One Laptop Per Thai Child Testing Begins!

   
   
   
   
   
olpc wireless mesh view
OLPC wireless mesh view

While 10 OLPC BTest-1 Children's Machine XO's arrived in January, and 30 BTest-2 laptops arrived in February, the One Laptop Per Child Thailand group has just recently updated the wiki. Though I can't read Thai, I can see they're having a damn good time with the OLPC XO!

First off, it seems they have installed the stable 303 Build of the Sugar user interface and are experimenting with its very interesting wireless mesh view. With little XO's showing different laptop nodes and the peaks denoting Internet connections, the mesh view is a handy graphical representation of users and connections.

I wonder if the distances and locations are accurate (or will be). That would enable some very cool physical OLPC games. Hide and seek would forever be changed and freeze tag would have a whole new dimension.

thai olpc computer lab
An OLPC computer lab in Thailand

Then check out the computer lab the kids are using the OLPC X0's in. Note all those big, clunky, power-sucking classic desktops and CRT monitors are abandoned for the fun, cool, and tiny Children's Machine XO. The only desktop user? An adult.

Before we all get too excited about that scene, let's remember that kids always like a new toy. The real test will be in six, nine, twelve months from now.

That's when I hope to see a report from Thailand OLPC detailing the difference in learning levels between standard teaching sans technology, standard teaching with technology (be it desktop or XO), and the "learning learning" miracle via OLPC XO methodology specifically promoted by Nicholas Negroponte. Then we can have a fact-based debate if OLPC is a laptop project or an education project.

Until then, enjoy the sight of children engrossed in technology, and check out the dual mode screen in Thai sunlight. What an appropriate Thai image! HM B. Adulyadej.

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8 Comments

Nope, the positions of icons (access points and other children's avatars) are placed randomly and have no geographical significance.

Great news! Thanks!

Hey Wayan are you still looking for the thai flag?
i'd say its right there on the top-left
http://pclab.nectec.or.th/wiki/index.php/Image:B2samka6.JPG

Just came came across your excellent blog today Wayan and it's now bookmarked.

When OLPC was first announced in Thailand by former PM Thaksin, many were wary this was yet another populist vote buying attempt (ala, one cow per family, one million baht per village and on and on).

OLPC showed alot of promise but some worried (at the time) the laptops might ultimately be collected from each village's Kanman (leader) and end up in weekend markets. Resulting with the poor people ending up holding the bill (again) for yet another failed populist 'vote grab', which would profit only those at the top of the food chain - as happened so many times in the past.

Most Thai schools are woefully under budgeted and as a result, alot of parents can barely afford to put food on the table (muchless foot the bill for a pc lab)and they're constantly squeezed for extra cash to make up the difference. This is especially true in the poor farming communities in NE Thailand, of which makes up half the overall population.

Fantastic to see OLPC survives, is being implemented correctly and is progressing in Thailand. Given half a chance, Thai kids can and would absolutely excel.

Keep up the good work Wayan and I'll be sure to pop back for updates here.

Cheers!
Daniel

Here in Australia we have a popular travel program on television called 'The Great Outdoors'.
The latest edition on March 24th covered volunteers in Thailand and specifically an Australian woman teaching in a school in Chiang Mai. It gave me a lot of insight into conditions in schools there and how much of a difference the OLPC laptops would make in education.

If you want to read about the program and learn about volunteering here's the program link.

http://au.travel.yahoo.com/great-outdoors/thailand/chiang-mai/nivea-volunteers-chiang-mai-thailand.html

About the MeshNet view ("neibourhood"...though I enjoy calling it "radar"), it would really be interesting if it could show bearing and range although that is not so important...at least at the level/direction OLPC is heading in.
All the same I am impressed at the way it works...cool stuff.

I hope Thailand will seize this opportunity for the sake of Thai children's future.

The new Thai government does not exactly warmly welcome this initiative that the former PM Taksin agreed to..

Thailand's Education Minister Wijit Srisa-arn is still adamant that Thailand will NOT be in the OLPC purchasing group even if it is a testing country:

OLPC back on the agenda
http://www.bangkokpost.net/Database/13Jun2007_data22.php

One Laptop Per Child started to look like The Crazy Ex-Laptop From Hell; four days after Education Minister Wijit Srisa-arn repeated (again) that Thailand will not buy into the scheme, OLPC chief connectivity officer Michail Bletsas insisted that Thailand is one of the nine countries ("and many others") that is demanding to be part of the project;

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