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olpcMAP May Update: Part One May 28, 2011

Filed under: Volunteering — polyachka @ 8:25 pm
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The month of May is almost over. There was a lot of happening. For those who missed (including me) EduJam in Uruguay and OLPC Summit, check out the blog and pictures at Updates from Nick:

The map activity: Hola mapmakers!

As part of my Plan Ceibal work to get web activities playing nicely with recent builds of Sugar, especially the XO-1.5, I have updated the
Map activity. Download today: Your up-to-date XO-1, or any XO-1.5 (even HS), now can:
– Search and explore maps from Google and OpenStreetMap
– Write descriptions of places; plot lines and shapes
– Add photos, Wiki articles, olpcMAP dots, and WikiMapia places inside
your map view

– Use an online library to download maps used by
firefighters and biologists

– Collaborate with other XOs on the same mesh/Jabber network.
Collaboration shares the view, markers, and other map data.  So several users can add points and edit each other’s descriptions.  If one user visits the map library or imports a Google Earth points map, the points are shared with any connected laptops.  Same thing for OfflineMap and mesh networks. We have a few XO-1.5s going to a school in the Congo this summer, and they are absolutely psyched about mapping! 

From the Summit: We’re at the Uruguay summit now, about to have Adam say a few words about olpcMAP along with other communities’ favorite web tools.  Etherpad is popular in South America.

I get to represent Uganda in a panel tomorrow, and then there’s the freeform “unconference” part where I know there’ll be a lot of
discussion about one of the Plan Ceibal projects. Also, we just got news here at Plan Ceibal that they are looking to buy
Kindles.  They also have many teachers using the Intel Classmate laptops to view music and video.  I don’t think there’s as much support for the XOs except that they are cheaper when you are giving them to all students.

New feature: For any future Jams, people can indicate if they are participating, like they did for eduJAM Summit: Go to, use the search, open your marker, and select “Join Jam” (next to edit). We also have a page at that’s in Spanish. Translation is welcomed.

Disclaimer: this is (a) experimental and (b) totally unofficial – not sponsored by ceibalJAM or Plan Ceibal.


OLPC DC Club: Plans (Part Five) April 1, 2011

Filed under: Volunteering — polyachka @ 8:00 am
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polyachka: So what are your future plans with DC OLPC club ?

curiouslee: We would like to do a deployment in the DC area.

polyachka: that would be good

curiouslee: But hope for that has dimmed a bit because of the change in DC govt.

curiouslee: Also, XOs are relatively hard to get and there are still many barriers with Sugar.

polyachka: barriers like what?

curiouslee: The Sugar brand and information materials need an overhaul.

curiouslee: Running Sugar outside of the XO (which itself is hard to get in smaller quantities) is difficult.

polyachka: so what do you think is in future for both OLPC and Sugar?

polyachka: should they both re-think their strategies and become for-profit?

polyachka: offering services to the developed countries?

curiouslee: They would need more capital to restructure and then ramp up as for-profit. I can’t imagine how that would happen.

polyachka: but if they pursue the idea of constructivism, then it could revamp educational system worldwide

curiouslee: Constructivism is one approach of many. It’s not popular everywhere.

polyachka: why not popular?

curiouslee: Constructionism is not known everywhere not because it is not good. There are many other schools of thought.

curiouslee: Every country has entrenched beliefs.

polyachka: I thought that constructivism is not popular as not many believe that children can progress without much supervision

curiouslee: That’s exactly right. A lot of places approach education through rote learning and total control of the children.

polyachka: too bad, i still hope that right amount of education blended with technology can save the world

curiouslee: I hope for the same thing!

polyachka: why were you in Boston the other week?

curiouslee: I wanted to visit the Computer Clubhouse an attend the volunteer meeting at OLPC.

polyachka: thank you for coming

polyachka:  we all admire your DC club and Adam secretly wishes there was a person like you in Boston to have a big OLPC following in Boston

curiouslee: If I lived in Boston, there would definitely be a big group!

curiouslee: Believe me, there have been months where I didn’t want to organize.

polyachka: but you still did and that counts!

polyachka: Thank you so much for answering all my questions!

curiouslee: Ok thanks!


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.


Announcement of Montevideo eduJAM March 12, 2011

Filed under: Volunteering — polyachka @ 12:41 pm
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Dear community,

During the week we made some progress in the organization of the summit in Montevideo, Uruguay.

The name of the event is eduJAM! 2011 and will take place from Thu May 5 to Sat May 7. Please see the attached file for logo and graphic identity.

The summit main objective is to strengthen the free educational software developers community, with focus on Latin America and the Sugar and olpc communities. The event will feature discussions around future directions and strategy, hacking on specific projects, and exchange of experiences among different deployments.

There is a Program Committee with the following members: Andrés Ambrois, Walter Bender, Gabriel Eirea, Pablo Flores, Gonzalo Odiard and Fernando Sansberro. This committee will define the summit program but of course input from the community is encouraged and appreciated.
A first sketch of the event is shown in the wiki page:

Registration to the event will be required  but we are not ready to announce the details yet.

In addition to eduJAM! a couple of extra activities are being planned to make the most of the summit.

The “Conozco Uruguay Tour” is being organized by members of volunteer organization RAP Ceibal and the OLPC community. It will take place during the days prior to the summit (from Sat April 30 to Thu May 5). More information here:

We are also proposing a Sugar code sprint for Sunday May 8, right after the summit.

There is a first sponsorship from Activity Central and we are looking for other sponsors both at the national and international level.

We hope you can join us and are looking forward to your comments and suggestions.

Best regards,

The ceibalJAM! team.


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