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OPEACE Commentary

September 15, 2009

Engrid Gibbs gave a presentation on the current and future technological needs of the OPEACE project in Atlanta. Although Mrs. Gibbs seems to have done her homework, the speech seemed to be targeted to the wrong audience. The presentation aimed more toward an IT company in order to get a preliminary quote, rather than a group of students with the potential to create something truly revolutionary. “We don’t have an IT department,” was the point she made that stood out the most to me. I by no means blame her for this, but I am trying to make a point that our creativity should not be limited to the few needs she listed. I feel as though she asked a group of up and coming chefs if they would bake her a Sara Lee cake, but to take some liberties with the icing.

What I gathered from the presentation is that they need some help in organizing and managing their staff. They need to clock hours, and somehow come up with metric to show investors how the program is doing. As important as all of that is, none of it is unique to the OPEACE group. All businesses need to manage employees, and therefore there are already many tools that are able to do this. Mrs. Gibbs even mentioned some, which I thought framed the mind even more.  Throughout the entire speech she never mentioned the potential computing could have on the education of the students, nor did she talk in depth about the program itself.

Am I saying that we should not help her out? Absolutley not. If this program is truly functioning at an optimal level, and all they need is some management software, then by all means lets do it. The point I am trying to get at is that we should take it upon ourselves to look for creative ways to use computing to help not only the management of the program, but the program itself. Mrs. Gibbs may not realize something like an interactive whiteboard is possible. She may not realize that there is a version of Ubuntu directly targeted at using computers to educate children. She did mention that the program uses the internet to communicate to various branches of the program, perhaps we could set up an easy way for the kids to do so also.

I think this is a great program, and I think we can do alot of good here. We just need to think outside the box that was presented to us.

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One Comment leave one →
  1. Dhruv Chopra permalink
    September 22, 2009 4:17 pm

    I would like to disagree about the notion that the spiel given was targeted to the wrong audience. In my humble opinion, it was a case of she wants us to do ‘X’, but is more than willing to hear our our ideas and even implement a new, outside-the-box idea ‘Y’.

    It seems like there are a certain modules (or plug-ins) that are required – collaborative documents, online calendar etc. That’s probably the reason why they were mentioned and stressed upon. But as you said, it should not stop us from shifting the paradigm and thinking about even more innovative add-ons which can help the kids.

    Just my 2 cents :)

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