02 November, 2011

OLPC drives stunning gains in numeracy in remote Australia

The registered charity One Laptop per Child Australia has enlisted powerful private sector support to reach largely Indigenous communities in remote or isolated locations. Its work is starting to produce results in Australia's new nationwide student testing program NAPLAN, which in turn are starting to attract attention among Australian policy-makers. This week the Australian Federal MP, Rob Oakeshott, told the Australian Parliament:
One Laptop per Child Australia delivers results in learning from the 5,000 students already engaged, showing impressive improvements in closing the gap generally and lifting access and participation rates in particular.
Most impressive of all is the first year in Doomadgee State School in remote, largely Indigenous North-West Queensland. Doomadgee has just produced stunning NAPLAN results, boosting their percentage of year 3 pupils at or above national minimum standards in numeracy from 31 per cent last year to a staggering 95 per cent in 2011. Principal Richard Barrie and his teachers are using plenty of clever and different engagement strategies, but one important tool in the toolbox is the early and strong use of technology via the One Laptop per Child Australia program. I am willing to back this program and I ask the Prime Minister and the government to do likewise... I strongly urge the government to consider this program.
In the Pacific around 8000 OLPC laptops are being used in 46 schools in 10 countries. The Pacific's major donor partners are currently considering several requests from countries to scale up and fully evaluate the program in the region. In August, the United States committed to partnering on OLPC with the north Pacific "Compact" countries, the Republic of the Marshall Islands and the Federated States of Micronesia, which both have embarked on OLPC programs.

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