The Story of 31 XOs Sailing from Seattle to Ohio


Resumen en español al final del artículo

Mark's 1:1 XO classroom in Seattle

I just got back from the post office after mailing my school's XO Lending Library to Christine at the Columbus School for Girls, in Columbus, Ohio. In that shipment are 31 XO-1s that will continue to do what they were designed for - and more. They will ultimately land in the hands of children in St. John, thanks to the amazing work Christine is doing.

The journey for most of them began as the "Get one" part of the first G1G1. That's where I got my first one, ordered on the first day of the first G1G1. I went to an early user group meeting, word got out that I was a teacher, interested in using them in my classroom, and that's how it started. Every one of them was donated.

Many had been sitting on shelves or in boxes for years and had to be unbricked. Some were donated to me directly. Several came from Wayan's wonderful posts mentioning my classroom here on OLPC News. Many came via Michigan, thanks to Nathan Riddle's work and incredible generosity. Then almost half, I think, came (bricked) from OLPC HQ in Massachusetts (thanks Adam!), again through Nate, who brought them back to life, and shipped them on to Seattle. Over the past two years, they have spent their time in my third grade classroom, being loaned out to second and third graders over the weekends. Every one has come back just fine. Some were actually a part of a beta field test (in my classroom) of an approved XO activity developed by students at the University of WA - Classroom Presenter for the XO. If these little XOs could talk, they would have some very interesting stories to tell.

XO takes a photo of its power source

XO laptops were in my classroom for four and a half years. We experimented and learned from them in so many ways. For instance, when we just had a handful, we powered two XOs a whole year with two 10W solar panels - yes, even in Seattle! My kids blogged with them frequently. Some even shared their writing with the public at a Barnes and Noble coffeehouse evening, reading from their blogs off XO laptops.

One of the most amazing explorations came just this past year. Nathan Riddle, who I can't thank enough, allowed my classroom the exclusive use of his Jabber server. My kids could communicate with each other on their XOs at home over the weekend, connected via his server in Michigan. Only my XOs had access, nobody else. Just plain amazing. Really makes you think about possibilities and potential. That is what the journey is about.

They were always named for the person who donated them. Christine, you'll see the names written on the backs, in Sharpie. The kids in my school got to know them, and they had certainly favorites. One of the many unintended (?) sweet consequences of being able to name these little laptops...

Anyway, they are on to their next adventure. They're all in great shape and do what they're supposed to do. They're running build 885, release 11.3.1. Christine, they'll need some cleaning, sorry.

Here are some pics I've taken of them over the years:

I've also written a fair bit about them on my blog.

Many, many thanks to you all - for your guidance, support, and generosity! Those little XOs have much more work to do, more eyes to open, and more lives to enrich. Sail on, little XOs!

Mark Ahlness recently retired after 31 years as a public school teacher. He lives in Seattle, Washington and is looking forward to spending more time with his wife, his cats, his banjo, and his bicycle. Other passions include birdwatching and speaking out against the US education system's obsession with testing and data.

Resumen en español: En este artículo Mark Ahlness, un profesor de escuelas públicas recientemente jubilado en Seattle, cuenta la historia de 31 pequeños XOs. Cómo las consiguió, cómo sus alumnos los utilizaron en la escuela, y lo que las maquinas van a hacer en el futuro.


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