The One Laptop Per Child project connects classrooms from different parts of the world in order to promote communication and collaboration between students from diverse backgrounds.

In the same way that the breakfast and dental programs attend to the basic nutritional and healthcare needs of the children of Bolivia, this technology deployment aims to address their educational needs. Participating classrooms use specially designed XO laptops to work together on math, art and music projects as a means of transcending language and cultural barriers. In doing so, students learn from each other and grow to understand that, despite our differences, we all share the same hopes and dreams.

We are now in the second year of our program in Atlantic Canada. For an hour each week, Grade 7 students in participating schools use XO laptops to collaborate on a variety of projects that encourage cultural learning and self-reflection. Our school network consists of AJ Smeltzer Junior High in Sackville, Nova Scotia, and Jens Haven Memorial School in Nain, Labrador. We are currently working with a First Nations school in Nova Scotia and hope to expand the program by the end of the school year.

The work we have done to date in Atlantic Canada will serve as a template for our expansion to schools in the developing world. We plan to begin incorporating Bolivian schools in our network by the end of 2011. Bolivian students will then be able to take advantage of the curriculum and resources we have established in Atlantic Canada and collaborate with Canadian students in a variety of educational activities.
What is the XO Laptop?

The XO laptop is a rugged, low-cost computer which is specially designed for educational use in the developing world. The laptop has remarkable hardware features, including a built-in wireless modem, a webcam, a microphone and speakers. The screen is designed to be readable in direct sunlight, catering to students who go to school outdoors. The battery can be charged in a number of ways, employing solar panels or a mechanical crank when traditional power outlets are not present. The special antennas automatically create a “mesh network” that allows the laptops to talk to one another even if no internet connection is available. The XO laptop runs on an open source operating system called Sugar, which comes pre-loaded with a range of instructive programs. Students can use the laptops to connect to one another and collaborate in real-time on a variety of tasks, from word processing to music editing to artistic composition. With new software being released constantly, the educational capabilities of this laptop are endless.

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