Tuesday, June 26, 2007


Inspired by Bruce Mau's Incomplete Manifesto and Brian Eno's Oblique Strategies, we introduce the XO Manifesto. Or, well, we introduce a wiki page for it-- we're still working on the actual content.

Everyone loves a manifesto. Have an idea to contribute? Add it to the list!

Monday, June 25, 2007

Commonwealth of Learning

Last Friday afternoon, OLPC talked with Wayne Mackintosh of the Commonwealth of Learning, an organization committed to the development (and sharing of) materials for open education and exchange. Wayne pointed out some of the work he's done on the Learning4Content project, including a series of tutorials for teachers about the importance (and value) of developing free educational content.

Just like us and our Game Jam model, the COL has already implemented 1-to-3 day WikiEducator training workshops and longer content-creation "boot camps." Also just like us, they're writing up documentation on how anyone can organize a training near them. We're already talking about how we can connect our Jams to their training. Do you have any ideas?

Friday, June 22, 2007


One of the things that I love hearing about-- probably because it reminds me of the incredible scope of the OLPC project-- is designs for country- and language-specific keyboard layouts. Two of the newest keyboard layouts are here:

Just imagine them in black on green, and in the hands of children...

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Ice Cream vs. Laptop

In the battle between ice cream and laptop, there's no contest... at least not for these girls.

More photos from the Tosci's meetup here.

AARP in the Office; XOs in the World

A bunch of people from the AARP stopped by our office this morning to talk about getting retired teachers involved in OLPC. Apparently, there are over one million active members of the National Retired Teachers Association, and 100,000 alone already involved in digital learning projects. So here's some math for you: 100,000 NRTA members already familiar with ideas about digital learning, and-- in the next two years-- 100,000 teachers expected to have classrooms full of XOs. Possible results? An expansive, informed support network for teachers, a 1-to-1 mentoring program, and endless opportunities for international communication and collaboration. Exciting stuff!

Monday, June 11, 2007

learning by doing by teaching

We just finished the first OLPC Game Jam, a 3-day fest of content creation that ended with 11 new games being played by a swarming room of elementary school kids from nearby Needham. Some of the developers walked in with no Python experience and very little Linux knowledge - and walked out with a fully functioning work of art in Pygame running on an XO. I was astounded. The next step is to get games packaged and ready for the June 25 mini-content release; some kids were asking where they could buy the games they tested, and were thrilled to hear they would be able to download and play them for free.

Ah, yes. Howdy! I'm Mel, a recent grad of Olin College, where I studied electrical engineering because that's what the dart landed on sophomore year (really; I have a picture of the dartboard). At the moment I'm recovering from organizing the Jam and firing up on a few more OLPC projects.

When not doing OLPC, you may find me penning math plays, arranging a capella music, learning to swingdance, writing about self-directed learning, or reading textbooks (some people appreciate and collect fine wines; for me it's textbooks). I'm working towards a trip around the world to study how engineers are educated in different cultures (note: that post is old and rough, and I'm working on a more refined research proposal now). I love soy milk, the color yellow, and leaning against a piano to hear the low notes crashing when someone's playing Beethoven.

Question of the day: What are the benefits and limitations of certification systems (degrees, rankings, diplomas) and how would a learning society function without them?

Friday, June 8, 2007

Big green wave; tiny little splash.

A lot of us have talked how it would be nice to know who everyone else is and what they're working on, and this space seems as good as any... so I'll go first!

Hi, I'm Lauren. I'm a temporarily transplanted Brooklynite in Cambridge for the summer, working on the education/content side of things. A semi-complete list of my projects is here.

During the year, I'm a grad student and Instructional Technology Fellow at the City University of New York (CUNY). In previous incarnations, I've been a software developer, music producer, adjunct professor, and bike messenger.

Things I like: swimming pools, disco floors, surly bikes, records and things, new wave, no wave, comic books, saag paneer.

Current Cambridge obsessions: Emma's Pizza #3, Christina's pink grapefruit sorbet. Feel like eating either? Let me know!

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

summer of xoxo

Happy June, and welcome to the summer blog at OLPC, a group publication for people working on or around the Cambridge office this summer. If you're here and would like to contribute to the blog, drop us a line or send us a sample post (or a link to your current blog) and we'll hook you up.

We are also working on a regular update with tidbits from our community members and contributors; less formal than the Community News. you can find it on the OLPC Wiki, and can add updates there or as comments on the blog posts here.

There have been a few suggestions so far about what you'd like to see and hear about from the project; keep them coming. --SJ