bottle rocket on the XO

Mobile App team bottle rocket borrowed an XO for a few months to play with it and test out their apps on it.  They recently sent it back along with a donation from their amazing staff.  Their founder Calvin Carter writes:

“Recently I was having dinner with a client.  [H]e had his OLPC laptop with him. The waitress recognized the laptop and started asking him questions… While my friend was proudly demonstrating the newest model to her, I was reminded of one of Bottle Rocket’s core beliefs: exceptionally innovative technology not only enhances the way we do things – it redefines the way we live our lives. I realized that these laptops can truly change lives. What a perfect way for Bottle Rocket to give back. The next day, four laptops were on their way to tease out the imagination and ambition of their new owners.”

bottle rocket staff with their test XO

bottle rocket staff posing with a test XO

That’s a great photo!  I wonder when some of their apps are going to appear alongside Batovi‘s in the Sugarlabs Activity center

Second-grade Physics Activity

Cherry Withers writes about using a couple XOs, and some other netbooks with Sugar on a Stick, in a second-grade classroom.

I had 10 minutes of set-up for my small “talk” with a classroom full of 2nd graders and 40mins of instruction/play time. All told, I had 5 net books working with SoaS and 2 XO 1.5s…  The class was tackling Motion, Force and Balance on their Science curriculum and I thought the Physics Activity would fit in perfectly. They haven’t tackled the Law of Inertia (and I guess didn’t have plans to for this year).

I didn’t start with Physics right away. For the first law I opted to have them stare at an unmoving object, a plastic bowling pin. I told them to use their brain power to move it. Needless to say after almost a minute of doing this they were ready to knock the thing down (which they did in so many ways: shaking the desk, blowing on it, and just the good ol’ hand knock-down) They recorded their observations and we were ready to move on to the second law.

I set it up so that they already have Physics opened. I had them draw a ramp but didn’t tell them how to draw it. I told them to use whatever they can find in the program to do so. I got the variation: some groups drew it with the pencil, some with the triangle tool and a few found the polygon. Then I asked them to drop a ball on the top of the ramp and see what happens. They quickly figured out that their ramp would tip if they drew a big ball. Brianna’s group already knew the tricks (this is her favorite activity) and told everyone to “pin” it down. So we talked about what happens to the ball and how it ties to the 2nd law of inertia. One of the kids did ask me a question that stumped me for a second: “How do you know if it in fact goes on forever? You can’t see it go on forever. What if it did slow down and stopped some where else?”…

I told them to try to stop ball from rolling off forever. Some did try the easy way by just drawing an enormous “block” at the end of the ramp, but others found more creative ways: piling up blocks, some drew a bunch of tiny triangles and squares to slow it down, walls that are bolted and pinned. One group surprised me by thinking out of the box: slow down the ball with tiny objects on the floor and then bolt it down with pins. It was late in the exercise when one of the groups discovered the “pause” button.

Overall, it was a fun experience for the kids and they just absolutely loved the Physics activity.

Sugar on Nokia, Ubuntu, and computers near you

Sugar has been moving steadily to many platforms and distros beyond the XO and Fedora. Last year Guy Sheffer helped to get it working on the Nokia 810. This February it was repackaged for Ubuntu. And Mirabelle, the latest version of ”Sugar on a Stick”, is a bootable image for a USB key that lets you use almost any computer to run Sugar.

Have you tried the latest Sugar Activities on your favorite laptop? Give it a try, run an intro session at show-and-tell or a local computer lab, or introduce it to a child you know who is learning to use computers… and let us know about it.

Summer Pygames begin again!

The Summer Pygames, sponsored by South Carolina’s Palmetto Project, is growing this year — students from many schools will have six weeks to learn how to make games for the XO, from design and programming to art and sound production.  The results will be judged by elementary school students and teachers.  OLPC has donated some XO-1.5s to the event, which last year produced “Burnie’s Balloons”.  (And check out the video by the Burning Magnetos at the bottom!)
A tip of the hat to Elizabeth Barndollar and everyone who’s helped make Pygames a success two years running.

OLPC UNRWA Gaza (Arabic)

In English

Students with their laptops, after putting their names on them.

بعد انتظار ١٠ اشهر حتى الموافقة، شارك كلٌّ من الفريق الأساسي لحاسوب محمول لكل طفل التابع للأنروا، إداريين، اهل وأطفال رفح في بداية لامعة من برنامج  أنروا لحاسوب محمول لكل طفل في غزّة. وجرى احتفال لهذه المناسبة في ٢٩ نيسان. كنت محظوظة لأنني أمضيت اياماً سلفاً مع الفريق والمجتمع. لقد عملوا بجد-أطفال، أهل، معلّمون، مطوّرون فنيّون، وإدارّيون-إنّ مشاركتهم العمل أمرٌ ملهمٌ جداً.

يتميّز الشعب الفلسطيني بالتفاؤل، الدهاء والتفان لإنشاء شيء جميل من لا شيء. والأهم أن يتشارك المجتمع بكامله هذا الشيء.

لدى حاسوب الاكسو ميزة خاصّة الى جانب مواصفاته وأنشطته التقنيّة -فهو يدفع المجتمع ان يتفاءل بأطفاله. علّق جميل، عضو من البرنامج الأساسي، التالي: “هذا الجهاز متواضع, بإمكاننا خلق أشياء رائعة بواسطته”

لقد حققوا ذلك.

في فترة ١٢ اسابيع بعد اول مقدّمة لهم للأكسو، قام الفريق الأساسي والإجتماعي في غزّة بالتالي

تحضير البنية الأساسيّة

تصميم وتقدمة حلقات العمل ل٢٠٠ مدرس و ١٢ إداري

تقديم الأكسو لأكثر من ٢٠٠٠ طالب

مساعدة هؤلاء الأطفال بتقديم الأكسو لأهلهم

تصميم مكتبة عبر الحاسوب

نقل الألعاب التعليمية الخاصة بهم الى الأكسو

ضم تذكّر، دردشة، تصفّح، و تكّلم إلى جدول النشاطات في الصف

مساعدة المعلّمين ببدء توزيع الفروض المنزليّة عبر الأكسو

ملاحظة تأييد الأهل للأكسو في المحلّات التجاريّة والجوامع بعدما كانوا يشكّون في قيمته

بدأ الإحتفال بفتحي، مركز مصادر التعلّم للأنروا القائم في رفح، وبمثل صيني: اعط رجل سمكة وتطعمه ليوم واحد. علّم رجلاً كيف يصطاد وتطعمه لمدة الحياة

كان اليوم مليئاً بأجهزة الأكسو والصور. تمّ تصميم المنصة على شكل الأكسو مفتوح مع لوحة المفاتيح ممتدّة خارجاً-وانتهى الحفل بمشاركة كعكة عملاقة ومذهلة زُيّنت بشكلٍ دقيق لتضمّ النقاط الموجودة على الغلاف الواجهي. وقد علّق شخصاً من المجموعة بتلك النكتة: أتساءل متى وكيف أحضرنا كلّ هذا عن طريق الأنفاق