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OLPC Summit SF 2012 October 29, 2012

OLPC Community Summit took place in SF in October 19-21. Read Nancie’s blog post about it:

G1G1, Change Lives & Change Your Life“We were staying out in Bolinas at the Kleider’s lovely home. When I say we, I mention that there were 8 of us spending the weekend there and 15 or more staying over on Sunday night after the lovely and lively End of Summit Party. 15 house guests and who knows how many party attendees? That’s a lot of food and a lot of work! June and Alex, & Tanya and Mike’s gracious hospitality included comfy accommodations and gourmet meals in a gorgeous relaxing setting. And Alex, the van “captain” for the 1 hour commute to downtown SF, took us on some of the most scenic roads in the area. For the Kleider’s, this was their 3rd year hosting. I know we all share in my sincere thanks.

This is the third year of the Summit. OLPC-SF http://wiki.sugarlabs.org/go/Sugarcamp_SF_2012#Photos  OLPC San Francisco, a volunteer group, dreamed up, planned and sponsored this event, partnering with San Francisco State University which generously hosted our event. The work of Professor Sameer Verma of the SFSU Business School enables the continued sponsorship of this event by SFSU and its student volunteers. Together with members of OLPC-SF, they ran a top-notch event.

The conference began on Friday evening with a meet and greet. Saturday and Sunday there were full days of sessions presented in one of three tracks, Education, Outreach and Technology, and included presentations from OLPC Boston and Miami folks also. Sameer - Thanks for all you do!

A highlight was on Sunday when we heard about the latest stories and data from “The Reading Project.” This is the famous recent “helicopter tablet drop” project in Ethiopia. Nicholas Negroponte still posits that children can figure everything out and learn how to learn without teachers. His plan to drop tablets into a community without prior exposure to any technology, and without instruction on how to use them, to see whether the kids in an illiterate village can learn to read on their own is a bold one. For its experiment, OLPC chose the Motorola Xoom Android Tablet (a touch screen) and loaded it with apps, both free and proprietary. 20 kids each in 2 remote Ethiopian villages received Xoom Tablets. One of the interesting things  about this project is that the tablets have an SD data card included and the “sneakernet” team of 2 visits the sites once a week to swap out the data cards. The cards are Fed Ex’d to the Cambridge office team for analysis. How much arer the tablets being used? Constantly. What are the children doing with them? Are they learning to read upside down or right side up? We had a fascinating glimpse and we await the rest of the story as it plays out.

The OLPC XO-4 About The Learning Project, Ethiopiawith the touchscreen was available to see. We hear that it will be available perhaps in January, 2013. We learned that the Sugar Activities need to be modified to work with touch, but it has an on screen keyboard that pops up for use when text boxes appear.

I have a better understanding of how a school server can be designed and installed, and how content can be customized for installation on multiple XOs, very useful in larger projects and in projects localized in languages other than English. We heard about things that work well on all fronts, and we thoughtfully discuss obstacles and problem solving. Always in the forefront is discussion of the future of OLPC, the future of olpc, e.g., the role of the global grassroots volunteer community, and the mission to provide access to education to the millions of children worldwide who are still without any schools, teachers or formal learning means. With very few exceptions, this incredible global and usually online community works tirelessly without pay and we each pay our own expenses for equipment to improve the XO as a learning tool, and for travel to meetings and for our site work.

On Monday the Sugar Hacking Sprint began and continued through Wednesday. The list of topics to be addressed was ambitious and I am anxious to see the products of the continued volunteer efforts this week.  As always, the story is in the photos! Huge thanks to Sameer, June and Alex and family, SFSU, and the members of OLPC-SF for all of your hard work and for the wonderful OLPC-SF Summit 2012!”

 

Ba Chieu Home Update (Part Three) September 11, 2012

Filed under: Volunteering — polyachka @ 4:52 pm
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This is the last part of Celia’s Caughey newsletter about Ba Chieu Shelter:

“Vinacapital in HCMC has also been assisting the Home (thanks to kiwi Brook Taylor) by having some of its staff work as volunteers in computer training for the girls.

