The Polynesian island nation of Tuvalu, population 12,000, is ready to join the ranks of Pacific One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) countries following a senior-level workshop in the capital, Funafuti.
The 10-day capacity-building mission is in advance of deployment of 150 laptops courtesy of a donation of 5000 XO laptops to the Oceania region by the OLPC Foundation.
The Funafuti workshop brought together teachers, school supervisors, curriculum officers, and the country's senior education administrators, including Katalina Taloka, Director of Education. The workshop was conducted by David Leeming, an expert in the use of information and communications technology (ICT) for education in the Pacific. Mr Leeming has provided guidance on OLPC to the governments of Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, Nauru and now Tuvalu.
The mission was supported by the Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC) and the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) and has produced a range of support material that will be useful in other OLPC projects.
Workshop participants learned about:
- Principles of OLPC– background and history, constructionist learning, and links to the open education resources (OER) movement
- OLPC in the region– lessons learned from other Pacific projects
- Technical awareness– training on the XO laptop and XS server; basics of functionality of the XO laptops, the activities on them, and the XS school server; localisation – converting the laptop language into Tuvaluan
- Curriculum integration– using the laptop to support the learning objective; integrating laptop (and server) usage into the lesson plan; available curriculum materials; understanding the learning curve
- Developing anOLPC Country Program plan
- Community and parents’engagement and involvement
- Online collaboration – setting up a Google Group and Ning social network and Wikieducator page for Tuvalu OLPC
Mr Leeming reports the workshop was a valuable exercise for both Tuvalu and the Pacific:‘It is early days yet, but I think there is a good potential from the Tuvalu project that may provide a good model for the region.’
OLPC Oceania is a project partner in ITU’s global initiative Connecting Children. In February 2009, ITU and OLPC announced they would combine efforts to bring laptops to school children in the Pacific Islands. The Tuvalu mission was undertaken under this partnership. The deployment plan for OLPC Tuvalu is available here