ellohay! West Michigan

What does ellohay! West Michigan do?

spiral

Ellohay! West Michigan is built around three principle goals; Earn a Laptop, Technical Literacy, and Tech Support.

As participants make their way through the program, they will be provided a laptop donated to the organization by West Michigan businesses, loaded with Linux Ubuntu and other open-source software by volunteers.

In order to obtain ownership of the laptop, participants will participate in 8 hours of community service, as well as attend workshops to meet prearranged technical literacy benchmarks that they have created for themselves with an ellohay! Volunteer Counselor.

Eventually the hope is that the community service will continue beyond the program, and graduating individuals will share their new skills among homes and neighborhoods as a grass-roots line of tech support.

If you have a gently-used laptop to donate, please call (616) 446-3622, and we’ll pick it up. It will go to a good home and live a new life in West Michigan!

We also need sponsors for our upcoming pilot program with West Michigan Center for Arts and Technology (WMCAT) this Fall.

You, your group, or business can sponsor one student for three months for just $170. She’ll receive a laptop, hands-on workshops, a mentor, and technical support.

If you have questions, email me Marie-Claire at marie-claire (at) ellohay.org. Cheers!

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Nerd Alert

Posted in events by forgr on April 3, 2009

Nerd alert: This is Marie-Claire from ellohay! West Michigan. I’d like to invite all of you our Launch event (June 25 @ 5:00) and Geek-a-thon install-fest (July 2 @5:00). RSVP on Facebook when you have a minute, and invite all your friends, nerds and non-nerds.

http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=68682861513
http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=57803959897

We’re in need of volunteers to man stations and be community advocates for each event, so email me personally to sign up for either night (you’ll get a free t-shirt out of it too) at marie-claire @ ellohay.org.

A Conversation with the Macatawa Media Center

Posted in benchmarks, conversations, players, research, sustainability by forgr on December 13, 2008

I hadn’t forgotten about my conversation with Barb Pyle from the Macatawa Media Center, honestly. I met with her back in early May in their office on E 19th Street in Holland. We discussed their current computer refurbishing program, their television and production programs, and outreach programs.

Barb was very interested in what we are starting here in the Grand Rapids area, and wanted to know how we planned on cultivating and maintaining a genuinely sustainable “business”.

If by sustainable, she’s asking if we might have the capacity to preserve a complex set of programs (earn-a-laptop, digital literacy, technical support) indefinitely, then we’re on the right path.

If being sustainable means promoting stable and healthy communities, restoring environmental quality, and increasing long-term profitability, then yes we’re pointed in the right direction.

We have a lot of planning to do, but if we at least if know what we want and what’s important to us, that brings us closer to determining how we plan on getting it, and knowing once we have it.

Thank you Barb.

One Laptop per Child XO Laptop (Give a Laptop, Get a Laptop)

Posted in donations, education, good news, hardware resources, laptops by forgr on November 17, 2008

You can purchase an XO Laptop on Amazon.com today. Absolutely brilliant.

If you’re looking for a way to give to the world, buy one for a child in a distant land and get one for yourself for $399. Or if you feel like you have too many toys in your office…

XO Laptop

Now is the chance to place an XO laptop in a loving home here in West Michigan. We’ve started an Amazon Wish List for the Digital Inclusion Project/Ellohay! West Michigan, so when you buy from our Wish List, it will go directly to an under-served child here in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

You can browse our list here:

My Amazon.com Wish List

If her guardian agrees, we’ll interview, post video and pictures to track her progress with her new laptop here.

We have a high hopes, so we have 100 XOs, 100 EePCs, laptop sleeves, and a few printers, and optical mice in our Amazon.com Wish List too.

If $399 is a little too much for your budget, you can put a child in charge of her own data by purchasing a usb drive for just $4.

Some XO testamonials from the OLPC page on Amazon.


