OLPC Academy: The newest OLPC volunteer program for college students

   
   
   
   
   
olpc academy

In 2011, OLPCorps, and the OLPC Intern program will be replaced by the OLPC Academy, the newest incarnation of OLPC's attempt to integrate university students into XO deployments.

The One Laptop per Child (OLPC) Academy program was launched in 2010 to connect the world's top universities with 22 countries around the world who have embraced one laptop per child. Through the OLPC Academy, Masters and PhD students with specific expertise work at the frontier of education and technology to help some of the world's poorest children.

The OLPC Academy seeks to:

  1. Support country partners by meeting their needs with highly qualified candidates
  2. Seek innovative solutions to furthering OLPC objectives
  3. Advocate OLPC's 5 core principles

The OLPC Academy is part of the OLPC Association, a branch of OLPC based in Miami, Florida.

OLPC Academy Project Areas

  1. Pre-field and field assessment - OLPC and our country partners recognize the value of performing in-depth studies and interviews before starting future deployments. Here, we're looking for students with a background in sociology, anthropology, or cultural studies.

  2. Monitoring and evaluation - Tracking the progress of our deployments is critical for both internal and external purposes. We're looking for students with advanced coursework in education who are interested in developing and implementing program assesments.

  3. Pedagogy - One of OLPC's founding pillars is constructionism; we believe that learning should allow children to explore, create, and share with each other. Our Pedagogy teams will work with country partners to develop and implement innovative ways to learn using the XO laptop.

  4. Technical support - Our technical support teams will work with country partners on projects like implementing laptop repair centers, establishing power and internet, and advancing the use of the school server.

University Benefits

Universities that join the OLPC Academy join a network of the world's most prestigious universities working together to improve educational opportunities for the world's poorest children. OLPC will connect our partner universities to country deployments; in return, we ask that universities fund their students' travel and living expenses. Our programs provide opportunities for exceptional research and fieldwork opportunities that will distinguish graduate programs.

Student Benefits

  1. Each intern will receive a monthly stipend.
  2. Each intern is responsible for paying for his/her airfare to the deployment country.
  3. OLPC provides each intern with emergency travel insurance. Interns are responsible for providing their own health insurance.
  4. An announcement on housing and accommodation conditions is pending.

Responsibilities:

While we can outline what interns have done in the past, the responsibilities will vary depending upon a number of factors, including the location of the deployment, the local partner's requirements, the needs of the deployment, the time of the internship, and the skills the intern offers.

For instance, a 5,000 XO deployment in Nicaragua will have different needs than the Ministry of Education in Peru. We will work closely with each intern to match their skills and interests to the requirements of each deployment.

How can I join?

For more information, or to join the OLPC Academy program, contact it by email.

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14 Comments

Mmm, while at first sight this does look like a nice program I can't help but wonder just how many universities will actually provide financial support for their students.

In Austria this is pretty much unthinkable and I'm not sure that the situation in other European countries or the United States is different with the possible exception of some high-end universities. This might be what OLPC is aiming for anyway ("world's most prestigious universities") but it certainly narrows the number of potential participants quite significantly.

It sounds like OLPC Academy doesn't have any funding of its own - hence the hope that universities will fund student travel.

If that's true, its a downgrade from OLPCorps, which got 100 laptops and training, and OLPC Interns that got a few laptops and limited training. OLPC Academy will probably just give a laptop and a smile.

This is a program for MSc and PhD students and quite a few Universities on both sides of the Atlantic, do pay (some of) their PhD students. Paying some money to MSc students is not rare either, particularly if is not a "reading" Master program.

Well, I certainly hope you're right...

Come on Christoph. You are in a University. Ask the PhD students in your department. I would guess that most have some fellowship to go by. National or from EU.
Not to mention Marie Curie, Erasmus, bilateral etc, directly aiming at mobility within and outside EU.

Yes, there certainly are fellowships and the like, many of them focused on mobility. However that generally means support to study at another university rather than help with day-to-day work at a project.

Anyway, no point in argueing any longer;-) I wish OLPC Academy all the best but honestly don't expect it to take off in any significant way.

I never argue :-)

But seriously, where did you find the segment about Universities _paying_ the students to participate in OLPC academy?
Is neither http://laptop.org/en/interns/index.shtml nor http://laptop.org/en/interns/opportunities.shtml ???
A laptop.org site-search yields nothing relevant either. Ditto Google.
Is this official or made up?
Besides how could someone apply as an individual and be given a stipend from OLPC if this stipend is coming from the University.
Makes very little sense.

If you are referring to the line below, it was in an email from OLPC sent to potential OLPC Academey participants.

"OLPC will connect our partner universities to country deployments; in return, we ask that universities fund their students' travel and living expenses."

Still does not make sense.
If the Universities pay travel and living expenses why interns are asked to pay their own travel and are given an (OLPC) stipend?

Maybe this e-mail has ideas for a different program aimed at Universities instead of individuals?
Or an early draft of the program?
Or something else?

Certainly the OLPC site has nothing of the kind or any reference to Universities and OLPC Academy.

OLPC Academy seems to want someone (not OLPC) to pay for students travel. The email and website verbiage points to the university. Christoph believes (and I agree) that in practice, this will mean a student will need to organize their own funding, be it from a university or some other source.

Hi all - please do not e-mail me regarding this program, as I no longer work for OLPC. Instead, you can e-mail the Academy program at [email protected]

Thanks - Bryan Stuart

Bryan, thanks a lot for the heads-up, Wayan changed the article accordingly.

Also, for global OLPC volunteer opportunities of all kind, in general -- don't forget to write to:

[email protected]

Include your resume (or similar) and most important your driving interests if possible!!

I'm afraid that in the UK (where I work in a mid ranking university) there is absolutely no money spare at the moment for such activity - All public funding has just been cut for non science subjects.

It's a shame as we would be interested in getting students into such schemes...

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