Thursday, December 02, 2010

1:1 XO's in a Seattle 3rd Grade? Asking OLPC

The first user - on OLPC (Lincoln)It's been nearly three years since I received my XO laptop. The scenario that has unfolded around that event is simply amazing. I remember talking with my wife about whether we could afford the $400. Turns out a gift from her dad actually financed it. I had asked my school's PTSA to buy one for the school, but got turned down. But I bought one anyway. Lincoln, my cat, loved it.

12 XO's of Christmas. The holiday season begins.Jump forward three years, and I now have 14 XO laptops in my third grade classroom. Every single one has been donated. Here's a picture I took a couple of days ago of my kids using them. We have a 2:1 ratio, so they can share as partners.

I've written over 40 articles here about that journey. Search this blog for XO or OLPC, and you'll see them. I've always tried to stay leaning forward, willing to let developments and opportunities come our way. We even field tested and debuted an experimental software release.

So now I find myself in the very strange position of actually asking for more. I'm sending a request for 13 unusable and maybe damaged XO's to OLPC.

Part of the reason I'm in this position is that, at the end of the school year last year, I let some of my kids take them home for the weekend - kind of a lending library. I wrote about the experience, the idea was picked up, and several more XO's were donated. Now I'm going for the ultimate in computers in the classroom - 1:1. Unbelievable.

Here is part of what I'm asking for from OLPC:
    1) To place XO laptops in the hands of third graders at 1:1 ratio for learning
    2) To have enough XO's to establish an XO lending library
 Plan of Action
    1) Continue integration of the XO's in daily instruction in classroom
    2) Get word out via PTSA and local blogs to increase interest in lending library.
    1) Establish the use of XO's, 1:1, in the classroom on a daily basis by 1/31/12)
    2) Establish lending library for rest of school by spring vacation (April, 2011)
    3) Continue program during 2011-12 school year.
    4) Progress will be updated on personal blog, at
    5) Updates will be posted to and

1) Main forum for posting updates:, Technorati-tagged olpc
  2) Updates will be cross posted to and
  3) Updates will be cross posted to Twitter (mahlness, tagged #olpc)
   4) Updates will be cross posted Facebook 
  5) Pictures will be posted to and tagged olpc
3So here we go. The one recent development that has made this at all possible - from a tech support point of view - is that someone has been helping me by reconditioning donated computers and shipping them my way. He's also helped me repair a "bricked" XO. I would be sitting here with a 1:3 ratio otherwise.Thank you, Nathan.

13 align=right XO laptops in my 3rd grade class. Christine (open) arrived today #olpcThe XO laptop is slow, by today's standards. It's underpowered. Yet it can do things other laptops have no chance at. Did I mention that two of ours are solar powered? Or that several of them can run an overclocked version of Linux that emulates a regular PC? Or that I hope to have a flash drive Sugar on a Stick OS in the hands of every one of my kids by the end of the year?

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