Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Sister School with College Adja Penda Ba

Children at Adja Penda Ba using their XO-1

The collaboration between the Arlington Career Center and College Adja Penda Ba continues to be a match made in heaven.  I wrote back in September about the project.  It has continued to grow rapidly since then, taking on several new dimensions that both broaden and deepen our collaboration at the same time:
  • Open International needed a student information system to track the data on the progress of the 250 students that now attend the school.  "It just so happens we have one", I told Khady Lusby, "It's called SchoolTool, and it will do just what you need!"  We setup a SchoolTool server for College Adja Penda Ba (in French), and Khady has been busy learning how to administer the system.
  • We sent an XO to the school for the new children's program, and it was love at first sight for the children in the program.  They asked Khady if she can bring them more, and thus began our application process to laptop.org for additional XO-1 laptops for the school.  Career Center student Brittany has taken on taken on the responsibility of representing Open International for this effort and she has been writing a blog of her own to document her work.  Brittany has been studying networking and will be reaching out to the Sugar community to see if we can get some Sugar activity collaboration going between Arlington, Virginia and Nioro, Senegal.  This will entail either setting up a jabber server or finding one we can use.
  • Khady and I have been brain storming about the possibility of doing a project between her high school age ELL students and mine this Spring, giving them the opportunity to get to know each other and to learn ICT skills at the same time.

We have Sugar running in our lab using the Sweets Distribution.  The only thing preventing me from being able to use Sugar with my students is the inability to save files to the file system.  I've been in touch with Walter Bender about this issue, and he has promised to get a patch together to make file system access possible.  I'm a huge fan of Turtle Blocks, which Sugar Labs DC helped get ported to the GNOME desktop environment a few years back.  The ability to use Sugar in our lab in a high school setting would enable us to explore other Sugar activities and to provide better support to the children in Senegal.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Updating BIOS on Dell Optiplex 780

I read Using FreeDOS CD for BIOS Updates article from the tummy.com website, so that I could update the BIOS on our Dell Optiplex 780 machines.

It has been a long time since I ran a DOS program, and it was fun to revisit this old process and at the same time learn how to do it on machines that don't have floppy drives.