Wednesday, June 8, 2011

4 OLPC Laptops Get Comfortable in a Special School

A school for nuns, monks and lay children, the School for Himalayan Children is the only private school in Nepal to be fully funded by charity. Their education follows a well-rounded government curriculum enriched by instruction in Tibetan language and culture, as well as teachings of the Buddha. The children take part in prayer and meditation every day. Indeed, it is the most profoundly peaceful school I've ever visited. When I first walked through its gates two years ago to run a writing workshop, I knew I'd stepped into something special.

Here is information about their students taken from their Web site:

Our students come from the high mountains of Nepal, from villages that have no electricity, no toilets, no sanitation, no telecommunications, no hospitals, no roads and no schools. Our kids come from villages that are 6 to 14 days' trek from the nearest road, villages that lie above 10,000 feet (3000 m). Getting word to and from the villages sometimes takes months, depending on weather conditions. Most of the children are from the north of Nepal, but culturally and linguistically they are Tibetan, and their thinking is Buddhist. For centuries, the teachings of the Buddha have flourished without interruption in the Himalayas of Nepal.

This year, I run a special writing and critical thinking workshop for some seniors.

After my workshop, I stop by the school's main office with 4 OLPC laptops. The staff is thrilled to have these wonderful educational tools. They are figuring out how to spread their use to over 600 students, with hundreds more on the waiting list.

Here we see the vice-principal, computer teacher and my old student, Migmar Lama, begin their exploration.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

3 more OLPC laptops get lots of love at Nepal Orphans Home

The girls at Nepal Orphans Home, rescued from bonded labor, also flock to the computers. Although most have never used a laptop, they immediately feel at home. Their hunger for knowledge is so loud I can hear its buzz.

2 OLPC laptops find a home at Asha Nepal

I bring two of the OLPC laptops to Asha Nepal and am immediately surrounded by eager faces. Asha Nepal helps women and children who are victims of trafficking or abuse. The children flock to the computers, learning all sorts of things much faster than I ever could.

Thank You, OLPC Volunteer Kevin Mark!

Before I show photos of the children's smiling faces as they work on their new computers, I want to go back to New York for a moment and give a big thank you to OLPC volunteer Kevin Mark, who met with me and other members of the Children of Tomorrow team in the city the week before I left. With Kevin's help, I began to discover the amazingly rich resources the XO laptop offers.

So, thank you Kevin Mark of Staten Island, NY, for helping me improve my work as an educator. These upcoming smiles are for you!

OLPC Educates the Children of Nepal

Well, I just returned from a very busy 15-day trip to Nepal. Thanks to the wonderful organization One Laptop Per Child, I brought 10 of their amazing laptops with me and distributed them among various orphanages, schools and shelters. Before I handed them out, however, I met with Rabi Karmacharya at Open Learning Exchange Nepal, headquartered in Kathmandu. Rabi and his tremendously helpful team took time from their busy schedules to download special Nepali educational programs onto my laptops. The programs included various curriculum created by the OLE Nepal team of experts.

Rabi showed me some of the curriculum, and I was extremely impressed. I was even more impressed when I saw how quickly the children took to the learning materials. Rabi and his team are implementing innovative and high-quality programs into Nepal's public education system, a system that unfortunately has numerous flaws and obstacles. An engineering graduate from MIT, Rabi could have chosen a very cushy life. Instead, he and his talented team are focusing their skills and brain power to educate the neediest among us. Thank you Rabi and all the great people at OLE Nepal!

Monday, April 25, 2011

Students at Skylark School Create Their Own Storybooks, Too!

Another school where I taught is the Skylark School in the Dhapasi section of Kathmandu. I worked with a couple of hundred eager students for five intense days, and they were very proud of their efforts! With help from One Laptop Per Child, we will enhance their storybooks through amazing computer technology.

Students at the School for Himalayan Children write their first books!

Over the past couple of years, I have been traveling to Nepal and running creative writing workshops for children at various schools and organizations. Here are photos of the children at the School for Himalayan Children working hard on their storybooks. It was the first book they'd ever written,

and they were very proud! With the help of One Laptop Per Child, we will be able to enhance these workshops with wonderful computer technology.