Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Kasiisi OLPC featured in German ICT Documentary

Last April, we hosted a documentary film crew at Kasiisi Primary School. The crew was covering Information and Computing Technology and Open Source initiatives across East Africa and our successful One Laptop Per Child deployment caught their attention. This was very exciting for the teachers and students working with the XO laptops.

The documentary ,"Afrika Connect", aired in Germany and is now posted on YouTube.

The film is in German and the Kasiisi segment begins at 3:22.

Here are some "Behind the Scenes" photos...

Sunday, March 28, 2010

New Laptop Video

I've created a video showing what we have been up to at Kasiisi.....

Hope you like it,

Friday, February 26, 2010

78 more Laptops come to Kasiisi!

We are happy to announce that we have acquired 78 more laptops. This brings our total to a level that we can now fully saturate our Primary 6 class (one student per computer, up to now we have had to suffer with 2 students to one computer).

At this point, each P6 and P5 student will “own” one computer but will be sharing with a student from the opposite class. We have worked out the sharing problem by alternating days for laptop use for each class.

Primary 5 students waiting in line to pick up their laptop for FIRST XO laptop lesson.

Primary 5 Students retrieve XO's from the charging station for the first time....

Sunday, February 14, 2010

XO Laptop teachers get Computer Certificate

Over the holiday, Patrick, Richard, Tom, Moses and Joyce attended the Basic Computer Course at Mountains of the Moon University in Fort Portal, Uganda. The course covered computer theory, the MS Office suite, and the Internet.

These 6 teachers have put in substantial extra time and effort to be our XO Laptop teachers, often giving up lunch time and coming in on the weekends, and this opportunity was given to them, in part, to say “Thank You” for all the hard work. We were also hoping that attending such a course would improve how they teach the XO computer to their students. By being students themselves in a University taught course about computers, we were hoping that they would “borrow” the instructors teaching techniques to help them in their own classrooms.

The results were immediately noticeable. This year we have expanded our Laptop Program into a new grade level so there was a whole batch, 160 to be exact, of brand new students to introduce to the XO. At first I couldn’t place what was different about how they were teaching, but then it hit me. They had more confidence and presence as computer teachers than they did in the previous term. They had new knowledge of computers in general, not just the XO, and they had the Certificate to prove it……

(Left to right Patrick, Richard, Tom, Moses)

And Joyce

The teachers were using the chalk board more effectively , explaining things more clearly, moving at a better pace through topics, and had a better idea of what they were trying to get the students to understand. It is an exciting improvement!

Sunday, January 10, 2010

What did you do for Christmas?

Here are some pictures and one video of our first class back after 2 holiday weekends. Our turnout was our highest yet over break.

We started with an easy concept - draw what you did for Christmas Celebrations.

This video is shot using the Record activity on the XO.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Holiday Lessons

We are currently running classes every Saturday morning over the long holiday break. So far, the turn out has been very low. We think there are multiple reasons for this. As the term came to an end, attendance at schools drops substantially (because final exams for each grade are finished before the term really ends), so the announcement of holiday classes didn't quite reach all the students . Secondly, during this holiday, some of the students travel to different parts of Uganda to visit family. Also, students have established commitments at home during this long holiday.

We are always hoping for a high turnout, but in the meantime we have been taking advantage of the unusually large teacher to student ratio and the fact that each student can have their own laptop to work with.

The XO laptop has an useful ability to "link" up with other XO laptops to create a mesh network. This creates a virtual space where students can collaborate on projects in real time, share photos, chat, and share completed projects.

We asked to students to work on a collaborative Write (similar to MS Word) project together. The idea is that they will write a story together with no predetermined plan. The first student writes the first sentence, the second student writes the second sentence, the third student writes the third sentence, and so on.........until we come back to the first student and we continue until we finish the story.

Here is what they came up with:

"A long time ago there was a boy named Margu. He was a hunter. One day he went into the forest. Up above, the clouds began to gather and it started to rain."

(It took a bit to get the concept across and they are still slow at typing, so we didn't get too far but they got the idea....)

On another week we designed a Wiki scavenger hunt. The XO laptops have a build in Wikipedia activity. We wanted a way to allow the students to practice their research skills on the laptops using this activity. The teachers and I came up with 5 questions, using the Wikipedia on the laptops as a guide, and posted them to the server as an assignment. After reviewing how to log on to the server, we let them loose on Wikipedia.

They had fun using the Wikipedia activity as a tool. Up till now they have been just clicking around and exploring with no real goal or mission. We all know how having a problem to solve changes the way we use and appreciate technology. For example, Power Point isn't very interesting to use until you have a presentation to make - OR - the Internet isn't very much fun until you have an email to send or something you want to research.

I think they also had fun with the idea that they were competing against the other students. This is something we would like to continue using as a warm up activity to get them started each day. It doesn't take too long and it gets them focused on a task as class is beginning. It also is a review of some basic tasks like opening an activity, logging on to the server, navigating within the servers Moodle application, typing, using the mouse pad, and scrolling on the screen.