Meetings category

Unleash Kids Hangout On Air: Enhancing Teaching and Learning with Appropriate Technologies at OLE Nepal

Monday, July 8, 2013, 9AM EDT, 1300 UTC, 18:45 NPT

The Unleash Kids Campaign, the volunteer-run project developing learning kits around the XO-4 Touch laptop, will host Rabi Karmacharya, Executive Director of OLE Nepal, live from Kathmandu. I’ll be producing the Google+ Hangout On Air show from my office in Washington, D.C. Christoph Derndorfer in Vienna, Austria will be interviewing our guest.

OLE Nepal (Open Learning Exchange Nepal) is a social benefit organization dedicated to enhancing teaching-learning in schools through the integration of technology and to provide uniform access to quality educational materials across different geographic areas and socio-economic strata.

OLE Nepal develops and distributes free educational content , trains teachers to integrate technology in classrooms, implements technology interventions in rural schools, and helps build local capacity in technology and education.

Bio: Rabi Karmacharya co-founded OLE Nepal in 2007 to implement OLPC program in partnership with Nepal Government. Since then OLE Nepal has completed two years of pilot, and the program is currently running in 27 schools scattered in seven districts in Nepal. OLE Nepal has also been developing local education content designed by curriculum experts that are loaded on the XOs and updated periodically through the school server. Teachers receive training on using the laptops and the content to teach subjects such as English, Nepali and mathematics. Currently heading a team of 27 staff comprising of educators, curriculum experts, content coordinators, software developers, graphic designers, network engineers, system administrators, and volunteers. Born and raised in Kathmandu. Received MEng and BSc in Electrical Engineering from MIT.

Here’s a recent interview with Rabi:

AirAsia Foundation Interview with Rabi Karmacharya
written by Mike Lee on 6 July 2013 Comments Off

Scratch Day DC 2013 at Gallaudet University

Scratch Day DC 2013 will be hosted by Gallaudet University in collaboration with Uplift, Inc. and Elsie Whitlow Stokes Community Public Charter School.

What: Scratch Day DC 2013 for Everyone!
When: Saturday, May 18, 2013, 10 am to 5pm
Where: Gallaudet University [map, aerial photo], Student Academic Center in computer labs SAC 1010 and SAC 1212, Washington, D.C. 20002
Lunch is on your own. The SAC cafeteria kitchen is closed, but you can bring lunch to eat in the dining area. Off campus, try Union Market
nearby or this map.

You will have a chance to try out the free MIT Scratch software which enables kids of all ages to author multimedia stories and interactive games by snapping together visual programming blocks. The software runs on Linux, Mac and Windows. Scratch also connects to sensors in the physical world using the PicoBoard USB accessory from SparkFun Electronics. We will have one of those on display and two of them will be raffled off!

Kevin Cole has his labs set up to run Scratch 1.4 and the new web-based Scratch 2.0. Bring a USB drive if you want to save your project, or we can help you set up an account on the MIT Scratch web site where you can upload and save your projects. If you have your own projects, bring them on a USB drive or laptop to show off!

Photos here and here of our previous Scratch Day events.

And some excellent Scratch Resources:

written by Mike Lee on 15 May 2013 Comments Off

April Meeting: Deployment Stories from Senegal and Zambia

Our first meeting in some time will focus on OLPC deployments in Africa.

Saturday, April 13, 2013, 10am-1pm, Room 208
Arlington Career Center
816 South Walter Reed Drive
Arlington, VA 22204
Contact PageGoogle MapAerial PhotoBus Info

First, Open International founder Khady Lusby, will talk about College Adja Penda Ba in Nioro, Senegal and their new program for children using Sugar and XO computers. Our meeting host, Jeff Elkner, of Sugar Labs DC, is supporting her deployment (see blog post) of HP and OLPC XO laptops and will help provide training to students who will visit the school as part of their senior experience. Brittany Windju of Yorktown High School is refurbishing laptops and maintaining a detailed project blog.

Following Khady, I will do a trip report on my USAID/Worldvision-funded workshop sessions for the Lubuto Library Project in Lusaka, Zambia, which ran last month from February 18 – 27. My time followed Christoph Derndorfer’s week there in late January repairing and refurbishing the 20+ XO laptops in use in two childrens’ libraries. My sessions, held at the newer library at Ngwerere Basic School in the Garden Compound, focused on training Lubuto staff and students basic and advanced Squeak Etoys and sound editing skills to enable them to enhance the 700 digital language literacy lessons they developed in 2011. For a peek at my odyssey, see this photo set on Flickr (and my detour to the incredible Victoria Falls!).

