I've decided I want to give a talk on OLPC at Brown at the beginning of the semester. I've been pretty involved in OLPC over the summer and it seems like the sort of thing that some Brown people might be interested in.
So what should I talk about? I think I want the talk to be basically an overview of the project: explaining the driving ideas of the vision, demoing the hardware and software, showing photos of kids actually using the thing, and ideas for how to get involved.
I will most likely be giving the talk through BLUG, the Linux User Group at Brown. As such, I will be talking about Linux and Free software as a major part of the OLPC philosophy. But I don't want to focus on the Linux aspect...
Here's my structure proposal: first show the laptops off to get people's attention. Use slides with photos of the interesting hardware components so people can see them up-close, and show at the same time pictures of students in Nigeria and Thailand using them. So the first section is "What it does." The second section is "Why?" -- philosophical discussion of the reasons behind the organization, what good it does people to do such-and-such. At this point we can talk about educational mission (Constructivism), Free software, and also do demos of the activities that show how awesome these ideals really are. Collaboration is a very important one, here, so I would like to have everyone in front of a computer so that they can all play using the software.
The third section is the "get involved" section. I guess I can show some source code here and say 'yes, you can edit this, and it will ship'. I will provide a handout (?) or email with links to useful websites, git source checkouts, and presentation notes. And I will describe the full spectrum of use people can be -- kernel and activity hacking, testing, art, distribution, even donations... there's a lot that OLPC can benefit from.
Of course, there is also the 'get your hands on a laptop' part where people can come up at the end and play with my demo machines. Unfortunately I only have two, so there will be a lot of waiting and not that much playing. Nonetheless, I want to give people an opportunity to see and play with the laptops, so maybe I can lend them to people for days at a time, or something. I don't know.