actually use their reading skills. Without these books, they basically have only the teacher's writing on the blackboard, and their own copying of the teacher's writing in their exercise books.

-Books don’t hold up well in the tropical climate. Also, these children are the first generation to actually handle books. They are taught to be careful, but…the staff uses a lot of book repair tape!

Kind of chaotic, but he's READING his book no matter what!

-Some parents feel the one-cedi library registration fee, mandated by the Ghana Library Authority, contradicts the principle of tuition-free school and free public libraries and are reluctant to pay, although it is affordable.

When parents are late or can't pay school fees, students are not allowed to attend school. So, they come on their own initiative to the library to read on their own. 

-Understandably, the school staffs would prefer libraries in their individual schools---all but impossible with current national resources.

-The cost of shipping physical books from the US is high, even with our cost-saving system. And books are simply not available to purchase there. Some recommend skipping physical books and going to digital readers, but that introduces whole new challenges with sporadic (and expensive) electrical and internet services for charging/downloading, care, distribution, etc.

-Some recommend using buses as mobile libraries, with built-in shelving, computer terminals, etc. that go from school to school. They are being used in some cities. But that brings the problem of the high cost of fuel and vehicle maintenance. We feel Western Heritage Home leadership (our Axim-based partner organization) made a wise choice by going to the thrifty mobile tricycle. Clunkier, but affordable, and works fine in this semi-rural area.

More than you all wanted to know…we tend to get carried away with this library stuff!! Ha!

Thanks for all 

When you’re cruising summer yard sales and farmers’ markets, if you spy some great children’s books, you know what to do!

For more News Updates, http://ghanatogether.blogspot.com
Our website is: http://ghanatogether.org
Contact us at info@ghanatogether.org
We are a 501c3 non-profit, ID 26-2182965

by Ghana Together (noreply@blogger.com) at May 12, 2016 07:03 PM

May 09, 2016

Juan Chacon Free Software & Education | El Salvador

Resizing a Logical Volume on Centos 7.2 with system-storage-manager

My desktop machine at work was setup to dual-boot Ubuntu 14.04 and Windows 10.  Deciding I needed Centos 7.2 much more than Windows 10, I installed Centos into the space that had been occupied by Windows.

Using the Centos 7 installation DVD, I followed the partitioning proceedure that I can now almost do in my sleep, creating the following partitions:
  1. 500 MiB /boot with an xfs file system on an actual partition
  2. 1024 MiB swap
  3. 20 GiB / with an xfs file system on a logical volume
  4. /home with whatever space is left with an ext4 file system on a logical volume
I said I could almost do this in my sleep. I made one huge mistake.  Instead of making the /home partition with GiB, I made it with MiB!  I didn't notice this until I got a warning about the home partition running out of space.  I had spent a lot of time already installing and then updating the system.  I didn't want to go through that again.

So I used this mistake as an opportunity to explore resizing my logical volume.  It took a bit of poking around, but eventually I found this webpage, from which I did the following:
  1. Logged into the GUI as root so that /home would not be in use.
  2. Ran yum install system-storage-manager to install ssm.
  3. Ran ssm list to see my volumes.
  4. Ran ssm resize -s [size] [volume] to make /home larger.
It worked like a charm, and now I'm logged back in with my regular user with a few hundered gigabytes of space in my /home partition.

by jelkner (noreply@blogger.com) at May 09, 2016 03:37 PM

April 28, 2016

Ghana Together


On Friday, March 18, Ghana Together happily sponsored the first Days for Girls International Workshop at the Community Development Vocational Technical Institute (CDVTI) in Axim, Ghana!

CDVTI is a vocational high school, offering courses in hairdressing, fashion design, sewing/jewelry making, catering/baking, electrical, plumbing, auto mechanics, welding/fabrication, computer science, and general subjects such as English, math, health, home management, bookkeeping, entrepreneurship, etc.
What is Days for Girls International?

DFG is a US-based 501c3 non-profit whose mission is to create a more dignified, free, and educated world through access to lasting feminine hygiene solutions and to see every girl and woman in the world with ready feasible access to quality sustainable feminine hygiene & women’s health education by 2022.

A worthy goal backed by VERY large amounts of hard work!

We were introduced to DFG upon an invitation to visit the Anacortes, WA DFG Chapter. A group of women volunteer one day per month to sew Days for Girls menstrual kits. They are motivated by the plight of girls worldwide who miss school during their monthly periods because of lack of workable menstrual products. They generously offered 72 kits for us to take to Axim on our March visit, as samples.

And so on Friday March 18, Madame Bernice Ankrah, the Days for Girls Country Director for Ghana, and her husband Prince, traveled to Axim, Ghana from their businesses/home in Accra. Bernice conducted a DFG Workshop at the CDVTI. Maryanne Ward of Ghana Together was privileged to be present.

Madame Bernice Ankrah, Days for Girls International--Ghana Country Director
Madame Bernice first spent about an hour with both male and female students—about 55 students in all---plus half a dozen teachers. She shared how, because of her own early pregnancy and motherhood, she missed out on formal education, but has managed to catch up through personal effort. She mentioned that her own beloved children are about the same age as the students at CDVTI and she felt especially blessed to be able to be share her life experience with these Axim students.
She now owns her own fashion business with 16 seamstresses on her staff. Not only does she design, sew, and market clothing, but she also runs a “Days for Girls Enterprise”. As Country Director, Bernice travels to many parts of Ghana giving DFG informational workshops and also training seamstresses to sew DFG kits as a business enterprise.

Then she plunged enthusiastically into the subject at hand: reproductive health.

Pinning charts to the blackboard

She went over both male and female reproductive systems in great detail for about an hour! She has the natural Ghanaian oratorical ability, and had us all mesmerized! 

Suffice it to say that all the ladies (as she called them) learned more about the guy’s side of the topic, esp. the basic body parts involved in reproduction and how they work, and the guys about the ladies, than any of them had ever imagined! They gave absolutely rapt attention!

Simple charts but effective.This is Ghana---can't trust electricity for PowerPoint slides or keeping a laptop charged. She used the tools she had wonderfully.

Bernice finished the first session by imploring the guys to respect women and themselves when it comes to sex.
Then she excused the guys. Or let’s say she TRIED to excuse them. They were enjoying it so much, they wouldn’t leave! Director Seidu had to step in and assert her authority, and not only ordered them to leave, but told them they could NOT hang around the door and try to listen! She had to station a teacher outside to enforce her order! J

Come on guys---we love you, really we do, but it's time to GO!

Now it was “ladies time.” 

Bernice explained the menstrual cycle, pregnancy, and women's reproductive health in detail using her charts and vivid examples. 

Then she explained how the DFG-designed menstrual hygiene kits have so many advantages: they are washable, reusable, and last for probably two years. They have been redesigned/improved many times, depending on actual feedback, and work much better than the “rags”, as she put it---homemade solutions. 

Since most of the girls present were taking sewing classes, it is entirely possible for them to make their own. The girls discussed the problem of having to dispose of sanitary napkins. And they pointed out the substantial cost savings over purchased sanitary napkins, which most said they could not afford.

One of the fun activities was when a girl came up with an excellent comment or idea, Bernice would look at her intently, then choose an under-panty from her stash in about the girl’s size and throw it at her! Even Madame Seidu was treated to her very own under-panty after she made a comment, much to everyone’s enjoyment!

Director Safiatu Seidu gleefully showing off her "prize"!

Bernice donned a DFG kit over the top of her shorts---and strutted around a bit! A natural teacher, she made it fun as well as informative and broke down inhibitions with her humor but also sincere attitude.

Hey, Bernice, the kit fits!!

She conducted a sewing session, where she sewed some kits from materials she had brought---with everyone watching intently.

CDVTI sewing machines. Remember, with sporadic electricity, hand-driven machines can keep going no matter what!

Girls intently watching the sewing demonstration
At the end, she handed out a sample DFG kit to every lady in the room, including teachers, in each one's approximate size, from those Maryanne had brought. About 30 were left over and are being saved for September’s incoming class.

Director Seidu and student handing out the kits

The teachers told Maryanne they thought the kits were a very good idea. Teacher Flora, who teaches sewing and fashion design, was especially positive.

Teacher Flora captured the entire session on her tablet---for future instructional use, she said

Madame Bernice has promised to return to Axim to train students to sew kits themselves. She has introduced the concept to this one school in the community, but these young women, trained in sewing and eager to start their own businesses, can spread the idea. Maryanne also will follow up with Director Seidu in the coming months.

Every CDVTI female student has a DFG menstrual kit and new knowledge about their lives as women

We give our heartfelt thanks to the women of the Anacortes DFG Chapter for providing the introductory kits, and for their workshop that Maryanne attended before introducing DFG to Axim.

For earlier News Updates, go to http://ghanatogether.blogspot.com/
Contact us: info@ghanatogether.org
Our website is: http://ghanatogether.org

Our mailing address is: Ghana Together, 808 Addison Place, Mount Vernon, WA 98273

by Ghana Together (noreply@blogger.com) at April 28, 2016 09:49 PM

April 23, 2016

One Laptop per Child

Film festival hosted by a 15-year-old to raise awareness for OLPC

At OLPC we love when we receive messages like this one. It definitely encourages us to keep on moving forward.  Thank you Sydney S!


I’m incredibly happy to be supporting such an organization as One Laptop Per Child. Thank you for being so receptive to a student like myself and for making this process as easy and fun as possible.

I have attached two photos from the event if you need them and here is some information about the film festival:

“Short Films, Long Lasting Effects” is a student film festival dedicated to promoting the art of filmmaking, while raising money and awareness for the charity One Laptop Per Child. This year’s inaugural event, created by 15-year-old sophomore Sydney S, was held on April 15, 2016 at Westhampton Beach High School on Long Island, New York and featured nine student films. Sydney developed a passion for filmmaking in the fourth grade, which led her to premiere her first movie at the local theater, to attend New York Film Academy programs twice, and to lecture about technology both online for a global audience at the Student Technology Conference and at the Suffolk ASSET Conference, the largest technology conference for teachers and administrators on Long Island. This film and technology background encouraged Sydney to fulfill her goal of hosting a charitable film festival.image002
“Short Films, Long Lasting Effects” brought together people from all areas of the community to highlight the talents of Long Island filmmakers. The short films were judged by industry professionals from the community, and a fan favorite prize was awarded to the movie that could raise the most money for One Laptop Per Child in its designated jar. About 100 people filled the seats of the auditorium during the film festival and volunteers in their bright blue shirts were lined up behind donation tables prepared to answer any incoming questions. “Short Films, Long Lasting Effects” was greatly enjoyed by all who attended and with the combined efforts of the film festival and fundraising in the community, succeeded in its goal of raising money to help One Laptop Per Child send laptops to the children in need around the world.

Sydney S.

by mariana at April 23, 2016 01:10 AM

April 19, 2016

Juan Chacon Free Software & Education | El Salvador

Moving an ArcGIS File Geodatabase to QGIS

I am taking GGS 553: Geographic Information System this semester at part of my graduate studies at George Mason University.  In a previous post I described how I ended up in this Geographic Information Science graduate certificate program, which I have now been pursuing for almost 2 years.  GGS 553 is a required course, and the first one in the program that has required me to use proprietary software, since much of the course is focused on learning to use ArcGIS.

