Will Obama Barack USA Schools with XO Laptops?

   
   
   
   
   

Obama in the classroom

In talking about Barack Obama's stimulus plan to propel the USA out of its Great Recession, the Washington Post says:

Much of the public works program would be aimed at improving technology. The government would pay for new computers in schools, new medical technology in hospitals and doctors' offices, and a nationwide push to bring broadband to parts of the country that cannot yet access the Internet at high speeds.

Calling it "unacceptable" that the United States ranks 15th globally in high-speed-Internet adoption, Obama said in his address that "every child should have the chance to get online."

Wow! Could this be the break that makes OLPC? Could we see a reversal where there is a focus on One Laptop Per American Child? And would this laptop be an XO?

Now before everyone gets too excited, my sources say that the US Department of Education has not been approached by OLPC in almost a year. At the same time, remember that the XO is designed for the developing world, like Africa, not the developed world, like America.

The major American XO deployment, OLPC Birmingham offers lessons if Obama does think OLPC in American schools. Mayor Larry Langford forced XOs into schools over the objections of the school board. No matter Obama's popularity, it would be hard for him to do the same nationally.

Still, the small OLPC NYC pilot shows great promise when educators and technologists work together, start small, and plan implementations wisely. Hopefully, this can be the model for an Obama-inspired computers-in-schools activity.

That the major IT companies, who can bring in the local infrastructure to deploy and support a nationwide initiative, are spurred on by OLPC competition to develop their own XO-inspired clock-stopping hot technology and Sugar-infused learning environments.

Who knows, maybe we'll see One Apple IIe Per Child yet again.

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5 Comments

I hope so much that Obama and his team consider to take part at One Laptop Per Child. #1 Reasons for OLPC (and against other "learning laptops")? The openness, independence, community

I'm all for One Laptop Per Child; can't wait for it to come to my school. I'd love to carry my laptop (which I do anyways) instead of bins of papers to grade.

Is OLPC the best answer. I don't think so. Don't get me wrong, I love my Little Greenie!

However, students need to learn an operating system that the business and professional worlds use. Sugar is not that operating system.

Students need to know Microsoft Office (sadly) and many other "mainstream" applications to be productive in the United States.

Listing skills on the XO on a resume isn't going to get them very far.

I know that OLPC is about education and it's an amazing learning tool. It does have the advantage in that category. On the other hand, wikis (Google Sites, WikiSpaces, PB Wiki), Tweeter & Ed Modo, blogs (Edublogs, Blogger), and Google Apps (with easy sharing) offer many of the same things that an XO does, only in a familiar operating system. Lastly, there are plenty of widgits and other small applications that can help out to.

THe availability of web-based programming renders the machine irrelevant. That said, iPod Touch, Asus EEE, and others are alternatives with a wider feature set (video out, bigger screens, bigger keyboards).

I'm open to XOs in my classroom. If anyone is interested in donating please contact me. However, like this comment, there needs to be an in-depth conversation about what is most appropriate for our students.

Go ahead and rip me!

You miss the point of the XO - its not for middle or high school kids to get business skills. Its for children to explore and learn.

Would you expect Leapfrog to have Microsoft Office? So don't think an XO should.

"Now before everyone gets too excited"

whose getting excited? i would almost happily place a bet that the XO will not be a part of this expansion. the machine is pretty decent machine for little kids, but it really ends there.

i'm not trying to sound mean (okay...maybe i am a little bit) but theres really not much here that indicates an opening for the XOs in my opinion. could i be wrong? abso-friggin-lutely. for all i know, if handeled right, this could be a massive deal for the XO project which could finally give it the opportunity it deserves.

whats going to happen though is (hopefully) that schools that need them are going to get new computers and broadband will get spread out alot more.

there is no talk or event implication here of the idea of all students getting a computer. there is no real talk of using technology in new and exiciting ways in order to make maximum effectiveness of our school systems. if there was or ever is though...that'll be another story

before any real hard core olpc people tear me a new one, i would like to conclude with a (what i consider to be) surprisingly optomistic view of the olpc in america. And that is, i honestly believe that what with all the success that the XO is having in classrooms both in other countries as well as our own, that in time (maybe a year or two, maybe ten years) the XO or something like it will probably be put into the mainstream school systems and will become a standard part of our school system.

of course if it does take 10 years then they'll probably be able to hand out no name laptops for 100 dollars or less as opposed to the XO (providing it is even around still by then) but it'll be because of the studies done with the XO that such ideas will be considered in the first place.

hahah ahh i could go on forever. sadly though i'm getting wayyy off topic. so i'll just leave it at "lets hope for the best, and see what happens"

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