What about an OLPC Deployment in Washington DC?


In a recent chat between Mike Lee and Marina Zdobnova, they discussed the possibility of a One Laptop Per Child deployment in a Washington DC metro area school:

olpc America
polyachka: So what are your future plans with DC OLPC club ?
curiouslee: We would like to do a deployment in the DC area.
polyachka: that would be good
curiouslee: But hope for that has dimmed a bit because of the change in DC govt.
curiouslee: Also, XOs are relatively hard to get and there are still many barriers with Sugar.
polyachka: barriers like what?
curiouslee: The Sugar brand and information materials need an overhaul.
curiouslee: Running Sugar outside of the XO (which itself is hard to get in smaller quantities) is difficult.

Of the many challenges that Mike and Marina list, the one that is the most obvious, with the easiest solution, is obtaining XO laptops. Right now, the only way to start an OLPC pilot is to buy XO laptops off eBay. This is a slow, expensive, and inefficient process that no school district would undertake when ASUS Eee PC laptops are so easy to buy.

So good luck to anyone who wants to start an OLPC pilot, anywhere - you'll be spending your first year just trying to get enough XOs for the students.


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Yes, I have previously expressed the need for a revolving account sales by someone such as ILoveMyXO. This would make possible small deployments for enlightened schools.

Accumulating XO's is indeed a very slow process - it has taken a year to accumulated enough from various sources to tentatively implement a 1:1 deployment in a local third grade starting in September (and by building on a 1:2 from May). We have hopes that a local university may provide writing resources that they are developing for the XO. Thanks go to the Mid-Michigan XO Laptop Lending Library.

But, we have a great guiding model -- Arbor Heights Elementary in Seattle, where they completed their deployment in January.

I was wondering if anyone here has an idea of the size of the market for XO's for small projects in the U.S. I can imagine it being attractive, if it reaches the thousands, for someone to make a bulk purchase and then sell them to these smaller projects for a premium.

I am in the seminal stages of the development of a non-profit educational project for under privileged children in Eastern Arkansas. Often compared to a third world country, it is one of the poorest regions in the US. So far, the prospects are discouraging. An XO type computer appears to be the hardware answer, but from what I am reading, it is difficult to find. The OLPC organization doesn't seem to respond well either. Does anyone have thoughts about alternatives to XO laptops?

Are you aware of Sugar-on-a-Stick, which is Sugar that runs from a USB memory stick and runs on a regular PC?

Please contact me at [email protected] -- I have ties to your area.

Hi ncarrol. We've used Sugar on a Stick several times on different computers: HP netbooks, Classmate PC's, Asus G73, Dell Vostro, etc. What I can say is most things work great, but some things don't. If a project plans on using this as standard for their deployment it would be a case of finding the right equipment (which takes a lot of testing time) or deciding on taking compromises. I'll send you an email. Thanks :)

It's hard to find an alternative that fits the requirements and constraints of a project of this type. Going the Windows route is expensive (licensing) and Sugar, for education, really has most of what you would need, especially if working with gradeschool children. We've tried Sugar on a Stick and we've tried installing Sugar on non-XO computers. We've managed to get both working, but it doesn't work as great as in the XO. I would really try to get a hold of OLPC, Miami offices, or run exhaustive tests of affordable computers with Sugar on Fedora.

I think the block size is more like a couple of hundred sold in groups of 10 to 20 with a small (not premium) margin.

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