The Belinda Stronach Foundation launched the One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) Canada program in September 2010. Five thousand laptops will be distributed to children aged six to 12 in Aboriginal communities across Canada.
With support from Vale, BMO Financial Group and the Government of Ontario, the OLPC Canada program leverages leading-edge technology combined with culturally relevant programming to deliver a unique platform of learning tools to Aboriginal children.
Each laptop is equipped with the customized educational software as well as more than 30 other programs developed by OLPC, and wireless capability, designed to improve the recipient’s connectivity to the world at large and allow for community-building within the students’ own networks.
Customized programming includes:
- Owl Vision – Literacy: The program includes vowel and consonant recognition, word matching, sounds, and comprehension.
- The Meeting Place – Mental Health, Substance Use and Well-Being: The program addresses a variety of topics including: bullying, smoking, alcohol, solvents, family violence, suicide, drugs, depression and anxiety.
- Swift Feet – Physical Fitness: A high energy and up-beat action program with twenty different exercises and 10 different dances set to music take users through high, moderate and low impact movements.
- Ekominiville – Financial Literacy: The basics of money management are offered through a series of activities and games addressing investment, want versus need, saving and the value of money.
- Healthy Heart – Food and Nutrition: Based on Canada’s Aboriginal Food Guide, Healthy Heart helps children assess their recommended daily intake of food.
- Drum Beats – Science of Sound: Buffy Sainte-Marie walks children through the Nature of Sound and Native American/Aboriginal Instruments in order to introduce children to what sound is, the characteristic of sound, wavelengths and how sound travels.
- Future Generation – Virtual Library: The laptop contains 25 books written by First Nation, Métis and Inuit authors. Some books are offered in various Aboriginal languages and one book is fully narrated.
- Calm Waters – Water Safety: Through stories about frozen and free-flowing water, children learn the importance of safe water behaviour and begin to understand what can happen if poor choices are made.
The pilot sites are:
- British Columbia: Maaqtusiis School
- Alberta: Gift Lake School
- Saskatchewan: Kakisiwew School
- Manitoba: Otetiskiwin Kiskinwamahtowekamik
- Ontario: J.R. Nakogee School, Lloyde S. King Elementary, Shawanosowe School, John C. Yesno Education Centre
- Quebec: Ulluriaq School
- Newfoundland Labrador: Jens Haven Memorial School
- Northwest Territories: Weledeh Catholic School
- Nunavut: Simon Alaittuq School
For more information please visit the Belinda Stronach Foundation at: http://www.tbsf.ca/aboriginal_youth-34.html