OSSFF orders netbooks for computer literacy summer workshops for BES students

The One Small Step Forward Foundation just recently received its order for twelve netbooks from Columbia Technologies Inc. The Asus eeePC 1005ha is powered by Intel’s Atom N280 processor. With clock speed of 1.66 GHz and equipped with 1G RAM, the netbook is expected to be sufficient to handle the light to moderate computing workload of the tutorial classes. Each Asus netbook has 160GB or 250GB of hard disk storage storage and all use Windows XP Home, proven to be the fastest and most efficient among recent OS.

In addition, the netbooks are preequipped with Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and Publisher. They will also use Internet Explorer and Picture Manager which are built into the XP operating system. The units are also loaded with Google and anti-virus software. To assist the children in learning how to save to and read from various media, the order also includes twelve 2G USB drives and a shared external DVD writer. So the workshop attendees get to keep what they create, the purchase also included a Brother all-in one printer.

The Asus eee PC 1005ha was a CNET Editor’s Choice awardee in June 2009. CNET said, “Asus hits nearly all the marks in the 1005HA, the latest version of its iconic Eee PC, highlighted by a 6-hour-plus battery life.”

In a partnering deal, OSSFF’s Bing del Rosario secured a discount and service concessions from good friend and Columbia Technologies President Asay Ramos.

The Asus netbooks will be the mainstay for the computer literacy program, a new thrust of the One Small Step Forward Foundation. In the program, which will come with 30-, 40- and 80-hour versions, elementary school graders will get a chance to learn the popular productivity software and internet surfing tools. They will also get exposed to operating system concepts and commands. Kids being kids, the developers expect that the students will find Microsoft Publisher the most interesting, giving them the ability to make greeting cards, banners, posters, and name tags. With 12 netbooks, classes can be either 12 or 24, depending on whether it’s one-to-one or two students to one PC.

For the summer of 2010, the program will be piloted at Bagumbayan Elementary School. Three two-week free classes had been scheduled: April 12 to April 23, followed by a May 3 to May 14 session, and finally, a May 17 to May 28 session. The principal of Bagumbayan Elementary School, Ms. Merlin Villegas, has already announced the summer classes and the school had begun accepting registrants. The lead instructor is Emil Marquez, the elibrarian for the school, with Bing del Rosario personally supporting the classes for some of the days.

By design, a free week had been inserted between the first and second offering to allow the developers to tweak the material and exercises in time for the 2nd and 3rd offering. The materials are expected to undergo another major tweaking in June before being offered to the other schools.

“The three BES summer offerings are just the pilots,” according to OSSFF president Bing del Rosario. “The vision is to be able to roll the program out quickly to the rest of Bagumbayan Elementary School and then to other schools and hit 12 to 24 students at a time. If we deem the program highly successful, we may quickly ramp up with another two to three dozen netbooks. So our ability to roll out will only depend on the number of e-librarian instructor types we can find for the schools.”