Ist week with XO laptops at Rehnuma

November 1st, 2011

We had anticipate disruption to normal activities in the first week before they went back to a more stable routine. On day 3 the children were still as excited as day 1. We have given each XO a unique number both in physical and digital form as well given it the child owner’s name. We quickly realised that the logistics of 150 children marching to and fro the computer room to take and return their laptops was in itself causing quite a commotion.

We quickly decided that from next week the school gate keeper will deliver the laptops to each of the class rooms first thing in the morning and the class teachers will collect and return them for charging to the computer lap each end of school day.SNV35663 We are not letting the children take these home till we have more experience using these XO’s.

On day 3 the Aaj TV team cam to start making a documentary on our progress. We are hoping to catch the attention of other schools in Pakistan to demonstarte that technology can  enhance the standard of education for the poorest sector of our society. Here are some photographs from this day.SNV35667

 

 

We want to thank Mr. Rashid Mehmood (Executive Producer), Mr. Sultan Ahmed Butt (Director), Mr. Abdul Ghaffar Khan  (Asst. Director), Mr. Wahid Hussain  (Cameraman) for taking out time to do this.

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We now need to start working with the OLPC community that have successfully integrated these laptops into their learning and education programs. We do not have the experience yet to use this as the dominant source of learning.

We also want to participate in collaborative projects with other schools around the world. Please do get in touch with us if you are interested too

October 25th, 2011

Today have taken our first step towards e-learning and using the power of technology to educate underprivileged children in Pakistan. The experience was both heartwarming and delightful. I am adding some pictures for you to see for yourself wht is happening here.050 

 The teachers had allocated the XO’s per class and child the day before enabling us to hand them out class by class. For the first time ever we had 99.9% attendance with only one child missing due to illness!

The excitement could be felt in every room. The school buzzed with subdued conversation as they sat jaws dropping in from of their personalized laptops. The class I walked into was class 4 trying to figure out how to play IMPLODE. They soon figured out how it worked and when they were successful they were rewarded by the laptop with a big smily face on the screen- this was followed by jubilant howls and an exchange of congratulatory huggs and cheers.080

Considering these children had never been exposed to technology before we were amazed that the activity they wanted to use most was browsing the internet. Most often the teachers were being asked for help with creating email accounts and downloading music. Our internet connection soon slowed down as 150 students try to connect at the same time

 

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Looks like these children have not been left behind in the information age even in the backwaters of Karachi. They know about the internet!

Class 8 oursenior most class decided to download more activities themselves as they had been allocated older XO’s in which only a few activities were pre installed.

We are live with 150 laptops all working!

October 20th, 2011

I am delighted to report that all our technical problems have now been resolved! The new server is now up and running, the UPS and voltage stabalizers are ensuring that we have constant electricity and at a constant voltage. The PTCL internet brOctober 2011 033oadband connection works most of the time and the wifi is broadcasting this to all floors of the school. You take these things for granted in the West but it took the ingenuity and perseverience of Mujeeb Mirza, Zahid Butt, Amir Islah, Yunus and many others from the Aaj IT Team under the constant direction of   Mujeeb Turk and Khalid Shaikh! Welldone my friends we would not have got here without you.October 2011 037

All this week I have been spending my evenings learning the Sugar Activities and all afternoon the teachers have been staying late to use these themselves. We have been lerning from each other. Our Plan is to hand out the laptops to the students starting Monday October 24th 2011.

Work continues on installing the new XO’s

October 4th, 2011

laptops in their charging racksA  lot of preparation is required to have the 140 laptops up and running. First of all the racks for charging these laptops had to be built so not much heat is built up while the XO’s are being charged simulatneously. See photo attached.

The Electricity supply in the school is very erratic so we have invested in a UPS (Uninterrupted Power Supply) that will run the server and the WIFI in the school during school hours so that the laptops can work at this time and talk to the server. When this was installed we found the voltage fluctuations to be so high that the UPS could not be switched on for fear of blowing up so today we are installing a voltage stabalizer!The UPS reuired to give uninterupted power during school hours

 Because there was no electricity during school hours in the last few weeks the internet set up by PTCL could not be fixed even though they sent the man to repair it. We are now hoping they will come back to fix it. We are also contacting KESC (the electricity company) to fix the voltage in our area.

