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OLPC DC Club (Part One) March 24, 2011

I met Mike Lee almost 1.5 year ago at NYC OLPC meeting. I remember that all attendeeds were divided into three groups (teachers, techies and promoters), and I was in the promoters group, that was led by Mike.  I remember him explaining to us how we can get involved into helping OLPC with marketing efforts. I really liked that he is people-focused and has a great personality. Since then we’ve met several times and I was lucky to interview him last week to learn more about his work and OLPC DC Club that he runs:

polyachka:  Good morning, Mike! How are you?

curiouslee: Doing fine. Going to Philly tonight thru Tue for conference.

polyachka: How was your OLPC meeting yesterday? Did you have an agenda?

curiouslee: Actually good turnout of 12. We shared favorite Sugar activities in screen.

curiouslee: Physics and Speak were popular. Also Record and TurtleBlocks.

curiouslee: Jeff Elkner wants to organize a DC eduJam.

polyachka: When?

curiouslee: Maybe September. He wants to avoid conflict with other events.

polyachka: And the people who attended the meeting, what are demographics?

curiouslee: Some retirees, two teachers, two programmers, 3 high school students

polyachka: pretty good representation

curiouslee: Only one child–mine.

curiouslee: Harriet Vidyasagar of OLPC India attended for first time

polyachka: oh, nice

curiouslee: Harriet lives 5-minute walk from my house!

polyachka: so Harriet doesn’t live in India?

curiouslee: Both places. She travelled back and forth extensively, but recently retired

polyachka : so how big is the OLPC community in DC area, if you combined all regular attendees?

curiouslee: There are about 30 regular attendees who make it 4x a year or more. There are 175 people on our email list. Scratch Day was biggest event last year with 75 people

polyachka: when was Scratch day?

curiouslee: Scratch Day 2010 was May 22. There’s a blog post with the announcement and some photos on Flickr.

polyachka: what other events do you hold or host?

curiouslee: We hosted documentation jam and have informal meetups on some weeknights at bar or restaurant.

polyachka: those must be well-attended

curiouslee: Weeknight at bars–typically a dozen people. A different group of people than weekends.

curiouslee: We also had booth at NECC 2009 education conference in DC and TEDx MidAtlantic 2009 Baltimore.

polyachka: So howcome you go to some expos even outside on DC when it is OLPC related, is it more your personal interest or you do it because you run this group?

polyachka: Personal interest. Most club members do not have time or money to travel out of the area for OLPC.


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