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Experience With Using The Xo 1 (Olpc One Lap Top Per Child) To Jump Start Pre Engineering And Science Education In Rural Uganda

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2010 Annual Conference & Exposition


Louisville, Kentucky

Publication Date

June 20, 2010

Start Date

June 20, 2010

End Date

June 23, 2010



Conference Session

Engineering Education in Africa and the Middle East

Tagged Division


Page Count


Page Numbers

15.551.1 - 15.551.8



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Paper Authors


Frank Duda Grove City College

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Frank T. Duda, Jr. obtained his Ph.D. degree from the University of Pittsburgh in 1975. He is a registered professional engineer in the state of Pennsylvania and is currently a professor of electrical engineering at Grove City College, Grove City, Pennsylvania

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Experience with Using the XO-1 (OLPC-One Lap Top Per Child) to Jump Start Pre-Engineering and Science Education in Rural Uganda


Since 2000, faculty and students from Grove City College’s Engineering Program have been assisting secondary schools in rural northwestern Uganda develop applied science education. In 2004, in cooperation with donors from the US and UK, a new secondary (high school) girls’ boarding school was started with an initial class of 25 girls. At the same time, the Ugandan Government Ministry of Education made biology, chemistry and physics compulsory for secondary students. The Ugandans partnered with the Japanese Government to embark on a new applied science education approach through the Secondary Science and Mathematics Teachers' Program (SESEMAT).

Three science teacher’s seminars were organized and offered to approximately 30 Ugandan secondary science teachers. The teacher’s were shown an initial version of the XO-1 Laptop and the OLPC educational approach was explained. The teachers agreed unanimously to investigate if the XO-1 could be a viable teaching aid of applied science in rural Uganda.

This paper describes our experiences in evaluating the viability of the XO-1. Some issues considered are the mechanics of connecting the XO-1 to the internet in rural Uganda, sustainability of the XO-1 in the harsh environments, comparison of the XO-1 to other computer hardware delivery systems such as a net-book, and the advantages and disadvantages of delivering applied science education considering the constraints that the Ugandan teachers must teach from a prescribed syllabus and Ugandan students must pass the Uganda National Education Board (UNEB) exams to continue their education. The XO-1 was evaluated at the new girls’ secondary boarding school which now has a population of 125 students and the S4 students recently completed their UNEB exams.


Ten years ago an aggressive development program was started in Pittsburgh to partner with the Church of Uganda to further the economic, social and humanitarian development in the Bunyoro Kitara Kingdom1 (BKK) in northwest Uganda. This Kingdom is the oldest Kingdom in Africa and by most accounts the poorest region in Africa, if not the world. To date, Pittsburghers have invested approximately 5 million dollars USD in the region. Well over 500 individuals from Pittsburgh and other locations in the US as well as from other countries have been involved in the work, most having travelled to Uganda to be involved first hand.

Some of the results of this program include: 1) A health clinic has been recovered, refurbished and upgraded to a level 1 health facility with a newly opened maternity ward and operating theater. 2) A 20 acre coffee farm was developed and is being operated by a team of Ugandans. The harvested coffee is processed and sold out of Pittsburgh and the generated profits sent back to the Kingdom. 3) Approximately 30 new water bore holes have been drilled and an equal

Duda, F. (2010, June), Experience With Using The Xo 1 (Olpc One Lap Top Per Child) To Jump Start Pre Engineering And Science Education In Rural Uganda Paper presented at 2010 Annual Conference & Exposition, Louisville, Kentucky. 10.18260/1-2--16875

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