Tuesday, November 13, 2007
One Computer for Every Student
I feel lucky in my classroom to have a cart with 20 laptops in it. True, it's not just for my students, I have to share it with the rest of the middle school. But, sometimes I feel like it's all mine and every child has a computer at their hands. It's wonderful, the kids love it and I feel like I have the opportunity to teach the children to be real learners. What if every child had a laptop all day, in and out of school. What would education look like then?
I took some time to look at the program for developing countries where students will be given an XO laptop, some will have this before even experiencing books, paper and pencil! What an amazing idea. The tool itself is worth taking a look at. It was really designed with kids and schools in mind. It's the first time I have seen anything like it. It's designed to withstand extreme temperatures, outdoor classrooms, sand, rain and little fingers that may slip and drop it! Not only that but its capabilities show that someone really had foresight into where education should be going and how technology can support that. Not only can children easily access the internet with the wireless component when available, but when not available they can become a part of the mesh network, which is connecting with other XO computers. So, even though they may be in an area where there is not wireless, they can still be connected to each other. On top of that it has been set up with many child friendly features such as chat rooms, eToys where they can play games with others they are connected to, data collection and graphing, RSS feeds, viewing news, drawing, taking photos, video slideshows, record video and audio, perform music, compose music collaboratively and writing. It also includes a journal of laptop use which can be used as assessment.
I am really excited about the opportunities this opens up for students around the world. You might be asking how you could get ahold of one. Well visit the Laptop Giving site and you will see how you can be a part of supporting this program for children of developing countries while also obtaining one yourself. I already put my order in!
If you are wondering about other software abilities, there are people working on that all the time, visit the wiki to find out more.