This week in KoC – New lab approved for Oaxaca, Mexico

It is exciting to let you know that the KoC board has voted and approved to set up a new lab at Secundaria Técnica 243, this year!

You can see the results here:

This is a middle school located in Acatlima, Huajuapan de León, Oaxaca, México. Something important to note is that this school is ~10 minutes’ walking from Universidad Tecnológica de la Mixteca (UTM). Which is the best higher education institution in Oaxaca state. We are currently working close with people from UTM trying to unify efforts to improve the education in Oaxaca, and this will be of great benefit for this community.

The computer lab is currently under construction and it is estimated to be completed in March.

KoC visited this school the last year. Here are some photos of our visit:

Some views of the community here:

We are excited to work with such a deserving community. We are currently raising funds for this new lab. Please help us make it a reality by donating here. Every little bit helps!

We are planing a trip in April 15th-30th. You are welcome to join us. Send us an email ( if you want to participate. 🙂


Update on José Vasconcelos (Santa Cruz Xoxocotlán, Oaxaca, México)

Our first Raspberry Pi lab has been operating for nearly 3 weeks now and the kids are really happy!

We expect to get some feedback on the whole setup performance in coming days. This is a pilot project, and if everything goes well we’ll seriously consider to set up more Raspberry Pi labs in other unprivileged areas.

More about José Vasconcelos school story here.

We really appreciate all your donations!


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KOC Mexico Trip 2016 – Day 1

20160620_092250 (1)Our KOC Mexico 2016 trip has started! A visit to Mexico is one of the most exciting parts of being a KOC volunteer – we visit existing labs, perform upgrades and maintenance on the computers, do training sessions with the teachers and students and install new labs. There is nothing more exciting than meeting the students and seeing their enthusiasm. This year we are installing 2 new labs in Oaxaca City – one at Benito Juarez Elementary and another at Jose Vasconcelos.


Here’s a quick recap of the trip so far:


IMG_4223Thomas and I flew from the United States into Oaxaca City and met up with Fernando, Gustavo, Hermes, Luis, and Jose. Combined, we brought in 7 laptops, 21 Raspberry Pi3s, 2 Intel Turbots, 4 large hard drives, heat sinks, and 1 24-port switch from the US in our luggage. We also both had personal laptops as well. We got the green light in customs and thankfully made it through without any trouble!


Fernando and Gustavo purchased peripherals (monitor, keyboard, mouse, headphones, cables, projectors, and routers) for the Pis and the servers ahead of time.




This morning, Fernando, Gustavo, Jose, and Luis brought all of the peripherals and met us at the hotel at 9am. All of us then piled into a large truck and took all of the equipment to both of the schools and started setting up.

We first unloaded everything at Jose Vasconcelos. This will be our first lab of all Raspberry Pis.  The school then did a small flag ceremony and sang the Mexican flag anthem. They then served us a huge breakfast of soup and chicken. We then split up. Gustavo, Fernando, and Luis stayed at Jose Vasconcelos and begin setting up the Raspberry Pi3 workstations.

20160620_102344Hermes, Thomas, and I headed to Benito Jaurez. But not before we stopped at a parent’s house and had a second huge breakfast. We then made our way to the school and unloaded all of the donated laptops that we had brought and started installing Ubermix on them. I am writing this blog post from Benito Jaurez which has Internet!

20160620_111208We are half way through setting up the 2 labs. Both schools have rooms for the labs that are secured with bars on windows; they’ve also procured desks and chairs for the computer labs. Benito Juarez is also planning to purchase a screen for the projector.








Tonight we will work on finishing the XSCE server setup and installing Ubermix on our older laptops.


We are all having fun meeting the local folks here and excited about the work we are doing. Thank you to everyone who donated a Pi3, laptop, helped with software and hardware setup.We are very grateful for our volunteers, donors, and partners and their continued support to make KOC efforts a success! I am proud to be part of such an awesome community.




Preparing for Mexico – Hardware and OS

As we explore using the Raspberry Pi 3 in some of our future labs (including the upcoming lab at José Vasconcelos!), we have been testing multiple client OSes on the RPi 3, including Fedora 22, XCSE, and and Raspbian. We will be going with Raspbian for the upcoming trip as it seems to be the most lightweight and functional on the RPi 3. César Octavio López Natarén is working actively on preparing a distribution with KOC selected educational applications for us to use.

We also received a donation of 5minnow_01 MinnowBoard Turbots from Intel and beautiful custom fabricated cases for them by Intel employee John Hawley. Thank you Intel and John Hawley! Javier Henderson is currently working on setting up two Turbots as XSCE servers with Internet in a Box content for the two new labs we are working on this year.

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We are very grateful for our volunteers, donors, and partners and their continued support to make KOC efforts a success!

School Visits

One of the challenges Kids on Computers faces is having regular contact with our schools. As our KOC trip to Mexico approaches, we wanted to have a phone call with all of the teachers at our Huajuapan and Oaxaca City schools.

