Yesterday we began our official deployment. We visited our partner here STeP UP. We had a sit down with one of the associate directors Roberta. We explained to her our goals in Sao Tome and we worked together on how best to achieve those goals.
Our initial deployment had called for 6 sites. We realized this was a bit over our heads and our capacity was limits so we further limited our deployment to 4 sites (two in Sao Tome city and 2 in the outlying regions), after Mike and I attended the Kigali workshop we found it would be better if we limited it to two sites. Mike expressed some concern with two sites because of OLPC principle of saturation (every child should own a laptop). I had believed the experiences with a laptop would be much more different in urban areas than in rural areas. I wanted to be able to discuss the differences in use of technology at the conference at MIT, but due to our limited capacity and the fact that this should be a pilot project and go smoothly we all agreed on what Mike had proposed…one site that we do extremely well.
This week is much more of a hurry up and wait week than I planned. We are waiting on several phone calls (Minister of Education’s office, CST, Roberta for school selection, and media). Apparently everyone knows we are here and is excited about the prospects of what One Laptop Per Child could achieve here. In my opinion this piece of equipment may not be the most economically friendly, but it represents a quantum leap in the education gap between African countries and the majority of the world. It has always been my belief that knowledge is the biggest hurdle to poverty. Once people know how/when/why things happen they are more inclined to make changes…more informed changes.