I am both philosophically and ethically opposed to proprietary software, since it runs dead against the expansion of our shared cultural space, which I believe is vital to the survival of our species. This is a required course, however, and in the large scheme of things I am willing to compromise when I need to. I like to think of it as dancing with the devil, learning the devil's moves in order to be able to freely out dance him in the future. In this case that will mean applying what I learn in GGS 553 to mastering QGIS, the free software alternative to ArcGIS. I had intended to try to do each of our assigned labs this semester in both ArcGIS and QGIS, but when I found it difficult enough just to complete them on time in ArcGIS, I gave up on that idea after the first week.

This week we have a sort of half size assignment, so I thought I would use the extra time available to see if I could do it in QGIS.  The first challenge will be to load the project data into QGIS.  We were given the data in ArcGIS's file geodatabase format. QGIS can not yet read and write to this format directly, but there are tools available to convert it into PostGIS, with which QGIS can work well.

Last Summer I wrote a blog post documenting how I setup a PostGIS server on Ubuntu 14.04.  Since this year I am also needing to learn RHEL, I'll use this guide to setup the server on the little Centos 7 server I have at home for just such purposes, and then connect to it from QGIS running on my Ubuntu desktop.

Installing a PostGIS Server on Centos 7

$ sudo yum install postgis postgresql-server postgresql-contrib
$ sudo postgresql-setup initdb
$ sudo -i -u postgres
$ psql
postgres=# \password postgres
Enter new password:
Enter it again:
postgres=# \q
$ exit
$ sudo vi /var/lib/pgsql/data/pg_hba.conf

Change this line (near the bottom):

host    all             all               ident

to this:

host    all             all                  md5

Next allow database connections from outside:

$ sudo vi /var/lib/pgsql/data/postgresql.conf


#listen_addresses = 'localhost'

to this:

listen_addresses = '*'

Create a new database user with superuser privileges:

$ sudo su - postgres
$ createuser --superuser [user]
$ psql -c "ALTER ROLE [user] PASSWORD '[password]'"
$ exit

Then as that user create the database and add gis extensions:

$ createdb webster
$ psql -d webster -c 'CREATE EXTENSION postgis'

Then after copying over the Webster.db directory containing the file geodatabase, I ran:

$ ogr2ogr -f "PostgreSQL" PG:"dbname=webster user=[user] password=[password]" Webster.gdb

After which I connected my desktop QGIS to the PostgreSQL server running on my little household server and loaded the three layers I found there:


by jelkner (noreply@blogger.com) at April 19, 2016 03:44 PM

April 07, 2016

Juan Chacon Free Software & Education | El Salvador

Software Management with YUM

YUM (Yellowdog Updater, Modified) is the package management tool used on Red Hat Enterprise Linux and its derived versions, CentOS and Scientific Linux. It acts as a front end to the RPM Package Manager (RPM), and is used to install, remove, and update software on Red Hat based systems.

I first encountered YUM when installing Yellow Dog Linux on PowerPC based Macintosh computers back at the dawn of the 21st century.  When I switched over to Debian based GNU/Linux systems with the release of Ubuntu in 2004, I completely lost touch with the RPM world until my Spring semester Linux System Administration course's pursuit of RHCSA certification brought me back into the fold.

I am writing this post to use as a handy list of the most common things I need to do when managing software:
  1. Update the software on the system
    $ yum check-update
    $ sudo yum update package_name
    $ sudo yum update [to update all packages]
    $ sudo yum group update group_name
  2. List all the currently installed software
    $ yum list installed
    $ yum list installed "global expression"
  3. Search for available packages
    $ yum list available "global expression"
    $ yum search term...
  4. Display information about a package
    $ yum info package_name
  5. Install a new package
    $ sudo yum install package_name
  6. Remove an existing package
    $ sudo yum remove package_name
  7. List the current repos
    $ yum repolist
    $ yum repolist -v
That covers the basics. I also need to learn how to clean up the cruft that accumulates over time as a system is run, in Debian land the kind of thing that would be done with $ sudo apt-get autoremove. It seems that in RPM space that is accomplished with the package-cleanup utility, so I'll look into that.


by jelkner (noreply@blogger.com) at April 07, 2016 10:06 AM

April 04, 2016

Sayamindu Dasgupta

Studying the relationship between remixing & learning

With more than 10 million users, the Scratch online community is the largest online community where kids learn to program. Since it was created, a central goal of the community has been to promote “remixing” — the reworking and recombination of existing creative artifacts. As the video above shows, remixing programming projects in the current web-based version of Scratch is as easy is as clicking on the “see inside” button in a project web-page, and then clicking on the “remix” button in the web-based code editor. Today, close to 30% of projects on Scratch are remixes.

Remixing plays such a central role in Scratch because its designers believed that remixing can play an important role in learning. After all, Scratch was designed first and foremost as a learning community with its roots in the Constructionist framework developed at MIT by Seymour Papert and his colleagues. The design of the Scratch online community was inspired by Papert’s vision of a learning community similar to Brazilian Samba schools (Henry Jenkins writes about his experience of Samba schools in the context of Papert’s vision here), and a comment Marvin Minsky made in 1984:

Adults worry a lot these days. Especially, they worry about how to make other people learn more about computers. They want to make us all “computer-literate.” Literacy means both reading and writing, but most books and courses about computers only tell you about writing programs. Worse, they only tell about commands and instructions and programming-language grammar rules. They hardly ever give examples. But real languages are more than words and grammar rules. There’s also literature – what people use the language for. No one ever learns a language from being told its grammar rules. We always start with stories about things that interest us.

In a new paper — titled “Remixing as a pathway to Computational Thinking” — that was recently published at the ACM Conference on Computer Supported Collaborative Work and Social Computing (CSCW) conference, we used a series of quantitative measures of online behavior to try to uncover evidence that might support the theory that remixing in Scratch is positively associated with learning.

Scratch blocks

Of course, because Scratch is an informal environment with no set path for users, no lesson plan, and no quizzes, measuring learning is an open problem. In our study, we built on two different approaches to measure learning in Scratch. The first approach considers the number of distinct types of programming blocks available in Scratch that a user has used over her lifetime in Scratch (there are 120 in total) — something that can be thought of as a block repertoire or vocabulary. This measure has been used to model informal learning in Scratch in an earlier study. Using this approach, we hypothesized that users who remix more will have a faster rate of growth for their code vocabulary.

Controlling for a number of factors (e.g. age of user, the general level of activity) we found evidence of a small, but positive relationship between the number of remixes a user has shared and her block vocabulary as measured by the unique blocks she used in her non-remix projects. Intriguingly, we also found a strong association between the number of downloads by a user and her vocabulary growth. One interpretation is that this learning might also be associated with less active forms of appropriation, like the process of reading source code described by Minksy.

The second approach we used considered specific concepts in programming, such as loops, or event-handling. To measure this, we utilized a mapping of Scratch blocks to key programming concepts found in this paper by Karen Brennan and Mitchel Resnick. For example, in the image below are all the Scratch blocks mapped to the concept of “loop”.

Scratch loop blocks

We looked at six concepts in total (conditionals, data, events, loops, operators, and parallelism). In each case, we hypothesized that if someone has had never used a given concept before, they would be more likely to use that concept after encountering it while remixing an existing project.

Using this second approach, we found that users who had never used a concept were more likely to do so if they had been exposed to the concept through remixing. Although some concepts were more widely used than others, we found a positive relationship between concept use and exposure through remixing for each of the six concepts. We found that this relationship was true even if we ignored obvious examples of cutting and pasting of blocks of code. In all of these models, we found what we believe is evidence of learning through remixing.

Of course, there are many limitations in this work. What we found are all positive correlations — we do not know if these relationships are causal. Moreover, our measures do not really tell us whether someone has “understood” the usage of a given block or programming concept.However, even with these limitations, we are excited by the results of our work, and we plan to build on what we have. Our next steps include developing and utilizing better measures of learning, as well as looking at other methods of appropriation like viewing the source code of a project.

The paper (and this blog post) is collaborative work with Benjamin Mako Hill, Andrés Monroy-Hernández and William Hale. The paper is released as open access so anyone can read the entire paper here.

by Sayamindu Dasgupta at April 04, 2016 05:03 AM

April 01, 2016

One Laptop per Child

March 29, 2016

ICT4D Views from the Field

Voice of America features SolarSPELL on Learning English News Program

The Voice of America featured the SolarSPELL digital library in a recent news article on its website.

Screen Shot 2016-03-29 at 3.31.58 PM

Vanuatu Peace Corps volunteer Alexis Cullen, Peace Corps ICT4D Program Officer Gabriel Krieshok, and Prof. Laura Hosman were interviewed for the article. The article also features links to videos on the SolarSPELL website.

by ljhosman at March 29, 2016 10:41 PM

Juan Chacon Free Software & Education | El Salvador

Setting Up a Centos Router - Part 2

VirtualBox provides a wonderful tool for learning about networking.  It enables doing "network experiments" quickly and easily by removing the need to focus on problems at the physical (hardware) layer of the networking stack, since several VirtualBox VMs can be configured on a single host machine and networked together virtually. This blog post will document my attempt to setup a VirtualBox network.

The first thing I did was create a base install VM of Centos 7 and updated the software ($ sudo yum update).
VirtualBox supports cloning VMs, which is by far the easies and quickest way to spin up several VMs. To make a clone, right click on the base machine and select Clone:
Give the clone a name and check the Reinitialize the MAC address of all network cards box. I've never tried not checking this box, but I imagine bad things could happen if there were two machines on the network with NICs having the same MAC address.
I selected Full clone for each of these VMs. Linked clones can save space (see Linked Clone in VirtualBox, What is it and How to Clone Virtual Machine?), but at 20 Gigs for these VMs I have space for dozens of them, so the benefit of avoiding dependencies among the clones outweighs the potential savings of space.
I nice progress bar and a few seconds later and you have a new VM.
For the present experiment I created three VMs named CentosRouter, Server1, and Server2
CentosRouter is going to be the router (obviously ;-), so it will need two NICs:
Adapter 1 is set to Bridged Adapter, so that it will on the same network as the host machine.
Adapter 2 is set to intnet, the internal network I am creating with the VMs.  Server1 and Server2 also have their NICs set to  intnet.
The next step is to edit the network scripts and enable ip_forwarding on the router:
1. # vi /etc/sysconfig/network-scripts/ifcfg-enp0s3
2. # vi /etc/sysconfig/network-scripts/ifcfg-enp0s8 

Note: The UUID was obtained by running: # uuidgen enp0s8
3. # vi /etc/sysctl.conf
Finally, I needed to install firewalld and restart the router:
# yum install firewalld
# reboot
With the router configured, it is time to setup Server1 and Server2:
# vi /etc/sysconfig/network-scripts/ifcfg-enp0s3

Note: The HWADDR was obtained by running: # ip a as in the screenshot above.
Server2 should be similar, with IPADDR set to, and the HWADDR and UUID set appropriately.


by jelkner (noreply@blogger.com) at March 29, 2016 06:34 PM

Setting Up a Centos Router - Part 1

In order to run the kind of experiments we will need to run to really learn proper GNU/Linux system administration, we need our own "safe space" in which to play.  In previous years when I had students with the level of skills our ITN 170 group is quickly acquiring, I always used one of our machines as a NAT Router so that we could isolate our own network traffic and setup custom services within our private network space.

