Tuesday, January 29, 2008

I check the One Laptop Per Child news site, olpcnews.com, regularly. Today, there was an article from a Guest Poster that I absolutely have to share here:

Posted on January 29, 2008 by Guest Writer in Use Cases: Community

I am Dale Hubert, the creator of the Flat Stanley Project. For those not familiar with it, children make paper Flat Stanleys (or Flat Suneelas, Flat Andrews, Flat Achmeds, Flat Marias...) and send them, along with a cover note and a blank journal to a recipient.

flat john
Flat John and I in Russia

The recipient treats the Flat Stanley as a guest, takes it places, does things with it, then returns it and the completed journal.

Pictures and souvenirs are often included. The recipients can be selected from the List of Participants that includes tends of thousands of students from 47 countries.

Children also send Flat Stanleys to celebrities, scientists, politicians, musicians and people of interest. The Picture Gallery has pictures of Flat Stanleys with Clint Eastwood, Arnold Schwarzenegger, prime ministers, presidents... and the list goes on and on.

One of my favourite replies was from the legendary musician and social activist Pete Seeger who wrote:

"Kids- if YOU keep your sense of humor, and reach out to other kids in ALL the world, and get them to reach out to you in their own way, there may be a human race here in another 100 years!"
Communicating through penpals and electronic penpals is a great idea, but children often don't know what to say when writing to a stranger. Somehow, when a Flat Stanley is included, it's as if we have a mutual friend and communication becomes easier.

We can write about what Flat Stanley sees. We can say, "Flat Stanley was surprised to see all the snow!" or "Flat Stanley didn't know he would see so many camels," or "Flat Stanley was frightened by the sounds he heard in the night."

Writing through Flat Stanley's eyes opens the door to imagination and enhanced communication. The Flat Stanley Project is totally free of charge and children from around the world have become part of the Flat Stanley community.

I think it would be a wonderful idea to have the Flat Stanley Project pre-installed as a bookmark in the OLPC browser. I would be delighted to create a special blog or forum on the FS Project for recipients of the XO laptop. I would also include images that were sent from XO owners or do anything else that was requested in order to support the OLPC initiative.

Have your own idea for One Laptop Per Child? Then submit a Guest Post to OLPC News today.

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I couldn't help but post a comment on the article. I love this idea. I'd love to see the people around the world who have XO computers -- be they participants in the "Give One, Get One" initiative or the students in the schools that the OLPC project was created for -- take Flat Stanleys around and use the XO's onboard camera to photograph his adventures. Then the pictures can be put in an online photo album that everyone can share. How great would that be?

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