Thanks to a message to the grassroots mailing-list by Yama I discovered hat OLPC is looking for people for the following job opportunities which are also an indication of where OLPC might be heading in the forseeable future:
- Director, OLPCorps: Africa
- Director of Educational Operations
- Director of Grassroots/Netroots
- Director, OLPC U.S.A.
I think it's quite interesting to see that at least the first two positions clearly seem to be a product of OLPC's refocus from back in mid-January when Nicholas Negroponte said that "Sub-Saharan Africa will become a major learning hub".
The OLPCorps announcement has led to some interesting discussions within the global community. My personal take on it is that I think the program was off to a pretty bad start (for a variety of reasons) but I do believe that it can be salvaged and still yield some interesting results.
However one thing I am worried about is someone with no previous understanding and involvement with OLPC and the larger community taking charge as the program's director. I strongly believe that the best person for this position would be someone with a proven trackrecord of continued contributions in the field of OLPC-related community outreach. Especially since by the time such an OLPCorps Director arrives on the scene the program's start (in early June) will be very close.
With regards to the Director of Educational Operations I noticed that the job description mentions OLPC having "a centre for learning and education headquartered in Kigali" which again fits in nicely with the focus on Sub-Saharan Africa. As the OLPCorps training weeks are supposed to take place in Kigali as well it looks as though the city will become something like the educational outpost of OLPC Boston.
The third position, Director of Grassroots/Netroots, is in my opinion something that should have been created 3 years ago and the job description really writes itself:
OLPC seeks a grassroots/netroots director who will dramatically expand the network of citizens around the world who share our vision and to channel that enthusiasm into activism on the global level necessary to achieve 1:1 computing for primary school children.
I'll definitely keep a very close eye on who this position goes to!
The OLPC U.S.A Director job calls for someone "who will dramatically expand constructionist educational opportunities for children and teachers around the country who share our vision that children learn best by creating, exploring, connecting and collaborating, and that the time for one laptop per child in the United States has finally come."
Especially since the text continues to refer to OLPC U.S.A as a "stand-alone entity to be spun out of OLPC at the appropriate time" it looks as though the United States can expect an increased amount of attention from OLPC. At the moment the 15,000 XO deployment in Birmingham, AL is the largest OLPC / Sugar project in North America, but who knows, that might change.
So overall these job opportunities are certainly early indications of efforts that OLPC will be focusing on in 2009 and beyond. Let's see what happens!