The basic idea is captured in the following illustration.
What is required is a machine with two NICs (represented here by Tux) - one which connects to the outside network and the other which connects to the local network.

Setup Process

Here is what I did to setup a basic router using an old desktop PC:

  • Did a minimal install of CentOS 7 on a machine with two NICs, connecting one of the NICs to the outside network and activating this connection using DHCP on the host network during the installation process.
  • Ran yum update after installation to make sure I had the current software.
  • Ran yum install yum-utils vim to get vim and the package-cleanup utility. I then ran package-cleanup --oldkernels --count=1 to remove all but the current kernel package.
  • I ran ip addr and got back information on three network interfaces:
    1. lo - the loopback interface or localhost, with its network address.
    2. enp0s25 - the NIC on the motherboard which I had activated with DHCP during installation.
    3. enp3s0 - the addon NIC that was not configured during installation. It had the following information:
      enp3s0:  mtu 1500 qdisc pfifo_fast state UP qlen 1000
      link/ether 00:15:17:20:b6:e6 brd ff:ff:ff:ff:ff:ff
  • I edited /etc/sysconfig/network-scripts/ifcfg-enp3s0 adding the following:
    GATEWAY="x.x.x.x" (place your gateway adress here)
I used the resources linked below to try to enable IP routing and NAT, but I was not successful in getting it to route.  I have a laptop running Centos 7 connected to the router machine.  Before attempting this setup I had installed ClearOS on the router and got it to route for the laptop with a setup process using ClearOS's web interface.  An experienced friend of mine shamed me into removing this, however, by telling me he would never hire a sysadmin who only new how to set this up using a web interface.

So for now I have assigned two of my students to continue looking into it, and I'll get together with that friend who shamed me into this to get his assistance on Tuesday if we haven't figured it out by then.

To be continued...


by jelkner (noreply@blogger.com) at March 29, 2016 05:39 PM

Sugar Digest / Walter Bender

Nevada Driver Licenses and ID Cards

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March 29, 2016 01:39 AM

March 21, 2016

Sugar Digest / Walter Bender


My WordPress instance seems to be attracting hackers. Please refer to my posts in the Sugar Labs wiki (https://wiki.sugarlabs.org/go/Archive/Current_Events) wile I sort things out.

March 21, 2016 02:23 PM

March 20, 2016

Sayamindu Dasgupta

Marvin Minsky

Last week, the Media Lab organized a memorial event for Marvin Minsky. The main event space had large life-size images of Marvin’s living room on all sides; I had been lucky enough to visit Marvin and Gloria a few times over the last three years (courtesy Brian Silverman and Cynthia Solomon), and I’m glad that the living room was an integral part of celebrating Marvin’s life and legacy. Each table in the post-event reception had a large pile of fortune cookies in the middle, and each of these fortune cookies had a “Marvinism” inside. Here’s an example (Hiroshi Ishii tweeted a list of all the Marvinisms in the cookies):

Marvinism fortune cookie

For those who can read Bangla, I also wrote a short piece on Marvin for the “Bigyan” (বিজ্ঞান) e-zine; you can read it here.

by Sayamindu Dasgupta at March 20, 2016 08:58 PM

Juan Chacon Free Software & Education | El Salvador

Centos Command-line Tricks and Tips - Getting Rid of the Terminal Beep

Getting Rid of the Terminal Beep:

My terminal was making an annoying beeping (more like a swoosh beep, actually) every time it couldn't match a tab completion.  I like to listen to music while I work, so this was really driving me crazy.  All I needed to do to stop it was to run:
$ echo 'set bell-style none' >> ~/.inputrc
which appends 'set bell-style none' to the .inputrc file in my home directory.  .inputrc didn't exist in my home directory (I checked before running the command), so running this command created it.
After exiting the terminal and starting another, the terminal maintained the silence I wanted it to ;-)

by jelkner (noreply@blogger.com) at March 20, 2016 01:16 AM

March 13, 2016


Congratulations to Sameer Verma

 Our own Sameer Verma has been elected for a two-year term on the Sugar Labs Oversight Board! He joins the board of 7 members governing the future of Sugar Labs.

Elections for the Sugar Labs Oversight Board were held in January. All seven seats were up for election, the top 4 winners were elected for two-year terms and the following 3 were elected for one-year terms. In this way approximately half the board is up for election each year, going forward.

Board meetings are held on the first Friday of every month over IRC. You can find the meeting minutes on the Sugar Labs wiki.

Congratulations to Sameer and the other board members. OLPC-SF is excited and is looking forward to what 2016 brings for Sugar Labs and the OLPC Community.

by adborden at March 13, 2016 02:55 AM

March 11, 2016

One Laptop per Child

Memorias 2015 – Fundación Zamora Terán

Memorias 2015 es la publicación en el que la Fundación Zamora Terán comparte las memorias y logros del año 2015.

Pueden encontrarlo desplegado abajo o en este link.


by mariana at March 11, 2016 07:17 PM

March 08, 2016

One Laptop per Child

5 años apoyando la transformación del aprendizaje – Fundación Quiroz Tanzi

La revista Conexiones del Ministerio de Educación de Costa Rica publica un número sobre la implementación realizada por Fundación Quiroz Tanzi en Costa Rica.

Pueden leerlo dando click aquí o abajo:


by mariana at March 08, 2016 02:46 PM

March 07, 2016

One Laptop per Child

Sugar Labs in Google Summer of Code

Sugar Labs has been accepted as a participating organization in Google Summer of Code. Visit https://wiki.sugarlabs.org/go/Summer_of_Code/2016 for more information or if you are interested in being a mentor.



by mariana at March 07, 2016 03:36 PM

February 24, 2016

XOs in Honduras


The school where I started the first XO project that I know of in Honduras just got renovated.  This school renovation is great for students and for the community.  I asked the teacher if any of the XOs from 6 years ago are working.  I think that very few if any of the 25+ XOs from 2010 and 2011 are working.  The 2015 school year was the first year since the start of the project that I did not visit the school while classes were in session.  In past years I made some repairs and bought some replacement chargers to keep the computers up and running.  Without someone on location maintaining the laptops, they break and don't get used.

Enjoy these pictures of the recent renovations.  It's something to celebrate.


by Becky Young (noreply@blogger.com) at February 24, 2016 07:06 AM

February 22, 2016

Ghana Together


It’s a new year and in addition to ongoing projects, Ghana Together, with our associates of Western Heritage Home, are busy working on some new mutually-agreed-upon projects.

First to completion is a new polytank at the Heritage Building!

The Heritage has seen heavy and multiple uses over the years---as an orphanage/children’s home; as space for science classes, computer classes, community gatherings, exam preparation classes; a dormitory for senior high school girls; and a couple of rooms as the residence of Western Heritage Home's Operations Manager.

And now our beloved Heritage has a new mission as the dormitory for young men and women from the recently-established Manye Academy Government Senior High School.

The original tank was installed and hooked up to the Axim piped water system, on the expert advice of the Pacific Northwest Chapter of Engineers Without Borders team. The Bellingham-based group traveled to Axim in 2009 and advised that this approach was the best way to ensure a clean, steady water supply to the Heritage Building.

Leif Pederson, of Ghana Together, added his engineering expertise, and with local Axim workers, connected the tank to the building to provide water to showers, toilets, kitchen, and outside spigot.

Leif Pederson (the guy with the cap) and Axim workers figuring out how to get the water from the Axim water system up into the polytank back in 2009...

First they had to hook up the pipes

But that polytank just plain wore out, so our first priority project for 2016 was replace it, and provide ongoing clean water for the nearly 30 residents from Manye Academy Senior High School and their House Supervisors.

You get some VERY strong guys...to take down the old one and hoist up the new one...

And you get LOTS of expert advice from the ground level!!

And  you climb up there to hook everything up, and hope against hope...

Mission accomplished thanks to you, our fellow “investors”, and the Axim workers and supervision that pulled it off! The boarding students now have...SHOWERS, TOILETS, OUTSIDE WATER SPIGOT... 

And just so you know, the cost was about 2000 Ghana cedis, or about $550 US.

Boys' shower...girls have one on the second floor...

This kind of project is not flashy, but fills our mission of supporting mutually identified and agreed upon local needs.

A little background

The Manye Academy Senior High School is a new program offered by the long-time private Primary-Junior High School. It was established by Professor K. S. Nokoe, who has a PhD from the University of British Columbia! 

Years ago, to "give back" to his hometown of Axim, he established the Manye Academy. Professor Nokoe is now retired as Professor and Acting Dean of the School of Graduate Studies at the Ghanaian University of Energy and Natural Resources. He specializes in mathematics and statistics. 

Because the government of Ghana now provides tuition-free education through junior high, the number of students qualifying for senior high is growing rapidly. There are not enough slots. And so Prof. Nokoe moved to add slots!

Manye Academy Senior High is not private, but government-owned, and with classroom space and management provided by Manye Academy. For Ghana Education Department certification they had to have a dormitory for boarding students, and the Heritage Building is the perfect solution, being within easy walking distance of the classrooms! But a dormitory needs WATER---and so now they have it!!


For earlier News Updates, go to http://ghanatogether.blogspot.com/
Contact us: info@ghanatogether.org
Our website is: http://ghanatogether.org
Our mailing address is: Ghana Together, 808 Addison Place, Mount Vernon, WA 98273

by Ghana Together (noreply@blogger.com) at February 22, 2016 09:44 PM

February 17, 2016

ICT4D Views from the Field

Two Videos on SolarSPELL from Cal Poly’s Mustang News

Mustang News, the award-winning on-campus source for media about California Polytechnic State University, has released two videos about the SolarSPELL project.

The first video (above) gives an overview of the library and the project (up to now).

The second video covers the Appropriate Technology Workshop and Build Day that was held in October 2015, when Cal Poly students from across the campus came together and built 30 SolarSPELL libraries in one afternoon.


by ljhosman at February 17, 2016 01:43 AM

February 12, 2016

OLE Nepal

Process to get approvals to construct schools damaged by the earthquake

As we are getting ready to start constructing schools damaged by the earthquake in Gorkha district, we thought it’d be helpful to share the official process that we went through to secure all the approvals and paperwork. This might come…

by Rabi Karmacharya at February 12, 2016 12:14 PM

February 10, 2016

Project Rive: Reaching Students in Haiti

FAQ about the Student Org

Kids Write is recruiting new members! Here’s some info about us. What do you guys do? We partner with schools in Haiti. At each school, we train teachers to use tablets and laptops in their classroom for students to read, … Continue reading

by Sora at February 10, 2016 03:02 PM

February 08, 2016

Juan Chacon Free Software & Education | El Salvador

Text Processing and Unix History

Preparing for the RHCSA certification is turning out to be a heap of fun! Despite more than 20 years as a free software activist and personal user of GNU/Linux systems for all my personal computing, and despite being a computer science teacher during that same time, there are a wide range of basic Unix CLI skills that I only scratched the surface of in all that time (shame on me!).

