One Laptop Per Child Arrives! - First Impressions
While in Africa, this very strange looking machine arrived at The MASIE Center LAB. It was our early edition of MIT's One Laptop Per Child - XO Machine.
The timing was perfect, as the goal of this project is to put laptops for education and growth into the hands of children in the developing world. What is you could create a $100 computer, that didn't require expensive networks, operated in tough environments and was part of a collaborative open source learning experiment.
Tom King, one of our MASIE Learning Fellows, will provide a much more in-depth review. But, here are some of my early observations after 15 hours of use/testing:
- It is amazing to see a small, powerful, open source based machine, that is optimized for e-learning - both collaborative, creative and "game-changing"
- The network function uses these funny two "ears" that pop up, creating a visual map of nearby machines (which can be linked for peer collaboration) as well as WiFi and mesh school networks.
- We are fascinated by the provided programs that can use used for learning, including the "Measure" feature, which can be linked to a thermometer, rain gauge or even a e-microscope which can be used to study skin for disease states.
- The machine can be imprinted easily with local languages. I would have loved to see a touch screen, like the iPhone, but the $100 level cost is a challenge and the color screen was quite powerful.
- You can recharge the laptop with a pull cord device, allowing its use in non-electrified areas.
- This is a very cool device. We are shipping several of these to our colleagues in Africa to provide some rapid feedback from the field.