Now that the trip has begun, please view the trip blog for daily updates.
OLPC has not been anything like I expected it to be. Going into the class I was technologically lost. Yes, initially it was difficult to figure out what all the buttons mean, but after writing lesson after lesson I finally got a hang of things. Currently I am working on the AIDS project, which we will send to schools in Africa. The question I was given was: How do you live as a child with aids? Are there any restrictions? We all are working on a section and then in the end we will combine our work into one giant book. I still can’t wrap my mind around the fact that what I am writing will not only be played by young children, but also help them to live a healthier life. Even though I am not going on the service trip, I have taken so much away from OLPC. I have thoroughly enjoyed the class because it has brought me closer to my grade and because I am making a difference in someone’s life.
Recently in one laptop we have been working on our HIV/AIDS books as well as teaching the fourth graders how to use Etoys. Regarding the fourth graders, I have really enjoyed teaching them what I have learned so far this year; especially because I am interested in pursuing a career in teaching later on. The teaching experience also reiterated all that we have learned and reinforced all of our new skills. For me, this helped me to relearn some of the tasks I had forgotten from earlier in the year. Although I will not be traveling to St. John, this activity will be extremely helpful to those who are and act as excellent practice for teaching the students at the schools they will be visiting. Regarding the AIDS books, I really enjoy creating the informative activities because I know that my project will help to educate someone over this serious epidemic. I believe I speak for my entire class when I say that it makes all of our work worth it knowing that it is going to help teachers, children, and families all over the world.
The One Laptop per Child class has recently been assisting the fourth grade class in learning Etoys, and it has been a wonderful experience for multiple reasons. First, we have enriched our Etoys skills; teaching the fourth graders has helped us better learn the program for ourselves. When you teach a subject, you must know it thoroughly and completely for yourself. After teaching the fourth graders only twice, I feel that I have a significantly greater understanding of Etoys. Secondly, this experience will also be very beneficial for the students traveling to St. John, as they will have a similar experience teaching there. Teaching others is truly a special skill that can only be learned with experience, and the students in OLPC certainly now have this experience.
Throughout this school year, the OLPC class has worked on several different projects using our new knowledge of Etoys. Now that we have mastered the basics, we are working on using the program to create books to educate developing countries on HIV and AIDS. Once we have completed these books, they will be put online for people all over the world to access and learn from. The global aspect of this class is one of the things that truly excites me. OLPC differs greatly from other classes offered at CSG because it not only educates the students, but it also allows the students to become teachers themselves. Later this week and in the beginning of next month, in preparation for the teaching we will do in St. John, we will be teaching the fourth grade classes at CSG how to use Etoys. The goal is that these classes run smoothly and that we are able to learn what teaching methods work with the younger kids and which ones need to be modified. This is the first year I have been part of OLPC, and I cannot wait to be again be a part of it in the upcoming years.
As we continue to work throughout this semester we have separated some from learning Etoys and are now working more on the teaching aspect of our class. We have been planning the lessons we are going to give to fourth graders and it is very exciting. We will use all of our knowledge that we have gathered throughout first semester to then try and teach others this new program. This planning is getting me even more excited for the trip to St. John that is coming up in May. I love teaching other people and working with kids so the combination is one I am very enthusiastic about! I am so glad I got to take this class and so grateful for all that I am learning!
OLPC has been awesome. I really love working with computers and trying to figure out what the problems were and fixing them. It has been really fun working with my group. We all get along really well. Right now we’re working on fixing some old CSG laptops and an AIDS/HIV presentation. My AIDS/HIV lesson is on “how to support people who have AIDS/HIV”. After we are done with our presentation we are sending it off to Kenya for the little kids to learn about AIDS/HIV. I’m really excited about having a piece in this presentation and having kids from across the country reading it. I’m also really excited about how much we are learning in OLPC. I know things about computers that I didn’t know before and now I can help fix the problems when we go on our trip. I really can’t wait for our trip to St. John’s.
As the year has gone on I have been able to take a different role in OLPC. I have been able to plan what to change and what to add to the trip in May. This semester I am working on getting t-shirts for the class and working on my cholera project. I have been working a lot with Ms. Murakami at getting everything ready for the trip. I am still working on the lesson plans for the classes as we get more information from the school. I am getting really excited for our trip in May and can’t wait to see the kids again.
It is sad to know that my time with One Laptop per Child at CSG is coming to an end. I have enjoyed this service-learning project for three years now and have learned so much from it. During my sophomore year, as I was first introduced to Etoys, I primarily focused on learning how to use the software and experimenting with the programs. I also began to do some laptop repairs and decided that I wanted to focus my next year with OLPC on composing a troubleshooting guide for such repairs. After spending the majority of my junior year preparing this guide, I then began a new project with physical Etoys, a software based on Etoys designed to control a LEGO or Arduino robot through Bluetooth connection. I continued this project into this year and until recently have been struggling to figure out how to use the program. My hope is that, by spring break, I will have both a working robot and program that can successfully control it. But beyond the activities I have done in class, OLPC has helped me feel as though I really can make a difference without even leaving my school. I have never been able to travel to St. John, but I still feel that I have been able to contribute to this service project over the years. I am so glad that I decided to join OLPC three years ago, and I will remember this wonderful experience for many years to come!
Throughout the course of this school year I have mainly been working on finishing up the educational books that we put online for others to use. The books incorporate Etoys and a wide array of subjects that are used worldwide. First semester I finished up the basic math Etoys book that some of my classmates worked on last year. I really enjoyed being able to play around with the other lessons because normally if you yourself were not involved in a lesson, you did not know what the books had to offer. Some of the programming on the lessons are very usable for small children. Currently I am almost done with our History of the Caribbean Etoys book. I personally had a lesson in this subject (Early Caribbean Life) and I am so excited to finish this book and give it to the public.