I can’t believe it is almost time for our trip to Saint John. I still remember how excited I was during the beginning of the school year when I knew that I would be going on this trip. We have been working with the OLPC program for almost nine months already. I was a little bit scared in the beginning when I knew that I would need to teach little children about a program that I had absolutely no idea. However, over these few months of preparations, and two teaching practices with the 4th grader at our school, I felt prepared. Our art project is almost in the end of the process. I am still working on my Egyptian art project this week. Everything is coming to an end. I realized that I have learned a lot through this OLPC lesson. We did not only learn how to operate Etoys and navigate the XO laptop, but we also learned how to teach children about the sugar operating system. This is a wonderful experience for me. I am ready to go to Saint John and teach the children about everything that I know about the Etoys program!
This will be our last post from the classroom. Please begin looking at the Trip Blog for further updates.
April 23, 2012 - Emily B's Post
OLPC has gone by so quickly this year! I can’t believe that it is already almost time to pack our bags for Saint John. The excitement for our trip is mounting; I’ve already started daydreaming about what I’m going to bring and how much fun it will be! Recently we have been finishing up our art projects using Etoys and learning how to navigate the XO laptop. The Sugar operating system is quite different from Windows and Mac, but once you get the hang of it, you discover many of its awesome features. My group just learned how to send and share Etoys, chat, share the “speak” activity, and measure distance between two laptops using the echolocation program, all without internet connection! A few weeks ago we taught the fourth graders how to do some simple Etoys, and it made me even more excited to teach in Saint John. I’m counting down the days until we depart on our adventure!
April 10, 2012 - Patricia's Post
_ Now that it is April and almost time to travel to St.
John I am really excited to begin working more intensively on my art project
and practice teaching younger students. I am counting down the days to our trip
by exploring the XO computers in class and learning different ways in which the
students will be able to use the laptops once we are gone. My art lesson is
Ancient Art and will be the first lesson that the students experience. It will
feature cave paintings from around the world and the different materials they
used and most importantly why they recorded their lives with art. I have been
really enjoying my time working with OLPC this year, being able to explore
technology, and cannot wait to explore in St. John!
March 28, 2012 - Caroline's Post
_ I am really excited about learning
to use Etoys. I am currently working on an art project. My topic is color
mixing and complimentary colors. This is fun because I am using the Etoys
technology to fully express color in my project. I am making a game where you
add colors together and they blend and form new colors. For example when you
add yellow and red together it comes out orange. I am really
looking forward to seeing the final book!
March 6, 2012 - Morgan's Post
_ Although this is my first year
with the OLPC program, I feel like I have learned so much and have been working
with Etoys and the whole group for more than a semester. At the beginning of
the year, with the help of Ms. Murakami, I worked on basic scripts and
understanding the way Etoys worked. I was pleasantly surprised to find out how
user-friendly it was and just how expansive an idea can become. If you think of
an idea, I promise there is a way to illustrate or demonstrate that concept.
It’s amazing! As the first test of my knowledge and progress, I created a book
with basic information about myself but mostly to show off my skills with the
program. It was a lot of fun, and my younger siblings enjoyed testing the games
and animations in it.
Now that second semester has
begun, and we are only a few months away from our trip to St. John, and the
excitement is really setting in! Currently I am working on Lesson 2 of our art
history class which is the meaning and story of Australian symbols. I’ve always
been fascinated by Australian art and I’m so happy I get to create a fun and
creative lesson for children to learn about it too. I’m so thankful to be a
part of this class and that I get to travel with the OLPC students to St.
John this summer. I know it will be a once-in-a-lifetime experience!
_ This is my first experience with Etoys and OLPC, and
half-way into the year I am still in love with this open source, completely
malleable program. The possibilities are interminable, without boundaries on
creativity and its realization. After learning the basics of Etoys and how the
laptops work, acquiring numerous basic skills and even dismantling computers, I
have begun to work more independently. Thus far I have completed various
animations, my first foray into the process, and been able to incorporate them
into other projects.
Although I am not participating
in the traveling portion of the OLPC independent study, I am developing a
lesson to teach children in St. John, or elsewhere, art, specifically shape and
form and positive and negative space. I intend to use the skills previously
developed in Etoys to bring life to a basic concept of art, to capture
children’s interest in a subject often overlooked in schools, to add both an
instructive and an entertaining aspect through animations, and to encourage
students to engage in art firsthand.