I am writing this blog so that others can learn from our experience. The cost of implementation is mounting up as we realise that our current school server and Wifi cannot service 150 laptops simutaneously so we are now buying a more powerful server and WIFI! We are not daunted by this and will make it all happen. I am travelling to Pakistan next week to install the material we have selected on each laptop appropriate to age and level of the children. Wish me luck

140 XO Laptops arrive at the karachi school

September 27th, 2011

I am delighted to announce that the 140 new XO laptops that you have all helped us buy for our school have finally arrived at our premises. While they had been shipped to Pakistan in late August it took us a month of convincing the customs authorities that these were for educational purposes and should not be taxed.

Now that the machines are here there is a lot of excitement and activity.  In expectation of these laptops new docking stations have been built at the school where the laptops can be charged once a day. A UPS unit is being installed to ensure we have sufficient electricity at all times as this part of Karachi has only a few hours of electricity supplied during the school hours. The broadband WIFI is taking time but we hope to have that in place soon too. The computer room doors and windows have had to be fortified to help keep these units secure.

 On the Academic side we have started working with a group called the Academic Achievement Program (AAP) who’s mission is to enhance the quality of life of less privileged children through education. AAP are helping our teachers use and learn from the Khan Academy videos so that the level of maths learning for these children becomes of the same standard as children in private schools. They are also helping us with English by guiding our teachers on how to improve the learning experience for these children.  

 In addition to the Khan Academy videos we have pre-selected a host of sugar activities for our laptops per class and are in the process of loading them on to the laptops as they get configured for each class. The AAJ TV technical team are helping us do this. As Dr. Habib told us we cannot teach these children but give them the opportunity to explore and learn!

News Flash

June 1st, 2011

Dear friends,

I have not updated this blog for a while as we were waiting for news of our order. We have now been told that we should expect our shipment in Karachi by end of July if all goes well. In the meantime, under guidance from Dr. Habib Khan, our teachers have been self teaching themselves and the children on this project. They are making good progress. The school also organised a week of activities that incuded, drama performances, debates, a quiz competition, mela/ fair etc. Pictures of this have been posted on the school website. enjoy and give us your feedback

A photograph of the AAJ IT Team deploying XO’s at Rehnuma

February 21st, 2011

The AAj TV IT Team deploying the Xpilot XO's at RehnumaThe Aaj IT team together with School staff at the first deployment of the 10 XO’s donated by OLPC.

School server goes live connecting our XO community with the rest of the World

February 13th, 2011

12 February 2011.Congratulation! by the grace of Allah we successfully implemented the OLPC School Server System at Rehnuma Public School Karachi today. We are now part of the Global Community of OLPC through Internet. Our School Server is connected through Wi-Fi 802.11 Protocol and successfully tested on XO Laptop with Internet Connectivity. The Fedora Core Linux 7 with Latest Patch are used for OLPC School Server.

We conducted  a successful training session on OLPC School Server. After that session teacher are able to design  workflow course activities in XO Laptop through OLPC School Server with Wi-Fi and Internet Connectivity. Following team members under the guidance of Khalid U. Shaikh were involved in the deployment of OLPC School Server Project.

  • Mujeeb Turk (G.M.IT Aaj TV)
  • Amir Islah ( Manager Server Management)
  • Mujeeb Mirza (Asst Manager Hardware)
  • Zahid Butt ( Server Administrator)
  • Mujahid Hussain ( System Administrator)
  • (Special thanks to Mr. Martin)

Getting ready to order 140 XO laptops- Can you help?

February 10th, 2011

We have started asking for the commitments we have recieved so far to be converted to cash donations sending out details of where to send the funds. If you want to contribute but were not on our email list please email Kishwer, Huma or Aslam for details of where to transfer the funds.

We are also working on getting ourselves registered as a charity in the UK where most of our funds are generated to enable donors to benefit from the tax break on donations they make here. More on this as we make progress.

Exciting new way of educating underprivileged children

February 6th, 2011

Educating poor children in Pakistan became a mission for our familywhen eleven years ago we started a school for 50 plus ”street children” of Azam Basti, a very poor locality situated close to the affluent Defense Society of Karachi, Pakistan. Today this has grown into a 220 student strong school with children ranging from Kindergarden to Class 8.

The latest and most exciting development is that through one of our long time patrons – Talat Khan, we have been introduced to the One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) project. OLPC have given us 10 laptops as donation to see how we use them. We have begun to introduce these to teachers and students at Rehnuma (which means PATH in Urdu). The IT team of Aaj TV Pakistan have been helping us install these ten laptops and they have also been teaching our teachers and the pilot class (Class Four which has 18 pupils).

We have been able to generate interest amongst friends and family to raise funds for this project and are now ready to place an order for more laptops. Write to us if you can help us in anyway

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