I have just returned from a week-long adventure to the far eastern region of KwaZulu-Natal, known as Maputaland by the locals that live there, where I volunteered to help out eduWeavers of San Rafael, CA in their eSibonisweni Primary School XO roll-out sponsored by Saint Mark's School.
In my opinion the pioneering EduWeavers.org concept of school-2-school eTwinning is not only the most likely to succeed in financing the grandest goal of all, One Laptop Per Child, but more importantly hooks up real kids in the West with real kids in Africa in a meaningful, consistent and sustainable way. Empowering them all to communicate about the things that really matter to kids growing up in the early 21st Century. So that when they're all adults, all it will take is a phone/skype call or email to solve any world challenge. I really think it's that simple, so long as our generation solves the OLPC hardware distribution issue.
I have created a short video clip to tell the story of my week's adventure, with a focus on covering the first introductory lesson to the kids. First impressions count, so I figured that instant "happy buzz" feedback via the camera Record activity would have the longest lasting positive effect on the kids and teachers, encouraging enthusiasm for further lessons.
As you can see in the video it works, and thus I would recommend this start-up lesson to all field volunteers anywhere on Earth. I also cover some very basic tech issues than can turn out to be show-stoppers if not addressed up-front.
In the forthcoming weeks I will cover the school-2-school eTwinning concept in detail, and how to get your closest school involved and participating.
Dave Hall is the a 40-something South African and Dad of Kim (14) and Meg (10), doing whatever he can to ensure that all African kids get similar opportunities to learn and collaborate that he and his family, have had in their lifetime.