Please see Nora's animation below.
January 25, 2012 - Hannah's Post
_ This is my first year working with Etoys and the One Laptop
per Child program. However, I feel that I already know how to use Etoys so much
better than I did when I started! Currently, I am working on a few small
projects as well as my book. Since one of my hobbies is Tae Kwon Do, in my book
I am making an animation with me kicking a wooden board and breaking it into
two pieces. I have also experimented with joysticks and sliders through making
games with one object controlled by the joystick which chases another object
around the screen.
Since I will not be traveling to St. John this coming May, I
will be developing a curriculum for children to use on their own OLPC laptops
through the Etoys program. I can’t wait to put all my hard work in learning
Etoys into good use by teaching kids around the world through my Etoys projects!
January 19, 2012 - Katherine's Post
This is my first year with the One Laptop per Child
program and it has been a blast. I am mainly working on mastering the 10 Etoys
lessons. I am also learning how to fix broken XO computers. I am learning more
and more every day. My current project is a book about myself that incorporates
a lot of the fundamentals of the 10 etoys lessons. My book contains a piano
that, if you hover over it with a mouse, it makes noise. This has helped me
explore what you can do with tests in Etoys.
I am extremely excited to go to St.John this year. I am
thrilled that I get to share my knowledge of Etoys and the XO laptops with the
kids. I am sure the trip will be a fun and rewarding experience.
Here's an example of one of Nora's projects. It is a gorgeous example of what an animation can look like in Etoys. You'll need to download Etoys from http://squeakland.org in order to see the file.
My name is Cristina and I am a newcomer to One Laptop Per
Child. This past semester I have been working with Etoys, familiarizing myself
with the program as well as creating “My Book.” While I still have much more to
learn with the program, I am starting to understand how it works much better; I
am starting to use the information I have already acquired and applying it in
order to teach myself more advanced things on the program. In addition to
working with and learning the Etoys program, my peers and I have done some
maintenance on the broken laptops. Personally I enjoy fixing the laptops
because it is hands on and you feel very accomplished after solving the
problem. Overall, I am glad I chose to participate in One Laptop Per Child not
only because it’s interesting and fun, but because I’ve heard such great things
about the experience in St. John. I cannot put into words how excited I am to
teach the children; just knowing my peers and I will be making an impact on
these children—whether small or big—gives me an overwhelming feeling of joy! I
am looking forward to continuing on in the independent study second semester; I
cannot wait to see what is to come.
January 4, 2012 - Rebecca's Post
_Because this is my second year being involved with OLPC, my
main focus so far has been on improving my skills from last year. The other
returning OLPC students and I have become mentors for new OLPC students,
helping them with their books and overall understanding of the computers and Etoys. In addition to mentoring the new OLPC students, we havebeen editing, revising, and adding to the
games and teaching tools that we used last year.
So far, we have created a sort of handbook about Etoys for
future recipients of the laptops to use as a guide for when teachers are
unavailable. The handbook outlines all ten lessons in Etoys, as well as includes introductory
“teaching aids” for various skills in each of the lessons. We also have spent a
great deal of time revising the games we made last year for each of the
lessons. This was essential because during our time in St.John last year it
came to our attention that some of the games required skills were too
advanced for the lessons they were supposed to be teaching.
The start of the new year brings not only a new semester but
also opportunities to learn and improve my skills with OLPC.
December 5, 2011 - Hailey's Post
___ This year I am one of the
“veteran” OLPC members, so instead of learning the 10 etoys lessons like all of
the first-year members, I am acting as a teacher to them as well as revising
our current lesson activities we use with the kids in May. The other
veterans and I are revising them so that these lesson activities will be easier
for the kids to use, and operate more smoothly in general. We are
checking for and adjusting things such as activities requiring skills that
haven’t been taught in previous lessons or just practical errors. Though
it has been a different experience the second year, I am so glad to continue to
be involved in this program and get others involved in it as well!
November 28, 2011 - Kendall's Post
This year with One Laptop Per Child, I’m continuing work on my 10 Lesson Music project. So far I’ve only gotten to fine-tuning my first and second lessons. I’m working on adding sound into my lessons to make them more interactive for the students. Also, I’m teaching the eToys after hours program on Wednesdays. The class consists of 2nd- 5th grade girls. We are working on creating our books about ourselves and recently learned how to make a joystick. So far they are making great progress on working the eToys program.
