[IAEP] OLPCorps: an opportunity for Sugar feedback

Caroline Meeks caroline at solutiongrove.com
Thu Mar 19 08:50:11 EDT 2009

Mel these are some good thoughts. I'm going to frame it another way.

One of the thing the OLPC-Corps can do for us is feedback, but I don't think
its the only or even the most important thing.

I think we should be seeing the OLPC-Corps as our volunteer pipeline.  When
these people come back many of them will want to continue to contribute,
Sugar Labs needs to be the place where these people can plug in and continue
to make a difference.  They will also become advocates for the program, they
will have software itches they want to scratch.

I think an analogy to this program is Teach for America.  Teach for America
puts recent college grads in inner city schools for 2-years.  They have
gotten a wide range of results from, really quite bad, to exceptional where
a teacher has brought entire classes up to and beyond grade level from well

I heard the founder speak at HGSE and was struck by a couple of things.

1. They definitely consider what the alumni do when they leave to be a big
part of the programs impact.  Some stay in teaching or education but others
go into business etc. and become powerful, and resource rich, advocates for
public education.  I think we should also be looking at the long term. Lets
think about what these OLPC-Corps members can do for us over the next 5

2. They have been very thoughtful about their training and recruitment
program and they have been able to steadly push up the number of impressive
sucesses they have.  This  is  having an effect on the entire school reform
debate.  No one can argue that it can't be done to take a random class of
students anywhere and bring them all to grade level.  They also are starting
to learn how it can be done.

We should be doing the same thing.  As Bryan points out many of these people
will not be effective for a variety of reasons.  what will be interesting is
who is? Why?  This is similar to the 4th Grade Math project.  We need to
learn as an organization how to take random groups of volunteers and create
exceptionally high quality educational experiences for children.  The fact
that on our first try we are not going to get 100% success is not
important.  We, as an organziation need to model learning.  So we could add
to Mel's questions.

1. What makes the most effective volunteers effective?
2. What worked and what didn't in training the volunteers?
3. How can we engage the volunteers when they get back?

Just as we expect the children we are creating these tools for to surpass us
and solve world problems we don't know how to solve. So must we expect and
enable these college students to find answers we don't yet have.  From my
studies I would say a good first step is encouraging the OLPC-Corps create
and maintain teams and view these teams as learning communities.

This is hard. I don't know how to do it. But I do believe that as a
community we can figure it out.


On Tue, Mar 10, 2009 at 1:32 AM, Mel Chua <mel at melchua.com> wrote:

> I thought you folks might be interested in the conversation/questions I
> had with Paul Commons about the OLPCorps internship program tonight.
> Paul's going to be moving discussions to the grassroots mailing list, so
> please reply to Paul on that list if you're interested in the program
> itself or the workings of it.
> http://lists.laptop.org/pipermail/grassroots/2009-March/001151.html
> What I /do/ want to discusson this list: given that all these pilots and
> all these student internship teams are going to be using Sugar, it seems
> like this is an awesome opportunity to...
> 1) get some Sugar feedback love from teachers through the OLPCorps teams
> 2) seed Sugar-savvy groups of university students (who can do things
> like deploy SoaS back home right away - there's nothing like a local
> deployment to work with to keep you engaged)
> 3) get some great Sugar use stories so we can hear about what our stuff
> actually /does/ for kids.
> What do you folks think? How can we make this happen?
> --Mel
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Caroline Meeks
Solution Grove
Caroline at SolutionGrove.com

617-500-3488 - Office
505-213-3268 - Fax
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