If you have read the part 1 of this post, I guess you would realize I have become lazy with writing these posts and now I believe “less is more”. I know, crappy excuse for an unusually small post!
So we needed to address the key challenges we had identified by coming up with suggestive action plans for the DoE which would really help them in the project’s times to come. And the following were our suggested tasks:
I. Setting up Moodle, making sure its running and training the teachers
We always knew Internet was going to be a big problem. And honestly, we do not expect the country to suddenly come up with e-supremacy projects which would include laying down optic-fiber cables from NZ or the States to Niue. So keeping it simple, we had to come up with ways to get the most we could out of the bandwidth available to everybody. And if 20 students needed to continue to buy bandwidth separately to access the same set of resources on the Internet, we would feel we did not know what LAN was. There is a server on the school campus, and we need to make the most out of it. We plan to install Moodle (or let’s say update it), give easy access to the school community in the LAN, and help equip teachers with skills would empower them to use this resource extremely well. This would now mean a couple of teachers doing the hard work of getting resources which are most applicable to classroom teachings and students accessing the same resources on Moodle without having to go on the Internet. This will not seem to avoid the students’ craze and visits into the big bad world of WWW, but it would definitely reduce it. In fact, I guess I would change my own argument in the previous sentence. I personally feel it will give students more reasons to stay offline and chances to explore what they can access at 300 kbps.
We plan to make Moodle an activity repository too. I mean why have Webmail, SIO, ISO, CIO, Hub, Pub, Andrew.cmu.edu, cmu.edu, MyAndrew, yourAndrew etc. when we can just keep it simple to “The Student Center” (no offense to CMU IT folks, you do an awesome job anyday!).
II. Drafting a policy document to serve as a guideline for the project
After all the mention of what was not going right in the part 1 of the post, it comes to our realization that although the OLPC project was meant to no-boundaries project, it actually does need some regulations and guiding measures to keep it going. We plan to draft a document which would hope to address various issues such as maintenance, warranty, ownership, cost-sharing, an MoU etc. This would not only be helpful to parents of child laptop owners but also to the DoE in reminding them of the best practices in place to make this project a successful one.
III. Bringing information to everybody
This wasn’t an initial plan but over the time as we learnt about differences in opinion and obstacles in communication leading to incomplete information reaching members of the system, we decided to make this as one of our focused goals. Thanks to Prof. Randy who insisted we must take this up as a separate task. Under this task, we plan to enlighten everybody who belongs in the system as to how the OLPC comes into being and how everything in the system works. This is going to be complimented by a lot of documentation for future consultants and volunteers.