One Laptop Per Child Benefits Aboriginal Youth in Ontario

A young student in Sagamok with her new laptop building her dreams.
A young student in Sagamok with her new laptop building her dreams.

A young student in Sagamok with her new laptop building her dreams.
A young student in Sagamok with her new laptop building her dreams.

THUNDER BAY – Having access to technology helps young people in learning and achieving their goals in life. Aboriginal children in two Ontario First Nations have new learning tools thanks to a partnership between Vale and One Laptop per Child (OLPC) Canada. Sagamok and Atikameksheng Anishnawbek were selected to receive child friendly laptops and tablets as part of a national initiative to bridge the digital divide for Aboriginal youth. OLPC Canada Youth Ambassador Miranda Legarde was on-site for the technology rollout.

“OLPC is a program that we are very proud to support in Ontario and across Canada,” said Angie Robson, Manager of Corporate and Aboriginal Affairs for Vale’s Ontario Operations. “Through this program we are assisting Aboriginal youth in getting the most out of their studies and helping them reach their full potential.”

“The best part of the day was handing the XO tablets out to the students. Their smiles and excitement were contagious. The apps that quickly gained popularity were the piano and drawing apps. I think we may have some future artists to add to the indigenous community.”

OLPC Canada technology is designed with children and communities in mind, with dozens of pre-installed educational apps for skill development in areas such as financial literacy, health, math, science and Aboriginal languages. Each tablet also features a library of more than 100 e-books, including children’s stories by First Nations, Métis and Inuit authors.

Biidaaban Kinoomaagegamik Elementary School in Sagamok received 70 XO tablets that were distributed amongst 7 classrooms from junior kindergarten to grade 6.

Atikameksheng Anishnawbek received 50 XO tablets and 5 XO laptops to be used in an after school program at the newly renovated community library. The students will use the technology within the program, but will also have the opportunity to sign the tablets out and continue skill development at home.

Sagamok and Atikameksheng Anishnawbek are two of seven Aboriginal communities selected by Vale to join the OLPC Canada network this year.

About One Laptop per Child Canada
One Laptop per Child (OLPC) Canada enhances education for Aboriginal youth with technological tools designed for creative, innovative, self-empowered learning. For more information, please contact Jennifer Martino, Executive Director, OLPC Canada martino@olpccanada.com or 416-642-5455. www.olpccanada.com

About Vale Canada
Present in over 30 countries, Vale is the world’s largest producer of iron ore and pellets, key raw materials for the steel industry, and one of the largest producers of nickel, which is used to produce stainless steel, batteries, special alloys, chemicals and other products. The company also produces copper, manganese, ferroalloys, potash, bauxite, alumina, aluminum and coal, among other raw materials important to the global industrial sector and present in people’s daily lives.