The Republic of the Marshall Islands (RMI) kicks off its OLPC program this week with consultations between Ministry of Education (MOE) officials and representatives from the One Laptop per Child Foundation and the Secretariat of the Pacific Community. Following the installation in 2010 of high-speed internet via fibre-optic cable, the remote Micronesian nation is rolling out OLPC as part of the MOE's wider "Comprehensive Technology Plan" for education.
OLPC is a key plank in the MOE's broader vision that will see RMI "schools becoming an environment where all students and staff have ready access to the best available range of current technology, software tools, and applications." The MOE is planning an innovative rollout of OLPC that will incorporate a teachers' professional development program to ensure teachers are well prepared when the laptops come to their communities.
"The Marshall Islands' investment in technology infrastructure is being matched by investment in its people too," said OLPC's Oceania director Michael Hutak, "With the rollout of OLPC in schools taking shape with meticulous planning, RMI is ensuring the next generation will not be left behind. "
Read the RMI OLPC Project document here.
Read the RMI Comprehensive Technology Plan here:
The Comprehensive Technology Plan is an inspiring and visionary document, to quote:
"As the RMI moves toward being a globally connected and information based society, the MOE has a responsibility to prepare the Republic’s young people with the 21st Century skills necessary to be successful contributing members of society locally, within the Pacific region, and globally. These include problem solving, and the ability to participate in a global technology-based community as well as cultural competencies, language skills, mathematics, science, etc. The MOE also strives to improve its own effectiveness by taking advantage of the best available communications and technology tools.
"ICT has changed the way people and cultures view and participate in the world –locally, regionally, and globally. Computers and Internet access, as well as a variety of other technologies, have very rapidly led to new sets of skills necessary to function in the work place and required for continuing education beyond high school. These developments also necessitate and provide opportunities to consider new ways of teaching, learning, and understanding schooling."
"The MOE envisions ... schools will be places where students are engaged in a challenging curriculum and are comfortable using technology to contribute to and enrich their learning. A community where teachers have the knowledge and skills to integrate technology into a challenging and interdisciplinary curriculum which addresses students' specific needs, developmental levels and learning styles, and use technology to support learning across the curriculum. All administrators, teachers, and other Ministry staff will use technology on a regular basis to effectively help students attain high standards and prepare for tomorrow's world of work."