One Laptop Per Child in PNG

Posted in Divine Word U., Mixed Nuts on September 29th, 2008 by MadDog
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I recently went over to Divine Word University to visit my friend Chandana Silva, “The Guru of Gurus” when it comes to computer stuff in these parts. As usual, I went to beg for help. As usual, Chandana was most helpful.

And, as usual, he had something interesting to show me.

Probably everybody on the planet has already seen the “One Laptop Per Child” computer – except me. I had, of course, heard about it. I don’t think you could be conscious on Planet Earth without hearing about it. But, this was the first time that I’d seen one:

Chandana Silva with an OLPC

Chandana is in the thick of the battle to overcome the problems of creating a sustainable technological strategy for getting these amazingly capable little notebooks into the hands of kiddies who need them.

He told me that there are about 135,000 school children in the third and fourth grades in PNG. This is the target group.

Divine Word University is working with the Department of Education and some other NGOs and missions to get the ball rolling.

Not surprising to us old-timers in PNG is that power to charge the batteries of the OLPCs (how does one pronounce that?) is the primary stumbling block. The planners are considering solar cells, wind turbines, and windup gadgets.

There are about a million ways a motivated teacher could stimulate learning with these gizmos. Chandana told me about sending the kids to go out to take pictures of flowers with the built-in webcams. Then, when they get back to class, the teacher can set the controlling computer to show each student’s photo on all of the other students’ OLPCs. They can discuss the photos while all looking at the same thing on the screens.

Another advantage that I had not considered is that, since the software is all ‘open source’ (available at the code level at no charge), then the language in use on the screen can be changed by simply editing the files and reassembling all the programs. That’s a slight simplification, but you get the idea.

What a gas, man! It’s a whole new world out there.

Telikom, Schmelikom – Check Out DWU If You MUST Connect

Posted in Divine Word U., Mixed Nuts on July 31st, 2008 by MadDog
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Since Telekom seems determined to prevent 21st century communications from ever being a reality in PNG (it’s always ‘coming soon’ but never here), I was desperate to get an internet connection today. Telikom’s link out of Madang is out for the second day in a row.

I went down to Divine Word University to check it out. I hate to do a post without a photo, so here’s the inside of their nice, but toasty-warm library: 

DWU Library

You can get a pretty good deal on internet time if you’re willing to shell out K110 and you have a wireless equipped notebook computer.

First go to the main library desk and get an application to become an External Borrower. Fill it out and then go to the main administrative office to pay K60. Take your receipt to the IT Services building behind the library.

They will relieve you of another K50. This will buy you one of two plans. One plan gives you five hours with an unlimited amount of download. The other one gives you 300MB, but you can take as many hours as you like to use it up.

Either way, they will issue you a login name and password. All you have to do is fire up your browser and connect to a website. A login and password will pop up to allow you access to the internet.

That’s a pretty good deal by PNG standards. Our Global Technologies dialup rate is K.95 per megabyte plus Telikom charges. Our Global Technologies leased-line rate is K.45, again with enormous Telikom charges. The DWU deal works out to about K.17 per megabyte (if my arithmetic is right) for the 300MB plan and practically ZERO per megabyte (well, depending on how fast you can drag those movies in) for the five hour plan.

It’s pretty zippy, too.

DWU Students Pose Interesting Questions Concerning Tourism

Posted in Divine Word U. on September 11th, 2007 by MadDog
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This FROM:  Amanda Watson

We received an email from Amanda containing these questions posed by her students.  The time for replying for their research project is probably already past, but we can take a moment to ponder what our answers might be.

Research Questionnaire 

This is a questionnaire relating to the topic of Negative media publicity on
Papua New Guinea as a tourist destination. We would like you to honestly fill this out as it will greatly benefit us in our assignment. All information will be treated as confidential and only for our assignment.

  1. As an expatriate how would you describe
    Papua New Guinea, honestly?
  2. What can you say about
    Papua New Guinea as a tourist destination?
  3. If you were a visitor or tourist to
    Papua New Guinea, would you want to come back for a visit or not? Why?
  4. What was your reaction to
    Papua New Guinea on your arrival?
  5. Did the media have an impact on your perception of
    Papua New Guinea?
  6. What do you think about the negative media publicity on
    Papua New Guinea as a tourist destination? Give your opinion.
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