May 3 2008
After my initial review, I decided as a few other bloggers have done to place the XO laptop in the hands of some students to see what there views were. Some initial comments from students were from two viewpoints. Those that had seen or heard me discussing this laptop as one for third world children and so were able to see that this was not a laptop to be viewed in competition with for example a MacBook. And those that did not really understand the principles behind the laptop and so asked questions such as how big is the hard-drive, or where is the DVD drive to play movies.
The lower school IT teacher, very much a Linux Guru, loved playing with the XO however he had many reservations as to its security and features. The Firefox browser that is embedded within the OS of the laptop, does confuse and still however we tried we were unable to alter the proxy settings which is inhibiting our ability to connect to the network at school.
Hopefully as part of a review of the curriculum especially at IB level I will be able to include areas related to the Digital Divide and maybe its importance within world development today.
After some initial comments one student volunteered to review the laptop in more detail, so read his viewpoints below (note name of student has been deleted for internet saftey reasons):-
My name is (*********) and I am doing a review on the XO laptop. I am 13 years old and go to ACS Egham International School. The XO laptop was created for the poor people of Africa to be used as a communicational device for them to contact people of the World. It is also an educational device for children in 3rd world countries and schools in remote places where they have no electricity as it can run on a crank or Solar panel. It is able to run on simple Solar panels as this laptop runs on approximately 1 watt of electricity and this makes it very ‘green’ for the environment. Typical laptops use much more energy in order to run.
When I did the review on the XO laptop I found that it was easy to open the laptop and start it as the ‘On’ button is clearly marked. I found it confusing to navigate as the symbols were not as clearly marked or distinguishable as on most modern laptops. This may have been because it is different to the Windows Operating system in layout and the XO has several basic screens. The XO laptop has good WiFi communication ability as it can pick up almost all Wireless networks in my experience.
The XO laptop was designed to be very tough and robust physically as it is intended for use in dusty, hot climates where it may be dropped or damaged easily. Some of the features on this laptop are quite good as the screen can turn around whilst running and it even has a camera. The ports are protected by extra plastic. I was requested to test the Paint software and found this easy to follow and understand.
I tested opening a Pdf document and found this to be hard and complicated. Exactly the right formats were required in order to open the Pdf file for reading and use. When I created a piece of music in Tam Tam, I found it fun and inventive but confusing because I am not used to the software. I have however, previously created music on a Mac so am used to the concept of creating music if not the Tam Tam approach.
I think the ‘XO’ is a nice idea as it is a laptop available to all and for every purchase, a laptop is sent to places in Africa where communication is currently limited, ie schools etc,. The principle of distributing laptops in Africa opens up the World to the people in more remote places of the Globe. I believe the XO laptop could be a good learning aid for underprivileged children and adults.