Friday, May 16, 2008

Year of the XO, part 1

I imagine I will write more along these lines as the school year ends, hence the post title. I simply must, because of the impact these little green and white laptops have had in my classroom, and my life. When the school year started last September, nothing was further from my mind.

XO's in Roomtwelve 1I'll start from the (almost) end. After school today I met for the third time with University of Washington students who have developed an innovative piece of software for the XO. This was the dry run - it went pretty well, I think. In a few days we'll try it out with my third graders. They'll be working like crazy in the meantime to iron out bugs.

Several things strike me right now.

    XO's in Roomtwelve 2
  • It's great to have the chance to work with university students in my classroom. Oh, I've had student teachers before, but this is different. These guys are in the computer science program, and they're about to graduate.
  • It surprises me how little I hear about direct collaboration between public elementary schools and universities - in any field. But in computer science especially - good grief, if those departments started looking at preparing their graduates for successful careers that included a little more recognition of societal need...
  • XO's in Roomtwelve 3
  • This comes at a time when OLPC is fraught with political posturing and battles over development and future vision. Heck, I'm so excited about the potential of these things in my classroom, I can hardly stand it... I want to scream at the doubters, critics, and power grabbers, "Hey, hold on. LOOK at this!"
  • But last, I am encouraged - by the vision, innovation, and determination of the young men I've just met. I'm hoping there are a lot more out there like these guys. They are our future of course...

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2 comments:

June said...

I greatly enjoyed your blog post, and the subsequent one about how it implemented in your classroom! I was very involved in a class at Brown University which paired university students and local teachers, as they developed educational software. You may find it an interesting model.

www.cs.brown.edu/courses/cs092/

Mark Ahlness said...

June, yes, it is a great connection - that does not get made often enough. Thanks for the reference - I'll check it out! - Mark