Thursday, January 29, 2009

OLPC SB Collaboration

While we continue to press on with a deployment in Thailand, our chapter is more than happy to get involved with other US/domestic chapters. While there are certain challenges and restrictions to the introduction of new classroom material within certain public school systems, we are very appreciative of the bold educational pioneers who see the promise of our activity. Without their time and effort to integrate our material into their daily lesson plans, we would be without purpose.

On that note, I am glad to learn of the bold efforts of a teacher in Goleta, CA. With the aid of OLPC Santa Barbara, the teacher has secured the funding to deploy several XO laptops within his elementary school. Two weeks ago, I had an introductory conversation with OLPC Santa Barbara - External Collaborations representative Jonathan Kalan. Jon is playing a key role in the establishment of a Kenyan pilot (in fact in the same primary school which President Obama attended), but has been very receptive toward a near-term collaboration. As we complete our initial production of the IR sensor dongle, I aim to become more engaged with the Goleta pilot and assist Jon with another local deployment of our lesson plan. I look forward to the collaboration with the OLPC SB team which seems to be very education-heavy (Jon mentioned that their engineering team is in the early proces of recruitment). As a result, we can look forward to more detailed, constructive feedback from their team.

Our HW team continues to push towards a middle of February deadline. Meanwhile, I have recruited a Cambridge resident to help us with further abbreviation of our lesson plan. To our friends abroad, please send us a note if you are interested in samples of our bundle.

Stay tuned...

Plethy Prototype

Thanks to Ken and Mike for heading up our PCB production for our new "dongle" prototype. With our inhouse system we'll be producing a lot of 20 for distribution. For this run, we'll keep our dongle designed for through-hole mounting while a later version will be entirely surface mount. We hope to deliver the final lot by middle of February!