Building Online Communities of Practice

listening to me?
Do I look official to you?

Sitting up here at the presenter table, I feel quite amazing. I am feeling a professional high, and that’s not because the presenter table is raised a few feet above the main floor. We’re still in a basement conference room, even if it’s a rather large room.

I’m all excited because this is a WSIS follow on meeting and the room is full of ICT leaders who are looking forward to my presentation. I’m about to speak on two topics of interest to this crowd: 4P Computing and online communities of practice.

The first topic, 4P Computing, or the rise of a new class of computing devices that are responsive to the performance, power, portability, and price constraints of the developing world, speaks directly to the crowd – they’re all interested in low cost user devices as that’s the stated topic of this session.

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One XO Laptop Per Obsessive Fanboy

xo laptop
I really have an XO!

Wow! My XO laptop from One Laptop Per Child is finally here. It really exists and it’s in my very hands. I never really knew if this moment would happen.

Now, I never doubted that OLPC could build the laptop, or that it would be clock-stopping hot technology that everyone would want. I knew it would be the geek gadget to have this Christmas, I’m just surprised I have one, now.

I’ve been obsessed with OLPC for the last two years, ever since I first heard Nicholas Negroponte start talking about a “$100 laptop” in February 2005. Since then, I developed thought leadership on his grand plan through OLPC News, my obsession turned digital as a website that tracked the program’s every move.

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Bye Bye Geekcorps, Hello Mercy Corps

Wayan Style
Geekcorps Style

Yes, as you may have read in the Associated Press article on the OLPC price increase, I am now:

“the former director of the Geekcorps international tech-development organization and current editor of the OLPCNews blog.”

Friday was my last day as head geek, able to stop entire conversations with the simple, “I’m with Geekcorps,” which inevitably lead to a half-hour discussion on technology in the developing world.

For three years, I led Geekcorps, starting with a handful of CD’s from the previous staff and one program in the field. Through blood, sweat and a few tears, we built it into a successful organization.

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I am on 60 Minutes this Sunday!

olpc documentary
Look Ma, I’m on TV!

Are you in the USA? Do you have access to the American infotainment juggernaut? Then turn your attention to the CBS News program “60 Minutes” this Sunday, May 20th at 7pm.

Famed reporter Lesley Stahl will be covering MIT Professor Nicholas Negroponte’s progress with One Laptop Per Child, his dream of one-to-one computing as an educational boost, a way for children in the developing world to “learn learning”. Ms. Stahl will have on-location reports from OLPC testing in Brazil. With 13 million viewers on average, the coverage of OLPC should be a major boost in profile for the project.

Lesley Stahl will also be interviewing an obsessive follower of OLPC XO advances, a technology in development expert who publishes the informative and influential OLPC News, Wayan Vota.

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I’m gonna be on National Public Radio tonight!

That’s right, I’m going to be on National Public Radio talking about a $100 dollar laptop, tonight, Wednesday Feb21 @ 7pm. station list)

Think about it, a $100 dollar laptop. Wouldn’t that be great! You could buy one for everyone you know. Better yet, what about a $100 laptop designed for students?

Imagine a classroom full of children, faces aglow with laptop screens, all learning at Internet speeds; the next Bill Gates, the next Jerry Yang, the next Sergey Bergin. Now imagine all three in the developing world, better known for abject poverty than power computing.

That is the dream of Nicholas Negroponte, a MIT professor and technology futurist, as well as a dream of many in the development community. In a distinct difference, Mr. Negroponte has run with his dream and now his nonprofit, One Laptop Per Child is designing an appropriate-technology laptop, the Children’s Machine XO.

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I’m in the Blogging Big Leagues Now!

Over the last year or so, an initiative has slowly formed to change education in the developing world. Based around the idea that children need to “learn learning” and computers are the best tool to do this, One Laptop Per Child has developed a cheap (in price, not technology or manufacture) laptop and proposes that developing world governments buy these computers for internal distribution.

So I started a website about it all, One Laptop Per Child News, with the main goals of staying educated on OLPC and to enter into the debate about its merits. OLPC News was also the next step in my blogging career, running my own collaborative blog, experimenting with different management and promotional techniques along the way.

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