Currently, the XO laptop from OLPC does not have spreadsheet software. The One Laptop Per Child developers did not think there was a need for it when they designed the initial Sugar activities, and to an extent, they are right.
Children do not need the ability to run macros on numeric data - that's an adult request. But it is an opportunity for children and adults to bond over basic math, as the Thailand pilot showed:
One of the most engaging project that has involved both students and parents is the family accounting initiative. For six years, many families have recorded their income and expenses in order to better manage their spendings. It was originally done using a simple balance card written on paper.It's not only the Thai's who understand the need for spreadsheet software on the XO. Dedicated members of the OLPC Learning Club DC also want spreadsheets on the XO. They want to teach children math using formulas, giving them a head start on geometry and even algebra. But not with any software, they only want Open Source spreadsheets:Luckily for everyone, we have news from One Laptop Per Child that children may be on their way to learning maths with spreadsheets:
Later, many had switched to Excel (via desktop PCs at the school's computer lab and the help of their children). It was a case where the benefits of technology was clear and well appreciated. Thus, having a spreadsheet on the XO has been one of the most widely requested features from the parents. Being able to do their accounting at home through the help of their children is extremely attractive.
Manusheel Gupta is investigating options for building a spreadsheet activity for the XO. Python-powered spreadsheet (PPSS) seems to be a good choice for integrating into the Sugar environment, while perhaps pulling in some features from GNumeric. Eben Eliason will be discussing the ideas on the UI of the spreadsheet during the coming week..