I know it seems like I've gone off the deep end with all this talk here, and in other places, about the XO laptop. Well, sometimes things happen, and you have to decide if you're on the train or off. I'm on, and my classroom is a marvelous mix of exploration and chaos right now. It's exhausting sometimes. Mostly, it's just so much fun.
Last week my classroom received another donation of an XO. We had our first donation a couple of weeks earlier. I had brought in the one that I bought right after Christmas vacation. So my kids were pretty amazed. It was funny, in some ways. I told them, exasperated, that I had just figured out how they could share TWO XO's - and now we had THREE, for goodness sake. They thought this was pretty cool, and wondered if we'd be getting more...
It's not like we don't have any other computers - we're swimming in them at this point. The XO's have put us perilously close to 1:1. Just when I thought I had all computer management issues worked out, we have three more.
But these three are so different. They connect to the internet (and thus the kids' blogs), but they can't print to our printers. They can chat and instantly share applications with each other, but they can't get to all the kids' work saved on our network. One of the biggest hurdles is it's difficult to show the kids how to use them, and find enough time for them to explore on them. It's not like a different OS, or platform - it's more like using a computer that uses a totally different language - that also does totally different things.
We are having a truly great time with them. This past week they started producing PowerPoint presentations about our XO's. They were taking pictures of them, working with a partner, still learning PowerPoint (only the second time they've used it) - but having a bast. They were almost done when we got another one - so we all rolled our eyeballs in joy as they took pictures of the three, and had to change slide content. Some of the presentations turned out pretty good, and I'll put 3 or 4 of the best online, soon. Naturally, we will be doing video later on....
Then there are the things you just never do. Like send kids to different parts of the school to see if they can still chat with each other. Good grief. We are still experimenting with the range of the mesh network - it is definitely bigger than from our WAP. But I knew I had really gone too far when I found myself pouring water on an XO keyboard so my kids could take a picture of the XO's waterproof qualities for their presentations. I really did this, I can't believe it. Of course the XO was fine.
This joy of exploration with children is one of the bonuses that comes with being a teacher. I don't get to do it every day, but I'm really thankful when it comes.
And yes, the kids are writing about our XO's. They have blogged their initial impressions (when we only had one), so there will definitely be more.
tags: xo olpc