Preparing for the RHCSA is providing the opportunity to address that deficit at long last.  Chapter 4 of the book we are using in class to study for the certification is titled "Working with Text Files". The most enjoyable thing about this investigation into Unix text file processing is the view it provides into Unix history.

In the beginning there was eded begat ex, and ex begat vi... Along the way we got cousins grep and sed too.  Since grep, sed, and vi are part of the Unix admin's toolset, I want to learn to use them at least well enough to be able to help prepare students (and myself) for the RHCSA certification and to be able to present them well to future students in my ITN 170: Linux System Administration class.

Since in the beginning there was ed, let me start with that.  I found a very nice blog post, Actually using ed, which I found to be a wonderful introduction to this tool.  I set myself the task of using ed to create a list of fruits in a file named fruits.txt.  The first thing I found out was that trying:
$ ed fruits.txt
did not create the file for me, instead returning a "No such file or directory" error.  So I did the following, which worked:
$ touch fruits.txt
$ ed fruits.txt
After that, I ran $ cat fruits.txt, and saw that everything was as I wanted it:
Now if I want an alphabetical listing of the fruits in my list, I can run:
$ grep berries fruits.txt | sort
and see this:
RegexOne is a nice, interactive tutorial for learning basic regular expressions.  I wanted to do all the exercises using grep on the command-line as well, and in the process setup a new github repo for resources related to our RHCSA study, here.

Next I wanted to learn sed.  Sed - An Introduction and Tutorial by Bruce Barnett is a wonderful tutorial.  With so much awful document out there, it is great to find something written by someone with a grasp of how people actually learn.

Using the fruits.txt file I created with ed, I ran $ sed s/berries/cherries/ fruits.txt and got:
Since sed uses the same substitution syntax that vim uses, learning it will be a big help in becoming a more effective vim user as well.

by jelkner (noreply@blogger.com) at February 08, 2016 06:10 PM

QGIS Delivers Functionality and Freedom

I am taking a graduate course this semester, GGS 553 - Geographic Information System, which is required for the Graduate Certificate in Geographic Information Sciences program that I am hoping to complete.  I like the text book we are using for class, and greatly enjoyed the first lecture.  What I am not happy about is that the labs which will make up a large part of the course assignments require the use of proprietary software, specifically ArcGIS, and then by extension, the Windows operating system on which it runs.

I have been a free software activist for more than 20 years. Software for GIS makes it especially easy to state why I believe so strongly in software freedom. To put it simply, I believe software should be part of humanity's shared cultural heritage, and that all efforts to turn it instead into a commodity are immoral.

Installing ArcGIS made this painfully clear to me.  In the first place, using it required that I use a non-free operating system, so I am running Windows just so that I can use ArcGIS.  Going through the gymnastics (registering an on-line account, figuring out where to enter the product code after missing it the first time through the installation, etc.) required to establish that I was "authorized" to use the commidified resource was most unpleasant. It rubs me deeply the wrong way to see human creativity misspent making the world a worse place rather than a better one.

No matter.  I have to do it to complete this required course, so I am determined to make the best of it.  What that means to me is keeping in mind the well known quote from Sun Tzu,
"Know your enemies and know yourself, you will not be imperiled in a hundred battles."
So I'll count learning ArcGIS as knowing my enemy, and time permitting, I will do each lab assignment in QGIS in parallel.

The first thing I wanted to do was to install the latest QGIS on my Ubuntu 14.04 desktop.  To do this, using this web page as a guide, I added the following to the end of my /etc/apt/sources.list file:

# For QGIS 2.12
deb http://qgis.org/ubuntugis trusty main
deb http://ppa.launchpad.net/ubuntugis/ubuntugis-unstable/ubuntu trusty main

Then I ran:
$ sudo apt-key adv --keyserver keyserver.ubuntu.com --recv-key 3FF5FFCAD71472C4
$ sudo aptitude update
$ sudo aptitude install qgis
This is a much easier process than installing ArcGIS. QGIS also runs much faster than ArcGIS, and on the operating system I choose, not the one chosen for me.

It also seems that the wonderful folks who have developed QGIS have modeled its UI after the non-free standard, so the lab notes describing ArcGIS helped me understand QGIS as well. QGIS's Browser is the equivalent of ArcGIS's ArcCatalog. Here is the QGIS Browser showing the shape files from my first lab:
The QGIS Desktop functions like ArcGIS's ArcMap.  Here is QGIS Desktop with my Lab 1 shapefiles in a map:
So far, so good.  I was able to answer all the lab questions using QGIS with the given data, and I learned new things about QGIS through doing the ArcGIS lab exercises.

by jelkner (noreply@blogger.com) at February 08, 2016 05:06 PM

January 28, 2016

Juan Chacon Free Software & Education | El Salvador

Creating a Shared Partition Between Ubuntu and Scientific Linux

Now that I've removed Windows from my desktop computer at work, and installed Scientific Linux in its place (note: it was, Centos 7.2 with LVM partitions, but now it is Scientific Linux 7.1 with standard partitions), I decided I needed a partition that could be shared between the two distros for large user data.

For example, I have 12 Gigabytes in my Music directory, and a number of VirtualBox hard disk images (at 20 to 30 Gigabytes each) that I would like to access from both OS's.  So my plan is to create a new partition which I will mount on /media/share on both Ubuntu and Scientific Linux.  Then I'll make symbolic links from /home/[username]/Music to /media/share/Music from each home directory.

Before I could create a new partition, I needed to shrink one of my existing partitions to free up space.  Here is how the partitions looked when I started:
and here is what they looked like after shrinking /dev/sda3, growing /dev/sda4 and inserting /dev/sda7 into the new space inside it:
I made the change by booting my computer from an Ubuntu 14.04 Live DVD and running GParted. It took about 20 minutes to shrink my home partition, but it worked without incident.

The next step is to add a mount for the new /dev/sda7 partition.  It's been several years since I played around with mounting partitions, but I still remembered that it involved editing the /etc/fstab file and adding the device and the mount point.  So I loaded my /etc/fstab file and noticed something had changed since I last looked at it:
# /etc/fstab: static file system information.
# Use 'blkid' to print the universally unique identifier for a
# device; this may be used with UUID= as a more robust way to name devices
# that works even if disks are added and removed. See fstab(5).
# <file system> <mount point>   <type>  <options>       <dump>  <pass>
# / was on /dev/sda2 during installation
UUID=4ae26245-fe59-40d2-a380-2c2de57b652b /               ext4    errors=remount-ro 0       1
# /home was on /dev/sda3 during installation
UUID=5c4e86f6-1d94-4eab-9931-5d3aa29e1583 /home           ext4    defaults        0       2
# swap was on /dev/sda1 during installation
UUID=bba8f235-d8b0-4131-9a3e-ec286c3b3837 none            swap    sw              0       0
I was completely unfamiliar with UUID, and had been expecting to see device names (like /dev/sda3 etc.) instead.  I bit of searching led me to several links:
Running $ sudo blkid gave me this:
 /dev/sda1: UUID="b70d7272-e47f-426a-a979-5417bb2f7801" TYPE="swap"
/dev/sda2: UUID="4ae26245-fe59-40d2-a380-2c2de57b652b" TYPE="ext4"
/dev/sda3: UUID="5c4e86f6-1d94-4eab-9931-5d3aa29e1583" TYPE="ext4"
/dev/sda5: UUID="76f8dd02-3671-49ba-b75a-da6d8bb65b19" TYPE="ext4"
/dev/sda6: UUID="e7e58de9-a748-4500-b300-ae1ca10f2056" TYPE="xfs"
/dev/sda7: UUID="44244888-7000-49bf-8ac8-2c32e2f73eb5" TYPE="ext4" 
which I used to add the following line to /etc/fstab:
UUID=44244888-7000-49bf-8ac8-2c32e2f73eb5 /media/share ext4 defaults
and then ran:
$ sudo mkdir /media/share
$ sudo mount -a
which mounted /dev/sda7 on /media/share. Next I moved all my music files to /media/share/Music, deleted the Music directory in my home directory, and replaced it with a symbolic link (note: run from my user's home directory):
$ ln -s /media/share/Music Music
I started Rhythmbox and it worked as if nothing had changed.

Rebooting into Scientific Linux, I added the same line to /etc/fstab and ran the same mkdir and mount commands, then removed my still empty Music directory, made the same sym link, and voila, I had access to all my music from Scientific Linux (after installing Rhythmbox, that is).

For VirtualBox VM sharing, things are a bit more complicated.  Ubuntu makes installing VirtualBox trivial, since it is in the main repository, but on Ubuntu 14.04 version 4.3 is what you get.  On Scientific Linux I installed version 5.0 using the instruction from an earlier post.

Fearing there might be meta-data conflicts between the two versions, but feeling confident the virtual hard disk image files (.vdi) could be shared between them without conflict (since I regularly copy these files back and forth between distros without problems), I did the following:
  1. On the Ubuntu side, I moved my entire VirtualBox VMs directory from my home directory to /media/share and sym linked to it as I had done with the Music directory.
  2. On the Scientific Linux side, I kept VirtualBox VMs in my home directory, using sym links only for the virtual disk image files.  For example, from inside $HOME/VirtualBox VMs/Server1 I ran:
    $ ln -s /media/share/VirtualBox\ VMs/Server1/Server1.vdi Server1.vdi
This worked nicely.  Just for fun, I ran yum update on Server1 launched from VirtualBox 5.0 on Scientific Linux, then rebooted into Ubuntu 14.04 and relaunched Server1 from there, seeing changes I had made.

Finally, after noticing that VirtualBox-4.3 was available for Scientific Linux 7.1, I ran # yum remove VirtualBox-5.0 and then # yum install VirtualBox-4.3, made the VirtualBox VMs directory in my home directory a sym link to /media/share/VirtualBox VMs and quickly added all the VMs back.  Now even the VMs with the VirtualBox extensions installed (for full screen GUI and auto mouse capture) work on both OS's.

by jelkner (noreply@blogger.com) at January 28, 2016 09:24 PM

January 21, 2016

Hands of Charity XO Project | Kenya

Imagine You Could Do This Too! African Friends

Hands of Charity and  Kenya Friends of Small Solutions
We could do this… join the movement, create fashion from ‘trash’!

View on Youtube:   https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z61Qi_0aIJc


by smallsolutionsbigideas at January 21, 2016 03:09 PM

January 14, 2016

Hands of Charity XO Project | Kenya

Poetry about Math & Imagination

by Loren Malaguzzi

The child is made of one hundred |The child has a hundred languages | a hundred hands | a hundred thoughts | a hundred ways of thinking, of playing, of speaking. | A hundred always a hundred | ways of listening | a marveling of loving | a hundred joys | for singing and understanding | a hundred worlds | to discover | a hundred worlds | to invent | a hundred worlds | to dream.

