THIS IS THE STORY OF AN XO PILOT PROJECT :
I arrived to the welcome of almost 30 people including teachers, pastors, community organizers and young university students. They had set a mission for themselves as “Community Transformers”. We spent the first day of our 3-day meetings hearing about the needs of their school children. It is long and I will just touch on some of the challenges for teachers that they presented.
Numbers of children in a classroom is a problem. There are often 100 children in classrooms that are too small, crowded at desks, with no place to store their study materials, papers and books. In high schools the classes are usually 60 – 65 children.. Security is an issue for children traveling to school in urban areas where children are often accosted or sometimes kidnapped on route to school. Orphans without guardians and HIV positive do not have the resources to pay for uniforms, support for attending school or money for extra fees. Schools even if there is no tuition, require additional fees to take tests, for writing materials, and food.
During the next day after a presentation of the OLPC XO and its learning activities and potential, the group discussed to best way this technology could serve their school children. The result was a dramatic statement by one group member giving a short description of his primary education experience, which he called a failure to engage. He proposed that the teams develop a curriculum for Kenya primary based on the XO. There are several proposals now approved by the Contributor program to support this development. Of course there is much work to do to try out this curriculum in the classroom, get support and interest from the education community in Kenya and the government. But that is our goal. Sandra Thaxter