Lastly, we’ll have a beta version of the OLPC XO-4 Touch laptop, which goes into mass production soon, for you to try out.

written by Mike Lee on 18 March 2013 Comments Off

Next Club Meeting at DIY Fair, DC Library

With the recent OLPC Community Summit in San Francisco and news that my project developing digital literacy lessons in Etoys for street children in Zambia won a grant from USAID, I’ve arranged to have a club meeting as part of a display I’m setting up at the DC Library’s DIY Fair:

On Saturday, Nov. 17 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. and Sunday, Nov. 18 from 1:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m., the Adaptive Services Division of the DC Public Library will host a DIY (Do It Yourself) Fair in the Great Hall of Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library at 901 G St. NW. The DIY Fair will be a celebration of creativity for people with and without disabilities.

You can register for the DIY Fair through Eventbrite

The Learning Club meeting will take place Saturday Nov. 17 at 10am on the second floor of the east lobby of the DC Library during the Fair. I will give an update using the presentations I gave at the OLPC Summit on OLPC open hardware and Lubuto Library in Zambia, show off the new OLPC 15 watt solar panel with an XO-1.75 laptop, talk about the USAID grant and relay some significant news on the future of OLPC (much positive, some uncertain). I will have USB drives with the latest stable build of the XO-1 operating system for anyone who needs to upgrade their laptop. The upgrade will overwrite the contents of your laptop, so be sure to copy off important files. If you have any other special needs, please contact me in advance.

At around 12 noon, I will set up some displays I recently assembled for the local First Lego League Senior Solutions Science Expo and will be there until 3pm and during Sunday’s scheduled Fair hours. On display will be a Raspberry Pi computer running MIT Scratch and Lego WeDo, my exact replica of the Mars Curiosity Rover built entirely in Lego bricks designed by former NASA engineer Stephen Pakbaz and an XO-1.75 laptop with the digital literacy lessons developed for street children in Zambia.

This will be the last Learning Club meeting for 2012, so please use the meeting opportunity and display hours next weekend at the DC Library to bring your questions about OLPC, open source learning, open source hardware and informal digital learning.
written by Mike Lee on 12 November 2012 Comments Off

Scratch Day 2012: That Cat’s A Superhero!

We’ve gotten RSVPs from friends old and new for this Saturday’s MIT Scratch Day in Arlington, VA. It’s going to be a fun event locally that’s part of an epic global day of celebration that will see our superhero orange cat dancing across thousands of computer screens. All of our event information is the same as previously announced, but here’s a recap and some new goodies:

Scratch Day 2012, Arlington, VA

Saturday, May 19, 2012, 10am-2pm

Washington-Lee High School

Rooms 4207, 4209, and 4211
1301 N Stafford St
Arlington, VA 22201

Street View:


  • 10:00am – 10:15am – Welcome and introduction with Mike Lee
  • 10:15am – 12noon – Scratch Learning Sessions in 2 or 3 classrooms with experts Paul Bui, Anthony Spanos and Richard Bullington-McGuire
  • 12noon – 1:00pm – Lunch on your own; Yelp listing of restaurants nearby:
  • 1:00pm – 1:45pm – Continue with the learning sessions
  • 1:45pm – 2:00pm – Closing thoughts and prize raffle

And there are several interesting and related developments occurring this week:

MIT Media Lab Conversations Series Hosts Sugata Mitra – Wednesday May 16th 4:30-6:00pm (tomorrow!) Professor Sugata Mitra, champion of the concept of “minimally invasive education” (MIE), will discuss the question “Is Education Obsolete?” Mitra has most recently been collaborating with Nicholas Negroponte to test a deployment of 20 Android tablets in a remote village in Ethiopia. The talk will be webcast live and archived here:

5-day Preview of Scratch 2.0 – The Scratch team at the MIT Media Lab has been hard at work developing the next generation of Scratch, which will be completely web-based, requiring no installation of software. To commemorate Scratch Day and the 5th anniversary of the software, the team will open up the alpha version of the new site starting this Thursday May 17 through Monday May 21. The site is currently password protected, but check this link soon: Here’s a preview video:

Get Your MaKey MaKey! – Two graduating members of the Scratch team, Eric Rosenbaum and Jay Silver, have revealed a new project on Kickstarter called MaKey MaKey. It’s an amazing little $35 circuit board that turns almost any real-word object into a computer keyboard or piano key input. It requires no assembly or additional software other than what you have already to create a piano out of bananas or a game controller made of Playdoh or buckets of water to name a few of the infinite possibilities. The project was fully funded last night after launching early on Monday. Hurry over to the site to learn more and place an order:

O’Reilly Books 50% Off 18 E-books This Weekend – It turns out this weekend is also when Maker Faire will be held in San Mateo, California. To celebrate, O’Reilly is discounting by 50% selected DRM-free ebooks on the topics of robots, sensors and science. Visit this link:

Well thanks for sticking with this long message. I hope there’s something for everyone whether you can attend Scratch Day or not. See you soon!

written by Mike Lee on 15 May 2012 Comments Off

Hold Saturday May 19 for Scratch Day 2012!

