OLE Nepal Mar-Apr 2013 Newsletter - Issue 20

We hope you enjoy this edition of E-Learning Exchange, OLE Nepal's bi-monthly email newsletter. It provides current news and information about the organisation and its activities and will keep you up to date with OLE Nepal's work to provide high quality education for children in Nepal.

Stay connected with OLE Nepal at www.olenepal.org
View the complete newsletter in PDF format online

 

Happy New Year 2070

As schools begin the new academic cycle, OLE Nepal has set its focus on the planned activities for this year. Preparations are underway for the launch of the laptop program in ten schools in the remote far-western district of Bajhang in partnership with the UN World Food Programme and the Department of Education. The project has already received support from a wide range of organizations, groups and individuals. OLE Nepal has raised funds in Nepal and abroad to cover the cost of the OLPC XO laptops needed for the project. For the first time, we will be relying on alternative energy source to power the laptops and school servers since this remote region is not connected to the electric grid. The German Agency for International Cooperation, GIZ, has agreed to fund solar power systems for the ten schools.

OLE Nepal will also be conducting refresher training for teachers from program schools in Baglung, Solukhumbu, and Doti districts where the laptop program was started last year. This training will help teachers to better integrate digital content and laptops in their classroom teaching, and address any question or concern they may have.

We also plan to design and develop more interactive digital content that are based on the national curriculum. The development of Grade seven mathematics activities are already nearing completion, and we are seeking further support to develop similar learning activities for Grade seven English and science, as well as Grade eight activities for all three subjects. These interactive digital content E-paath, are provided freely in laptops and through local servers, and have been quite popular in schools. Teachers and students have repeatedly requested OLE Nepal to provide similar activities more grades and subjects.

OLE Nepal will continue to build the collection of books, audio-books, reference materials, educational videos, and learning games in its digital library, E-Pustakalaya. This year, we will put even more emphasis in making these free content available in more schools and libraries through the installation of offline local servers. The digital library has proved to be an invaluable educational resource in places that do not have Internet connectivity.
Go to Top

Field Visit Report from Dang

Niels Jacobsen - Seniors without Borders, Denmark

 

"Students and teachers are highly motivated and have expressed that the program that OLE Nepal has designed has started a new culture of learning at Kachila."

 

After having breakfast on the sunny roof terrace at Sister Home in Tulsipur, we took a motorbike out to the village-school in Kachila (Sister Home Boarding School), where I was invited to attend classes where students are learning using the small green XO laptops, and the new way of learning introduced by Open Learning Exchange (OLE) Nepal.


Learning by doing

The ICT integrated education program at Kachila village school was initiated with a seven-day introductory course for teachers in December 2012. Trainers and technology experts from OLE Nepal trained teachers and school leader in technology-integrated teaching and learning model with the little green XO laptops. This program which include 20 laptops, server, network equipment and teacher training were supported by "Seniors without Borders", an NGO from Denmark.

 

 

The server in the school is loaded with contents from the digital library which has more than 4000 books and other resource materials. The children from nursery to grade 6 learn concepts through the comprehensive digital materials in the library. And though the school has intermittent electric supply, the operation of the new ICT based teaching and learning programs run uninterrupted because of the way the system is setup with power back up system in the E-Paati classroom.


Teacher Training in Kachila

The program where students are using the green laptops (E-Paati) is running very smoothly. The school has a schedule for every class to use the laptop in their daily teaching and learning process. Each class run about 45 minutes with the help of trained teachers. (Students and teachers are highly motivated and have expressed that the program that OLE Nepal has designed has started a new culture of learning at Kachila). Everyone is excited about the innovative idea that has been brought to the village.

During my unannounced visit to the school on a public holiday, where the school is normally closed, I was thrilled to see the E-Paati room open and filled with students, teachers, their families and friends fully engaged in looking at the resources through the little laptops. They seem to really enjoy the interaction. It is a pleasure to see everyone enjoying the new resource and using it everyday at the school, even after school hour.

Since December 2012, when the program was initiated in Kachila, parents have shown a very keen interest in supporting the school. They also pay the fees on time which will be a great support in making the school more sustainable.