This year, I’m very excited to go to St. John. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to attend the trip last year, but can’t wait this year! I’m actually writing this blog post from St. Thomas! Earlier today I delivered 20 XO computers and received 5 broken XO’s to repair. This year so far has been an excellent experience with One Laptop Per Child. I love the ability to work at my own pace and help teach the software to younger kids. I’m so happy I got involved with this program!
November 15, 2011 - Vera's Post
It is my second year doing OLPC and I am so excited to come back! This year, four of us who went on the trip the last year are acting as “mentors” to help the new team members learn Etoys. Caroline is working with me. She is doing an amazing job! Last year we were only half as far along as we are today!
Besides helping new members understand the software, Etoys, four of us who went on the trip the last year are doing a new set of projects to benefit our teaching in May. One of the projects we are working on is In-class demonstration projects. It is designed for a few of the more challenging lessons. We will be showing kids a project with some errors and let them recognize what is wrong with the project. Then by the time that they see the correct one later, they will hopefully remember to not make the same mistakes that we purposely did. For example, I am doing the lesson Animation. The project Animation requires multiple pictures. When we “animate” the pictures, the pictures are shown one by one in the correct order. Because of the slight difference of the pictures, they can act as an animation. I drew 12 pictures of a clock from 1 o’clock to 12 o’clock and put them in the wrong order. The clock goes crazy, the clock hand jumps from 1 to 4, from 9 to 2.... We expect the kids to be shocked and yelling out that “the clock is wrong!” then we will show them the second slide with the clock going smoothly and normally. I see this project as an awesome help later in the teaching process. We can easily refer back to the wrong project and say “remember the crazy clock? Do not make the same mistake”.
Being the first group of students who come back for the second year’s project, we are doing our best to help the new members and perfect our lessons preparations for the teaching in May. 2012 OLPC will be fantastic!
October 31, 2011 - Helen's Post
Happy Halloween! The OLPC program continues to be a big success as we introduce new students to Etoys and the actual hardware of the laptops. This year is already much different from last year’s program. This year, we have “mentors” (including the other girls from the program from last year, and myself.) Mrs. Murakami formed us into small groups where two of us are assigned to two new students to help them learn and answer questions. Surprisingly, we have already completed all 10 Lessons about Etoys. Last year it took us all of first semester! Hailey and I teach together (which is nice because she was my teaching partner in St. John!). I think that this is very beneficial to us, as well as the new students, because there were definitely a few skills that I needed to review. We have only had one meeting since finishing all 10 Lessons, and this meeting was used to examine the hardware of the laptops. The new students took apart the back of the laptops to familiarize themselves with the computer. Because Hailey and I had fixed the hardware of computers last year, Mrs. Murakami asked us to fix the “bricks”. Bricks are the laptops that essentially, are useless. In these laptops, if the clock stops working, then the entire system shuts down and doesn’t work. We rebooted these computers with new software. This involved taking apart the entire front part of the computer, connecting wires behind the screen, and then reprogramming the laptop with new software. I think that it is great that we can progress more quickly this year because of the returning students.
I cannot wait for the trip again! A few of my students have friended me on Facebook, and it is so great to be able to keep in touch with the kids. I miss them a lot and still wear a bracelet a little boy gave me every day. Going through this program again with a different “background” of experience is really beneficial. Last year, there was so much pressure with trying to completely master Etoys. This year, I know that although it is necessary to have a basic understanding of the software, it really is not worth the stress. We will be prepared to teach the kids no matter what. I have also found that it is very difficult to explain to my friends who are new to the group, how exciting and amazing the trip is. The mentors have been developing teaching tools for this return trip back to St. John. Each of us have developed two booklets that explain each lesson. The kids can take them home after we teach them the lessons, and will really benefit the amount of knowledge they absorb and understand. We are also creating simple Etoys examples for each lesson. The “Falling Apple” example created for layering really resonated with the kids. By making this type of exercise for all the lessons, the kids will hopefully have a better understanding. I am excited to find out what we will be doing over the next quarter and semester now that we are moving so much faster than last year! This is almost an entirely different program from last year for us, because we have such a different background and outlook when performing the tasks for the course. It is so exciting being able to see what all this great work will do for the kids!
