April 18, 2010

AGYA Co-Founder Matovu Abraham Prepares to Launch Laptop Workshops in Uganda

AGYA has officially received our shipment of 10 XO laptop computers as part of a grant from One Laptop Per Child. The XO laptop is an innovative educational tool designed to be put into the hands of children. This is exactly what AGYA intends to do.

Next month, AGYA Co-Founder and Secretariat, Matovu Abraham, who also serves the Project Leader, will implement Phase I of a project that aims to improve the performance of 100 children in English reading and writing proficiency, and improve the performance of 50 children (ages 6-11) in basic Mathematical operations (including addition, subtraction, division, multiplication, and ratios).

After undergoing an extensive tutorial with AGYA’s OLPC mentor, Caryl Bigenho, and familiarizing himself with the XO’s software, Abraham has decided to start by using three activities entitled “Write,” “Read” and “Memorize.”
  • The WRITE activity serves as the basic word processing application on the XO laptop. Its simple interface provides an easy starting point for children, presenting tools that make writing a story, poem or essay simple and straightforward. It also supports basic tools for inserting images, creating tables, and performing basic layout operations as children begin to require some of these features often associated with word processors. Abraham will use WRITE to teach children how to navigate the keyboard, learn basic typing skills, practice typing speed,and hold dictation and transcription exercises.

  • MEMORIZE is the classic memory game of finding and matching pairs. But on the XO, this game is done with a twist. The items in a pair can be any multimedia object, such as images, sounds and text. Abraham will initially use the Memorize activity to help children with simple math operations. For example, the number 7 may be matched with an image of 5+2 or a picture of 7 pineapples.

  • The READ activity features an eBook reader. The XO laptop has a screen that rotates 180 degrees and folds down onto the keyboard, so children can actually read while holding their laptop like a book. With a special focus on children’s literature by African authors, Abraham will use this activity to build the vocabulary and reading comprehension of his students.

Above: A Snapshot of the MEMORIZE activity on the XO laptop.

Below: A Snapshot of the READ activity on the XO laptop.

Although there are more than 20 activities that are available on AGYA’s XO laptops and hundreds more being created daily, Abraham selected these activities because they will serve as the foundational building blocks as we work towards our goals of improving the reading, writing, and math skills of Ugandan children.

For the first 2 months of the project, Abraham will hold classes five days every week. These classes will take place after-school and on weekends at the AGYA Community Center. On Mondays and Wednesdays for 1 hour, Abraham will work with 10 students ages 5-8, and on Tuesdays and Thursdays for 1 hour, Abraham will work with 10 students ages 9-12. On Saturdays, Abraham will hold a class with all 20 students.

The software on the XO’s are provided by the Sugar Learning Platform, a dynamic computer environment composed of Activities designed to help children from 5-12 years old learn together through rich-media expression. Sugar is the core component of a worldwide effort to provide every child with the opportunity for a quality education—it is currently used by nearly one-million children worldwide speaking 25 languages in over 40 countries. AGYA is proud to be a part of the Sugar Learning Platform and the One Laptop Per Child global family.

To learn more about Sugar software, visit www.sugarlabs.org