(from newsletter)

Thursday January 10th was a historic day for the Caribbean. After months of behind the scenes work by Waveplace foundation, we finally handed out the OLPC laptops (among the first off the manufacturing line!) to the fourth graders at Guy Benjamin. As I rolled video, Principal Dionne Wells spoke to the kids while LaReesa Williams began passing out the XO laptops. Needless to say everyone was pretty psyched. Before you knew it everyone was plugged in, charging and setting up their XO’s with their own names and custom colors.

Next I took the kids on a tour of their new machines. When we got to the neighborhood view, one of the kids asked what all the little XO’s icons were for. I told her that was all of them. She didn’t believe me at first, so I told her to mouse over one of the icons. When one of her classmate’s names came up, there was a collective squeal of delight kids as they realized this laptop was like nothing else they’d ever seen. (Go automatic mesh networking!)

When we started our first eToys lesson, I asked the kids if they knew any computer programmers. Between them all they knew about three. I then told them that they were all about to become computer programmers themselves, some of the first in the Caribbean for their age, and that they were going to have a lot of fun, but parts of it would be hard too. And that when it got tough, they needed to keep in mind how amazing what they were doing was.

Since then, I’ve seen a dramatic gulf between theory and reality in the classroom, yet at the same time I really have to hand it to these kids. (As well as our other mentors, Mary Burks, LaReesa Wiliams and Laura DiCicco.) We are up against a lot of unknowns, doing something we’ve never done before, but these kids are really putting their hearts into it. I’m looking forward to the next eight weeks.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *