[Chicago] [Fwd: Re: can OLPC Chicago mentor IMSA projects?]

Mel Chua mel at melchua.com
Tue Sep 4 05:43:55 CEST 2007

Forwarded as per Ian's request.

Would anyone be interested in mentoring local students on an 
OLPC-releated project (technical or nontechnical - anything from writing 
educational games in pygame to developing Spanish-language curricular 
materials on Guatemalan history) for this upcoming school year? My alma 
mater, IMSA (the Illinois Math and Science Academy, www.imsa.edu - the 
residential public magnet for the state) has students looking for 
projects to help with and it'd be great to have people to help teenagers 
make their first contributions to OLPC and the open source community.

There's no cost to you but time, and you'll have the satisfaction of 
knowing you changed a bright teenager's life (my own experience with a 
NASA project my senior year was far more enlightening than years of 
chemistry and physics lectures). The students work full-time on 
Wednesdays throughout the school year, unpaid, on projects of your 
design or theirs, through IMSA's "Scientific Inquiry and Research" 
mentorship program, presenting their work at a schoolwide exposition at 
the end. Mentorships can be either virtual (give them a phone call or an 
email check-in) or colocated (the school will provide transport for the 
students to/from your office for the day). It's a for-credit course for 
the students (high school upperclassmen), so there's plenty of 

If you have project ideas for what they could work on, please post them 
here (even if you can't mentor). http://wiki.laptop.org/go/OLPC_Chicago

If you're interested in mentoring, send me (before Monday, September 10):

1. Your name and a 3-sentence bio
2. Your contact information (if different from email)
3. The project(s) (or kinds of projects) you're interested in mentoring
4. The kind(s) of student(s) you'd be interested in working with - what 
level of experience/skills do you need, how much are you willing to have 
them learn on the job?
5. Location and physical proximity preference - Do you want a student 
colocated at your office on Wednesdays? Every other Wednesday? Visit 
Aurora once or twice during the school year (or have the student visit 
you) and otherwise check in via phone or email?

and I'll be in touch to see if we can match you with an interested 
student - you'll have the final word on whether or not you want to 
mentor a particular student.

If you have any questions, email back or feel free to call or text me at 
847.970.8484 any time. I'll also be online at my customary IRC office 
hours this Friday from 2-4pm Central. You can find me as mchua on 
freenode in the #olpc-content channel.



-------- Original Message --------
Subject: Re: can OLPC Chicago mentor IMSA projects?
Date: Mon, 3 Sep 2007 15:13:43 -0400 (EDT)
From: ianb at colorstudy.com
To: Mel Chua <mel at melchua.com>
CC: Ian Bicking <ianb at colorstudy.com>
References: <46D88638.7060208 at melchua.com>

Hi Mel -- just getting back from a trip.

This sounds good -- and there's been people who have wondered about
mentoring local students before.  Can you send this to both olpc-chicago
and the chipy list?

> Ian,
> How's the OLPC Chicago group doing? Are there any upcoming gatherings I
> may be able to swing by for while I'm (briefly) in town? (Sept. 8-11,
> and then tentatively Sept. 19-21 and Sept. 28-30.)
> If there aren't any things planned, I may have a good excuse to call a
> gathering, or at least ping the mailing list.
> My high school, IMSA (www.imsa.edu - Illinois Math & Science Acad) gives
> upperclass students the day off from classes on Wednesdays to work on
> cool projects of their own choosing. I have an invitation to go over on
> Monday afternoon, Sept. 10, to talk to the students about OLPC, and I
> think a number of them will be interested in doing something
> OLPC-related for their independent project for the school year.
> My guess is that the two most popular things will be software
> development (probably games in python) and curriculum development (there
> is a group of students who develop lessons for elementary and middle
> school math and science summer camps) but we might see many different
> kinds of interests that want to contribute.
> Do you think the Chicago OLPC group might be able to support these kids,
> help them find (or serve as) project mentors they can correspond with at
> least weekly via email (and hopefully meet in person a few times during
> the year)? Generally speaking, they're a bright and inquisitive lot who
> already know how (textbook-wise) to code/write/teach/etc, but usually
> need some guidance getting into the development process and community
> for a "real project" that doesn't just get handed in as a paper to their
> teacher at the end of the week.
> This could be a good leadership/mentorship opportunity for OLPC Chicago
> to coordinate, if it could find local college students willing to mentor
> these high schoolers.

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