A few months ago, I decided to parlay some workshop stipends into supporting the One Laptop Per Child movement by buying one of their new XO laptops (and then they send the second one that comes as part of the purchase to a child in a developing country). Part of it was wanting to support the effort and part of it was wondering what these machines were like, as they surely are the first step towards cheap and durable computers for children around the world.
One of their missions statements that I like:
We want the child to interact with the laptop on as deep a level as he or she desires. Children program the machine, not the other way around
Yesterday, the XO arrived in a small package and in about five minutes, my three year old son and I were taking pictures of ourselves, videos of us being goofy and audio of us singing. There are no instructions (I have to go online to get some more details about using the laptop) but it seemed pretty easy to use.
The drawback is that it is slow (not much RAM, I guess) and the keyboard and screen are small. I’ll have to delve in a bit more over holiday break. Over at the OLPC wiki site, you can see how many programs come with the machine and how many are being developed for the future. Very cool.
Peace (in little green machines),
PS — here is a cool little video from the perspective of a child explaining the XO.
[kml_flashembed movie="http://www.youtube.com/v/McgheKrupxc" width="425" height="350" wmode="transparent" /]
I should be getting mine soon too then. Can’t wait to check it out and then pass it on to a needy kid. Although at the moment I don’t know a needy kid. I’m open though.
Glad to see that you are already engaged with your son and the XO. We are waiting until Christmas, as they will be gifts for our kids, but I will be back in touch soon thinking about the implications.
Kevin – I hope you’ll write more about your experience with the green laptop. It’s such an exciting and worthy international project. I really wanted to buy a set, but I’m out of work at the moment and can’t afford it. I’m disappointed to hear that the laptop is slow. Wonder if it can be upgraded with new cards?
We got home last night and Santa had mine at the top of the stairs, so I will take your exploring more seriously now.