I am Roxana Bassi, ICT Specialist of Global e-Schools and Communities Initiative (GeSCI). I have been following the OLPC experiences in various countries, and participating in some others, and I am still surprised abut the limited number of documentation that is available on the results of the trials and pilots that have been taking place in the countries in the last two years.
OLPC says that as of October 2008, XOs have been deployed - or soon will be - in 31 countries: Afghanistan, Brazil, Cambodia, Colombia, Ethiopia, Ghana, Haiti, India, Iraq, Kazakhstan, Lebanon, Mali, Mexico, Mongolia, Mozambique, Nepal, Nigeria, Niue, Pakistan, Palestine, Papua New Guinea, Paraguay, Peru, Russia, Rwanda, Senegal, Solomon Islands, South Africa, Thailand, United States and Uruguay. The total number of machines deployed (as of February 2009) is 750,000.
So I wonder what is happening in all these countries, in all these realities, with OLPC deployments? And I don't want to see the happy faces of children operating the devices in the most incredible settings, or videos, I want facts.
I want to know how teachers are feeling about it. How kids are feeling. How parents are feeling. How are the class dynamics changing? How were the kids test results compared with others in similar conditions without devices? What is happening with electricity consumption? What is the hardware failure rate? How is support being provided? What are the software problems faced? What implementations are using servers and how? How are they managing the content filtering (if any)? What tools did the kids develop? What tools the teachers dream of. What is the total cost of ownership (TCO) of the deployments? How were teachers trained? How were kids trained? And so many other questions that are critical to evaluate the success factors of 1:1 technologies...
I carry a list of OLPC pilot documents and I am organizing a resource list to share with you soon. But the information I find in the official websites is little, or is old, or has been collected in a period of a few months. What has, for example, happened with the Brazilian pilots? We haven't heard from them anymore, their sites are down or outdated. Uruguay has deployed 170,000 machines and there is very little we know about what is happening. Only Ethiopia and Nepal have produced some kind of relevant and documented analysis of their pilots.
There is critical a issue here: unless the countries and organizations executing pilots take the work of documenting and sharing lessons learned and experiences, we'll be repeating mistakes, we'll continue to fail (or to succeed and nobody will know). So this is a call to all of you participating in pilots or organizing them: make sure you develop a monitoring and evaluation framework and then share the results of it with the world. And if, by any chance, you know a link to good documentation, please add it as a comment here.