(from newsletter)

For the past two months my brain has been in two different places, only a few hundred miles apart on a map of the Caribbean, but worlds apart in challenges faced. On St. John we are now six weeks into our pilot. Learning most of the XO is almost effortless for the kids. Chat, Write, Record, Journal, and Browse took me all of about fifteen minutes to get a few kids started, then I just sat back and watched the newfound knowledge spread like wildfire. Learning Etoys is more like jumping into the deep end of the pool, but the kids are making amazing progress in a very short time.

Our experiences in St John became especially valuable for our Haiti pilot. I flew into Port au Prince last week, this time not to show the laptop, but now to train mentors and film kids learning how to use their XOs. It was, as you can imagine, pretty cool. In the first few days I worked with Emile, our primary mentor in Haiti, and the other teachers at the school, teaching them the basics of the XO and Etoys.

The next day we handed out seventeen XOs to students in the John Branchizio School (including Jessie, the little girl in the first video). Once I started shooting and Emile began teaching the introductory lesson, everyone was on their own, especially as I don’t speak French or Creole. It was amazing watching the kids boot up their laptops and name them, knowing that for most of them, this was the first time they’d even seen a computer. It was also quite inspiring watching the adults working with the kids, themselves also with very limited computer experience.

I would definitely like to thank the heroic efforts of Tim as well as all of you who donated your laptops for the Haiti pilot. I hope that it is a thrilling experience knowing that your laptop is now in the hands of the very first wave of children to help lead Haiti to a brighter future.

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