The child has a hundred languages | but the steal ninety nine. | The school and the culture separate the head from the body. | They tell the child: to think without hands | to do without heart  | to listen and not to speak | to understand without joy | to love and to marvel only at Easter and at Christmas, | they tell the child:  to discover the world already there | of a the hundred, they steal ninety-nine.  They tell the child: that work and play reality and fantasy | science and imagination | sky and earth  | reason and dream | are things | that do not belong together.  | And they tell the child that the hundred is not there | The child says | NO way, The hundred is there.

by smallsolutionsbigideas at January 14, 2016 06:23 PM

January 11, 2016

Project Rive: Reaching Students in Haiti

Pyramids, Mudcakes, and Other Scams

“I’m headed off to a meeting,” Bernadette tells me. “It’s a new program where you sell things, and you can also make money by enrolling other merchants.” Warning bells start going off in my head. “I’d like to hear more … Continue reading

by Sora at January 11, 2016 03:30 AM

January 08, 2016


OLPC SF 8th anniversary

OLPC San Francisco is eight years old! We will be hosting our monthly meeting Saturday, January 9th, from 10AM - 1PM at the downtown SFSU campus, 835 Market Street, 5th floor, Room 597 (the fishbowl).


  • Meet and greet
  • Sugar Labs Oversight Board elections
  • Projects for 2016
  • Party

Our meetings are held on the second Saturday of every month. Everyone is welcome to join us for our monthly meeting! We'll be discussing the latest in OLPC events and give updates on our local (and global) projects. There will be plenty of XO laptops with the latest builds to play around with, too.

Facebook https://www.facebook.com/events/168331340195295/
Google+ https://plus.google.com/events/c1p91s3tbo01jvp2irm9i35s6s8

by sverma at January 08, 2016 09:01 PM

ICT4D Views from the Field

SolarSPELL Field Report from Kelly, Peace Corps Volunteer in Vanua Lava, Vanuatu

Hi SolarSPELL team,

First, thank you for the opportunity for me to present such a cool device to a remote village in Vanuatu!



I really enjoyed delivering the SPELL unit to the village of Vetimboso near my site here on the island of Vanua Lava. To date it has been the most rewarding project that I have encountered during my service. The Head Mistress and her teaching staff were elated to receive such a cool device. Internet is rare in this part of the world, as you know. Those who are lucky enough to have a smartphone and are geographically situated to receive data find that the service is too slow for any serious browsing. Because the SPELL system provides fast and reliable access to information without reliance on an external network it was more than well received. It’s always good to see happy customers.


The trip to the school in Vetimboso by four wheel drive truck took about and hour and a half from the Provincial Center here in Sola. I was greeted at the school with a custom greeting of fresh mats covered with fresh flower pedals, and refreshments of fresh fruit and a fruit drink. Very welcoming.


After introductions and refreshments I demonstrated the unit. I followed with a training session that included both a session on finding content, and a session on the workings and maintenance of the unit. All of the staff remained fully engaged and were truly engrossed in learning about the device. A hands on session was also given to assure their full understanding of the system.


I see great value in this system for developing countries like Vanuatu. I see a huge “bang for the buck” advantage of distributing more of these systems throughout the islands. Although we do have Internet available, it is unlikely that the Internet will be able to serve most of the population in the remote areas of the county. Although the local Service Provider is expanding its network, there is still the issue of affordability. Further, most remote villages are without electricity, so usage is very limited even for those who can afford a data plan.


I have received some feedback about the system, mostly regarding requests to update the digital library with custom content as needed by the schools in addition to what is already there. At their request, I have helped the school in Vetimboso with the purchase of a projector for use with the system. They will use a small generator to power it and use it for the classroom.

Thanks again for the opportunity and continue the good work.

Kelly B.
Peace Corps Volunteer
Republic of Vanuatu


The Village of Vetimboso. The village is one of the largest all custom villages in Vanuatu. All structures have been hand made with local natural materials. The village is very clean and the residents obviously have great pride in their community.

The Village of Vetimboso. The village is one of the largest all custom villages in Vanuatu. All structures have been hand made with local natural materials. The village is very clean and the residents obviously have great pride in their community.

Local children and likely recipients of access to the SPELL system. Photo taken near Solang School.

Local children and likely recipients of access to the SPELL system. Photo taken near Solang School.

Headmistress Atina was very happy to receive the SPELL system.

Headmistress Atina was very happy to receive the SPELL system.

The teachers reassemble the SPELL system that was completely disassembled by me as part of their training. They successfully and enthusiastically completed the task without my help.

The teachers reassemble the SPELL system that was completely disassembled by me as part of their training. They successfully and enthusiastically completed the task without my help.


by ljhosman at January 08, 2016 06:52 PM

December 28, 2015

Hands of Charity XO Project | Kenya

Endangered Wildlife

Who is Smarter, Humans or Animals?

Small Solutions Big Ideas has been delighted with the art produced by our Hands of Charity project participants.  They have been researching, writing, and creating art on the issue of wildlife protection for several years now.

The illustrations and story created by the students tells about how the animals take on the issue of poaching. The animals discuss how to protect their endangered brothers.  In these drawings the humans have guns. The animals don’t have guns, so they use other powers to drive poachers away.   In our human world, we use guns often to protect ourselves, or to get rid of people perceived to be dangerous and to solve conflicts.

Animals also have conflicts. Sometimes these are solved in violent confrontations, but confrontations of skill or stealth. When one person has a gun and another doesn’t, the one without the gun feels helpless.  They feel they must get a gun.  But is that a solution to conflict? Are animals more creative and smarter in the ways they solve conflict and address power struggles, such as competition for food ?

I ask this question of the children and students?    What other ways are there to face danger and solve conflicts?  Please post your ideas here Bukokholo students.


NEW ART 2 33Daniel_PosterStopDestroyingLastDaysofPoachers

giraffe PoacherRhinobyDanny

by smallsolutionsbigideas at December 28, 2015 09:50 PM

December 27, 2015

Hands of Charity XO Project | Kenya

Deepening Learning

How do we change learning?  It’s not just about getting computers and teaching kids to use them,  it is about deepening and accelerating the learning.  Change attitudes and a vision of what learning can be.

In the 21st century model of learning, teachers are no longer delivering learning, they are mentors, guides, collaborators in learning activities.  They are empowering children to think on their own, to articulate and understand their own learning process, and to excel.

The hurdles are many:  too many children, too few teachers, too few laptops,  not enough time in a school days. And often there is not the teacher capacity or the resources to direct students past the standard content and expectations.  The biggest hurdle however is often built in cultural attitudes towards learning and the potential of the children.

The large population of African children y must be ready to take on real world challenges now, before they are have finished their schooling.  This requires a new approach.  Project based learning is one of these approaches.

We are very grateful for Chole Richard’s work with Hands of Charity to help them fully use this model, and implement child centered learning in their projects.  Even though these hands on projects have been going on for a couple of years, the students must learn now to lead them, and go further in their learning.

We must work with the students on all fronts, improving their writing, articulation of ideas, critical thinking, understanding of social cultural issues, and the means of cultural change, become true advocates of their country’s future.

Hands of Charity now has full access to the internet to expand the research, reading, and literacy of their students.  They have tools for accelerating mathematics in Turtle Blocks,  and Scratch.  They are good at using media, images and song to express their ideas.  They can find on-line information they need to improve the science of their projects – digging into the ecological issues of animal habitats, and the cultural structure of wild animal life.

We have great hopes for you all.

Here are girl’s working on Scratch in November during Sandra Thaxter’s visit. And Elvis one of our talented artists.



by smallsolutionsbigideas at December 27, 2015 01:26 AM

December 24, 2015

OLPC Basecamp @ Malacca, Malaysia

Malaysia BasecampTrek 2.015 in Pictures (Part 1)

 The basecampTrek2.015 visit. 10 XOs where left to the children few months prior.
 Children were asked to document their environment and home.


We visit again 2 weeks later for a review of progress on
what they done. Awesome photos with write-ups


We left  a digital resource wifi Rachel platform for them to manage.

by T.K. Kang (noreply@blogger.com) at December 24, 2015 05:07 PM

Malaysia BasecampTrek 2.015 in Pictures (Part 2)

We visited another deployment. There were report of non-working keyboards
.The children were taught to problem solve and repair the XOs themselves.

A video of a session is available here 

                                              Doing the repair himself and in group

First XO repaired by the proud 9 year old kid.

by T.K. Kang (noreply@blogger.com) at December 24, 2015 06:33 AM

December 23, 2015

XO Educational Software Project - Haiti

Hello world!

WordPress へようこそ。これは最初の投稿です。編集もしくは削除してブログを始めてください !

by 08061120 at December 23, 2015 04:25 PM

December 22, 2015

Hands of Charity XO Project | Kenya

Chole’s Training & Inspiration


Last week Chole Richard of Jina Uganda, a teacher A PMM Secondary School. Chole is also a Teched leader. He introduced the Hands of Charity teachers to project based learning as a 21st century approach to learning.

Chole explained that it is a learner driven learning program in which the learners are actively engaged in problem solving of real world issues that affect them. As a learner driven program, the students identify with the problem at hand and are inspired to learn everything to solve it.

He played a video clip giving a brief explanation of what project based learning is: Youtube link to project based learning explained PBL.

IMG_6223 IMG_5978

The key differences between PBL and the traditional method of learning.  PBL is Learner centered Teacher centered whereas traditional learning is compartmentalized into subjects. Traditional Tends to be judgmental; punishing mistakes. Mistakes are often opportunities for reflections and evaluation. Greater emphasis on cognitive learning. In PBL emphas is on all the three domains of learning.


Emphasis on memorization…. Aims at higher order thinking

Competitive learning………….. Teamwork; collaboration

Tends to be less concerned with technology…Technology as an integral tool of learning

Little regards for individual differences ..Complete attention to individual differences.

Disregard for student exhibition… Exhibition is an integral part of learning activity

Chole also took time to explain the general need to revisit the purpose of education if the real benefit of PBL and technology in learning activities are to be realized.

He stressed particularly the need to equitably attend to the three domains of learning and the need to drive the learners to higher order thinking even as we attend to the lower order thinking.

Chole says that he also laid emphasis on individual differences of learners, further that there are two key elements in PBL which needs to be present – making the program learner driven and ensuring active participation and in-depth knowledge of their chosen subject matter.

