Kids on Computers: Enabling Education through Technology
Kids on Computers is a nonprofit organization that provides free computers and open source software to kids and schools worldwide. Our mission is to provide increased access to education by setting up school computer labs in remote regions around the world where kids have no other access to technology. We are a volunteer organization that uses donated computers, grants, and open source software to change kids’ lives.
We have set up a total of 16 computer labs: 8 in Mexico, 1 in Argentina, 2 in Nepal, 2 in India, and 3 in Morocco. Each school serves between 50 and 300 kids, their parents, and the extended community. We bring computers with us (or buy when there), set them up, provide training, and work with local volunteers to provide long-term support. Our schools are resource poor, but have a rich network of engaged teachers and parents. We encourage the schools to work with the broader community in order to sustain and grow the labs to enrich the lives of their children.
One of our greatest challenges is ensuring that the computers we install do not sit unused when we leave. It is critical to the success of the lab that teachers and lab administrators receive technical education. Once we've set up the lab, we conduct training sessions to show teachers how to use the computers, open source software, and open content in their classrooms. We also ask teachers to join the educator mailing list so we can address any issues the labs may have after we leave. We return to the labs to conduct basic maintenance, upgrade software and hardware, and provide education to the teachers and kids.
We currently install Lubuntu and Ubermix distributions on our computer along with educational software - the GCompris and Tux Suites, the RACHEL content server, offline Wikipedia, and Khan Academy videos. Our training courses give an overview of each of these applications, an overview of how students will benefit from these programs, and simple exercises teachers can conduct with the class. We also install Open Office on the computers. We show teachers how to create presentations, simple spreadsheets and documents, and how they can leverage technology to disseminate information to students.
We have been successful beyond our expectations with engaged communities that are transformed because of our computer labs. You'll hear from several KOC volunteers on their experiences visiting countries and communities they've never been to, what it's like to set up a lab, and how they feel they've made a difference. Come learn how you can join us and make the world a better place by teaching kids and teachers about technology and FOSS!