30 January, 2013

Marshall Islands launches national OLPC program

Hundreds of students, parents, educators and officials gathered today in Majuro, remote capital of the Republic of the Marshall Islands (RMI), to formally launch the One Laptop per Child program in the developing Pacific nation. The launch was the culmination of more than 18 months of cooperation and planning between the Marshallese people, their national government, and their development partners: the United States, the University of the South Pacific (USP), and OLPC Oceania.
In attendance at Majuro's Delap Elementary School were RMI's President, His Excellency Christopher J Loeak, the Minister for Education, Dr. Hilda Heine, and the US Ambassador to RMI, the Hon. Thomas Armbruster
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28 November, 2012

Pacific "hack" for adapting local content for the XO

OLPC Oceania technical field expert, David Leeming, reports on a neat hack to adapt for the XO content created on the still ubiquitous Powerpoint, a tool many teachers and curriculum developers in the Pacific still use every day.
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13 November, 2012

PREL partners with OLPC in North Pacific

Hawaii-based Pacific Resources for Education and Learning, better known as PREL, has partnered with OLPC Oceania to provide trainings in the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM). OLPC’s mission to empower children through education by giving poor students access to low-cost personal laptops aligns with the work of PREL and the goals of the FSM National Department of Education (FSM NDOE). OLPC Oceania is delighted that  PREL is able to bring its skills and expertise in training and capacity-building to bear on the FSM state of Kosrae, where 2000 XO laptops have "saturated" the island's school population. Read PREL's report on OLPC in their Spring 2012 newsletter. Read more!

20 September, 2012

Students mentor their peers on XO in Australia

At Denison State School in Emerald, Queensland, several student have undergone a online course which qualifies them as "XO Experts". These students man a Help Desk. It's to them that other students turn when they have issues with the XO. Denison's OLPC Coordinator Trish Noy says: "Students are driving this program, they take very seriously their role within the program and their leadership role within the school." Read more!

27 August, 2012

Fiji targets neediest kids for OLPC launch

The Republic of Fiji has announced a five year plan to invest in ICT for education with OLPC at the centre of its program. At a launch in Suva last week officials from the Ministry of Education announced it has chosen three disadvantaged schools in Suva to kick off its OLPC pilot program:
  • Nabua Sanatan Primary
  • Navesi Primary School
  • Draiba Primary School
The three schools will be receiving 800 OLPC XO 1.75 laptops in November, generously donated by OLPC Oceania's Pacific private sector partner, The Bank of the South Pacific.
Meanwhile, the University of the South Pacific (USP), which signed a Memorandum of Understanding with OLPC Oceania in 2011, has been conducting teacher training for the three schools the past week and will conclude its workshop later this week.
USP reports the training has been going well and the teachers are very motivated. USP adviser Ian Thomson noted there were "three teachers who have never touched a key pad before and they were very excited. You can see the light bulbs turning on!"
Mr Thomson said teachers from the selected schools had been training for the past four weeks and their feedback had been positive.

Read more about the launch at The Fiji Times here.
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18 May, 2012

Report: Teacher training in PNG

XO deployment expert, David Leeming was commissioned by the PNG Sustainable Development Program in April to conduct teacher training at three OLPC schools. Training was given to a total of 52 teachers in 12 schools in three provinces; namely Kisap, Jiwaka Province, Oksapmin, Sandaun Province and North Fly, Western Province. Read David's full report here:

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08 May, 2012

Australia donates A$11.7m to national OLPC charity

In its 2012-13 Federal Budget released tonight, the Australian Government announced a huge one-off grant supporting OLPC Australia for kids in remote and disadvantaged Australian schools:
"The Government will provide a one‑off grant of $11.7 million to One Laptop per Child (OLPC) Australia to support expansion of this initiative to primary school students in partnering regional and remote communities and low SES schools. This will help OLPC Australia to roll out additional custom‑built laptops to thousands of primary school students and to provide helpdesk and online support to participating schools."
This is a massive investment and vote of confidence in the Australian charity's programme and approach, including their new education program. OLPC Australia CEO, Rangan Srikhanta, and his team are to be congratulated for their efforts on behalf of disadvantaged Australian children.

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29 April, 2012

Bank of South Pacific donates 1000 laptops to Pacific children

Joins regional coalition as OLPC Oceania’s Lead Private Sector Partner
Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea, April 17, 2012 – One Laptop per Child (OLPC) and the Bank of the South Pacific (BSP), the region’s leading bank, have announced an exciting strategic partnership to advance South Pacific education, kicking off with a donation of 1000 revolutionary ‘XO’ laptops to Pacific children.
Children doing what comes naturally in Patukae
Marovo Lagoon, Solomon Islands. 
As its first act in the new role of Lead Private Sector Partner for OLPC Oceania, BSP will donate the educational computers to children in three OLPC project schools in the Solomon Islands and Fiji. In coming months, BSP plans to provide more support for children in Papua New Guinea as it spearheads private sector support for OLPC.

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21 November, 2011

Aid donors key to bridging Pacific digital divide

Radio New Zealand International broadcast the following feature this week on the OLPC Pacific programme:

And yesterday RNZI published the following story.

Aid donors key to bridging Pacific digital divide
The regional head of the world wide ’One Laptop Per Child’ programme, says key Pacific donor agencies must become involved and help Pacific countries to bridge the growing digital divide.
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Lessons from Niue feed into other Pacific efforts

In terms of our regional initiative, One Laptop per Pacific Child, we have learnt much from our experience with Niue (which was our first donation to Pacific children), as we have from our other early Pacific pilots. For today, the primary lessons we take from Niue are that:
  • national education officials need to have goal-setting, deployment-planning and resource-mobilisation in place before any laptops arrive; this now seems very fundamental and is working in our favour in countries like the Marshall Islands, FSM, Vanuatu and Fiji.
  • a full-time national ICT-for-Education coordinator should be funded within government and be responsible for coordination and rollout of the OLPC program;
  • no matter how many politicians or parents in Small Island States publicly ask international donors to invest in ICT for basic education, none will be forthcoming without the active and real support of development partners.
The good news is that the countries which are just beginning their engagement with OLPC are taking these lessons on board and are benefiting from the experience of our early pilots.
Read more!


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