Friday, December 21, 2007

XO = Great Learning Tool!

My OLPC XO was delivered two days ago. When I ordered the XO as part of the One Laptop Per Child's Give 1 Get 1 program, I had little idea of the learning potential of this device. The concept of providing a laptop for a child in a developing country had great appeal. The wiki supporting the XO is a great example of the learning that is possible with this device:

This is my first experience exploring Linux as an operating system. Several Linux-based programs (referred to as "Activities") such as the TamTam Jam, Turtle Art (logo programming) and Pippy are preinstalled.

Some of the keyboard keys and other hardware components are not yet functional, such as the ability to write on the trackpad with a stylus, however, many Activities and upgrades are in the works. It will be nice to have the ability to "sleep" the laptop.. a feature that reportedly will be coming soon in 2008.

The ability to fold the screen flat, and use the hardware buttons to navigate through the content is an interesting feature that is useful for reading eBooks. I have yet to explore the recording features and I am looking forward to the possibility of collaborating with other XO owners.

I had a bit of trouble connecting to the Internet using our school's visitor access point, since the browser could not authenticate the certificate, but our network manager was able to grant the access needed. Adding the device to my home network was relatively easy.

Will I use the XO for daily computing tasks? Probably not. I'm not that accustomed to the small keyboard, and I feel somewhat limited by the speed (it's not the fastest device I have used). For a child, however, this is one powerful learning tool. Kudos to the XO dreamers and developers who's mission "is to provide a means for learning, self-expression, and exploration to the nearly two billion children of the developing world with little or no access to education."


  1. Hi
    (I wandered over here from Wesley's site)
    I, too, just got my XO and I am looking forward to figuring it out -- for me, my children and maybe my students.
    Meanwhile, I am happy in the thought that somewhere in the world, some kid is tinkering with a machine, too, that I helped buy (using some proceeds from workshops I have given -- it seemed like a fair trade).
    Take care and good luck

  2. Thanks Kevin! And, wouldn't it be cool if we could someday connect with the beneficiary!