Towards that goal, two members of our team, Hermes Ojeda Ruiz  and Laura Judith Bravo Sumano, volunteered to travel from Oaxaca City to Huajuapan, Mexico and visit three of the schools where KOC computer labs are set up and get principal and teacher contact info! It was great to get updates on the schools and how the labs have been working out for them. Hermes and Laura visited Gittes Family Lab at Escuela Manuel Gonzalez Gatica in Saucitlán de Morelos, Escuela Ricardo Flores Magon in San Marcos Arteaga, and 18 de Marzo in Huajuapan de León. Thank you to Hermes and Laura for taking the trip, getting contact info, and reporting on updates!

At Escuela Manuel Gonzalez Gatica, they were able to get in contact with the school principal and the computer teacher. The principal was very happy with the visit from KOC members. They reported having issues with the older computers related to elements of the computer’s UI. Currently, they also have a projector and a MacMini server.

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At Escuela Ricardo Flores Magon, they learned that the lab was undergoing repairs completed but was functional before the construction. They planned to have a student from UTM come to reconnect the computers once the repairs were complete. This should happen before our June trip.

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At 18 de Marzo, Hermes and Laura got contact info for the school to get updates and plan future visits.

Photos from SCALE 14x

For the second year in a row, we were at the Southern California Linux Expo (SCALE). We had a lot of fun, received awesome donations, made new partnerships, and met amazing new volunteers this year. We also won the Youth Spirit award – Go KOC!!

KOC volunteer and Board director, Gustavo A. R. Silva, recently posted photos from our trip on our Flickr account. Check them out!

Thank you to everyone who helped with KOC’s efforts at SCALE and made it such a huge success.




Is it collecting dust? Laptops for Benito Juárez

April is wrapping up quickly which means that our trip to Mexico is drawing closer and closer! Our trip dates are June 18 – July 2, 2016 and we are getting everything ready to set up two new labs in Oaxaca City at the following schools:

  • Escuela Primaria Vespertina “Benito Juárez”, Santa Cruz Xoxocotlán, Oaxaca, México
  • José Vasconcelos school in Santa Cruz Xoxocotlán, Oaxaca, México

We are setting up the Benito Juárez elementary school with donated laptops. Please contact us at if you have working laptops with at least 1 GB RAM that need a new home. We are also looking for other peripherals such as keyboards and mice. To see the full list of what we need, head over here.

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We are excited to get these labs set up and welcome volunteers to join us. There are also other ways you can help:

  • Join us. We invite volunteers to join us on site so if you are looking to roll up your sleeves and help us get the labs up and running, let us know! We also offer travel sponsorship for volunteers who would like to join us on our trip. Learn how to apply here.
  • Donate cash. We are a small 501(c)(3) non-profit organization fueled by volunteers and donations. Every dollar counts! Rest assured that your contributions will go towards providing children with technology access which otherwise they would not have had. To make a donation, head over here or contact us for for information.

We appreciate the support from our volunteers and donors – we live by it. We’ve had an awesome start to the year so far with new partnerships, exposure, collaborations, and donations. Let’s keep the ball rolling!

This week in KOC: Working with Unleash Kids – April 20, 2016

The mission of Kids on Computers is to provide technology and access to educational content to kids who do not otherwise have access with the hopes that our work will provide them with more opportunities and allow communities to improve themselves.  We are always excited to hear of other organizations whose mission is in line with ours. Unleash Kids is one such organization.


Unleash-Kids-LOGO-120We met Unleash Kids at SCALE 2016. Unleash Kids’ primary work is in Haiti though they partner with educational communities which show the most need and capability around the world.
Unleash Kids enables global volunteers who work with kids  via direct exploration of their electronic/outdoor worlds with Internet-in-a-Box community kits and more.  They do this by catalyzing volunteer professionals taking the One Laptop Per Child movement into a new decade, enabling quality learning among the world’s poorest children.


Adam Holtxo-adam of Unleash Kids had coordinated a set of 360+ (yes, you read that right – over 360) XO laptops which were no longer being used in Philadelphia and Hartford. Most of these laptops are not working, but can be salvaged for necessary parts for XO’s which are functional. A very necessary set of equipment as the original XO’s are no longer being manufactured.


I offered to help Adam get the laptops to Boston. We were going to try fit as many of the laptops we could into my Honda Fit but thankfully, longtime Kids on Computers supporter, Philip Greenspun, came to the rescue and offered us his van, which has much greater cargo room and load capacity, to transport the laptops.


xo3So this past weekend, Adam and I drove the van down from Boston to Philadelphia and back up through Hartford collecting laptops along the way making for an extremely successful trip. Unleash Kids is planning a refurbishing fest later this spring to work on these laptops and parts.


KOC is excited to work with an organization such as Unleash Kids towards our common goal of improving access to education and technology for underprivileged kids and thereby hopefully improving their lives and communities.


There were a lot of folks who helped us on the way. Many thanks go to Kim and Dan Wilson, Heidi and Howard Ellis, Philip Greenspun, and Olga Sokolova for housing and feeding us on this adventure.