Tuesday, November 18, 2008

XO Rising

XOXOXO bIt is back, the XO laptop, available to the general public (except Canada - aaack). Great reviews are already in, especially for the partnership with Amazon.com.

It is the same machine offered last year, with a little spiffier set of applications, at the same price. What I see a little different is the straight out appeal to just donate. If you want to just give one, you can now.

A couple of videos capture it all. I'll skip the Tom Brady endorsements, at least directly.... First up is the wonderful Zimi's Story, from OLPC:

Then there's Nicholas Negroponte himself, the man with the vision, speaking with Charlie Rose:

For those thinking about getting one for themselves, or for their kids, here is the email I just sent to the parents in my third grade classroom, as posted in an XO discussion forum:
Because of all the hype, I always start with a note of caution. I've heard from many who have been disappointed in what they bought (but that's why we''ve had 3 donated to our classroom!) Anyway, here's what I emailed to the parents in my third grade classroom last week, because my kids are really talking about XO's, Christmas, Amazon, etc:

As you probably know by now, we have 4 XO laptops in our classroom. Kids often ask where they can get one, and now there is more talk because they will be available in a week, at amazon.com. They'll probably be available to the public for a month or so, same as last year: http://amazon.com/xo (G1G1 - Give one, Get one) The main site for the One Laptop Per Child organization is http://laptop.org

If you would like to see one in action, please stop by our classroom and take a look (maybe parent conference time?). The cost will be $400, I think. The XO should not at all be seen as a replacement for a regular laptop. While they can do many amazing things, they use a different operating system (Sugar, based on Linux), are pretty slow, and have limitations on things we take for granted (like printing, or tech support, for example). That said, they are still pretty incredible - they can go on the internet, can be used as an ebook reader, have SD and USB slots, etc, etc.

They were designed to be used in groups, especially in underdeveloped countries. They were priced and built the way they are so governments could purchase and distribute tens of thousands of them at a time. Are they still a great learning tool for kids anywhere? Absolutely.

I just thought I'd drop you a note on this, as I hear kids talking, and Christmas is around the corner Smiley Let me know if you have any questions. - Mark
Here's a link to all the writings I posted here last school year about our experiences with the XO.

Finally, here's a quickie Animoto show from last year:

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