OLPC Canada: Original XO Content for First Canadians

   
   
   
   
   

The first national OLPC program in Canada has launched with a pilot program that will provide up to 5000 laptops to children 6-12 years of age across Canada. In checking out the OLPC Canada website, I have to say that I'm impressed by their effort around appropriate content, one of the most difficult tasks for any deployment.

OLPC Canada had to create new content because it is focused on Inuit, First Nations, and Métis communities, many of which have their own language, culture, and history that they are fighting to preserve. But they didn't skimp in their efforts. Here are two areas of content that should impress you too:


XO Books

OLPC Canada has an amazing selection of 25 books that a dedicated group of authors gave to them so that children could read culturally relevant content on the XO. Written by First Nation, Métis and Inuit authors, they are in various Aboriginal languages and one book is fully narrated. Children can choose any book in the library and read on their laptop for a personal path of discovery.


XO Activities

OLPC Canada has also added society-specific activities to engage young learners. Here are three of my favorites:

  • Healthy Heart, based on Canada's Aboriginal Food Guide, helps children assess their recommended daily intake of food with stylized bear avatars teaching children to act as "chefs" to choose food from a menu to prepare meals for their customers.
  • Drum Beats has Buffy Sainte-Marie walking children through the Nature of Sound and Indigenous, Aboriginal, and Native American music and instruments to introduce children to what sound is, the characteristic of sound, wavelengths and how sound travels.
  • Swift Feet is a high energy and up-beat action program encouraging children to be active with 20 different exercises and 10 different dances set to music take users through high, moderate and low impact movements.

Outreach to OLPC Community?

The only request I would make to OLPC Canada would be for them to reach out to the once-vibrant OLPC Canada community of Give 1 get 1 participants. There are at least 5,000 XO-1 laptop owners who would love to help make OLPC in Canada a success.

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Early discussion has begun among almost 100 Canadian OLPC volunteers here:

http://lists.laptop.org/pipermail/toronto-dev/2010-September/000061.html

Please join our mailing list if you too care about this project, and believe we can each figure out ways to support it together, thanks!

http://lists.laptop.org/listinfo/toronto-dev

Manitoba volunteer efforts might even be taking shape already, including a proposal I've seen for a great volunteer-run repair center from an experienced volunteer, happy to support that province's schools if not others, if it works out:

http://www.cbc.ca/canada/manitoba/story/2010/09/29/manitoba-nelson-house-laptops-stronach.html

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