OLPC San Francisco Community Summit 2011

Trip Start Oct 14, 2009
Trip End Dec 31, 2016

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Flag of United States  , California
Sunday, October 30, 2011

Last year, I could not attend the first OLPC San Francisco Community Summit. I heard such great reports from it that I planned my trip to Thailand, to see my new grandson, around the October 21-23, 2011 OLPC San Francisco Community Summit. It was a great idea to break up the long trip from New Hampshire to Bangkok,and, I had a wonderful time in San Francisco and the city was very welcoming. The Mayor even declared Saturday October 22, OLPC Day!

A highlight was meeting other volunteers in person. Everyone has such interesting experiences to share and I learned so much that will help others as I continue my Support Gang work and mentoring different projects.

As I listened to the very first presentation on Saturday morning, (I attended the Education Track,) I was amazed to see that we had participants from all over the US & from many different countries and participants representing even more countries. Let's see, attending from outside of the US, I met Christoph D. from Austria, Laura d R. from France, Craig from Jamaica, Daniel D from the UK, Mark, Kevin and Adam from Toronto, Bernie from Italy, Josephine and Bernadette from the Philippines, and others too. OLPC projects represented, in only that room included, Kenya, Afghanistan Madagascar, Haiti, Jamaica, & the Philippines. Who did I miss?  Add your location and project in a comment below and lets see who was represented!

Our hosts, OLPC SF had so many helpful volunteers and the San Francisco State University downtown Market Square campus space is a terrific venue. I know I'll leave someone out and apologize, but I have to thank Sameer Verma for dreaming this Summit up last year and for supurb organization, and all of your student volunteers too. Huge thanks go to June and Alex Kleider for hosting more volunteers for home hospitality than we can count. I know at least 10 people who were staying with them for the weekend and on Sunday night, they welcomed everyone to their home for the closing barbeque party. Amazing! Cherry and others were kept busy doing airport runs, and with the Summit coinciding with her young daughter's birthday, Cherry still found time to make XO cookies for us. Thanks from all who attended to everyone who helped!

What do we do at a Community Summit? The schedule of sessions to participate included presentations on these subjects:  
Lesson plans: Glue between Curriculum and Sugar, Challenges and Opportunities;
Recent & Upcoming Developments in Sugar; 
Integrating Sugar into the Curriculum;
How to Volunteer in a Haiti Community School (Interested? Ask me and I'll connect you to the right people.);
Things to Think With: Using the Activities, Tam Tam, Scratch, Fun with Physics, etc.
Revisiting the School Server;
Small Projects in Remote Places; (I presented this with Laura de Reynal from France and the Madagasgar project.);
Communicating with XOs over Short Wave Radio, pigeons and more;
Health Care Modules;
Using Etoys and Physics;
Solar PV installation which runs 400 XOs in Haiti; &
Start up Resources for a Small Deployment.

There was a great Speed Geek session where we could all share and check out interesting things from different projects. And 2 Internet Streamed Panels so that the Global OLPC Community could participate remotely.
OLPC has under employees and contractors working for them. The organization is otherwise Volunteer Driven. And imagine, there are about 2 million XOs around the world! We volunteers come from varied backgrounds. Some of us are open source technology techies and some of us are hardly computer literate. Some of us are teachers, some are engineers and some bring other skills like problem solving and fund-raising. We all benefit from meeting face to face and sharing our successes, our challenges, our creative ideas, and our technology expertise.

I really liked seeing that so many folks volunteered to participate in running sessions too. We learned from attending presentations, we shared with others by giving presentations, we had project displays in the Speed Geek session, and we met each other casually in the comfy event spaces, networking and problem solving.

While I participated by presenting and being a panelist in two sessions, I am most excited about the fact that I was able to solicit and find volunteers to help with an important new project.
The Contributors Program http://wiki.laptop.org/go/Contributors_program supported a project which developed a prototype health risk game to help children in landmine affected countries to learn the risk factors and how to avoid unexploded ordinance. The game is still in its initial stages and wasn't yet working on the XO. I want to bring it to the Foss Asia conference in HCMC/Saigon next month and was hoping to get it working. I made up flyers seeking help and WOW. Thank you Daniel Drake and Adam Gordon! We have concluded that the game can use improvement. But it works, and it's engaging. It has 5 levels and is hard to win each level. It gives the repetition necessary to teach the children the skills that hopefully will transfer to their real life environments and save lives and limbs all over the world.

I'm sure that other attendees have similar stories of new ideas and problems solved for projects they work with, and successes that have come from our weekend of work and play together.
Thanks go to Sameer and all of the OLPC SF volunteers, and to all of us for coming and participating too!

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