Learners have their own experiences and concerns for which they should be given opportunity to express and build on. It is crucial that the learners work on projects they identify with and own if PBL is to be of any meaning.The projects by their very nature have a start and an end. They start with the learners conceiving an idea and ending with final feedback and evaluation. The key steps/activities in project based learning. • Recognizing or identifying a need/problem • Identifying target beneficiaries. • Formulating clear aims and objectives • Identifying methodologies. • Identifying tools and resourceful persons • Drawing up a work plan • Executing of the plan • Punctuated by continuous reviews, critique, and self evaluation • Completed work outcome/end product to the identified beneficiaries • Feedback from the field and further self-evaluation • Exhibition/Sharing of learning experiences in the whole process 4 I added that project based learning is not a one day affair but may take months, a full school term of even a year. I laid more emphasis on the importance of evaluation which is all involving and takes very many forms

For instance:  Taking note of students’ increased enthusiasm to participate and learn  Taking note of how they come up with their own ideas either for the ongoing project or for a new one.  Asking students to make reflections of their learning points in written or spoken form.  Evaluation at individual level or as a class/program 


by smallsolutionsbigideas at December 22, 2015 12:52 AM

December 12, 2015

Ghana Together


Dear Friends---both American and Ghanaian,
We of Ghana Together and our Ghanaian partners of Western Heritage Home thank you from our hearts for your help with our projects in Axim, Ghana during 2015---especially for financial donations, generously-offered expertise, and logistical assistance.
We sincerely thank all the Axim adult leaders who put these resources to work. The "elbow grease" is theirs!

-Supported 75 students in various ways --- tuition, room & board, textbooks, personal supplies, uniforms, shoes, underwear, notebooks, pens. In most cases, families helped with some costs, but without our help, these students would not be in school.
-Completed the renovation of the dining/assembly/study building at Axim Girls Senior High School.

-Coordinated on-site visits for Adam Holt of Unleash Kids, and Katelyn Henderson and her Dad Jeff. Adam installed the first Internet-in-a-Box in Ghana at the AGSHS, giving access to Wikipedia, hundreds of science/math videos, maps, and other resources. Katelyn taught beginning coding, installed another Internet-in-a-Box at Axim Library, and trained students to search Wikipedia using the One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) computer. Absolutely thrilling for the Ghanaian kids (and maybe the Americans, too!)

-Enhanced the Axim Girls Senior High School’s Jerome Chandler Science Room with a ½ size, scientifically accurate, plastic human skeleton, dog & sheep teeth (!), chemicals, science posters, and back issues of Science News Magazine.
-Completed a second Urine Diversion/Dehydration Toilet (UDDT) at the Methodist-Government School, serving 750+ students. We trained the teachers in its concept, use, and maintenance. Imagine knowing your child has a clean, non-smelling, sanitary toilet at school! Imagine your daughter having a private, clean facility during her menstrual cycle!

-Delivered about 1500 children’s books to the Axim Library. Funded the launch of the new Axim Library’s Mobile Library Tricycle Program, which now visits 11 primary/JHS schools weekly. Delivered 98 technical books to the Community Development Vocational Technical Institute--electrical, plumbing, carpentry, etc.
-Provided electricity to charge about 40 OLPCs for the entire year. And then, were amazed at the big news!! Maybe our years of supporting the Library and the Children’s Computing Lab (OLPCs) had something to do with the Ghana Library Authority & the Ghana Investment Fund for Electronic Communication selecting Axim Library as the perfect spot to create a Community Information Center? Ten new desktop computers, internet access, solar power, and best of all, a National Service computer specialist to manage the whole computer shebang!

-Delivered 50+ lbs. of pre-school learning materials and purchased a DVD player for the Anglican Crèche.
-Conducted---by Board Member Louise Wilkinson and friend Susan Hirst--- Leadership Workshops for 75 senior high students. The leaders of tomorrow!
-Loved seeing Gifty Essien’s new fashion business, one of our Western Heritage Scholars, who graduated senior high this spring—the first in her family to do so. With her $300 Leif Pederson Graduation Award, she has traveled by tro-tro to Takoradi several times, purchasing fashionable bras, cosmetics, and jewelry, and selling them in Axim Town. She can’t quite afford her own “stand” as yet and so is using a small table in front of her friend’s stand. She has her bell to attract customers. She is realizing her dream to have her own fashion business, as she calls it. Her Mom, a subsistence farmer, is so proud! WE are so proud!!

-Continue the scholarships---and maybe expand them.
-Renovate the young men’s dormitory at the Community Development Vocational Technical Institute--enable about 30 guys to get technical training.

-Keep those Internet-in-a-Boxes running!

-Explore introducing the “Days for Girls” menstrual kits. We don’t want a single girl to miss school ever again.

-Continue to ship children’s books, pre-school educational materials, and science-oriented/technical magazines. Purchase a few science supplies.
Who knows what else? When Ghanaians and American put their minds together…WATCH OUT! (We dream of more toilets...)

Thank you for your partnership in these projects that have such a positive effect on individual lives and on the community of Axim.
We again assure you that we use 100% of your donations toward our projects.  We on the Ghana Together Board handle all administrative, travel, and other such costs ourselves.

We ask for your financial support, either by mail or credit card via the PayPal link on our website. We try as much as possible to buy locally in Ghana, in support of business and workers there. We ourselves consider our efforts in Axim a good investment in youth, education, sanitation, and community development.

We are a registered US-based 501c3 non-profit. Your donations are tax-deductible.
Ghanaians who wish to help can deposit funds into the Western Heritage Home account at Ghana Commercial Bank. Contact James Kainyiah at 024-407-2638.
With our sincere thanks…
Ghana Together Directors:  Maryanne Ward, Jerome Chandler, Rich Ward, Louise Wilkinson, and Nathan Ward
Mailing Address: Ghana Together, 808 Addison Place, Mount Vernon, WA 98273
Phone: 1-360-848-6568

by Ghana Together (noreply@blogger.com) at December 12, 2015 08:20 PM

Thanks for a Really Great Year!

Dear Friends---both American and Ghanaian,
We of Ghana Together and our Ghanaian partners of Western Heritage Home thank you from our hearts for your help with our projects in Axim, Ghana during 2015---especially for financial donations, generously-offered expertise, and logistical assistance.
We sincerely thank all the Axim adult leaders who put these resources to work. The "elbow grease" is theirs!

-Supported 75 students in various ways --- tuition, room & board, textbooks, personal supplies, uniforms, shoes, underwear, notebooks, pens. In most cases, families helped with some costs, but without our help, these students would not be in school.
-Completed the renovation of the dining/assembly/study building at Axim Girls Senior High School.

-Coordinated on-site visits for Adam Holt of Unleash Kids, and Katelyn Henderson and her Dad Jeff. Adam installed the first Internet-in-a-Box in Ghana at the AGSHS, giving access to Wikipedia, hundreds of science/math videos, maps, and other resources. Katelyn taught beginning coding, installed another Internet-in-a-Box at Axim Library, and trained students to search Wikipedia using the One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) computer. Absolutely thrilling for the Ghanaian kids (and maybe the Americans, too!)

-Enhanced the Axim Girls Senior High School’s Jerome Chandler Science Room with a ½ size, scientifically accurate, plastic human skeleton, dog & sheep teeth (!), chemicals, science posters, and back issues of Science News Magazine.
-Completed a second Urine Diversion/Dehydration Toilet (UDDT) at the Methodist-Government School, serving 750+ students. We trained the teachers in its concept, use, and maintenance. Imagine knowing your child has a clean, non-smelling, sanitary toilet at school! Imagine your daughter having a private, clean facility during her menstrual cycle!

-Delivered about 1500 children’s books to the Axim Library. Funded the launch of the new Axim Library’s Mobile Library Tricycle Program, which now visits 11 primary/JHS schools weekly. Delivered 98 technical books to the Community Development Vocational Technical Institute--electrical, plumbing, carpentry, etc.
-Provided electricity to charge about 40 OLPCs for the entire year. And then, were amazed at the big news!! Maybe our years of supporting the Library and the Children’s Computing Lab (OLPCs) had something to do with the Ghana Library Authority & the Ghana Investment Fund for Electronic Communication selecting Axim Library as the perfect spot to create a Community Information Center? Ten new desktop computers, internet access, solar power, and best of all, a National Service computer specialist to manage the whole computer shebang!

-Delivered 50+ lbs. of pre-school learning materials and purchased a DVD player for the Anglican Crèche.
-Conducted---by Board Member Louise Wilkinson and friend Susan Hirst--- Leadership Workshops for 75 senior high students. The leaders of tomorrow!
-Loved seeing Gifty Essien’s new fashion business, one of our Western Heritage Scholars, who graduated senior high this spring—the first in her family to do so. With her $300 Leif Pederson Graduation Award, she has traveled by tro-tro to Takoradi several times, purchasing fashionable bras, cosmetics, and jewelry, and selling them in Axim Town. She can’t quite afford her own “stand” as yet and so is using a small table in front of her friend’s stand. She has her bell to attract customers. She is realizing her dream to have her own fashion business, as she calls it. Her Mom, a subsistence farmer, is so proud! WE are so proud!!

-Continue the scholarships---and maybe expand them.
-Renovate the young men’s dormitory at the Community Development Vocational Technical Institute--enable about 30 guys to get technical training.

-Keep those Internet-in-a-Boxesrunning!

-Explore introducing the “Days for Girls” menstrual kits. We don’t want a single girl to miss school ever again.

-Continue to ship children’s books, pre-school educational materials, and science-oriented magazines, and science supplies not available there.
Who knows what else? When Ghanaians and American put their minds together…WATCH OUT! (We dream of more toilets...)

Thank you for your partnership in these projects that have such a positive effect on individual lives and on the community of Axim.
We again assure you that we use 100% of your donations toward our projects.  We on the Ghana Together Board handle all administrative, travel, and other such costs ourselves.

We ask for your financial support, either by mail or credit card via the PayPal link on our website. We try as much as possible to buy locally in Ghana, in support of business and workers there.
We are a registered US-based 501c3 non-profit. Your donations are tax-deductible.

Ghanaians who wish to help can deposit funds into the Western Heritage Home account at Ghana Commercial Bank. Contact James Kainyiah at 024-407-2638.
With our sincere thanks…

Ghana Together Directors:  Maryanne Ward, Jerome Chandler, Rich Ward, Louise Wilkinson, and Nathan Ward
Mailing Address: Ghana Together, 808 Addison Place, Mount Vernon, WA 98273
Phone: 1-360-848-6568

by Ghana Together (noreply@blogger.com) at December 12, 2015 08:02 PM

November 26, 2015

ICT4D Views from the Field

30 More SolarSPELL libraries delivered to Chuuk, Micronesia!


Thirty additional SolarSPELL libraires have been delivered to Chuuk, FSM!

On November 23rd and 24th a training on the use of these solar powered offline digital libraries was held at Chuuk High School. The training participants included both principals from remote island schools and Chuuk High School staff who will be traveling to remote islands to give training on the SolarSPELL libraries to teachers at these schools—following a training of the trainers model.




The Chuuk Department of Education (DoE) is encouraging these schools to budget for 20 Chromebooks (laptops) to accompany these libraries, which the DoE will help the schools obtain.




The training was led by Dr. Laura Hosman, and the libraries had been built one month prior, by students at California Polytechnic State University. A special thanks to Hiro Mori for his help during the training.


This delivery and training brings the total number of SolarSPELL libraries that have been delivered into the field, across the Pacific Islands to 80!


