Introducing Chica Umeadi, Beth Santos & The Santomean OLPC Project

that's gilson with his arms wrapped around me. sometimes i think he erases programs just so he can ask me to put them back on for him. =P

Beth Santos with students at São João school. She's now looking to fund 500 more laptops for kids in São Tomé. Photo by Beth Santos.

This week I found out about the Santomean OLPC project. Chica Umeadi was one of the volunteers who deployed the first XO laptops at the São João school in summer 2009. They want to “revolutionize how children learn through the use of technology”.


First Deployment

One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) volunteers had difficulties in getting the project going for everybody on the islands because they didn’t have enough laptops for everyone as Chika vividly talks about in his blog. Chika is now back in the States, and in response to my email he said: “We have run into financial issues concerning the University of Illinois sponsoring the purchase of extra laptops for the school”. The school needed 600 laptops but only 100 were delivered.

Technical Problems

Another volunteer Michael Stein, a student and photojournalist, blogged about his own difficulties with the  slow Internet connection and intermittent power outages. The connection was too slow for installing collaborative software (the download eventually took 2 days) and the open-source Moodle software was difficult to use.

Kids Very Excited

But in spite of all the troubles, Beth Santos who flew in as a teacher for the school in October 2009, writes passionately about her students who are now emailing her. She found that children who had never used computers before were able to do word processing, take pictures and videos, and browse the Internet just after the first class session. There’s some cute pictures from the Sao Joao School. In her blog she’s now trying to find funding for the missing 500 laptops for Santomean kids.

More Photos and Links

Here’s a slideshow of Beth working with the kids in Sao Tome.

Michael Stein’s pictures.

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Here’s some more pictures from Corey Jackson, who was the leader of the first volunteers, and got the OLPC on the islands going.

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