In Afghanistan now that we did our first pilot school we are now launching a major effort to quantitatively and qualitatively assess the impact of the use of OLPC in schools in three areas - Education, Health, and Economic.
Educational Impact Assessment Plan
We will be testing all pupils on comprehension, problem solving, reading, writing and mathematics before receiving the laptop and at regular intervals afterwards. Teachers will be taking part in a focus group. We will be comparing this to two control schools that do not have OLPC.
We hope to generate statistically significant pedagogical evidence on the impact of the OLPC Laptop in education. Our hypothesis is that the XO laptop will not only improve standard measurements of educational achievement but also encourage creativity and resourcefulness which is also of the utmost importance.
Health Impact Assessment Plan
We have prepared in co-operation with the Ministry of Public Health various awareness / information pre-loaded on the laptop (promotion of hygiene, common diseases, family nutrition etc) and will use focus groups to explore the impact of this in the home. Female medical students will be able to work more closely with mothers in the house than others.
It is our hypothesis that the XO laptop can be an effective tool to distribute messages to
positively change behaviour towards health / hygiene. This can be a difficult subject to
monitor as it concerns people's private homes including the woman's part of the home
Economic Impact Assessment Plan (Coming Soon)
We have prepared information on interview skills, business directories, a basic guide on how to start a small business and will develop further material focusing on agriculture and cottage industries. Again focus groups will be the main tool to try to assess the impact.
The plans are basic but we hope to share with the world a better understanding of the impact of OLPC and strengthen the case for more widespread deployment. We very much welcome and would be pleased to facilitate anyone interested in more in depth research either by correspondence or we can arrange research trips in Afghanistan (yes, it's safe). Contact details are in the research plans.