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Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Another Great Donation!!

Just received another very generous donation!! We're doing great-- keep those funds coming!!

Thursday, March 11, 2010

A Message from Kadma

Hi Professor Elizabeth,

I was very happy with what you sent me.
This time I'm only going to use my computer at home and at school.
I don't have anything I can give you, but I do send you a kiss.
Thank you.

Let's help more kids like Kádma. Please donate to STEP UP OLPC today!!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Kadema and Bruno Get Computers!!

Kadema and Bruno receive their computers thanks to a few fabulous donors, our delivery girl, Polly, and a whole lot of "umph"!! This is Bruno's first computer. He just got put into the program for the second semester because of our new donation.

Thanks to everyone for your donations. Please keep them coming so that we can get more computers for students like Bruno and Kadema.



The teachers have just finally started to get paid by the Ministry of Education for their work!!


Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Update from Miguel

Polly, an American volunteer doing some work with STeP UP, has just arrived to São Tomé and Kadema has now just received her computer!!!! YAAAAAY!!! We did it!!!

On a less bright note, apparently one of the computers has an irresolvable problem and our friend, Elves, who has agreed to fix them is being a flake and not showing up when the teachers call him and ask for his help. It's frustrating the teachers and they're not sure what to do. I wonder if Elves is paid and if paying him will help, or if I should look for someone else, or what.

On that note, there are so many unemployed people in São Tomé that you could easily pay someone for their work, and pay them well, without adding too much to a grant application. Hmm.

Anyone have advice on the subject?

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

The Most Fun Thing That Exists

Was talking to Mirian today, one of the teachers, on MSN Messenger.

I asked her how the classes were going over there and she said they were going well. The students get more and more excited everyday. Then I jokingly asked her if the teachers were sick of class yet.

This is what she said:

"Not yet. I think it's a bit difficult to get sick of these classes. Working with a computer is the most fun thing that exists."

That put a smile to my face and I hope it does to yours, too.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Interesting article in OLPC News today

Was OLPCorps 2009 an OLPC Failure?

When Beth Santos presented at OLPC Learning Club DC about her OLPC San Tome experience, her description of the OLPCorps deployment had me asking one very intense question:
beth santos
Beth Santos: OLPCorps savior
Was OLPCorps San Tome a failure?
When Beth first went to San Tome to volunteer with Step Up, she didn't expect to work with XO laptops. She just wanted to help the São João school. On arrival, she found XO laptops stored in a closet, unused since the OLPCorps volunteers left.
This should not come as a surprise. We predicted thatabandoned XO laptops would be one legacy of OLPCorps. Technology adoption, in any culture, requires enthusiastic supporters with a long-term commitment to change. By parachuting in volunteers for a few weeks one summer, OLPC was setting up OLPCorps to have a temporary impact at best.
Beth's surprising opinion
After Beth finished her talk, I asked her if she thought the OLPCorps program was a failure, especially since she found few XO skills or OLPC knowledge in the community when she arrived. She surprised me by saying OLPCoprs in San Tome was not a failure because they did the groundwork that made her experience possible.
OLPCorps found the local organizations, like Step Up, schools, and people that would be excited about an XO laptop deployment. They also did the initial hardware setup and XO familiarization that allowed the school to accept the XO laptops in the classroom.
But OLPCorps San Tome was not there long enough to get the XO laptops into the classroom during the school day. It took a follow up visit by Beth to get actual educator adoption and student ownership. It took at least six months of daily in-person interaction to effect change at Sao Joao
XO deployment critical success factor
Kim Toufectis asked Beth a great follow on question: what skill or knowledge did she bring to San Tome that was a critical success factor? While Beth didn't think she had any unique advantage for XO deployment success, I believe she had one that's the most needed in any XO deployment: determination.
She had the will and the drive to make things happen. She wasn't going to let 100 XO laptops languish in a closet even if she didn't have a clue about OLPC or one-to-one pedagogy. She's a go-getter and OLPC San Tome was lucky to have her.
She also proves that if OLPCorps is to be a success, it needs to invest in communities with the right volunteer for the long-term. It needs more Beth Santos to stay on site longer.


Please click the button below to donate to STEP UP OLPC to support the São João school's computer program in São Tomé:

Donate $200 and you will be paying for a computer for at least FIVE very special children at São João (as estimated computer life is five years). Thanks so much!

Want your donation to be tax-deductible? Send a check to STeP UP with OLPC in the memo. Then mail it to:

Eric McClafferty
Kelley and Drye
3050 S St. NW, #400
Washington, DC 20007