On a separate but very related note, we returned to Chuuk High School on Nov 25th and were able to observe a trial group of Grade 12 students using an offline library that is being piloted at Chuuk High. It was inspired by the offline intranet server approach demonstrated a few years ago at CHS by the PISCES project. However, this project has taken the idea to a whole different level.





Students access cached educational information over an on-campus intra-net connection, from the schools’ growing digital library/repository. This intra-net connection is very fast. (By contrast, we attempted to connect to the Internet while this class was taking place, and were unable to load a single page.)




We were amazed and impressed as we watched these students take tests, be able to monitor their progress on assignments and outcomes on exams, and watch Khan Academy videos and TED talks, among other things. Kudos to Matt Kosik for the fantastic job he’s doing on this project.



by ljhosman at November 26, 2015 02:37 AM

November 24, 2015

Nancie Severs

My Foot is in My Mouth! — Hopkinton, MA

Hopkinton, MA

Are you wondering what's happening in the OLPC volunteer community? I have been asked often recently what do I do? My close friends and colleagues know that even though I’ve had some health challenges to address, I'm still occasionally volunteering to support the efforts to enhance the experience that children and teachers have with One Laptop Per Child rugged XO laptops. You might say, these laptops are 2007 technology. Old and slow. Why don't you give out tablets.

Many of us have tried the tablets for our personal lives and have added keyboards or migrated back to a netbook type device for serious work or learning. The original XO laptop design unveiled the first flash technology netbook to the world. And it is still really useful for children of all ages, especially in the developing world. There are 4 models, the XO-1, (1GB), the faster XO 1.5 (4GB), the lower power with customizable memory and keyboard 1.75 and the XO-4 with those features and a touchpad.

Many of us from the OLPC volunteer community have continued our work through Unleash Kids. www.unleashkids.org

There are about 3 million XOs around the world. A dedicated core group has been working together to enhance the performance and utility of the existing XOs. Meeting remotely and weekly, these volunteers have created a new software platform that will expand even the oldest XOs with an OS installed and run from a 32 GB SD card. They have developed a school server which can pair with the XOs and will allow users to save and transfer work to and from their teachers. The server can host an “internet in a box” which can provide a classroom or library with a searchable intranet that functions like a mini Internet for remote locations that are still without Internet access. This is a very exciting development and will enhance the utility of the already proven rugged hardware of the XO laptop.

The Volunteer Contributors program has already repaired, refurbished and redistributed over 350 XO's. It is still accepting and receiving used units. Working XOs or those that need repairs are welcome.

Adam recently called me. He said that a team of volunteers from EMC in Hopkinton, Massachusetts had offered to help refurbish XO's as a community service project. Would I come and help him with that?

I am good at XO repairs and I couldn’t say no. I drove my trusty Element down to the place where Adam had XOs, from New Hampshire. As he loaded more than a hundred XO's into my car; laptops, chargers, parts machines etc. I scolded him. I said "Adam, in 2 days, we will never get to half of those XOs. You are putting 1500 + pounds in my car for me to drive with."

On the appointed date, we arrived at EMC at 8:00 AM. Unloading was easier than loading, as there were many willing hands to help. We met Joe Paradise, the EMC Team leader who enthusiastically pursued this project and had recruited a terrific team of volunteers. Each volunteer came for at least several hours. Some for longer. EMC is a generous company, encouraging its employees to participate in community service projects by providing 3 8 hour days of “paid volunteer time” annually. Most often, projects take place in the local community and off site. This may have been the first project to bring the volunteer opportunity to the EMC campus. Joe handled the logistics seamlessly.

Adam and I set up stations: Charging, Cleaning, Diagnostics and Triage, Disassembly and Reassembly, Reflashing and Repairs.

Former OLPC employee wizard Paul Fox joined us and shared his expertise for the entire first day. Together Paul and I got the De-Bricking table going. We taught disassembly and reassembly and firmware up dating and re-flashing. Jessica, another UK volunteer joined us for the second day.

A few years ago, I had discovered that “Mr. Clean Magic Erasers” easily cleans the dirt and grit that accumulates on XO ears and keyboards. (They are melamine and they work by actually sanding off the dirt and grime.) While we brought most of the needed supplies, the EMC volunteers generously provided the pricy “Magic Erasers.” And they also did the “dirty work” cleaning well used XOs that had been re-donated. And, we volunteers enjoyed donuts and lunch donated by the EMC Team!

Throughout each day, the stack of XO's labeled "ready to go" grew taller. The refurbished XO’s many of which started out really dirty look brand-new. I was surprised at how much we accomplished on the first day.

Adam and I hope everyone had a fun and meaningful experience. On the second day we had new groups of volunteers. I was so pleased to see that Ray and Dave returned to help again! We attacked some more difficult repairs. With volunteers Holly and Aniruhda we managed a successful keyboard and touchpad repair. It’s a difficult repair and it took us 2 hours to do 3 XO's. But we now know how to do it. It will go faster the next time. And we can share that knowledge at some site where one additional XO will make a big difference to a child.

My foot is in my mouth. Adam, you were absolutely right to fill the car!
This was the most successful repair sprint ever. In just 2 days we took home 167 previously unusable XO's, XO-1’s and 1.5's, now tagged “Ready to Ship.”

Thank you Joe Paradise and each one of the talented, earnest volunteers. What a wonderful Community Service project. We hope we can repeat it.

Are you looking to volunteer? Do you have a project location and need XO's?
Go to:
http://wiki.laptop.org/go/Contributors_ program
Draft a Stellar Project Proposal:
http://wiki.laptop.org/go/Contributors_ program/Project_proposal_form
Submit it by email to

November 24, 2015 02:33 AM

November 16, 2015

OLPC Basecamp @ Malacca, Malaysia

Nov 16 2015

It has been 2 years since "olpc BaseCamp2013: The next journey" and months since I wrote here.

We can now look back over the 2 years to see what have change in the landscape of digital learning platform. The momentum is getting stronger with many new people and organisations doing what we hope to do in the past. This is a good sign indeed.

Today is Nov 16 and it is 10 years since the first XO laptop prototype was revealed. Happy 10 years birthday. Enjoy this shot clip of the past and don't blink towards the end.


Over the next few days olpc BaseCampTrek2.015 will be active in Malaysia. Some of us will visit various mini deployments planted over the 2 years.  While personally I am not able to be there in person this time, I am fortunate however to have done Australia BaseCampTrek2.015. I visited One-Education (www.one-education.org) last week  and saw their great team in action.

I had a glimpse of their modular Infinity Laptop which will be launched soon in indiegogo kickstarter this month. You can win a infinity by going to this page:


Keep the next journey alive and enjoy

T.K. Kang

by T.K. Kang (noreply@blogger.com) at November 16, 2015 12:43 AM

November 12, 2015

ICT4D Views from the Field

30 more SolarSPELL libraries built at Appropriate Technology Workshop and Build Day at Cal Poly


On October 24 2015, students from across Cal Poly’s campus gathered for an interactive workshop on Appropriate Technology for the Developing World and to participate in the hands-on activity of building 30 additional SolarSPELL libraries. The workshop and build were led by Prof. Laura Hosman.



The students, representing a wide variety of majors, participated in a lively discussion about some of the challenges of bringing technology to developing world contexts, when a lack of technology may not have been the problem in the first place. The workshop also highlighted some successes and failures of ICT in developing regions.



The hands-on build activities saw students jumping in to solder, drill, heat-shrink, glue, fasten, cut, splice, affix, and much more…as they enthusiastically built 30 SolarSPELL libraries in approximately 2.5 hours. Feedback received from the event indicated that the students truly enjoyed the experience, and felt they were able to contribute to a real-world project.



Here are some quotes from the students:

The simplicity of the SolarSPELL design made me realize what appropriate technology might look like.



The hands-on project makes you feel like you are making an actual contribution to helping address a problem. The design of the technology reflects the needs of the location.


It was a humbling experience that made me really consider the way technology interplays with social/political/economic situations.


I loved the build aspect because it made me feel a part of something bigger than myself.



Cal Poly’s own Mustang News covered the event and released a video featuring the day’s highlights.

The 30 libraries that were built at this event are heading to Chuuk, which is one of the four Federated States of Micronesia. This will be SolarSPELL’s third in-the-field deployment, bringing the total number of libraries in the field to nearly 80! We’re looking forward to the on-site training in November.





by ljhosman at November 12, 2015 04:54 PM

October 31, 2015

Ghana Together

What about that Jerome Chandler Science Room at Axim Girls Senior High School (AGSHS)?

Happy Halloween! A perfect day to inquire about that Jerome Chandler Science Room at AGSHS you’ve heard so much about …perfect, because one of this year’s additions is just so darned appropriate to highlight TODAY OF ALL DAYS!!!

Plus, on our recent visit to Axim, we had firm instructions from Jerome to learn all we could about what’s happening to his precious Science Room! 

They were moving the Science Room to the new classroom building, and classes hadn’t begun, but we talked with the teachers, and this week --about a month into the school term -- we received photos via the magic of “Whatsapp.”

A scientifically accurate 1/2 size plastic human skeleton
Science teachers opening the skeleton. Dept. Head Eric Jim is second from the left. The five AGSHS science teachers – integrated science, chemistry, biology, physics, and agriculture – use the Science Room about once/week or as needed for practicums.

What the heck????

Three junior high schools – Life International, Morning Star, and Catholic Government School – regularly send students to the Science Room for practicums.  Akyimen-Brawere JHS has asked to join occasionally. Ahlesunna has been invited and hopefully will accept. All of these schools are within walking distance---within about 30-45 minutes. Teacher Jim schedules these schools for end of the day, so students can walk straight home after the practicums.

If you want to know what they're looking at, call Jerome!!

In addition, during the one-month school holidays in 2015, science vacation classes were held every day for junior high students.

This year, thanks to our ever-generous science fans back home in America, we supplied a scientifically accurate human skeleton, and also a little more than $1000 worth of chemicals, dry cell batteries, dessicator, and teeth and jaws of sheep and dog (!). 

We thank Evans Arloo, Western Heritage Home Operations Manager, who traveled via tro-tro the nearly 300 km to Kumasi to purchase these supplies from the same business that supplies the science department and medical school at Kwame Nkrumah Science and Technology University.

The AGSHS Science Room is equipped with both computer and overhead projectors, tables, stools, shelving, 50 scientific calculators, numerous posters, stethoscopes, and all the materialsneeded to support hands-on teaching of the JHS/SHS Ghana Education Science curriculum.

Jerome also wrote a definitive manual of experiments to demonstrate all the major concepts in the curriculum (reviewed by Rich Ward, who pretended to be a junior high student!). We bring Science News Magazines, for the science teachers, who have few intellectual resources. (Hint: if you subscribe to a science-oriented magazine, we can help recycle your back issues!)

We thank AGSHS Science Dept Head & Teacher Mr. Eric Jim who has worked with us from the beginning, and also Headmistress Theodora Appiah, who well understands the importance of science education (and happens to be married to a university chemistry professor!). 

