Engaging Nepali Kids with Free Software*
Last year, I spent six months volunteering with a Nepali educational non-profit called Open Learning Exchange, which develops interactive educational activities for OLPC laptops used by students in elementary schools. During my talk, I will share my experience about what free software can do to provide better educational opportunities in these schools that lack resources and governmental support we take for granted.
DescriptionOne Laptop Per Child (OLPC) is an educational project whose goal is to provide resources to children around the world to be able to learn in a self-directed manner using an inexpensive laptop. Earlier this year, I spent six months in Nepal volunteering for a local educational non-profit OLE Nepal, which employs OLPC laptops to provide better educational opportunities in schools that lack resources and governmental support. Kids from elementary schools chosen for the laptop program get to learn with interactive activities which OLE designed based on Nepali curriculum.
During my stay, I had a few chances to visit some of these schools and witness XOs, the OLPC laptops running a free operating system Sugar, in action in the classroom. During my presentation, I would like to share my observations about the number of ways in which the laptop program is making a meaningful impact on Nepali children’s learning. I have seen that free software is not restricted to the West anymore, but is present even in some of the most remote places of the world that are not even on the grid. Through sharing my experience, I am hoping to expose participants of the conference to a new context in which free software is being encountered by people who never used a computer before.
education, OLPC, volunteering
I am going to present this talk in March at Libre Planet, an annual free software conference organized by the Free Software Foundation.
After graduating with a CS degree from a small liberal arts college in Iowa, I worked for a year as a sysadmin at the FSF. In 2013, I decided to embark on a six-month volunteering project in Nepal, where I worked with a local educational non-profit Open Learning Exchange affiliated with One Laptop Per Child. Nowadays, I am back home in the Czech Republic taking more CS courses at Charles University in Prague and contemplating what education means.