Originally published at: Ebner, M.; Dorfinger, J.; Neuper, W.; Safran, C.:First Experiences woth OLPC in European Classrooms. - in: E-Learn - World Conference on E-Learning inCorporate, Government, Healthcare, & Higher Education ; 2009 (2009),guaranteed. Gilster (Gilster, 1997) defined Digital Literacy as the ability to understand, evaluate and integrateinformation in a variety of formats delivered by computer. Eshet-Alkalai (2004) extended this definition and provides a conceptual framework by splitting into several cognitive skills: Photo-visual, reproduction, branching,information and socio-emotional literacy.However, in the digital world of tomorrow education experts have to ensure that children are educated in terms of digital literacy. They must be appropriate prepared for a broad digital environment. Furthermore problems like theDigital Divide must be taken into account, which is described by the Association for Progressive CommunicationOrganisation (APC, 2004) as “the increasing gap between those who have and those who do not have access toinformation and communication technologies, access to content that benefits them socially and economically, skillsto take advantage of ICT services, and the ability to afford to pay for digital services.”As an important contribution to all these problems the non-profitable organization OLPC (One Laptop Per Child)can be pointed out. The mission of the project is
to empower the children of developing countries to learn by providing one connected laptop to every school-age child
. Of course the major focus of the project is to bringdigital technology to developing countries, but also for european classrooms the use of low-costs laptops especiallyfor children is of high scientific interest. Several projects have already been carried out (Martinazzo et al, 2008)(Fichemann et al, 2008) (Franco et al, 2008) with focusing South America, particular Brazil.In this paper we describe first steps using XOs (name of low-costs laptops) in European classrooms.
OLPC Initiative / Resarch project in Austria
Professor Nicholas Negroponte founded the One Laptop Per Child initiative in 2002 and aimed to
provide a means for learning, self-expression, and exploration to the nearly two billion children of the developing world with little or no access to education
. So the main focus of the project is to improve the education by bringing robust and usabledigital mobile devices to countries that suffer less technology. According to the digital divide (Nielsen, 2006),especially the economic divide the project addresses to bring computers to children of developing countries tocontain raising differences in digital literacy towards children of industrialized countries. The concept of the OLPC- project is that when anyone in the industrialized world buys an OX computer a second one gets sent for free to adeveloping country independent on hardware and software issues. With other words the slogan might be “buy two,get one and help anyone who need it”.It is easy imaginable that there have been and still are special requirements on the development of the hardware andsoftware of the XO, because of lacking environment settings in the developing countries as well as lacking monetaryissues. For example, developed software must be offered as open-source products worldwide available. As operatingsystem the Linux-installation called Sugar is used and all programs are using the programming language python.Furthermore to enhance the community partners all over the world have been established. In Austria the none-profitorganization called “OLPC Austria”
cares about bringing the idea to educational institutes. Of course there is aclose relationship between this association and the project described in this paper.
OLPC Initiative at the University of Teacher Education in Graz
The “OLPC-project” at the University of Teacher Education in Styria (PHST) is the very first OLPC school-projectin Austria, even more the first within the whole EU. The project helps us to teach the children in a very new way.The involved project partners had to deal with completely new teaching methods and to evaluate their actionsconstantly.The project was started basing on following decisions:
The Austrian Federal Ministry for Education, Arts and Culture called for participation on an OLPC-project.Four primary school classes should be equipped with 25 XOs each.
The hardware was sponsored free of charge by OLPC-Austria.
Because four classes should participate, there should have been a special training program for theconcerned classroom teachers. Special Software for the target group should be developed before the start of
http://laptop.org/en/vision/mission/index.shtml(last visited: April 2009)
http://www.olpcaustria.org/?setlang=en(last visited April 2009)