Lorraine’s visit

During the July school holidays another link with New Zealand was strengthened when Lorraine Andrewes from the St Andrews Early Childhood Centre in Epsom, Auckland, came to Ho Chi Minh City (at her own cost) and stayed for 2 weeks in the Home.  Lorraine is a trained kindergarten teacher who was able to spend time teaching the girls art in their holidays as well as doing some great face painting and developing closer bonds with the girls, many of whom are in need of motherly contact.  Lorraine has also organized a fundraising event at the kindergarten for the Home.

New Website

One of the kiwis in HCM City who has helped with selling books for the Home is Julia Parker. Now back in New Zealand in her new role as Futureintech Facilitator Julia has arranged for Naomi Shingler at St Dominic’s College to create a new website for the Home.  This is long overdue, so we await her work with keen interest.

Fundraising in Bonn

More kiwi connections are emerging in other corners of the world.  I was contacted by a former teacher at NZ’s ACG School in HCMC who is now teaching in Germany at the Bonn International School.  She is keen for her students to be able to support the Ba Chieu Home through their Community and Service project, so has sent their donation through to WOCA.

ACG and swimming

The New Zealand Associated Colleges Group HCMC campus has generously allowed the girls to use their swimming pool on Sundays to learn to swim for the past few years.  This continues the New Zealand link with  the Home, and several kiwis have also volunteered to give up their Sunday morning to supervise the swimming sessions.  Many thanks to Ian King and his Vietnam staff for this very kind gesture; it is much appreciated.

New Zealand Chamber of Commerce – NZ Wine and Food Festival

This year once again the New Zealand Chamber of Commerce organized the New Zealand Wine and Food Festival, the hottest event in town, which began in 2000 (when I was Trade Commissioner).  Thanks to good organization, a superb event and generous sponsorship, the Chamber was able this year to make a significant donation to the Home, which could pay for maintenance on the house and provided new lockers for the girls, as well as contributing to operating costs.

Meeting Tram

In a newsletter last year I included a photo of one of our earliest girls, Tram, who spent many years at the Home, as a beautiful bride.  On my recent trip to Vietnam I passed through Danang where Tram now lives and was able to meet up with her and her beautiful new baby boy.   When she left the Home with a good education Tram was able to get a good job in the jewellery department of a large department store in the centre of the City, and it was there that she met her husband to be.  It is lovely to see her now happily married and starting a family of her own.

It is always heartwarming for me to go back and see the Home running well and the girls thriving and happy, thanks to the generosity of you all –  friends of the Home, donors and those who have bought the books and game which were produced to support the Home.

Many thanks for your continued interest and support.

Celia M Caughey

Fundraising Coordinator, Ba Chieu Home, Ho Chi Minh City

Tel 6305292   021 1402 190, Email: celia@primenz.com

Buy an ethical gift this Christmas and support the Ba Chieu Home

http://seriouslyboard.co.nz/kiwiana/vote-for-vietnam-and-for-charity/”

 

Positive Psychology Movement October 31, 2011

Filed under: Volunteering — polyachka @ 10:00 pm
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Positive psychology is new, but rapidly growing. The International Positive Psychology Association’s student division (SIPPA) and positive psychology masters programs are emerging (at least 15 around the world), and positive psych publications and books have increased in number. It is applied to:

– Education: teaching positive psychology and well-being in kindergarten through 12th grade, both directly in the curriculum, and indirectly throughout all curriculum;

– Positive humanities: : infusing the arts with PERMA (Positive Emotions, Engagement, Relationships, Meaning, and Accomplishment);

-Positive journalism: journalism that uncovers what is hidden as well as praises what is worthy.

The Positive Turn: Why Positive Psychology and the Humanities Need Each Other

James Pawelski, Donald J. Moores, Lindsay Doran, Martin E.P. Seligman from University of Pennsylvania, Positive Psychology Center, Philadelphia, PA, United States

At the First World Congress on Positive Psychology in 2009, Martin Seligman issued a challenge to positive psychology. The challenge is to ensure that 51% of the world’s population is flourishing by the year 2051. If we take this challenge seriously, there is lots of work for everyone in positive psychology to do. There is the theoretical work of developing definitions and models of human flourishing, the empirical work of determining the best ways to help people achieve human flourishing, and the applied work of delivering positive interventions to individuals and communities. But positive psychology will not be able to meet this challenge alone. All of the social sciences will have to collaborate in the development of a mature science of well-being. Equally important will be the development of a culture of well-being.

