In this week's Community News, Walter Bender enlightens us on how the OLPC Mongolia implementation team -
Enkhmunkh Zurgaanjin, Carla Gomez Monroy, Jan Jungclaus, and David Woodhouse -are working both sides of the one laptop per child challenge: technology and education.
First, David, with remote support from John Watlington in OLPC Cambridge are having fun getting WiFi meshing through the tick, concrete walls of Soviet constriction:
The servers we shipped from Cambridge have arrived and are being installed. David has been handling the difficult task of positioning two servers (with six antennae) to cover a three-floor school. He is also facing the need to upgrade the laptops right away to avoid a networking meltdown...Despite the -31C temperature (better known as "damn cold"), they are making connectivity progress. The school now has an optical-fiber cable connecting it to the Internet.
Hopefully, the nature of the mesh will improve coverage. To start with, each school will have five antennae, with two servers. That setup will be re-evaluated when it's fully deployed and tested in the classrooms. It is physically installed in one school so far, and fully cabled (including CAT5 to the other rooms where they have computers). The other school should be similarly set up by the end of Monday
Over in the educational sphere, One Laptop Per Child is engaging the Mongolian Ministry of Education to try and institutionalize OLPC learning systems:
We met yesterday with the Ministry of Education team, teachers, principals, ICTA, content team and pilot research team to provide detailed feedback of how the project is going so far and to bring up things to be considered for the short and long terms.By the look of the children on the OLPC Wiki, there is definitely support for XO laptops in the land of the Khan.
Teachers are putting their hearts into the program. They had their first sessions with the children. Parents, too, have shown support. And the children, of course, love it. The Constructionist model of learning has found wide-spread support within the MoE.