Madame Theodora took leadership of AGSHS in January 2015, and she, Eric, and the teachers have put the science program into high gear! It's been fun to help them with their goals! And so we thank YOU, dear Reader!

For more News Updates, see http://ghanatogether.blogspot.com/
To contact us, email Ghana Together
For more info, see http://ghanatogether.org
We are a US-registered 501c3, EIN 26-2182965

by Ghana Together (noreply@blogger.com) at October 31, 2015 06:52 PM

October 29, 2015

Ghana Together

Ghana 2015 – Fun

Four of us went to Ghana in September of 2015.  The group consisted of Maryanne Ward, Susan Hirst, Louise Wilkinson and her 18 year-old granddaughter, Alexis.  All of us but Alexis had been to Ghana before.  We have written about the Leadership Workshops we did.  This is about the experiences and fun we had there as tourists! We recommend it!!

Alexis, Susan Hirst, Maryanne Ward, and Louise Wilkinson

Ghana is, as usual, friendly, colorful, and chaotic.  Because of the Ebola epidemic in West Africa, there were very few visitors in Ghana last year.  Although Ebola never reached Ghana, it still is influencing tourism this year, we were told.  We were almost the only people in the hotels where we stayed in both Accra and Axim.  Perhaps that’s why internet was unavailable which made contact with families at home much more difficult.

Axim Beach Hotel with its wonderful ocean view and clean beach. It's a bit rough for swimming, but perfect for walking, enjoyiing sunsets, and just overall sheer beauty.

However, there has been a tremendous improvement in the main road from Accra to Axim.  Those bumps and potholes are mostly a thing of the past and the travel time has been cut almost by half!  But the dirt roads in Axim have not improved and getting to the Axim Beach Hotel (with its beautiful beach and comfortable thatched-roof huts) was always a wildly bumpy adventure. So was the beach road we took to the Ankroba Beach Hotel.  We were stopped by young men pulling in a long net - a boat’s catch, and Alexis was able to help them.

Cottage at the Axim Beach Hotel. Comfortable, clean, safe, good food...:)

Pull, Lexy, pull!! The guys certainly appreciated the "help" of their American friend who just happpened on the scene as we drove the coast road from Axim to Ankobra. Fun!!

We went to a Kundum festival in Nsein, a neighboring village.  It was much smaller than the Kundum in Axim but the procession and dancing were again wonderful.  The chief was carried on a palanquin on the heads of four men who were all dancing, and Alexis caught the attention of numerous handsome young men.

Nsein Villagers marching to their Kundum Festival. Can you hear the drums?

The "Dignity Ladies" dancing in their colorful blue hats and beautiful dresses.The theme of the festival was "Women Empowerment"
Finally the Chief arrives in his palanquin, to the acclaim of his people, and with a small royal princess leading the way before him. We were honored to be invited to a private meeting with the Chief, just prior to the start of the festivities.

The slave castle in Axim is 500 years old, as of this very year—2015!  We took a tour there and learned about a hidden tunnel to the island of slave embarkation and about the commandant who fell to his death while watching the ocean for the ship carrying his fiancée into port. Involvement in the slave trade makes the castle a depressing place, but there are terrific views of Axim town and the colorful fleet of boats.

The slave castle in Axim, built by the Portuguese in 1515, owned also by both the Dutch and the British, over its long history, and looking today much as it did then. We've been told the Dutch Embassy sees to its painting every so often.

Sunday we dressed for church and walked through Apewosika, the east end of town extending from the hillside down to the sea.  The hill is lined with wood and corrugated steel huts, many fish smokers, and women, children, chickens and goats.  The children and some adults were greeting us with “obroni” meaning “white person,” and “Hello how are you I am fine” in one string of words.

Typical Axim street scene while walking from the hotel to church

Mostly people are friendly, welcoming. Few "obronis" visit Axim, especially in the town center. T

The Methodist Church was full of women dressed in bright print dresses and colorful headdresses or carefully done hair with weaves.  The men look stunning in white or colorful shirts and pants and often wear shoes with long points.  We tried to slip into the church but were spotted (we do stand out) and ushered to the front and after the sermon, Maryanne was called upon to speak.  She is well-known here since she comes every year.  She did a great job of speaking and pointing out people in the congregation who had helped with many of our education and sanitation efforts in town.  Then the best part – the offering.  Row by row people danced to the front of the church to put their offerings in the basket.  There is such joy in the dancing.  Of course when it was our turn we joined them – but we can’t move like they can despite the compelling music. 

Our friend, Miss Frances Polley, a retired math teacher, dances her faith at the Axim Methodist Church. 

We were invited to the King Awulae’s home for dinner.  We were ushered into a dark living room with huge leather couches and a massive TV which was turned on for our entertainment, showing what must have been a Nigerian soap opera.  After a time we were invited to a table and served a wonderful fish soup with rice.  During this time Awulae had spoken to us only briefly which, it turns out, is customary here. 

Louise and Paramount Chief "King" Awulae Attibruskusi at her home near Seattle in 2011. He is the hereditary chief of Lower Axim and manages land and resources from Axim to Ivory Coast on behalf of his people. We were honored to have him in our midst here in NW Washington after his business trip to California. He serves on the Ghana National Petroleum Council, and in the past few months has launched a Foundation to support needy students.

However after dinner we had an interesting conversation with King Awulae and Mr. Bentil, a Ghanaian and a good friend of ours.  Awulae spoke vehemently against President Obama visiting and saying that Ghana and other African nations should legalize gay marriage.  It is very much against their culture and the law.  He spoke positively about women leaders and thinks they are not as corruptible as men.  However, when they are corrupted, they can do more damage because people have trusted them. The corruption of 30 plus justices in their court has been the big public topic of discussion here.  That is only about 10% of the justices, but Awulae is outraged that they could be corrupt when they are the keepers of justice for the people.  The head of their court of justice is a woman.  He didn’t seem to be blaming her, although he said she should take responsibility.

We spent time visiting the children formerly in the Heritage Home, catching up with them and seeing how they’d grown.  Some are at Nsein High School and others at Manye Academy.  It was wonderful to see how lovely and smart they had become.  We took toys to a preschool, and visited the Apewosika elementary school where Ghana Together is sponsoring a number of students. The children were full of energy and joy, fascinated to see these white foreigners, and swamped the delighted Alexis. 

Philo, Peter, and Charlotte---our WHH senior high scholars. They sent a message that they needed scientific calculators for their classes, which we brought for them. They are thriving at Nsein SHS.

We are proud of Kingsley, who just graduated junior high, and received a scientific calculator to celebrate! Kingsley will attend a school for welding and fabrication, and maybe some automotive mechanics training. Ernestina also graduated JHS, but was with extended family in Accra during our visit. She also received a calculator as her graduation gift.

Some of the WHH Scholars with their mentor, Evans Arloo. They attend Manye Academy, and live in the dormitory there.

Lexy with students from Apewosika Village School. Ghana Together provides tuition for 50 students from this very impoverished neighborhood. The extended family must provide uniforms, shoes, underwear, exercise book, and pencil.

Lexy and Maryanne show the new learning materials to children at the Anglican Creche in Axim. The materials are a gift from Crossroads Preschool in Burlington, WA---THANKS!!! 

We visited the Axim Library with Mercy Ackah, the former Axim librarian who is now head of the region for the Ghana Library Authority.  We have been sending books for the last several years to the Axim Library and it seems to be the only one of her five with any significant holding. While we were in Axim, 16 more boxes of books (about 2000 volumes) arrived, given by Americans, to the library. Thank you!!

Mercy Ackah, Regional Library Director for Ghana Library Authority; Gaddiel Eyisson, Axim Public Library Director; and Maryanne

We hung a picture of Tom Castor, Louise’s late husband, in the One Laptop Per Child computer room to honor his work renovating the small computers and lovingly teaching the children of Axim how to use them. 

On our last night in Axim we went to a lovely resort at the end of the point east of Axim, Lou Moon.  We were able to swim there (the lovely beach at the Axim Beach Hotel has an undertow and so swimming is not safe).  We watched a spectacular sunset and had dinner there.

Sunset with fishing canoes at Lou Moon Hotel/Restaurant---Wow!!

We met Gifty Baaba Asmah in Takoradi for lunch.  She is still working hard to improve Ghanaian life through her non-profit.  She is currently collaborating with the University of Rhode Island on ways to recycle the plastic ever-present in the Ghanaian landscape.  We spent the next few days at Kathryn Roe’s house near Cape Coast.  Kathryn has a program to provide scholarships to poor students who pass their high school exams but otherwise would not be able to continue their education.  It was a very comfortable house and we hardly noticed the 12-hour loss of electricity.  

A very nice lunch place in Takoradi with long-time friend Gifty.

Some of us did the Canopy Walk in Kakum National Forest, toured the Cape Coast Castle and “petted” the crocodiles at Han’s Botel.  And we were able to walk through the little village where Kathryn lives, Mpeasem.  

Children, children. Ghana's population is young! Ghana now provides tuition-free education through junior high school, but it's a challenge for many parents to provide the uniforms, etc. and the schools are crowded. But the difference is striking from our first visit, nine years ago.
The people were friendly and children followed us everywhere.  We bought bananas and took pictures.  It is dirt and huts, chickens and goats, and seemingly a lot of family warmth and play.

Typical family scene---Mom is a fish seller. Kids "help"!!

Kakum Forest Canopy Walk. A wonderful way to experience tropical Africa!

We spent two days in Accra, taking in some key sights - Osu to shop, Kwame Nkrumah’s tomb and museum, a workshop for coffins in shapes related to the dead person’s activities (a truck, a pineapple, a camera) and the Makola market.  We walked to the Cultural Arts Center and saw how much of the craft work is actually done.  We had dinner with Frank Cudjoe and his family – Anita and children Sue and Leif.  And we stayed at the Afia Hotel, which is charming, but has a tremendous amount of trash on the beach.

Yes, these are coffins---made after the interests of the family member who has died and will be laid to rest in them. One of Ghana's interesting traditions!

Another coffin. No doubt the family member had a love of photography and cameras! He or she will be buried in this coffin, which probably closely matches the actual camera owned by the deceased.
We recommend the Afia Hotel in Accra as a great place to stay. But, this beach, near the hotel, highlights the huge challenge Ghana faces with keeping trash off the beaches and struggling with sanitation generally.

The trip was wonderful.  We spent a lot of time working hard and interacting with high school students, and were able to relax and enjoy some amazing places.

Our all-time favorite photo, taken by Susan Hirst, photographer extraordinaire! The three children are "students" at the Anglican Creche. We LOVE the hairdo!!!

So much pure fun with wonderful friends. We are grateful, especially for the wonderful care given us by the staffs of the various hotels, the many drivers who transported us safely---esp. Quamie Annan, to Kathryn Roe for her hospitality in Cape Coast, and to the friendly, welcoming people of Ghana!

For more info see http://ghanatogether.org
To contact us, email info@ghanatogether.org
Ghana Together is a US-registered 501c3, EIN 26-2182965

by Ghana Together (noreply@blogger.com) at October 29, 2015 08:10 PM