October 24, 2011 - Sarah's Post
As a returning OLPC student, I’m super excited for the start of this new school year! I’m finishing up my lessons on sanitation—I only have two more to complete—before I start the review process. I’m finally getting to see my project come together, and before I know it, the Waveplace Foundation will receive my work, and send it off to kids in the Caribbean. I cannot wait until the project is complete—it is the moment I’ve been waiting for since the beginning of this experience. Although the programming and research that goes into my sanitation project requires real effort, I’m so happy to know that my work will reach children hundreds, maybe thousands of miles away from me. My programming experience in Etoys brings a personal satisfaction that cannot compete with any physical trophy. I hope that through my lessons on sanitation, the kids will not only learn how to use Etoys and how to properly sanitize themselves, but also that there are people all over the world who care about them, and want them to learn with the resources they have been given.
In addition, I’ve been teaching Etoys to elementary students once a week after school, since August. The class size has gone up and down, and although right now I’m down to only two second graders, I seemed to have hooked them to Etoys! One little girl works on her project outside of class, and always brings back her work with a huge smile on her face! I’m really happy to see other people excited about the work that I’m doing, and the amazing opportunities that come with Etoys. I’m really glad that my love for Etoys has reached these kids, and has allowed them to understand the meaning behind this fantastic organization: service through technology. The little girls I teach at CSG may not have ever experienced or witnessed the hardships that the kids in the Caribbean face every single day of their lives. For me to spread this knowledge to them is so invigorating and rewarding! My term teaching these two second graders is coming to a close, but I hope to teach them again in the spring with an advanced Etoys class we hope to offer.
October 11, 2011 - Mrs. Murakami's Post
We are about to end our first quarter, and it has been a good one. We are almost finished with the ten Waveplace lessons, and everyone is picking up on the concepts really quickly. Attitudes are positive and creativity is soaring. This group is a wonderful group of students and I am looking forward to the last lesson, which is on games. It is by far the most complicated of the lessons and includes three objects each interacting with one another, a reset button, score keeper, and joystick-controlled object. I've already heard back from a few who have incredibly creative ideas for games (something about the Dexter cartoon character?). Somehow I'm just not that creative with ideas. I'm anxious to see how it goes since it's the first real challenge they've had.
This year, because I have six veteran students from last year, I am working the schedule slightly differently. The veterans are teaching the new students, which benefits both enormously. The veterans are also working on developing teaching aids for the next trip. Their ideas about how to make the learning better are outstanding, so they'll have their work cut out for them as they begin to work on these projects during the second quarter.
Last time I wrote, I was still unsure of how many students would officially enroll in the course. My final count is 17 students, 14 of whom intend to travel. I have exciting projects possibilities for both travelers and non-travelers, and am enjoying working with each one of the students.
There's also, once again, the possibility that we actually get a club together this year. There was an attempt last year, but there seems to be more energy and better ideas than in the past. I am hopeful that we can tap into a new group of students who would like to be involved but can't or don't want to take the time to do the full class. It's difficult, however, to find projects that can be fit into small snatches of time. I see this as a good recruiting tool for the freshmen as well as for others who want to get their feet wet without the full commitment.
Finally, we started a program where these older students are teaching our school's elementary school students in an after-hours program. After an initial start up period, it has begun to stick. My student Sarah has been teaching Etoys to a few second graders, and it sounds like they are hooked! I am thrilled that these young students are getting such a wonderful opportunity. I hope to keep this going throughout the year.
Keep an eye on this blog. I'm assigning different students to blog once every week or two. So you'll get to hear their voices as we prepare for our various forms of service. Stay tuned!
Christine Murakami Technology Integration Specialist Columbus School for Girls
August 30, 2011 - Mrs. Murakami's Post
School has been in session for a week now. The deadline for a student to add this class to her schedule is this afternoon. So far, I have 15 students enrolled, which is an excellent number to start with. Several are returning from last year, and have great ideas for how to expand the program, mentor new students, and continue to grow and reach more children.
I am thrilled that interest is so high, not just from the students, but from the school's administration and the parents. I continue to be absolutely convinced that girls have an enormous contribution to make to the many computer science fields, and that it is our responsibility to find ways to draw them to a field whose numbers of women have declined dramatically in the past decade. For excellent information and additional resources on the status of women in information technology, please see: http://www.ncwit.org/resources.scorecard.html
Thanks for your interest in this project. We will be blogging occasionally during the school year, and will blog daily during the trip. Please check back!
Christine Murakami Technology Integration Specialist Columbus School for Girls