21 February, 2010

A letter from the Cook Islands...

A letter from Thomas, principal at the school on the island of Mitiaro, in the Cook Islands, recipient of the country's first XO laptops in January 2010.
"Kia Orana everyone,

"Here are some photos of the beautiful children of Mitiaro High School learning, teaching, working and having fun with their new tools – XO laptops. In Mitiaro, we are calling it the ‘Rorouira apaipai (literally translated, the carry around computer)
"We spent nearly the whole of week 2 working together as a whole school.
"The school has a team of 6 supervisors (students from correspondence class and one from Fm. 2) who generally look after the administration of the XOs. They remedy little hiccups like battery not charging properly, application disappearing from the homepage, labeling chargers, upgrading the new version and teaching children how to “pick up” their electronic copy of the school newsletter from the server. They get together sometimes to discuss new ideas or turn old ideas to new ones. As in the following example. Right now, all secondary students take home an electronic copy of the Cook Island news on Thursdays. This is one brilliant extension idea ( from the newsletter idea) by the two boys Nia and Joseph. These two boys are very committed to becoming administrators one day. (they think they are the godfathers of the XOs)
"This activity is extended to other classes.
"Senior students actually pick out (filter) their favourite news from the Top news and the General News section, not forgetting the sports section.
"Two days were put aside so that teachers have a better idea on integrating the use of the laptops in the curriculum. In this case, Social Science, language and music. The children just loved the Bio Poems activity that the Social Science advisor had sent us. I wish that I can easily print out the Bio poems.
"The teachers learned a lot from the activities.
"The photos show some of the activities and the student-supervisors assisting the others.
I am working on a draft Emergency plan for the XOs. I am looking at possibly purchasing some solid waterproof bins (enough to contain all laptops and the server and other equipment) so that the laptops are collected or recalled just before a major natural disaster hits.
"I hope to get these out to you all for some feedback. Are there funds available for this idea? (we believe it is)
"Cheers everyone.


Thomo said...

Great story. I was on Mitiaro about 12 months ago. It is so small and just a dot in the middle of a huge ocean.Recently, a cyclone hit a nearby island with winds of up to 200 kms per hour. It damaged 90% of the buildings, so looking after the laptops is very important to them

Paul Reynolds said...

This is a lovely story. I blogged about as part of a wider piece on OLPC Oceania and the Microsoft Imagine Cup.
I live in Auckland - and just love the Cooks. Would be great to come and see you one day!!


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