Key here is the engagement of the humanities, the branch of learning that studies human culture. The humanities, which includes such disciplines as history, literature, law, philosophy, religious studies, art, and music, influences every aspect of our lives and comprises a large part of what is taught to children in K-12 schools and to adults in universities.

 

Positive Psychology in Education August 1, 2011

Filed under: Volunteering — polyachka @ 12:00 pm
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Assessing Signature Strengths of the Children from Multiple Perspectives

Tayyab Rashid fromValues in Action Institute, Cincinnati, US and University of Toronto Scarborough, Toronto, Canada

Good character is what parents want to cultivate in their children, what teachers attempt to impart in their pupils, what friends look for in each other. But rarely these perspectives have been integrated with child‘s self-report measures to determine a child‘s signature strengths. This study precisely did that. An entire six grade class at a public school in Toronto participated in this project. Character strengths of curiosity, forgiveness, appreciation of beauty, authenticity and honesty, love, social intelligence and zest received high convergence while modesty, perspective, self-regulation and spirituality received low convergence. Children with the help of their parents also participated in a project which actively deployed children‘s signature strengths. Results of this project are expected before this proposed presentation.

Play Your Strengths(tm) with LEGO(r) Building and discovering our strengths through narratives and LEGO models

Mads Bab from Play Your Strengths (intenz AS), Aarhus, Denmark

Introduction: LEGO bricks are combined with a theoretical foundation based on strengths psychology, appreciative inquiry, play theory and elements of narrative psychology. Participants either build their strengths as identified in the VIA Survey and if these have not yet been identified the participants build their best possible selves, and label these according to the VIA Classification of character strengths. Upon building their strengths in LEGOR participants share stories of these strengths and interact with the models as a group

Background: A constructivist approach to strengths would imply that lasting and usable knowledge of one’s top strengths is likely to happen through a construction process and not a quick labeling process alone. Th rough this construction process one builds a strong scaffold of knowledge regarding, using Linleys (2009), definition, preexisting capacities for a particular way of behaving, thinking or feeling that is authentic and energizing. Taking a narrative and metaphorical approach to strengths it can be argued that in order to understand our strengths we need to understand the strength-stories and strengths-metaphors that we have consciously and unconsciously composed over our lives. This will allow us using, Lakhoff ”s and Johnson”s (1980) words, “to more thoroughly understand how we draw inferences, set goals, make commitments, and execute plans”, but in this case on the basis of our strengths.

Play Your Strength™ has been qualitative researched as part of an MSc in Applied Positive Psychology dissertation as well as practical experience with more than 300 participants.

Participants will be introduced to data and findings from workshops and research done for dissertation from MSc in Applied Positive Psychology 2010 as well as background and theoretical references. Participants will also be given LEGO bricks and guided through a selection of the Play Your Strengths exercises.

Smart Strengths: A Model for Positive Education with Parents, Teachers and Coaches

John M Yeager1, Sherri W. Fisher2, David N. Shearon3 1Th e Culver Academies, Center for Character Excellence, Culver, US, 2Flourishing Schools, Medfield, US, 3Flourishing Schools, Nashville, US

When parents, teachers and athletic coaches form strengths based partnerships for the youth they serve, they can collectively have a significantly positive influence on students.

The workshop will provide illustrations of the S-M-A-R-T Strengths Model at three unique schools in the United States: an independent boarding school, a rural public school (where 50% of the student body are at or below the poverty line), and an underserved student population at an urban charter school. Th e S-M-A-R-T acronym stands for Spotting, Managing, Advocating, Relating, and Training strengths. The approach focuses on how adult mentors discover and act on their own strengths, so they can help youth play to their own assets, thus becoming more resilient and building high quality connections with others – at home, in school, and on the athletic fi eld. Th e following eight essential areas for successful implementation will be addressed:

1) Enabling conditions that make creating a strengths-based culture possible;

2) Incorporating a focus on strengths in the school mission;

3) Performing initial teacher training that generates buy-in and enthusiasm. In the process, the school develops a shared language for talking about strengths, which facilitates communication among teachers, athletic coaches, parents, staff , and students;

4) Using appreciative and strengths based approaches to solve cultural problems among teachers – to move from department silos to a more collaborative climate;

5) Establishing ongoing training practices to help experienced teachers lead newer teachers in the strengths based approach;

6) Helping parents learn a strengths-based approach to learning so that they can support student learning effectively at home;

7) Incorporating strengths based learning in activities performed by students moving through the elementary and secondary school grades

8) Involving alumni in the character formation of students.

