XO Computers Project

May 15, 2012 – Written by Lindsay Martin

XO Computers ProjectThe XO computers from the "One Laptop per Child" Project are designed to be a rugged, exploratory computer, priced at around $200 each and for the purpose of introducing computers into classrooms around the world. The laptops are designed to be durable and easy to use so the students can get the most benefit out of the computers as possible. Unfortunately, these laptops are not being used to their full potential in Haitian schools for various reasons. The Haiti Empowerment Project is striving to work with the teachers, students, and Haitian university faculty and students to make these resources more useful for both the teachers and the students.

The main objective of the Haiti Empowerment XO computers project is to develop and program Haitian standards-based mathematics teaching modules based on the information gathered from various Haitian OLPC schools during our 2012 trip and in collaboration with one of our partner university in Haiti, University Episcopal. After interviewing teachers and administrators from three different primary schools in rural Haiti, we discovered that the teachers are not able to use the laptops. Some of the teachers would like to use the computers, but they lack the computer training that they need in order to use them in their classrooms. Training the teachers to use the resources that are available to them is first in importance. Fortunately, Ruben Magloire, director of the Noailles Community School just outside of Croix-des-Bouquets, Haiti, and experienced computer programmer, offered to provide basic computer classes for the teachers of the community on the weekends. Many of the teachers that we spoke to expressed keen interest in the classes.

Aside from the technology proficiency issues, there are also issues with computer use in Haitian primary classrooms which stem from the disconnect between the computer capabilities and current programs and the Haitian national standards. We continued to develop the collaborations with the Haitian people to discuss the future programming of the mathematics teaching modules. We worked with the Rector and Vice Rector of University Episcopal and their Dean of the College of Computer Science to further design the series of courses to be offered in 2012/2013 with OSU Education and North Central State College Computer Science to design the Mathematics Teaching modules for the XO computers. The students at University Episcopal in Haiti will use distance technology to participate/collaborate with our students on the design and implementation. These Haitian standards-based mathematics teaching modules should be completed by May 2013.