It looks like, some of the classes in the new school year 2013-14, which starts in April, will have up to 35 students. So the school now needs 15 more XO laptops so that every student in the class will have a laptop each to use for at least 45 minutes daily. Everyone at Sister Home Boarding School in Kachila are very motivated to continue with the remaining support and training from OLE Nepal, and Seniors without Borders is committed to providing the extra laptops needed at the school.
Go to Top

Program Monitoring in Doti


OLE Nepal Staff interacting with School

A monitoring team from OLE Nepal visited three program schools in Doti where the laptop program was launched last year with support from Good Neighbours Nepal. The team observed laptop-integrated classes at Sunadevi School and Masteshwor School in Ladagada VDC and Mastamandu School in Pokhari VDC, and provided feedback to teachers. The team also updated the servers at the schools with new content, and interacted with teachers, students and community members to learn the effectiveness of the digital content and the laptops at the schools.

Here is what the teachers and community members had to say:

"ई-पाटी वरदान सावित भएको छ" (E-Paati laptops have proved to be a great gift to us) - Keshav Raj Bhatta, teacher at Mastamandu HSS in Pokhari, during teacher interaction.

"जग बलियो हुने भयो" (Our students will now have a strong foundation) - Mr. Lok Bahadur Badaila, community member, during community meeting at Mastamandu HSS in Pokhari


Laptop-integrated class in session

Community members of Sunadevi School in Ladagada VDC believe that children now learn practically rather than just theoretically. They shared that their children have started speaking in English as of late.

 


Community Interaction

The community from Masteshwor School in Ladagada VDC feel that this program has made the school better. Students also showed a lot of confidence while talking about the laptops. They said they use the laptops around four times a week and that it is extremely fun to learn from them.

Parents at Mastamandu School of Pokhari VDC said that their children share their experiences with them at home. Children seem to have fun using and learning through laptops, and say that they are able to learn even from mistakes, especially when solving math problems on the laptops.Go to Top

Refresher Training and Laptop Deployment in Doti


Refresher Training in Doti

Following up on the monitoring visit in early March, OLE Nepal's technical team and trainers visited the three schools in Doti during the final week of April to conduct refresher training and to deploy an additional 50 XO laptops along with routers and laptop charging racks to meet the demands of larger class sizes in the new academic year.

The team met with parents and other community members to discuss the benefits and challenges of the program, and the community's roles and responsibilities in ensuring the program's success. A meeting was also held between OLE Nepal's team and the field staff of Good Neighbours Nepal to discuss how the two organizations can work together to monitor the program more effectively in the schools.
Go to Top

Science Learning Assessement in Dadeldhura and Doti

Student assessment in Dadeldhura

Interactive digital activities designed to learn concepts in science which address cross cutting issues of gender equity, healthy balanced diet, agriculture, food security and environmental conservation that were developed by OLE Nepal with support from the UN World Food Programme (WFP) was introduced in eight schools in Doti and Dadeldhura at the beginning of the last academic yearss. The activities covering grades two to six were included in OLE Nepal's set of E-Paath learning modules, and science teachers from the schools were given special training on integrating these activities to promote agriculture, food and nutrition, and gender equity at that time. A survey was conducted at the schools on March 3 - 8 to assess the effectiveness of these activities on student's understanding of the aforementioned issues. The data collected during this endline survey will be compared against that from the baseline survey conducted last year to measure the impact of the digital activities in achieving the stated goals.

Go to Top

E-Pustakalaya Update

The number of downloads from the online E-Pustakalaya site (www.pustakalaya.org) has been rising steadily since it was first launched in 2009. During the months of March and April, a total of 95,689 books and other materials were downloaded from the site. The following were the most popular downloads:

  Total Downloads Most Popular (English) Most Popular (Nepali)
March 2013 33,461

"Little Brother"
Author:Cory Doctorow
Downloads: 945

"Taal ताल (उपन्यास)"
Author : Yasunari Kawabata and
(Translation) Vijaya Rauniyar
Downloads: 240

April 2013 62,228

"For the Win"
Author: Cory Doctorow
Downloads: 1353

"Galbandi गलबन्दी (हास्यव्यङ्ग्य सङ्ग्रह)"
Author: Bhairab Aryal
Downloads: 908

(The above data do not include downloads from offline library servers in schools and community libraries.)

Go to Top

E-Pustakalaya Installation Training

A three day E-Pustakalaya Deployment and Maintenance Training was organized in the OLE Nepal office in Sanepa on April 15 -17 with support from the Nepal Library Foundation (NLF). The training conducted by OLE Nepal's technical team was attended by program officers from NLF, as well as teachers and technical staff from Nuwakot, Tanahun, Baglung, Chitwan and Lalitpur districts. The main objective of the program was to prepare human resources capable of installing and maintaining OLE Nepal's E-Pustakalaya servers in schools and community libraries.