 

Happy Children, Happy Teachers… July 31, 2011

The HAPPY SCHOOLS Program: A Project on Positive Education in Spain

Ricardo Arguís Rey C.P.R. ‘Juan de Lanuza’, Zaragoza, Spain

The “HAPPY CLASSROOMS” Program is a pioneering and recent project in Spain, which attempts to provide teachers an educational program based on Positive Psychology. It’s designed for students in Preschool, Primary and Secondary Schools (children and youth between 3-18 years old). The two axes of the Program are: mindfulness and the education of character strengths (Peterson & Seligman, 2004). It has two fundamental objectives: enhancing the personal and social development of students, and promoting the happiness of students, teachers and families. This Program is situated within the framework of the Key Competencies of the current European educational systems. Specifically, it allows teachers to work the three more transversal Competencies: autonomy and personal initiative, social and civic competence, and competence of learning to learn. It can be developed in all areas of school curriculum, as well as in tutorial action and values education. Th is project is the result of two years of work by a team of advisors and teachers linked to the Teachers’ Center “Juan de Lanuza” in Zaragoza (Spain). Th e authors -SATI Team- have grounded the program on the most recent contributions of Positive Psychology, and off er general proposals and more than 200 activities for students. Th e Program is posted online from October 2010 and in coming months it will be published in printed version. Currently, SATI Team promotes teacher training to implement the HAPPY CLASSROOMS Program in schools in Spain. In June 2011, we will have some data that will help to evaluate its application, as a basis for designing future research on the effectiveness of the Program. At present, the Program is only available in Spanish. Its distribution is gratuitous and completely free. Th e authors allow its diffusion and reproduction, but always without commercial purposes and citing the original source. It can be downloaded at the next website: http://catedu.es/psicologiapositiva

Well-Being at Work and Across Life Domains: A Comparative Study Among Italian Professionals

Antonella Delle Fave1, Mjriam Di Bisceglie1, Andrea Fianco1, Paola Mencarelli2 from Milano, Italy

Background and aims: Meaning pursuit, resource mobilization, and the exercise of freedom and responsibility are constituents of well-being in any life domain. However, as concerns work, task and organizational differences substantially influence workers’ well-being. Th ese topics were explored through the Eudaimonic and Hedonic Happiness Investigation among 402 Italian adults (266 women and 136 men, aged 45,8 on average), including 185 teachers, 113 bank clerks, and a miscellaneous group of 104 participants involved in dif erent jobs.

Results: Teachers associated work with the highest levels of happiness and meaningfulness, compared with the other groups. On the opposite, bank clerks scored lowest in happiness and meaningfulness at work, and in life satisfaction. Teachers more oft en associated well-being with personal growth and involvement in community/society issues, while the other groups gave more emphasis to leisure and material resources. All groups quoted family as the prominent context of meaningfulness and happiness.

Conclusion: Teachers prominently associated job with wellbeing, while bank clerks perceived lack of engagement and meaning. Structural job aspects were related to these findings. Overall, group differences suggest that achieving an optimal balance in resource investment across life domains, according to their developmental and meaning potential, can represent a useful strategy in well-being promotion.

