Danielle Harlow of UC Santa Barbara’s Gevirtz School has helped extend the international project One Laptop Per Child in Santa Barbara. Harlow was awarded a UCSB Faculty Outreach Grant (FOG) to purchase 28 computers for the Adelante Charter School, plus 22 computers at another local school. This project will directly benefit local school children and school children in Kenya, Africa, who will connect with Adelante student, while providing valuable learning experiences for UCSB students in education and computer science.
At UC Santa Barbara, Harlow is working with faculty in Education (Julie Bianchini, Sue Johnson), Computer Science (Phillip Conrad), and Chemical Engineering (Susannah Scott). This team is building on a successful pilot program to create an expanded partnership between local and international elementary school teachers and children, scientists, and UCSB faculty and students of education, engineering, and computer science. This collaboration will facilitate not only the integration of technology into the classroom of local elementary school children, but will also create appropriate curriculum and software that will support and inspire local school children to learn.
Children in Hilary Dimitruk’s classroom at Adelante Charter School have just been provided with XO laptops. The XO laptop is the laptop used in the One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) project. The stated mission of this program is “to create educational opportunities for the world’s poorest children by providing each child with a rugged, low-cost, low-power, connected laptop with content and software designed for collaborative, joyful, self-empowered learning. When children have access to this type of tool they get engaged in their own education. They learn, share, create, and collaborate. They become connected to each other, to the world and to a brighter future.” The XO differs from traditional laptops in several ways. Low power use makes for a long battery life, and solar and crank-based powering alternatives facilitate use without electricity. The screen is also designed to be visible even in bright sunlight. These hardware features make the XO usable by children here and in locations without regular access to power; however, it is the software that makes the XO an ideal learning tool for children everywhere. The Linux-based operating system, Sugar, runs free open-source programs that are particularly effective at facilitating peer-to-peer communication and collaboration.
Danielle Harlow is an assistant professor in the Department of Education at the Gevirtz School. She earned her Ph.D. at the University of Colorado, Boulder. She is the faculty advisor to the One Laptop per Child – Santa Barbara program. In addition, Harlow has worked on the development of several inquiry-based physics curricula designed to help elementary teachers develop appropriate content knowledge for teaching, including Physics & Everyday Thinking (PET) and Learning Physical Science (LEPS). At UCSB she has recently taught Elementary Science Methods, Physics for Elementary Teachers, and Technology in Educational Contexts. Prior to her graduate work in science education, she completed a B.S. in physics and a M.S degree in geophysics and taught physics in Tanzania, East Africa with the Peace Corps.
[Danielle Harlow is available for interviews; to arrange an interview, contact George Yatchisin at 805 893 5789]
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