Like many things these days it all started with a tweet where I starting looking for an interesting 2-month internship for the summer. From there, Wayan replied with an e-mail and what turned into an extensive cross-Atlantic brainstorming session. Now I'm happy to announce the result of many weeks of planning and discussions:
If you've been following one laptop per child for more than 5 minutes you'll know that South America is at the very centre of OLPC and Sugar activities with Uruguay at ~400,000 XOs and Peru at ~300,000 XOs being the largest projects at the moment. On top of that there's a variety of smaller but very interesting projects going on in Paraguay, Argentina, and Nicaragua.
This factor combined with my passion for South America - which started back in 2000 when I was 16 and spent 11 months living as an exchange student in Trujillo, Peru - made it easy to quickly decide where I should be spending my summer.
The what I should spend these 2 months on wasn't too hard to come up with either. OLPC News has always been at the heart of many discussions surrounding one laptop per child yet a lot of us here and on other places such as the various mailing-lists have increasingly realized that in many cases we often don't have a clear understanding of realities on the ground.
So while I'm well aware that a couple of weeks in South America won't give us all the details I feel confident that by taking a look at several ongoing projects and talking to as many people involved as possible we should get a much better understanding of what is happening at the various olpc projects.
- Uruguay: July 10 - July 24
- Paraguay: July 24 - August 7
- Peru: August 7 - August 26
- U.S. East Coast: August 26 - September 8
I'll report my findings and experiences in a variety of places with the two central hubs obviously being right here on OLPC News and over on edutechdebate.org. I've also just ordered a couple of 8GB SD cards so you can also expect tons of photos and videos to appear here, on various flickr accounts, the OLPC (Austria) blog and my personal blog. I'm also thinking about experimenting with other formats such as video-livestreams but I'll have to see how that works out.
I've reached out to people in all three South American countries already but I'm definitely open for suggestions on how to spend my time, who to meet, which schools and areas to visit, etc. as I'm working out my in-country schedules over the coming weeks. As always you can contact me by email or via Twitter or by leaving a comment below.