We have 24 Old OLPCs in Israel, for our pilot! December 18, 2008Posted by GuySoft in Crictor, Hamakor, ITU, olpc, open source.
Tags: b2, olpc, pilot
Hello all big news:
I have in my room, 24 B2 laptops!
Dima (ITU alumnai), Netzach (head of Ilan Ramon Center) and I had a meeting with Peres Center for Peace. To our great surprise, the center had 24 B2 laptops, which were laying there for more than a year without any use (if you are yelling “but why?!” then the quick answer is that none had the technical ability to get them truly working).
So to sum up: the pilot can start! .. but wait, there is a catch.
The goal of the pilot the moment is not exactly what you might think.
The B2 machines are really old, Dan from OLPC, who just came back from Ethiopia, told me that they have B2 laptops in storage, where they belong. These are not modern OLPCs. And OLPC don’t support them anymore.
So our goal is not really to show that these computers are going to be the main learning tool for children, they are going to be mostly a tool for playing with code. OLPC Israel is not getting of the ground, because the main opposition says that its just a toy, not a “real computer” they say “its good for kids in Africa, but here its an insult to people that want what their friends have”. And with that, no funding could be received, no research is done, and the laptops just lay there.
Our pilot does see the laptops as educational toys for the moment. And we are going to try and show that in our environment they can aid children, giving them 24/7 access time to their machine that they can code on but not as a laptop (even if it would be shell only!).
This is the current status. I wish we could have gotten, right now new OLPCs, but with the current funding problem this is what we have. And once we have a report of how kids relate to the laptop, the adults might have the confidence to buy new OLPCs, and the snowball effect might go from there.
We need technical help
Luckily the B2 laptops can load the new operating system of OLPC, but one major problem remains – the graphics adapter won’t load (the new OLPC has a diffrent one). So what we need now is help compiling the old driver whose support has been dropped, on the new system. If you can help out, call me at 050-8580942, and I might even lend you a B2 unit to test this out. Because it is a big problem at the moment.
Hope to keep updating…