“I use my computer very carefully so that it will not spoil. I use it to type, I use it to write, I use it to draw, I use it to play games… I’m using my computer at home to type assignments.” — T. (Primary 4), Galadima School, Abuja, Nigeria

“I like the laptop because I always snap pictures… I snap pictures and I play games; we use… Google [Internet]. I put it in Write and use it in class work.” — S. (Primary 4), Galadima School, Abuja, Nigeria

“Sometimes I play football and sometimes I stay in the classroom… I operate my laptop: I write, draw, and record music… At home, I go turn on the television and record music.” — C. (Primary 5), Galadima School, Abuja, Nigeria

“I think the laptop is very good. It helps us to find some words, like our uncle [teacher] will teach us… The things we didn’t know, we go check on the laptop.” — T. (Primary 6), Galadima School, Abuja, Nigeria

What Teachers Are Saying

“With the laptop we can say that our school is really elevated because the children are really learning more… They see themselves discovering things that they have never been doing before.” — Mrs. M., Galadima School, Abuja, Nigeria

“Pupils go even beyond what I can teach in the class. It’s a very interesting thing to use. I personally have a better idea about teaching… We discovered that giving them time to discover something and to do it in their own way, they feel more happy and they are so excited in using it that, ‘Yes, I discovered it! Yes, I can get it!! Yes, I can do this on my own!!!’ Teaching is getting more interesting and less stressful.” — Mr. O., Galadima School, Abuja, Nigeria

“Some children are naturally faster than the others; we discovered that they go ahead of the class. They can teach their mates that, ‘Look I got it, this is how you do it, this is how you do it, this is how you do it.’ This way the slower children also are catching up. When the children can learn on their own, apart from what they can learn in class, they go faster above their mates in other places.” — Mr. O., Galadima School, Abuja, Nigeria

See the One Laptop per Child XO Laptop on Amazon.com.

A Conversation with Andy Wolber

Last week I had the pleasure of talking with Andy Wolber from NPower Michigan. Andy is the Executive Director of NPower Michigan. Their mission:

We provide technology services to nonprofits in Michigan, ensuring that all organizations have access to the best technology resources and know-how and can apply these tools to help create healthy, vibrant, thriving communities

We talked for about 45 minutes. High level notes:

• Team up with Macatawa Media Center in Holland, they have a earn-a-laptop program (CARE) and would definitely be a good source of information

• Check out One Economy (I did, very interesting indeed)

• Make the Community Media Center in Grand Rapids a fiduciary parent

• Take a cue from the United Way, they work with many non-profit organizations, they are a good model

• Call NuSoft Solutions, they should be interested in teaming up in some way

• Engage college students with the project

• Work with job skill training centers

He was a great source of knowledge, and has been a very generous individual. He’s also emailed be several reports, introduced me to Barb Pyle at Macatawa Media Center, and has been kind enough to allow me to write about him here in our blog.

Thank you for your contacts, advice and contributions Andy. I hope to talk to you again soon.

Calculators

Posted in education, programs, Uncategorized by forgr on May 12, 2008

Out of curiosity, I recently attended a Grand Rapids School Board Meeting. I came in a little late, so I sat in the back.

I listened to each item on the agenda, watched while the group took a time to acknowledge Cinco de Mayo, and enjoyed hearing from several community members express their views on various items of concern.

I noticed a specific focus on tools and preparation for MEAP, SATs and ACTs from more than a few board members. Getting good scores on state and national tests are obviously a concern for this group, and in many cases, they are a major concern. Good score on MEAP determine a lot of things for a school and a school district e.g. total school scores, additional funding, overall school bill of health.

Students are allowed to use calculators on all three of these tests (MEAP, SATs and ACTs), they are encouraged to use them in fact. Scores are consistently higher when students use calculators. But in many cases, students can’t afford to buy calculators to use on these tests.

Scientific calculators currently run anywhere between $50-$100 depending on the features, but most households in Grand Rapids, MI can’t afford an extra cost like that. Many households are struggling to pay bills and get their children fed, clothed and off to school each morning.

There was one school board member that made the plea to individuals watching that evening to consider purchasing a calculator for $50 and donating it to the school district. She mentioned that she was potentially going to start a calculator drive herself.

I don’t have statistics to determine how many students are without calculators, but the fact that it was brought up during a school board meeting, means it’s a bit of a problem. Our students are under-served and cannot compete without the correct tools.

So, hey, calculators are helpful technological devices, who’s to say that earning-a-calculator isn’t a pretty good program to include in our future organization?

2 hours of community service = a new scientific calculator

What do we think? Cool, weird, good?