A UK Perspective on Positive Education

Ilona Boniwell from University of East London, London, United Kingdom

This presentation will address two positive education projects implemented in British schools. Results will be discussed with regard to cultural, curricular and wider school policy considerations. Th e first, Haberdasher´s Well-Being Curriculum, is a comprehensive positive psychology programme implemented in three secondary schools in South East London. From Year 7 through to Year 13 students receive one hour of positive education weekly. The presentation will report on the outcomes of the pilot year of programme implementation with Year 7 students (focusing on positive experience and relationships). The study was a non-randomised control group design with a pre-test and post-test, using Multidimensional Life Satisfaction Scale for Children, Positive and Negative Aff ect Schedule for Children and Students’ Life Satisfaction Scale. Using 2x2Anova, significant effects were found for satisfaction with self, satisfaction with family, satisfaction with school, satisfaction with friends, positive and negative affect.The SPARK Resilience Programme was developed to improve adolescents´ psychological well-being by building resilience over 12 one-hour weekly lessons. It was delivered to Year 7 pupils in two different schools in the Borough of Newham, East London and assessed using pre- and post test design. Th e statistical data analysis showed significantly higher resilience scores in the post assessment compared to the pre-assessment data. A significant increase was also found for self-esteem and self-efficacy scores. A marginally significant decrease was observed in depression symptoms.

The control data was provided by the school’s annual student survey of Year 7 students completed one year previous to the current post-assessment. The control group indicated lower positive aff ect than the treatment group in the pre and post assessment. Th e control group’s life satisfaction scores (SLSS) resulted lower than the treatment group in the post assessment.

 

Children’s Resilience Programs July 30, 2011

The Second World Congress on Positive Psychology took place in Philadelphia last weekend. I didn’t attend it, but I learned  about some interesting educational projects around the world from the Final Program:

Children’s Resilience Program in India

Steve Leventhal from University of California, Global Health Sciences, San Francisco, CA, United States:

We present findings from CorStone’s ‘Children‘s Resiliency Program (CRP)’ in New Delhi, Mumbai and Surat, India.

CRP is a 24-week, school-based prevention program that incorporates elements of positive psychology, restorative practices, and social-emotional learning skills for at-risk adolescent youth in developing countries. The CRP seeks to provide youth with knowledge and tools that build character strengths, inter-personal skills, problem-solving and conflict resolution. In 2009 the CRP was piloted with 97 female students, ages 12-18 at a school in a poverty-stricken Muslim community in New Delhi. Teachers were trained to facilitate weekly one-hour support groups (10 students per group). Group sessions included an interactive 20 minute lesson plan followed by 40 minutes of group sharing and problem-solving. Emotional resilience was assessed by levels of optimism, locus of control, and emotional and behavioral difficulties.

Standardized assessments administered at baseline, midpoint and post intervention, showed large emotional and behavioral effects. ‘Normal’ scores on the Strength and Difficulties Questionnaire (SDQ) increased from 33% at baseline to 61% at mid-intervention (12 weeks), whereas the percentage of students having an abnormal score decreased from 45% to 6%. Significant decreases in pessimism and external locus of control were found in post-intervention scores. Attendance increased markedly on days when the program was offered. 99% of students reported that the topics were relevant to their lives and that the program provided valuable learning experiences.

An intervention for 1,000 adolescent girl students in slum communities in Mumbai and Gujarat is currently underway, using a quasi-experimental design with 500 girls receiving the intervention and 500 girls serving as a control group.

School Based Relationship Programs: A Foundation for Building Resilience

Jonathan Toussaint, Karen Morris from Interrelate Family Centres, Sydney, Australia

The Australian Government’s initiative and focus on Respectful Relationships has informed the development of Kids Connexions, a program for children encouraging them to build healthy relationships. Th e program covers the importance of: maintaining a sense of self; respecting differences in others; normalizing respectful ways of relating to others; empowering children to make healthy choices about relationships; and highlighting effective ways to connect with peers.

Kids Connexions has been evaluated with outstanding results. The philosophy of Interrelate is to build resilience in the life of a child. With over 84 years experience in cutting edge school based program development and delivery, Interrelate continues to inform children as they first begin to establish conscious relationships in primary school. This interactive workshop provides participants with an overview of the program, useful tools to engage with children, and techniques to encourage active participation in the classroom. Strategies to promote and increase the involvement of schools will also be addressed.

