A small group of volunteers from Kids on Computers returned to Huajuapan de León in October 2012 to update existing school labs, open a new lab, and train teachers. We had great support from the school administrators, teachers, parents, and local volunteers.
After spending a few days visiting schools and assessing needs, we went to the following schools to do updates and installations:
18 de Marzo
This school is the largest lab of donated KoC computers. There are about 30 desktops and laptops here. We updated them with Lubuntu, educational packages, Khan Academy videos, and offline Wikipedia. A few machines didn’t have working USB, so we left them with older (10.x) versions of Edubuntu. Although there is no Internet access available at this school, there is a local area network and wireless access point. We added 2 desktop computers with large hard drives, and had hoped to be able to turn these into local HTTP servers for the lab. But, we found that the switches/hubs were faulty and we couldn’t get reliable IP networking to work.
Antonio de León
This is a new school for KoC, located in Guadalupe de Ramírez, about a 2 hour drive from Huajuapan de León. The school director met with Thomas, Avni, Bill, and Gaby in Huajuapan de León and got a preview of KoC computers using Lubuntu. Their previous experience was with about 8 Windows computers, several of which had become infected with viruses. They asked that we add a few computers to their lab, and standardize them all on Lubuntu. It was a long day, but we got the lab up and running with a total of 17 machines running Lubuntu.
This lab has been part of KoC for several years. Since many of the computers here were donated by a Mexican bank, they do not have hard drives. So they boot from an LTSP server. We added offline Wikipedia to the computers that had a disk, plus left an additional laptop with both offline Wikipedia and Khan Academy videos. Saucitlan now has 11 computers total. Members of the school board presented us with letters signed by community leaders requesting additional computers from KoC for a library as well as the secondary school down the street. As resources become available, we’d like to be able to help.
When KoC previously setup a lab in San Marcos, it included an Internet connection, strung across the street from City Hall via Cat5. Since then, the City Hall buildings have been demolished and are being rebuilt. As a result, they no longer have Internet access. We updated ___ computers with Lubuntu, educational packages, offline Wikipedia, and Khan Academy videos.
This is a small school with just 6 laptops. When we visited, we discovered that they have had problems with theft, so the teachers typically take the KoC computers home when not in use. They bring the laptops back to school once per week for use in class. The laptops were not in the school when we visited, so we were unable to do any updates.
We are very fortunate to work with Carlos (Cams) in Huajuapan de León as our local expert. He provides great support for the school labs, plus he was also able to conduct a 2 hour training session for the teachers in the area at 18 de Marzo.
Also, we were introduced to another Computer Science graduate from UTM – Eliud. He’s a computer support guru and Linux specialist in Huajuapan de León. We met him at San Marcos, and invited him to help with the KoC labs as he has time. He accepted our request and came to the teacher training session. Thanks Eliud!
In addition to these technical experts, we met (and re-met) several dedicated teachers, parents, and volunteers in the area that are engaged in helping us make technology available to underprivileged kids using open source software.