68 Future Forwards: Exploring Frontiers in Education
mandatory in schools in India. It is an optional subject from 9th
grade (age 14) onwards.” (The Guardian, 2012). But the school
wants to take that step forward.
Taking it One Step Further
Taking our efforts from last year forward, we’ve been working with small
groups of GBMH teachers to go through how the OLPCs work. There are
three main advantages of this laptop for GBMH:
Strong battery life: There is one outlet in each classroom.
Therefore, it is important that most laptops can be used for the
duration of class without the need to charge.
Access to programs offline: The camera, music software,
mathematics, and other tools are available offline (without
Mobility: The OLPC takes GBMH’s technology use to the next
level because it brings the technology into the classroom,
We had already introduced these OLPCs to teachers in an introductory
session in the Spring. However, now it was time to get them comfortable
with the environment, programs, and general use of these laptops in the
classroom environment. We went over the basics of using a laptop: how
to use a mouse, the interface, how to open and close programs. In future
training sessions, will be get into exploring specific programs that may be
useful for their subjects. But for the first time, we wanted to ensure they
knew how to navigate the environment.
Community Hotspots and GBMH
While the OLPC is an enabler for technology within the classroom, after
speaking to teachers we have seen that it has its limitations on content.
There are no images available on Wikipedia on the OLPC, videos cannot
be accessed, and probably the biggest downside: the language.
RACHEL – Rural Area Community Hotspots for Education and Learning