Children’s Character Strengths and the Transition from Kindergarten to First Grade

Anat Shoshani from Interdisciplinary Center (IDC) Herzliya, Psychology, Herzliya, Israel

The transition from kindergarten to first grade is one of the major challenges children face during early childhood, and children´s character strengths can be crucial for effectively adjusting to this transition. In this talk, I will present findings from a pioneering study attempting to integrate the body of knowledge accumulated in the strengths and virtues field with the school adjustment literature. Specifically, parents of 108 first-grade Israeli children rated their child’s character strengths using a Hebrew version of the 24-items Values in Action (VIA) scale and reported on their child´s cognitive, emotional, behavioral and social engagement in school.

Findings provided extensive support to the hypothesis that children´s character strengths positively contribute to school adjustment. Curiosity and self regulation were the most important predictors of cognitive, emotional, and behavioral adjustment to school. Implications for early childhood practices and strengths-based skills relevant to school adjustment will be discussed.

 

olpcMAP June Update June 21, 2011

olpcMAP is on vacation, because Nick is in Los Angeles, Adam in Haiti and I’m still here but working full-time on The Ultimate Answer project.

From Nick:

“I am getting settled in now in California -over the weekend I finally got a room and found places near the house for food and shopping.  Sunday I went to the library to see about volunteering with technology there.

It is different to work here because the team I’m on-doesn’t get assignments; we do independent research. That includes interns. The main team is awful busy because a conference is coming up in San Diego(11-15 July). The other intern is doing his phd in mapping at USC and some open source work. We got a couple more interns this week, so the department finally had a meeting so we could see everyone and what they’re working on. Lots of crazy ideas. I shared a couple of projects, my boss asked some questions, and this afternoon I got to meet the main Esri guy in that field, for some help with that particular idea.

One of these weekends I’ll have to try going to Los Angeles to see the national parks and the major attractions. Sometimes I see cool projects like out-the-window.org and wonder if I could visit their shows. Another project might send me to Oklahoma to meet Cherokee Indians. That would be awesome.”

From Adam:

“I’m just getting rolling for many more trips to Haiti the coming year, this 1st trip now will be about scouting out different OLPC/OBPC (One Bike Per Child!) possibilities and reconnecting with many great education NGOs I’ve met over the past 17 months since the earthquake.  I’ll be assisting Tim Falconer (Waveplace Foundation) on new content plans, and John Engle (http://www.haitipartners.org/the-blog/) on many exciting developments around the 1500 kids at his 6+ growing “participatory leadership” schools.  Among many other educators I seek to connect, towards transforming Haiti’s schools in coming years / generations — thanks to the global Haitian community in Miami, NYC,Boston and Montreal especially.

I’m also working out very preliminary Haiti volunteer hub plans, for the many strong volunteers who’ve requested to join me in Haiti over the coming year, which should work out given great community accommodations I’ve uncovered — if you invest+demonstrate your worth, and understand Haiti’s risks.  A work trip as early as August might even make sense, if you can stand the heat — or later, after hurricane season, much more comfortable.  Flights are less than $400 from NYC or Miami.  Contact me privately for details in coming weeks/months, thanks so much!

During June 17 to July 4 I’ll need extra help from all volunteers backstopping OLPC/Sugar’s global community support (monitoring http://RT.laptop.org, answering emails, using sound+proactive judgment when I/others are offline for 72hrs, etc).

Thanks all for your priceless contributions, checking in on this mailing list, on live chat at http://forum.laptop.org/chat — and blogging at http://planet.laptop.org now emerging as a powerhouse community voice. * Di Ou Mèsi Tout * Merci a Tous * Gracias Todos * ”

From me :

I’m working on The Ultimate Answer project which is essentially about the interactive formula for happiness and meaningful life. I’m in the process of testing the first version of the tool in Excel and will be organizing 3 live group testing sessions: Boston, June 22, Los Angeles, July 6, and Cambridge, MA, Aug 10. The website is in progress, and the blog is one month old. Interestingly enough, my parents were the first testers of the idea, and my mother who is not technology savvy didn’t reject it immediately, which gives me hope.

I plan to meet with Nick in Los Angeles and go hiking, while I’m California till July 10, which will be International Happiness day. Check out their ambassador’s map http://happinessday.org/en/ambassadors

Happy Summer Solstice! 🙂

 

 
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