The OLPC Learning Club DC and Sugar Labs DC bring Scratch Day back this year at a new location. Mark your calendars for Saturday, May 19, 2012, 10am-2pm to be at:

Washington-Lee High School
1301 N Stafford St
Arlington, VA 22201

We’ll be in rooms 4207, 4209, and 4211 doing Scratch demos, tutorials and teacher certification. Check back in early May for updates.

written by Mike Lee on 2 March 2012 Comments Off

First meeting of 2012: Updates on Sugar, XO-1.75 and XO 3.0

We are back at Gallaudet University this Saturday to discuss the recent announcements from OLPC on the XO 3.0 tablet and XO-1.75 laptop. Jeff Elkner will also demo Sugar running on Trisquel GNU/Linux 5.0. We will do some planning on our agenda for the May 19th, 2012 Scratch Day event.

What: Family XO Meetup
When: Saturday, January 21, 2012, 10 am to 1pm
Where: Gallaudet University [map, aerial photo], Student Academic Center
in computer lab SAC 1211, Washington, D.C. 20002

The room may actually change, but we’ll post a sign. Let us know if you need help upgrading your XO laptop and we’ll be sure to bring a USB drive with the necessary files.

written by Mike Lee on 17 January 2012 Comments Off

Next meeting Saturday, 10/15, 10am at ACC

Updated 10/15/2011 with new information links below.
As some of you know, we decided to take the summer off. Normally we would have had a meeting in September, but I elected to attend Mobile UX Camp in DC. Then the next day, my family and I did a day trip to Maker Faire in Queens, NY. OLPC had a booth there.

So the Learning Club is meeting again on:

Saturday October 15, 2011, 10am-1pm
Arlington Career Center
816 South Walter Reed Drive
Arlington, VA 22204
Contact PageGoogle MapAerial PhotoBus Info

I’ll be fresh from two days of sponsor meetings at the MIT Media Lab earlier in the week, so I’m sure I’ll have some interesting news. This is the first event to be hosted by Joi Ito, the lab’s new director.

Topics that can be covered at our Saturday meeting:
Please let us know if you have any special support needs for the meeting.
written by Mike Lee on 9 October 2011 Comments Off

Scratch Day 2011, Arlington Career Center, Virginia

Scratch Day 2011
Saturday May 21, 2011, 1-4pm
Arlington Career Center
816 South Walter Reed Drive
Arlington, VA 22204

Contact PageGoogle MapAerial PhotoBus Info

Our third annual Scratch Day will arrive this Saturday afternoon at the Arlington Career Center in Virginia. We’re reprising last year’s winning formula this year to run three concurrent hands-on workshops for teachers, parents and kids. The latest version of Scratch, the MIT Media Lab’s fabulous interactive authoring software, is installed in each of the computer labs. We also expect to be able to demonstrate Scratch 1.4 running on the OLPC XO-1 laptop with support for the built-in camera and the Journal file system.

Our special guest Michael Badger, author of Scratch 1.4: Beginner’s Guide, has graciously offered to return this year. Michael will help lead one of the workshops. His publisher, Packt Publishing, has generously sponsored our event again with copies of the book to raffle and book discount flyers. And we have a special raffle prize related to robotics!

Here is the event schedule:

1:00 – 1:30pm Check in, main lobby
1:15 – 1:30pm Welcome and orientation
1:30 – 3:30pm Scratch workshop for teachers re-certification class (advance registration required)
1:30 – 3:30pm Scratch workshop for parents and teens
1:30 – 3:30pm Scratch workshop for young children (8 – 12 years old)
3:45 – 4pm Raffle prizes and closing remarks

The Scratch Team at MIT has produced some fun promotional videos.

Thanks again to Packt Publishing!

written by Mike Lee on 15 May 2011 Comments Off

No formal meeting for April; Scratch Day 2011 next month!

XO Flowers

With speaking engagements and family travel for the rest of the Saturdays this month, I’ve decided not to have a formal user group meeting. Spring fever too! If anyone wants to have an informal meeting on a weeknight, I’m available the evening of Thursday, April 28th for a meet-up somewhere downtown. Wayan is pretty busy the rest of this month and then out of the country next, so we won’t be at the Looking Glass Lounge.

We will be meeting again next month on the afternoon of May 21 with the big bang of Scratch Day 2011 at the Arlington Career Center. There will be one or more blog posts and an email update coming before the event. We’re looking for volunteers to present workshops or projects as well as assist with setting up. Please contact Jeff Elkner jeff at or Mike Lee curiouslee at

Illustration from the OLPC Tanzania wiki page.

written by Mike Lee on 15 April 2011 Comments Off

The OLPC Learning Club DC and Sugar Labs DC are independent grassroots organizations supporting the missions of One Laptop per Child and Sugar Labs.

contact us

mike lee -
curiouslee at

jeff elkner -
jeff at

kevin cole -
dcloco at

luke faraone -
luke at

wayan vota -
wayan at


Sites We Like: