The green machine makes an appearance in a future-looking scene, towards the end of Oliver Stone’s new film Savages. The production team asked for a set of laptops back when they were wrapping filming, as a vision of what the world will look like when every child has a laptop to study with. It’s good to see the scene ended up in the final picture.
Those three XOs will be a nice collector’s item one day…
Over at Edutopia, Suzie Boss covered Claudia’s recent keynote at PBL World, the annual project-based learning conference. From her writeup:
When Claudia Urrea was growing up in Colombia, her family made a point of doing projects together. Whether they were focused on fun — “building the coolest kite” — or more practical household matters, projects taught her the value of learning by doing. “Projects move students from being told what to do to owning their learning,” says Urrea.. Instead of thinking about “what I learned today and might use someday,” Urrea says, “help them see that what they learn today they can use today.” And for many years to come.
The whole piece is worth a read, with nods to Papert, Scratch, and the OLPC mission. As is the rest of the PBL World coverage. Now if only they’d put the video of Claudia’s talk online!
The Knight Foundation yesterday announced it would join community leaders from Charlotte, North Carolina in contributing to Project L.I.F.T., a 5-year $55M+ project to improve education in West Charlotte schools. (It began last January with a $40M round of fundraising; and this year raised another $15M.)
Knight’s contribution will fund a community engagement coordinator to keep parents and local communities in touch with the project as it develops, and for an OLPC program (including XOs and training) for all students and teachers in grades K-5 in the L.I.F.T. schools: roughly 3,200 in all.
This builds on our work together earlier this year, to develop a digital literacy program at Holmes Elementary School in Miami. Our experience so far suggests that giving elementary students access to computers – and letting them take them home and use them with their families – helps promote better informed and engaged communities.
We are delighted to see this new project take off within the framework of the existing L.I.F.T project. And looking forward to working more closely with the Knight Foundation, whose input has already informed some of our practices. Their background is in community engagement rather than education, which complements the viewpoints of our other partners. And the added focus on community engagement is one of those necessary elements that can make all the difference in longevity and impact.
Children receiving XOs in Miami’s Holmes Elementary School
via the ananialog
I banged out two open hardware designs this week, designed for use with the OLPC XO laptops.
The XOrduino is a stripped down low-cost Arduino-compatible board that plugs right into the XO’s USB ports. But wait, there’s more: it’s also compatible with the Scratch Sensor Board, so you can use this device to control Scratch (and Turtle Art?). It should be compatible with the Arduino IDE and all Arduino Leonardo-compatible shields.
There are only 20 components needed for basic Arduino functionality, costing $5 from digikey (in quantities of 100 or more). Local labor or even older kids could assemble this by hand.
The XO Stick is for when $5 per student is too much money. Based on the AVR Stick and the ATtiny85 processor, it costs only $1/student. It’s not as user-friendly as the Arduino-compatible board, but can be used to teach simple lessons in embedded electronics.
Eagle design files on github:
I expect to have a small number of each board in a few weeks; let me know if you’d like one in exchange for help with hardware and software bring-up. Schematic and layout review would also be appreciated (I did the PCB routing late at night under time pressure leaning heavily on autoroute, it’s certainly not the prettiest). And feedback from Arduino and Arduino shield hackers would also be welcome.
For more details or to request boards, please see the original blog post, and Alessandro Paganelli’s review in Linux Support magazine.
guest post by Nick Doiron
Update with a lovely quote from the day: “5 yrs ago,Uruguay began Plan Ceibal with OLPC. Now 100% of our kids have laptops; 99.5% are online. ”
Plan Ceibal posted a cool 6-minute video on their YouTube. No English subtitles yet:
- Kids in the first class to receive laptops react to their interviews from 2007
- Update on what laptops are used for in their more advanced classes ( including Magallanes/Classmate laptops )
- Scratch programming
- Lego NXT robot programming (!)
Fundacion DJ is building an app for the XO to let kids become DJs. They will be able to play two tracks at the same time, switch from one track to another with a cross fader, and use effects and pre-recorded sounds to mix in, just like a professional DJ.
They can record and export their mixes so they can share them or submit them to future contests – like the one the Foundation plans to run. They say of their work on this project: “This will be an alternative way to get kids interested in the art of music so in the future they can become DJs Agents of Change.”
From their site:
Fundacion DJ en colaboración con One Laptop Per Child crearan una aplicación para sus computadoras portátiles XO donde los niños podrán jugar a ser DJs.
La aplicación le permitirá a los usuarios poner dos canciones al mismo tiempo y tener la opción de cambiar entre una y otra con un cross fader. También tendrá efectos y sonidos pre-grabados para que puedan mezclar tal como lo hace un DJ profesional.
También tendrán la opción de grabar y exportar sus mezclas para que las puedan revisar y enviar para un concurso que estamos planeando hacer.
Esta será una alternativa para crear interés en los niños por el arte de la música y que en un futuro se conviertan en DJs Agentes De Cambio.