E-Pustakalaya Deployment and Maintenance Training at OLE

The training covered introduction to the E-Pustakalaya, computer networking, ethernet cable crimping, setting up and configuring of wireless network, software and hardware requirements for the library server, workstation and other accessories. Participants were given hands on training on setting up the E-Pustakalaya system, configuring the network and operating the server. In addition, an overview of IP addressing basics and various troubleshooting tips were included in the training.


Go to Top

 

E-Pustakalaya Deployment


E-Pustakalaya Deployment in Triyog School

A number of schools interested in using computers as teaching-learning tools have found E-Pustakalaya to be an invaluable resource filled with thousands of educational materials that can be hosted locally at the schools. Private and public schools that already have computers have been eager to make the small extra investment in hardware and installation so that their students and teachers can easily access books, audio-books, reference materials, educational videos, learning software etc for free. These materials can be accessed using computers and laptops as well as from mobile devices by connecting to the local intranet. Recently, at the request of Triyog Higher Secondary School, OLE Nepal installed the digital library server in the school and set up the local network so that fourteen computers in the school could access the content of the server. The OLE Nepal team also gave an orientation to 18 teachers and provided hands on training on integrating E-Pustakalaya in classroom teaching.

Go to Top

Office News

Maitri Trust awards OLE Nepal


Maitri Trust, a UK-based charity, has accepted OLE Nepal's proposal to fund two projects in 2013-14. The first project, Digital Library Development and Expansion, will enable OLE Nepal to continue to grow its digital library collection, and expand its access to schools without Internet connectivity through the installation of offline servers. The second project, School Volunteer Program, will train six young college graduates and place them in remote communities in Bajhang district for three months to support teachers and schools when the laptop program is launched later this year.

Maitri Trust invited OLE Nepal to submit funding proposal after learning about its pioneering work in improving access to quality education in Nepal. Maitri Trust does not accept unsolicited proposals, and instead identifies quality organizations with strong management teams and good evidence of delivering results, sound finances, quality staff and resources, and ambition, and invites them to submit proposals.

New Appointments:


Sumit Acharya

Sumit Acharya has been appointed to the position of Junior Network and Systems Engineer. After graduating with a Bachelors in Engineering degree from MVJ College of Engineering in Bangalore, Sumit was involved at OLE Nepal as a technical intern for six months.


Kayomars Bilimoria Puri

Kayomars Bilimoria Puri has been appointed to the position of Systems Administration Associate. Kayomars too had been involved in OLE Nepal as an intern for almost two years.

Both Sumit and Kayo have demonstrated sound technical acumen as well as great enthusiasm in implementing OLE Nepal's various projects across the country.

Board of Directors Meeting:

A working committee meeting of the Board of Directors was held on March 31, 2013. The meeting hosted by Treasurer of the Board, Mr. Prithivi Pande, discussed the ongoing projects and activities of the organization and strategies for future programs.

Go to Top

Upcoming events

School Survey

An endline survey will be conducted in schools in Banke, Solukhumbu and Baglung where the laptop-based education program was launched last year with support from Embassy of Finland's Funds for Local Cooperation. The survey will assess students from grades two to six on math and English abilities to determine the impact the project has had in student learning. Baseline survey was conducted last year in all fifteen schools, and the resuslts of the two surveys will be compared to measure the impact of the program in achieving its stated goals.

Refresher Training

Refresher training for teachers from a number of program schools are being planned for the next couple of months in Doti, Solukhumbu, Baglung, Tanahu, and Lalitpur districts. The refresher training will address questions and concerns teachers have had while integrating laptops and digital content in classroom teaching.

Program Monitoring

A monitoring visit to the program schools in Dadeldhura and Doti supported by WFP is planned during the month of June. Officials from WFP, Department of Education and District Education Office, Dadeldhura are also expected to be a part of the monitoring team.

Go to Top

  • E-Paath is a set of curriculum-based interactive digital learning materials developed by OLE Nepal.
  • E-Pustakalaya is OLE Nepal's education-centered digital library consisting of books, reference materials, school wikipedia, etc.
  • E-Paati is the Nepali name for the XO laptops used in OLPC program schools.